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SF Police Captain Behind 'Rolling Stop' Crackdown On Cyclists Is Seen Doing The Same

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- A San Francisco police captain who led a crackdown on bicyclists rolling through stop signs has been caught on video rolling through a stop sign on his bicycle.

As first reported by SF Weekly, Capt. John Sanford and two other police officers are seen on a video posted to social media coming up to a stop sign on their bicycles, slowing down, and rolling through without coming to a full stop.

Captain Sanford Does the Idaho Stop Too by Morgan Fitzgibbons on YouTube

During the summer, Sanford's Park Station near Golden Gate Park began issuing a number of citations to cyclists who rolled through stop signs following numerous complaints by pedestrians.

The crackdown led to mass protests by cyclists and a petition against the strict enforcement. Earlier this week, San Francisco supervisors proposed an ordinance that would allow cyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs when it can be done safely.

In the video, taken by the leader of a bicycle advocacy group, the officers slow almost to a complete stop, but keep their feet on the pedals and roll through. There were no pedestrians or other traffic in the area.

"He slows down very slowly, there was a moment of pause and on his left foot, he actually goes forward and then he goes through the stop sign," said San Francisco Police spokesman Officer Carlos Manfredi.

Police say Sanford was following the spirit, if not the letter of the law, just like officers do when they ticket only one percent of cyclists.

"We're not looking for cyclists who slowly go through a stop sign, we're looking for cyclists who are blatantly going through the stop sign, who aren't showing any regard for any vehicles or pedestrians in the area," said Manfredi.

Cyclists in Golden Gate Park said the captain demonstrated normal bicycling behavior.

"I think that sort of thing is great. People who are blowing through stop signs, that's a danger," said cyclist Nick McGrane. "It's also great that maybe he's starting to realize that the way bikes run on the road is different than how cars run on the road.

"It's just what you do on a bike, you come to a rolling stop." said cyclist Brian Prazinko. "You aren't going to lose all your momentum, especially if you aren't endangering anybody."

State law stipulates that bicyclists follow the same rules of the road as motorized vehicles, and safety advocates say allowing bicyclists to roll through stop signs at their own discretion endangers the safety of others as well as the bicyclists.

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