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S.F. must do more to prevent bicyclists’ deaths, report says

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A civil grand jury report on bicycle safety urges The City to ramp up its efforts to reduce bike fatalities.

The report, which was released Monday, praises The City for encouraging bike transportation, but it also asks the mayor and Board of Supervisors to set a goal for zero bike fatalities as more cyclists take to the road.

"It's really important that we have some sort of goal in mind and really set our sights high," grand jury committee Chairwoman Maria Martinez said.

San Francisco Bicycle Coalition Executive Director Leah Shahum applauded the grand jury's push for a zero-fatalities campaign.

"That's how things happen," she said.

Shahum said the report's one shortcoming is that it doesn't stress the need for additional space on the road devoted to bicyclists.

"Bike ridership increases and safety increases when there are designated bike lanes," she said.

A key way to reduce collisions and fatalities, according to the report, is to expand bicycle-safety education and extend it to noncyclists and motorists. The report calls for a widespread advertising campaign, bicycle-training courses for private businesses and incentives for people who complete bike safety workshops.

Martinez said police will also need to train officers to enforce bike safety laws to reduce the number of collisions on the street.

"SFPD needs to enforce these laws for everybody and really stand behind it," she said.

The report comes a day after a woman in her 60s was struck by a bicyclist who was reportedly riding on a sidewalk downtown, which is against the law. The woman suffered injuries that police said were life-threatening.