Kim calls for hearing on how SFPD investigates cyclist fatalities UPDATED

To some activists, the anti-cyclist attitude expressed Aug. 21 by Sgt. Ernst epitomizes SFPD biases.

UPDATED In the wake of revelations of shoddy and insensitive police work related to the Aug. 14 death of 24-year-old bicyclist Amelie Le Moullac, who was run over by a commercial truck driver who turned right across her path as she rode in a bike lane on Folsom Street at 6th Street, Sup. Jane Kim today called for a hearing on how the SFPD investigates cyclist fatalities.

The issue has lit up the Bay Guardian website with hundreds of reader comments after we wrote a series of blog posts and our "Anti-cyclist bias must stop" editorial, including our revelation that the SFPD failed to seek surveillance video of the crash even as its Sgt. Richard Ernst showed up at an Aug. 21 memorial to Le Moullac to denigrate cyclists and make unfounded statements about the fatal collision.

Police Chief Greg Suhr later apologized for Ernst’s behavior and the flawed investigation and said that surveillance video unearthed by cycling activists led to the conclusion by a police investigation that the driver who killed Le Moullac was at fault, according to Bay City News and SF Appeal, which also reported on Kim’s call for a hearing.

As we reported, motorists are rarely cited in collisions with cyclists or pedestrians, even when there’s a fatality involved and the motorist didn’t have the right-of-way, which appears to the case in Le Moullac’s death. The District Attorney’s Office, which did not immediately return a call from the Guardian, is considering whether to bring criminal charges in the case.

UPDATE: We just heard from DA's Office spokesperson Stephanie Ong Stillman, who said, "The San Francisco Police Department has delivered a preliminary investigative package and we are in the process of reviewing it to determine what additional investigation is necessary."

UPDATE 9/5 5pm: San Francisco Bicycle Coalition Executive Director Leah Shahum says she welcomes Kim's hearings, which are long overdue. "We're really thankful to Jane for bringing this forward," Shahum told the Guardian, saying she hopes the hearing results in changes to how the SFPD investigates cyclist fatalilties. "We want to make sure there is ongoing accountability."

She also said the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has indicated to SFBC that it is working on near-term and long-term improvements on both Folsom and Howard streets, where cyclists in bike lanes must regularly contend to drivers cutting them off. The city does seem committed to a significant pilot of better bikeways there."

Meanwhile, as the San Francisco Examiner reported today, Le Moullac's family has filed a civil lawsuit against the driver who killed her, Gilberto Oriheaula Alcantar, as well as the company that he was driving for, Daylight Foods Inc., alleging that he was negligent in driving too fast and failing to pulled into the bike lane before making a right turn from Folsom onto 6th Street.


mean it was safe or prudent to do so. I've heard a few cyclists say that they are always careful when near intersections if there is traffic to the left and a right turn is allowed..

Posted by Guest on Sep. 05, 2013 @ 5:04 pm

Captain Denis O'Leary informed the press that the SFPD had a witness who had seen Bucchere had run red lights and STOP signs on Divisadero. By the time of the trial the street had turned into Castro, and depending on which reporter you read he had run 2 or 3 red lights.

Whichever version of events is accurate, those lights are going uphill and have have no legal bearing on what happened at Castro and Market. Nor could they have possibly been "just moments before" he entered that intersection.

Just the facts, ma'am.

Posted by Joe Friday LAPD on Sep. 12, 2013 @ 7:33 pm

I am no fan of the SFBC but SFPD being so god damn lazy so as to not even check for video WHEN SOMEONE HAS BEEN KILLED is sickening. It is not defensible.

Does SFPD STILL have the lowest felony arrest record in the United States? You could live and drive in this City running stop signs, drinking and driving etc. for 20 years and never get pulled over by these lazy clowns.

SFBG is going WAY to light on SFPD here...

