San Francisco group placing traffic cones on self-driving cars to disable them

ByRyan Curry KGO logo
Saturday, July 8, 2023
SF group placing cones on self-driving cars to disable them
The Safe Street Rebels, known for advocating for pedestrian safety and public transit usage, are calling their protest the "Week of Cone."

SAN FRANCISCO -- A group in San Francisco is going around placing cones on Waymo and Cruise autonomous cars.

Members of the Safe Street Rebels, a group known for advocating for pedestrian safety and public transit usage, are placing cones on the vehicles, which disables the car and forces it to stop.

"Expanded and basically unfettered access to city streets is basically a bad idea," said a member of the group who asked not to be identified. "Residents never got a chance to have a say in this, never really consented to be used a human guinea pigs."

They called their protest the "Week of Cone."

According to ABC7 in San Francisco, members are filming themselves placing cones on these cars while leading up to next Thursday's meeting with the California Public Utilities Commission, where they will vote to allow Cruise and Waymo to expand their services in San Francisco.

Safe Street Rebels want to send a message, saying they don't want the cars in San Francisco anymore.

"As a pedestrian, I am concerned," the member said. "I see them stop and open their doors in the bike lane. I feel rushed when crossing the street in front of them. If I take the bus, I wonder if it will stall and all 40 of us will be stuck behind it."

ABC7 has documented issues with Waymo and Cruise this year.

Video showed two Waymo cars stalling near the Pride Parade.

The San Francisco Fire Department criticized Cruise for blocking emergency vehicles.

Waymo told ABC7, "Not only is this understanding of how AVs operate incorrect, but this is vandalism and encourages unsafe and disrespectful behavior on our roadways. We will notify law enforcement of any unwanted or unsafe interference of our vehicles on public roadways."

Cruise also responded to ABC7's request saying:

"Cruises fleet provides free rides to late-night service workers without reliable transportation options, has delivered over 2 million meals to food insecure San Franciscans, and recovers food waste from local businesses. Intentionally obstructing vehicles gets in the ay of those efforts and risks creating traffic congestion for local residents."

Cruise also went on to mention they have obtained three million driverless miles and haven't had a single fatality or life-threatening injury. They also said they have received over 40 letters of support for next week's expansion vote.

Safe Street Rebels said if they can easily disable the cars with cones, more of them will create more issues.

"Even if you have the perfect driver which is what these are pitched as, there are still fundamentally unsafe as a two-ton metal box moving through the city," the member said.