SFMTA Allows Taxis to Block Bike Lanes

Valencia Street's bike lanes are notoriously full of stopped taxis. Photo: ##http://sf.mybikelane.com/post/index/7670##bbond, MyBikeLane##

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) is officially allowing taxi drivers to block bicycle lanes.

A memo [PDF] from Deputy Director of Taxi Services Christiane Hayashi and Accessible Services Manager Annette Williams says the agency is issuing bumper stickers to taxi drivers telling Parking Control Officers not to cite them.

John Han of Taxi Town SF first reported the story, writing that the move has been “more than a year in the making”:

The memo, signed by Deputy Director of Taxis Services Christiane Hayashi, says not only will the SFMTA issue the bumper stickers, but it has also issued “guidance” to the Parking Control Officers instructing them not to ticket taxi drivers who are actively loading or unloading in bike lanes.

Taxis stopped in bike lanes routinely endanger people on bikes in San Francisco, and legitimizing the practice could encourage more of it. When blocked, bicycle riders are typically forced into passing motor traffic or between parked cars, where drivers or taxi passengers may open doors in their path.

Condoning such a dangerous practice seems incongruous with the SFMTA’s goals of improving the safety of bicycling in the city.

Leah Shahum, executive director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, said the organization “has real concerns about the agency’s confusing policy regarding taxi pick-ups and drop-offs in bicycle lanes, which seems to invite conflict and unsafe conditions.”

“In order to reach the city’s official goal of 20 percent of trips by bicycle by 2020, we urge the SFMTA to develop a more coherent policy that prioritizes safe conditions for all road users, while also setting up more dedicated taxi stands for greater predictability,” she said. “Increased use of both bicycles and taxis will help the city meet its transit-first goals and can be complimentary of each other.”

The SFMTA’s decision, according to the memo, comes from “the need to provide access to the curb for taxi and paratransit van customers with disabilities.”

“The proliferation of new bicycle lanes throughout San Francisco has caused some confusion for taxi drivers and led, in some cases, to citations being issued while loading and unloading passengers in these bike lanes,” the memo states.

“We work hard to find workable solutions to address safety concerns for all modes of transportation in our scarce right-of-way,” said SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose. “This plan allows for the safe use of bike lanes, while at the same time, providing curb access for paratransit van and taxi customers with disabilities.”

Shahum said the SF Bicycle Coalition “is understanding of the SFMTA’s imperative to provide access for taxi and paratransit van customers with disabilities,” and that it “supports a flexible approach to assure full access for these road users as we build out the citywide bike network.”

However, the decision seems to have been made without an opportunity for public input. Cheryl Brinkman, a member of the SFMTA Board of Directors, said she’d heard discussion about the needs of disabled passengers, but not of the wider policy change. Rose, the SFMTA’s spokesperson, offered no comment on the public process.

The memo also includes a set of instructions for taxi drivers on how to “safely” stop in a bike lane, stressing the use of bike lanes as “an absolutely last resort” after looking “for other safe locations to stop (such as an open curb space, taxi stand, or side street).”

For physically separated bike lanes, like those on Market Street, the memo says taxis may only enter them to drop off “disabled or elderly customers who require direct access to the curb,” and pick-ups are only allowed when the dispatcher tells a driver that “the customer is disabled and must be picked up at a location that is next to a separated bike lane.”

Drivers are still forbidden from using them “for any other reason.”

The SFBC, Shahum said, is encouraged by measures included in the memo to mitigate the increased danger to bicycle riders. Taxi driver training must now include a “defensive driving training module specific to driving safely around people on bicycles and bike lane policy.”

The SFMTA will also issue decals “cautioning passengers to took for people on bicycles when exiting the vehicle to be affixed in the lower right hand corner of the rear window,” according to the memo.

Alternative measures to help accommodate the needs of both bicyclists and disabled passengers could include converting more car parking into taxi stands.

New York, a city comparable to San Francisco, prohibits [PDF, pg. 52] motor vehicles from stopping in bike lanes at all.

Bike lanes can also be raised up near the level of the curb, allowing passengers to access the curb without conflicting with bicycle traffic. This practice can be seen in successful cycling cities like Copenhagen, Denmark, and similar features will be included in the coming redesign of San Francisco’s Masonic Avenue.

