Overnight late last week, the San Francisco Municipal Transit Association removed a set of controversial bike lanes on Post and Sutter streets in the San Francisco financial district. Although Bay Area bicycle lanes in high-traffic areas are often popular among cyclists, these were placed in the middle of the road, instead of on the right or left side, meaning cyclists were surrounded on all sides by vehicles. Earlier this year, the Bay Citizen reported that the lanes could lead to bicycle accidents and posted a video of a cyclist nearly getting hit by a car. “I would never ride in that lane again,” he said. “I did not feel safe.”
The removal of these lanes has ignited discussion about the best ways San Francisco can promote bicycle safety. Noting that the city’s bike plan suggests experimenting with bicycle lanes, Streetsblog suggested allowing cyclists to use lanes designated for busses, as is the case in a handful of cities like Washington DC, Philadelphia, and Vancouver, BC. An SFMTA spokesman said the agency is aware they need to make a change, but that allowing the shared lane would require a change of law since “it’s a full-time transit-only lane.”
As we’ve written before, California lawmakers are beginning to get very serious about bicycle safety, especially in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Implementing a lasting and safe bicycle plan will require boosting the state’s bicycle safety laws and figuring out what to do with those downtown bicycle lanes. As always, we’ll be following closely.
Photo credit: Andrew-Hyde