SF bike messenger killed by pickup truck
Jaxon Van Derbeken, Chronicle Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
(05-21) 04:00 PDT San Francisco -- A bicycle messenger who had recently started his own delivery business was killed today when he was hit by a pickup next to Alamo Square, San Francisco police said.
Kirk Janes, 35, was killed at 10:55 a.m. at Fulton and Steiner streets at the northeast corner of the square. Janes had recently co-founded the business American Flyer and was also known as an artist, filmmaker, photographer and fencing enthusiast.
Janes was heading east on Fulton toward downtown in a bike lane when the pickup driver, headed north on Steiner, struck him in the intersection. Police Department spokesman Sgt. Wilfred Williams said it is unclear who had the right of way at the intersection, which is controlled by signal lights.
Friends said Janes, who still smoked despite surgery on his throat, kept riding even after a recent injury to his hip. He spoke with a raspy voice.
Janes had broken his hip while riding on Second Street last year and could have gone on disability from the state. Instead, he quit Speedway Delivery last year, and, after a brief break to recover, started his own business.
"He could have gone on disability, but he decided it would not be the right thing, knowing he was not going to go back to Speedway. He passed up a lot of money, just on principle," said Ryan Akers, a friend and fellow messenger.
Janes had been recently talking about going on vacation and had traveled extensively in Europe, said Akers, who had been on a bowling team with him in Daly City dubbed the "The Strike Messengers."
Mike Donofrio, a former co-worker at Speedway Delivery, said Janes was popular in the community. "He was a really hard worker - he always had everybody's back," Donofrio said.
Fergus Tanaka, president of the San Francisco Bicycle Messengers Association, said Janes was active in the close-knit messenger network in the city. "He was a good guy, a real strong member of the community and someone who was of great support to his friends," Tanaka said. Tanaka said being a messenger is a risky career, given the traffic in the city. He said that while injuries related to accidents are not uncommon, this was the first messenger fatality in recent memory. "It's a shame when something like this happens - outsiders may tend to blame the messenger first, but that is not the only case. It's dangerous, a small slipup or miscalculation can lead to something tragic."
Top photo from Kirk's CCSF Fencing profile; Bottom photo: Kirk with his photography from Velocity art show, photo by America