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Cyclists Terrorized On The Wiggle, Police Side With Angry Driver

The SFist: Cyclists Terrorized On The Wiggle, Police Side With Angry Prius Driver

Last month on Valentine's day, cycling couple Ian Long and Johanna Weaver were allegedly harassed by the driver of a Toyota Prius while biking home on Oak Street. According to Long and Weaver, who detailed the whole ordeal to the bike advocates over at Streetsblog, the driver swerved at them, cut them off and allegedly stopped short, causing Long to slam in to the back of the car. Despite several witnesses corroborating the story and one obviously injured cyclist, the cops arriving on the scene were ready to book Long for vandalizing the Prius.

The police report, on the other hand, gives a completely different story. According to Northern Station Captain Ann Mannix (who hadn't spoken with the responding officers, but reviewed the report), the driver claimed the cyclists were following him on to Scott Street and intentionally crashed in to the vehicle. (Actually, the southbound bike lane starts on Scott Street, so a cyclist turning right off Oak Street is very common. And no one wants to bike up that bitch of a hill on Oak anyway.)

By the time officers arrived on the scene “tensions were pretty heated", Mannix explained, and the different accounts get even wilder. While the police report claims a small gang of eight or nine cyclists were surrounding the Prius, "yelling and banging on it", Long and Weaver maintain their fellow bikers were there to prevent the driver from taking off.

Another biker who was on Scott Street at the time and saw the whole thing go down explained that one of the officers taking statements was less than fair with the witnesses:

[Officer J. Olson] came in with serious bias, and even commanded his partner to cease taking the statement of the victim (the bicyclist) and considered the driver the victim of vandalism after about 10 seconds on the scene and speaking to zero witnesses, only the driver.

When the witness tried to confirm Long and Weaver's account, the Officer Olson flat-out told him, "I don't care what you have to say."

Adding to the questionable police work, the two responding officers apparently left the scene before providing Weaver with a case number, claiming they had to move their cruiser out of traffic. Captain Mannix was unable to confirm whether they were responding to another call. According to Long, an SFPD Lieutenant explained that there won't be an investigation because, "there’s too much information on both sides for them to do anything."

Although cyclists on the Wiggle have been the target of SFPD crackdowns lately, Captain Mannix is defending her officers, who apparently don't like taking statements from riled-up cyclists. Those riled-up cyclists, on the other hand, fully intend to file a complaint. The Bike Coalition is also getting in on the action, condemning the alleged harassment and calling for more support from SFPD. Meanwhile, Long himself thinks this whole mess could have been avoided if only there were a separated bike lane on Oak Street.