San Francisco

Driver Arrested in Fatal Hit and Run of Bicyclist in San Francisco

A driver arrested in connection with a fatal hit-and-run Tuesday evening in San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood may have been drunk at the time of the collision, police said.

Police said officers apprehended Michael Smith shortly after he allegedly fled the scene of a collision at Turk and Taylor streets around 5:45 p.m.

Smith, a 41-year-old San Francisco resident, was driving a silver BMW that was heading west on Turk Street when he collided with a bicyclist heading north on Taylor Street, according to police.

The bicyclist was taken to a hospital, where he died a short while later. He's been identified by the city's medical examiner as 65-year-old Gregory Blackman of San Francisco.

Officers took Smith into custody on suspicion of driving while under the influence of alcohol causing injury or death, vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, and hit-and-run. He's being held on $750,000 bail, according to jail records.

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition today said it was working with police and Supervisor Jane Kim, in addition to city agencies and community partners, to gather more information about Blackman and the circumstances surrounding his death.

"With deepest sympathies, our hearts go out to everyone mourning this tragic loss of life, including family and friends of the departed, community members in the Tenderloin neighborhood and people who bike across San Francisco," bicycle coalition officials said in a statement.

Both Turk and Taylor streets have been identified by the city's Department of Public Health as high-injury corridors.

In April, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency completed several improvements to Turk Street, between Mason and Polk streets, as part of its Turk Street Safety Project.

The improvements included a new protected bike lane -- the only protected bike lane in the Tenderloin -- as well as high-visibility crosswalks, painted safety zones and signal improvements. The project was touted as being in support of Vision Zero, the goal of reducing the city's traffic fatalities to zero by 2024.

"The latest public data shows that every single street in the Tenderloin is part of our city's high-injury network. One-way streets like those found in the Tenderloin encourage speeding and put the lives of people walking and biking in danger every day," bicycle coalition officials said in the statement.

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