Bikeways in Copenhagen are commonly near-level with the sidewalk and sometimes include buffer areas that make them easily accessible to passengers without endangering cyclists. Photo: ##http://www.flickr.com/photos/16nine/3493667260/##Mikael Colville-Andersen, Copenhagenize##
  • Anonymous

    I’m with you on many points. I think it is ridiculous to say bicycles for “forced” to do such and such thing. Everyone has to take responsibility of their own action or they should not be on the road.

  • Anonymous

    It is easier for me to ride to the left of a taxi stopped, or a right turning vehicle in the bike lane than it is for me to ride by a taxi (or right turning vehicle ) stopped just to the left of the bike lane.  With the taxi, I know that the curbside door is legally the only door that is supposed to be used (I know enough to not trust that to be the case as well), with a car turning right I know that if I go to the left of them they will not turn into me (although again they could change their mind and go straight, so I give them a wide berth).

  • Anonymous

    @tungwaiyip:disqus wrote: “And it is a lot less inconvenient to bicyclists that you might think” then later “If it is not safe to proceed, don’t proceed.”

    That’s contradictary: stopping and waiting for every double-parked car means it would be *really* incovenient to move down a street like Valencia, so much so that you are discouraging cycling. Most cabs are parked for a lot longer than you apparently seem to realize, especially when dropping off and payment is taking place (though usually pick-up is pretty quick). And you could make the same arguments for cars: they shouldn’t go around double-parked cars (when there is no bike lane), they should sit and wait. But how come all cars go around double-parked cars? Because traffic of all types comes to a grinding halt if everybody has to wait for everybody else to finish double-parking, especially since, as you all those theorizing here seem to forget, cars are often double-parked for a long time (certainly longer than one will just sit there and wait).

    “Bicyclists are not “forced” to do anything.”

    This argument works against you as well. Taxi cab passengers aren’t “forced” to have to be able to get out right in front of wherever they are going, traffic be damned. They can easily go around the corner to a side street, take an open parking spot, or use a loading/unloading zone. And as myself and others said, there is no reason we can’t create more loading/unloading zones for cabs in heavily-pedestrianized corridors like Valencia to accommodate this.

    “When a bus is unloading passenger, it often obstruct the whole lane.”

    Not usually, since there are designated bus parking spots where parking has been removed. And when buses do block traffic, that’s bad! You seem to be implying we should just accept it. To make our cities safe, nobody should be blocking anybody because they are double-parked, be it cabs, buses, or personal autos. We can do better than that, and just because it happens doesn’t make it right.

  • John E

    jd_x, the reasons bicycling in northern Europe is safe are: 1) lower bicyclist speeds; 2) lower motorist speeds; 3) much stricter standards for obtaining and retaining a driver’s license; 4) greater percentage of motorists who are also bicyclists; 5) strict accountability for motorists in car-bike collisions; 6) more bicycle-tolerant culture among motorists. I would endorse items 2-6, but how do we get there? 

  • Anonymous

    jd_x, thank you for posting that link to that video and making my point, which I repeat: “As Copenhagen and Amsterdam learned the hard (and bloody) way, there is no middle ground when it comes to cycle tracks or side paths or whatever you want to call physically separated bike-only facilities parallel to the street.  If you’re going to put them in, you have to manage each and every location where there can be crossing traffic, and you have to design for bicyclist left turns. ”

    If SF is going to go all the way, including redesigning every intersection along streets with these cycle tracks, and closing driveways in between, that’s one thing.  That’s the Dutch method.

    But doing it half-assed – doing it without making all these special provisions – is creating death traps.

  • Anonymous

    @tungwaiyip:disqus As I pointed out in your post above, your argument works against you just as well as for you. If bicyclists are not forced to go around cabs (because we’re supposed to just sit there and wait, right?), then you can argue that cabs aren’t forced to pull over right in front of the spot where there passenger wants to be dropped off, traffic and everybody else be damned. Cabs can easily go around to a quiet side street, find a nearby loading/unloading zone (and we should remove parking to create more of these), or take an empty parking spot and have their passenger be “inconvenienced” and have to walk (god forbid!) up to half a block. Why do bicyclists have to be the ones to be inconvenienced (by having to wait)? Why can’t it be the vehicle that weighs 4000 lbs, pollutes the air, contributes to obesity, creates most noise in our cities, and kills and maims millions every year? We should be creating an urban environment that discourages such modes of transit and encourages walking and cycling.