Posted by Guest on Sep. 04, 2013 @ 9:47 pm


Why are you not having hearing on why the white dotted bike lane marking are not at every intersection such as 6th and Harriet Street as required by California, why are you not having hearing on why the dotted white bike lanes are not 200' in length as suggested by California vehicle code, by installing shorter dotted lines to cross you are putting both motorist, pedestrians and bikers are a higher risk of injury. Why are you not having hearing on why bikers are given a free pass and not ticketed when they ride in cross walks, on sidewalks and through stop signs without stopping,I see this happening every day in the mission, in front of cops who do nothing. . Why are you not have a hearing on requiring bikers to have insurance or registration when they demand to have the same rights and to be treated the same as vehicles

Why not have hearings on Muni buses not pulling into the bus stops forcing cars to either idle behind or go around them and I have yet to see a bus driver given a ticket for double parking when they do this with immunity .

Kim should have better things to do then give in to the every whim of the SFBC at the expense of the entire community. she should be standing up on her own two feet, not bowing to political correctness and special interest,.

Not to minimize the accident, and that was what it was and accident, unlike the 50+ homicides in San Francisco, or the thousands of violent acts every year here. Kim should not be picking and choosing sides based on one isolated case, if so where was Kin when the old man was run over by the bicyclist on Market Street, she was silent, not one word from her of ever to open an investigation.

Example of San Francisco and their rush to install unsafe bike lanes

Take the intersection of San Jose northbound and Lyle Street where the speed limit is 45MPH on San Jose , cars are merging from three different street, coming off a freeway and the cars are given less than 50' to safely cross over a bike lane to make a right turn on Lyle In my opinion if a bike land can not be safely installed it should not be there,

Kim represent us all, pedestrians, bikers, motorist and not the special interests that she that will give her votes.

Posted by dave on Sep. 05, 2013 @ 9:13 am

in intersections, so early reports that the truck "veered" into the bike lane are totally false. Bike lanes cease some distance before each intersection precisely so that right-turning traffic can make their turns without infringing on the bike lane. The dotted lines clearly demarcate where that happens, although many drivers have been rendered scared to ever encroach on a bike lane by the vociferous, self-serving agitators at SFBC.

How SFBC manage to get everything they do when they represent only a small, white, privileged group in SF is quite impressive. Then again, perhaps it is because they are a white privileged group.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 05, 2013 @ 9:29 am

Kim cannot fix the crime problem, the pension shortfall, the deficit, the out-of-control borrowing and spending, and much of everything else that people want.

But she can put in a bike lane in her neighborhood, and act all shocked when the odd cyclist still dies.

Posted by anon on Sep. 05, 2013 @ 9:31 am

Arguing in the 'comment' section is like running in the Special Olympics.

Even if you win, you're still retarded.

Posted by the 'real' Guest on Sep. 05, 2013 @ 9:40 am

Or is it just your way of saying that people here say things that you disagree with?

Posted by Guest on Sep. 05, 2013 @ 10:14 am

Jason Grant Garza here ... GREAT Jane Kim can contact me in regard to how SFPD, OCC, MOD, HRC, Chief of Police, Police Commission, Sheriff and DPH INVESTIGATE ... they "fix the intelligence", set up a RIGGED and CORRUPT UNACCOUNTABLE FAILING PROCEDURE and are deceptive and play WORD GAMES. They change LAWBREAKING activity into a service disagreement, don't respond, delay, not perform and provide a rigged complaint system ... watch just this youtube video ... now watch over 200 videos and over a year of followup in a rigged procedure.

So dear Jane Kim call Barbara Garcia 554-2525 or the Chief of Police 553-1551 or the Sheriff 554-7225 as they have my email address and contact me as I can show you the deliberate failing methodology with NO ACCOUNTABILITY nor HUMANITY.

However, please do NOT worry for as you can see ... if I receive NO RESPONSE from the HIGHLY concerned Jane Kim I can go to City Hall and followup with my video recorder. Shall we see if I get an email or go into city hall and record ... what do you READERS think?

