San Francisco is getting serious about reducing bicycle accidents. The upsurge in bicycle and pedestrian fatalities in past months has lead the city’s Municipal Transportation Authority to improve safety measures, particularly for bicyclists. Last month, for example, San Francisco began installing bicycle-only “green boxes” on high-traffic streets throughout the city. Now, as National Bike Month heats up, the MTA is rushing to install additional green boxes in time for next Thursday’s Bike to Work Day.
In past weeks, the San Francisco MTA has been busy repairing green boxes on Octavia Boulevard, Lower Market Street, and portions of Van Ness Avenue in preparation for thousands of additional cyclists on Bike to Work Day. This week, Streetsblog reports, the transit agency has raced up Market Street, trying to cover the majority with green boxes before the 17th annual Bike to Work Day.
The recent work on Upper Market Street is especially interesting considering San Francisco’s 40 year-old pledge to implement parking-protected bike lanes along Market Street. According to a recent issue of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition’s The Tube Magazine, the city’s Board of Supervisors approved the plan thanks to neighborhood support with a vote of 10-1. But ultimately, the bikeway plan dissolved due to opposition from the San Francisco Department of Public Works.
“Market Street is a work in progress,” said SFBC executive director Leah Shahum. “There is a step forward, and there’s a lot more we can be doing on all the sections on Market Street to make it even more inviting to the growing number of people bicycling, so we’ll keep watching and learning what works.”
Of course, reducing bicycle accident injuries and deaths will take a multi-tiered strategy combining improved bicycle safety laws, a better “share the road” approach to driving cars, and more focus on bicycle safety tactics like wearing a helmet and obeying all traffic signs. I’m confident that programs like National Bike Month and Bike to Work Day will help get the ball moving, to make cycling more safe and accessible.
Photo Credit: velobry