  • Anonymous

    @LaJollan:disqus Good, we agree that how they do it northern Europe is better. And we agree that we don’t have that infrastructure here. So now what? We can’t just say it’s all or nothing, either we spend millions overnight to make all our bike lanes like those in the Netherlands, or we do nothing. So in the meantime, we make cycling safer, more attractive, and more convenient by encouraging it and discouraging car usage. Having cabs (or any vehicles) block the bike lanes, as the vast majority of cyclists will tell you, isn’t a step in the right direction.

  • Shmoozilla2000

    Federal law requiring curb to curb service for Paratransit customers does.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, bicyclists who are unwilling to wait must go around the cabs, but that’s not being ” forced into passing motor traffic”.   

    That’s being forced to signal, possibly negotiate for right of way with passing motor traffic,  and merge left.  In other words, normal behavior when traveling in traffic; nothing unsafe.  It’s called cooperation.  It’s part of  the dance..

  • Anonymous

    @LaJollan:disqus The “dance” you keep referencing is not what most people, cyclists or otherwise, want. This mentality, supported by a minority of cyclists called “vehicular cyclists” (mostly young men, often with a bicycle messenger history and who get an adrenaline rush out of riding through traffic) which think that bikes are just another type of car and therefore should be treated and behave exactly like a car, has proven to not be able to get large numbers of cyclists on the streets. Hence the reason that *EVERY* single city in Western world with large numbers of cyclists has separate infrastructure for cyclists and don’t expect them to behave and be treated the same as cars. It’s simply too dangerous for the average person to feel comfortable “meshing” with 4000 lb vehicles with hundreds of horsepower literally at the tips of the feet and hands of distracted drivers whose senses are dulled.

    Cars and bikes are not the same, and the only reason our current laws treat them as such is because bikes were thrown in as an afterthought. That is after all, what so many of us are fighting to change. If you want to keep promoting the idea that cars and bikes are the same and should share the same infrastructure, then of course cabs double-parking won’t bother you. But if you don’t believe in this (and again, this little thing called statistics (as opposed to your armchair opinions) supports this argument), then it only makes sense to start demanding that bicycles be recognized as vulnerable road users who are NOT cars and should not be expected to be treated or behave like cars, no more than we expect pedestrians to be treated or behave like cars.

  • mikesonn

    I find it funny that people are arguing that a cyclist can always see a taxi pulled over well in advance. They (regardless of what they claim) don’t ride around SF. Allowing cabs to use bike lanes with impunity just means there will be more sudden movements into the bike lane then before.

    Cyclists, be prepared to be cut off, squeezed, right-hooked. It will happen more often and with far less notice or care then was given before (and obviously to those of us who ride, none has been given up to this point).

    And again, since when has using disabled persons as the “trump card” been acceptable practice? If we got a majority of those able-bodied people out of their single occupancy vehicles then we’d have all the space we needed for para-transit and cabs for the disabled.

    Instead of taking away some parking spaces, we promoted double parking in bike-lanes. Kudos SFMTA, you never cease to amaze.

  • Anonymous

    We CAN and MUST say it’s all or nothing.  Doing one short section the Dutch way is way better than miles of half-assed death traps that encourage dangerous behavior.

    The compromise should be in quantity, not quality.

    In the mean time, the more cyclists that learn “the dance” (it’s not that hard, and does not require being a young male or an ex bike messenger – I don’t know of a single person that fits that bill), and not freak out about blocked bike lanes, the better.

  • Anonymous

    Ever seen a bus stopped like this or this? This is totally common place. Theoretically the bus could have stop off the traffic lane. But they a in rush and rather not spend the time to guide the long bus body completely into the spot. Cars would expect a lot of delay when travelling behind a bus. Such is life in a  city.

    And yes, nobody is forced to do anything. Cab choose to stop in the bike lane, bike choose to merge into traffic. Everybody is responsible for their own action.