Watch the other youtube videos to see the GAMES, WORD PLAY and continuing INHUMANITY.

Enjoy the ILLUSION and KNOW you ARE NEXT!

Posted by Jason Grant Garza on Sep. 05, 2013 @ 3:33 pm

so he will stop posting this insane screeds here, day after day. Please Jane - PLEASE.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Sep. 05, 2013 @ 4:37 pm

Note to self: I can only read Steven's comments because his don't make me feel angry. Don't read the other comments if you don't want to feel ill with anger at the hate and venom directed at cyclists. I very quickly scanned the comments (I scanned for keywords) and the keywords were as I expected them to be. Almost a cut and paste job from previous article comments/keywords about cyclists. The cyclist haters have a script and they work off of that apparently each time a new article about cyclists is published.

Most here will not admit what I'm about to say because I'm writing it from an objective point of view versus a partisan/team or take sides point of view. The reality is that *most* complaints that people have about cyclists can also be said about motorists. Which one kills the most people? Motorists. That a fact, not that facts matter to haters. But most people refuse to admit that because they prefer to take sides. I see some cyclists violating the "rules of the road" just as I see some motorists violating the "rules of the road." But consistently, motorists try to present themselves as model drivers. They're not.

I ran across an article the other day about a pedestrian who had been killed by a motorist. Number of comments? Zero. If that had been a pedestrian killed by a cyclist, number of comments would have been hundreds full of hate and bile. But when it comes to a motorist killing someone, the response is, "well accidents happen you know. RIP."

A word to the BG: By keeping this forum the way you do to the point where it's unreadable---unless one enjoys feeling angry---because of the amount of venom and hatred on this forum (no matter what the article topic generally), the Bay Guardian serves as an enabler of the, "ideological war against cyclists..." (quoting Steven from earlier). If you don't care to be an enabler of the trolls*** then you could change the way this forum works or close it. What was the point of turning off comments recently for about a week? As you see nothing changed from that experiment.

***Repetitive arguing is a nonproductive hobby for dysfunctional, lonely people online in need of constant attention but often with no interpersonal social skills in the real world. They get off on one-upping each other, putting another person down, and "scoring points." Extremely immature behavior.

Posted by Ignore the Trolls on Sep. 06, 2013 @ 3:55 am

maybe you should find yourself a different hobby. Knitting, maybe.

What we see here is a diversity of opinions, and SF is all about tolerating diversity and not, as it seems you prefer hearing only one kind of viewpoint.

If cyclists have an "image problem" (and they clearly do) then that is a question they have to seriously ask themselves about. If a group of people doing something as innocent as riding a bike can excite this much venom, then they clearly are behaving in a way that incites that.

Obeying the traffic rules would be a good start, and the argument that cyclists shouldn't have to do that because they kill less people than cars is not a persuasive argument, and only makes cyclists look arrogant.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 06, 2013 @ 5:12 am

that don't agree with your biases.

While you also feel that people who post things that you don't agree with are dysfunctional.

Interesting, you hold others accountable for your anger issues and those people are dysfunctional?

Posted by Matlock on Sep. 06, 2013 @ 6:32 am

I agree. After I started reading your comment I was about to write in response that the trolls will be along momentarily to say that you don't like different opinions even though you and I both know that's not what we're talking about here, but that's what the trolls always say in response to a comment such as yours. The trolls are transparent. They are in dire need of new material because they have become so predictable and stagnant. Then, when I got to the bottom of your comment, I see that the smug and arrogant know-nothing right-wing blowhard resident top-poster "Guest" troll who lives in Los Ángeles but stagnates on this site has already accused you of not liking different opinions and this bull shit about diversity in SF stuff, which they couldn't care less about. LOL. They're so predictable and pathetic, and as you say hateful.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 06, 2013 @ 5:54 pm

The anti intellectualism that democratic state capitalism breeds is beginning to become a pervasive problem in ccsf.

white male capitalists are the problem, and the streets of CCSF are full of them.

we must outbreed them, we must outwork them, we must outdo (undo) them and their kin, but most importantly their ken (sic).

