Castro's Rainbow Crosswalks Damaged Again, This Time By Dirt Bikers

Castro's Rainbow Crosswalks Damaged Again, This Time By Dirt BikersVandalized rainbow crosswalk. (Photo: Steven Bracco/Hoodline)
Steven Bracco
Published on December 15, 2016

The Castro's rainbow crosswalks were damaged over the weekend, reportedly by a group of dirt bikers. The bikers left skid marks on the north sidewalk at Castro and 18th and in the middle of the intersection.

These stylized crosswalks just can't catch a break. Originally installed in September 2014 as part of the Castro Street Improvement Project, the sidewalks were first damaged during the filming of ABC's miniseries "When We Rise."

The crosswalks were replaced this September only to be damaged again less than three months later.

Witness Arlen Lasater, who owns Daddy's Barbershop in the Castro, told Hoodline that at 5pm Sunday he spotted a group of approximately 12 dirt bikers with bandanas across their faces riding down Castro Street from Market Street.

"They were riding down through traffic and not in any lanes," Lasater recalled.

The group then started doing "donuts" in the middle of the intersection at 18th and Castro Streets and on the northern Rainbow Crosswalk, Lasater said. The group left skid marks, then sped off towards 19th Street.

Skid marks left on one of the rainbow crosswalks over the weekend. | PHOTO: STEVEN BRACCO/HOODLINE

Lasater waved down an SFPD squad car nearby to report the incident and inquired about whether they'd pursue the suspects. The officers said they would not pursue the bikers due to the department's pursuit policy, Lasater said.

Hoodline spoke with SFPD Public Information Officer Grace Gatpandan who confirmed that it is against SFPD policy to pursue vehicles "for violating vehicle code policy."

The department's pursuit policy states that "officers shall balance the known or reasonably suspected offense and the apparent need for immediate capture against the risks to motorists and pedestrians, peace officers, and others to protect the public."

At this time there have been no suspects identified in this case, but Gatpandan said officers will be asking nearby merchants for access to their surveillance videos, which may help identify the bikers.

But Lasater said this is not the first time he's spotted this group of dirt bikers. He's seen them in the neighborhood a few times since early November. What's made identifying the dirt bikers especially difficult is the fact they ride without license plate, according to Lasater.

As for the skid marks they left behind, Hoodline asked Andrea Aiello, executive director of the Castro/Upper Market Community Benefit District, whether the rainbow crosswalks will be cleaned immediately.

"We have asked the rainbow crosswalks manufacturer about the best way to go about cleaning off the marks," Aiello said. When tire marks have been left on the crosswalks in the past, the manufacturer said that "the skid marks would wear off and they did," she noted.

When we learn more about plans to clean up the crosswalks, we'll be sure to let you know. Until then, maybe today's storm will help wash away some of the damage.

Have you captured footage of dirt bikers riding recklessly in the neighborhood? Let us know by texting Hoodine at 415-200-3233 or emailing a tip here.