Muni rail and bus passengers can now bring folding bikes aboard, the SFMTA announced today. The measure will help provide more commuting options for residents who rely on Muni’s metro and bus lines but aren’t able to easily connect to them by foot or other transit.
“This will make bicycling an option for even more people more often,” SF Bike Coalition (SFBC) Executive Director Leah Shahum said in a statement. “We commend the SFMTA for helping even more people move around our city easily on both bicycles and transit.”
Cycling San Franciscans have long bemoaned the inability to bring bikes aboard Muni and still look forward to the day when trains can accommodate regular bicycles. Front racks installed on Muni buses have allowed them to carry bicycles for a number of years, but the Breda light-rail vehicles currently used by Muni are poorly designed for the task. Folding bikes are still prohibited on cable cars.
“In the eyes of the SFBC and many in San Francisco’s cycling community, there has long been a need for bicycle access on Muni’s light-rail lines,” the SFBC explains on its webpage about light rail, noting that “almost all other U.S. cities now allow bikes on their light-rail systems.”
In addition to supplementing longer trips, transit can serve as a vital safety net for bicycling in circumstances where bicycle users are unable to ride such as inclement weather, flat tires or exhaustion.
The SF Bicycle Plan, approved in late 2009, lists folding bicycle access on rail vehicles as a priority along with trials for allowing all bicycles during off-peak hours. SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose told the SF Chronicle today that the “idea is being studied but could prove problematic, given that the trains are often crowded before and after the morning and evening commutes.”