Posted by Guest on Sep. 10, 2013 @ 12:36 pm

having had to move out of my hometown, The City, down to the Peninsula, I don't miss the incessant war between cyclistas and everyone else. too bad, folks, but Leah's ilk are focused on one thing - ridding SF of most vehicles on the roads. there's not one whit of intelligence towards pedestrians as well - silently whiz by them on the sidewalk and flip them off when they get indignant at you for not taking the streets. enjoy your fight. and absolutely forget to retrain cyclistats in common courtesy and sense. most of the time, you're to blame. goddbye ...

Posted by jebbie on Sep. 11, 2013 @ 10:30 am

bike infrastructure because then they would lose their leverage.

They are conducting a holy war jihad against cars and will not be happy until they have turned California into Copenhagen.

It's impressive that a fringe 1% like SFBC can have as much influence as they have, but never underestimate the power that a small group can wield when they are white, professional, affluent zealots.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 11, 2013 @ 10:56 am

A few years back my girlfriend was hit in roughly the same manner. A car cut across the bike lane to make a right turn cutting her off in the process of proceeding straight through and intersection. The police report contained a map of the intersection that was astoundingly precise... aside from no indication of the bike lane at all. She was judged to be at fault due to a vague claim of "she was moving pretty quickly" by some random pedestrian. This because she was coming down the hill just north of Alamo Square.

In the end her hospital bill (no injury beyond a hematoma, but just going in to the emergency room for an x-ray and an abulance ride) was about $7,000 and due to the police report the driver's insurance refused to cover it. With her deductible at around $5,000 she was going to be left on the hook for the majority of something that wasn't even her fault. We ended up having to go to small claims court (because, of course, there's no way to bring a suit yourself for such a supposedly small amount) even though it failed to cover the extent of her expenses where it was a pretty obvious open-and-shut case and the driver admitted to not recalling if he used his signal, that he didn't see her, and we were able to prove that he was in violation of the state vehicle code for not merging into the bike lane in advance of his turn.

Posted by Belgand on Oct. 05, 2013 @ 4:07 am

that the cyclist bears at least some of the responsibility for such an accident. That's why she only got a partial award.

Remember that a car turning right typically has to look left, ahead and right all at the same time when making that turn. Asking the driver to look behind as well is asking a lot, and the faster any cyclist is going the further back that driver would have to look.

The percentages aren't good for totally trust a vehicle ahead will not make a turn even if not signaling.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 05, 2013 @ 8:27 am

and observing traffic signals or signs, the cyclist is totally faultless.

Everyone should drive or ride defensively, but that is a different standard from fault and legal or financial responisibility.

Your anti-cyclist viewpoint shines brightly here.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 05, 2013 @ 9:03 am

If you approach an intersection at 25 mph where it seems probably that a vehicle may be about to make a turn, then any jury in the land would rule that the cyclist is at least partially to blame.

You almost get it when you talk about riding defensively. The recent accidents at 15th/SVN and on Folson may have been more than 50% the fault of the driver but in neither case was the cyclist blameless from what we know because, in both cases, the cyclist failed to hold back at an intersection.

It's not about being anti-cyclist or anti anyone. It's about noting that a cyclist is always going to be vulnerable and so it is common sense, as well as the law, that they should keep right, slow down and exercise great care at intersection. Sadly I see counter-examples all the time.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 05, 2013 @ 9:16 am

bear in mind that a bike doing 25 on the level is going flat out with little room for error. While a car and driver doing 25 (or even 35 - the limit on some SF streets) is hardly ticking over and has lots of spare capacity.

I'd argue that a safe speed for approaching a busy SF intersection is no more than 5mph, with of course a complete stop either if there is a stop sign or light, or if the situation demands it i.e. turning traffic.

Posted by anon on Oct. 05, 2013 @ 9:36 am

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