47-year-old Mark Heryer was killed on October 11th when he was run over by a 38-Geary bus. The SFPD concluded, without investigation, that Heryer's death was his own fault. The city will not release the footage from the bus's camera — not even to Heryer's lawyer.
The SFPD's attribution of blame is based on their claim that Heryer should have been in a bike lane, but the stretch of Market Street on which he was killed has no bike lanes.
This isn't the first time the SFPD has blamed cyclists for their own death without any investigation. Most notoriously, they concluded that the 2013 death of Amelie Le Moullac was her fault, and were forced to back down after the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition found CCTV footage showing that she'd been killed by a driver who had entered the bike lane. SFPD had apparently made no attempt to find the footage before declaring her to be at fault.
"I don't think he would have taken unnecessary risks because he was well aware of how inadequate the structure of the city's streets are, in terms of taking care of the needs of bicyclists," said Heryer's mother Brenda Kett.
San Francisco police were also quick to blame the victim in the case of 66-year-old Charles Vinson, a cyclist who died after being hit by a car at the intersection of 14th and Folsom Street. This despite eye-witness accounts that the driver had run a red light.
Heryer's family's lawyer, Anthony Label, spoke to KQED News about the importance of a proper police investigation when a cyclist is killed.
"If the Police Department is going to document and officially memorialize the cause of a cyclist's death as being the fault of the cyclist for violating the law at a minimum they should get it right."
(Image: Sergio Quintana)