  • Anonymous

    @LaJollan:disqus All or nothing is completely impractical. Nothing every gets done like that. By this measure, then we should do absolutely nothing to improve cycling in the city unless we can go all the way and do it like in northern Europe. But that isn’t how we make progress (in any manner, not just cycling), especially when there are differing opinions. Things need to be done incrementally and through much discussion (which is actually one of the other problems with this measure allowing cabs to double-park: the public was not consulted and there was no dialogue). And as the statistics show time and time again (and which you keep ignoring), just adding the standard crappy unprotected bike lane between parked cars and moving cars decreases accident rates for cyclists as *well* as pedestrians and motorists (see the NYC memo I linked to earlier … or just go to bikesbelong.org (http://www.bikesbelong.org/resources/stats-and-research/statistics/safety-statistics/) and see all the stats they have there). Certainly adding separated bike lanes, even if not done as well as in northern Europe, increases safety for *all* road users. This is a proven fact, time and time again. You can choose to ignore it, but I doubt you will sway many people to your opinion.

  • @tungwaiyip:disqus  As jd_x said, just because this happens doesn’t mean that is has to. Yes, cyclists could stop and wait for the taxi to leave the lane if they don’t want to merge into traffic. Which is fine, if we don’t have a goal of encouraging cycling and making the city a safer, friendlier place to do it in. But given that we do, it seems that we have misplaced our priorities if we are going to allow any cab (and not just the ones carrying disabled passengers) to use bike lanes as drop-off points. And that’s exactly what the SFMTA memo allows for.

    And as frustrating as your example is, I am inclined to provide more leeway towards public transit than I would taxis and private autos. 

  • Anonymous

    @LaJollan:disqus “In the mean time, the more cyclists that learn “the dance” (it’s not
    that hard, and does not require being a young male or an ex bike
    messenger – I don’t know of a single person that fits that bill)”

    Again, this isn’t about who you think you know (or who I know), but the *statistics*. We don’t determine policy because LaJollan doesn’t know any young men who ride in traffic for the sake of the adrenaline rush, or because smushmoth says it’s okay. Statistics show that women, children, and the elderly (as well as most men) do not want to be meshing with 4000 lb autos. Again, show me a city where this is how cycling works and which has significant numbers of cyclists. There aren’t any. On the other hand, look at every major northern European city that has massive numbers of cyclists and it’s obvious that bicycles are being treated entirely separately from cars. The vehicular cyclist idea that of the “dance” is anachronistic and comes from time when we thought cars were sustainable and the future and cycling was some thing only a minority (of young people) did in our urban areas.

    And again, you don’t need to go extreme and have the full northern European bicycle infrastructure to reduce accidents for all road users. Each bit of bike infrastructure added that gets us closer to what northern Europe has makes our cities that much safer (and livable and healthier). Again, see the links I posted below for stats.

    So, you can keep claiming that vehicular cycling is the way to go, or else that we need to go 100% and have the full bicycle infrastructure of northern Europe (the “all or nothing” opinion), and your entitled to that opinion. But it’s not your opinion (or mine) that matters, but the statistics. And those statistics bear out the fact that each bit of bicycle infrastructure helps make our cities safer. Having cabs, or whatever other vehicles, blocking the bike lane is a step away from where we are trying to go with bicycling infrastructure, and therefore makes our cities less safe for everyone (not just cyclists).

  • Anonymous

    @tungwaiyip:disqus Yep, as @google-c1054b713ae4d63cc3ebaf620c20fb35:disqus just pointed out and as I said myself, sure, buses sometimes block the lane. But that’s not what we want! And we wouldn’t be passing measures (like this one that allows cabs to double-park) to say that’s our goal. We should (and are) working to change that. You have to be able to differentiate between what we want and what we have. In the case of cabs, we know they double-park, but that isn’t good. We should be working to change that, not passing measures which encourage it.

    Further, I also agree with Sean in that I would rather have buses blocking the bike lane — which, by the way, always occurs at predictable and well-defined spots as compared to cabs who will make sudden and unpredictable movements — than private autos and cabs. The priority for urban transit in SF (or any city for that matter) should be, in order: walking, cycling, public transit, cabs, private autos. The higher it is on that list, the more we should be doing to make it more convenient (and safer).

  • Shmoozilla2000

    That doesn’t meet the curb-to-curb requirement in the ADA and it’s a lot to expect the frail elderly and disabled who rely on Paratransit taxi to walk from a zone to their destination.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t mean this is a good thing and we should encourage it. I hate my way being obstructed. Ideally there should be separate space for cars, bus, bikes, and pedestrians. There should be a lot of drop off spot so whenever a cab or a delivery truck want to stop they can a always find a spot. There should two parallel lanes bikes, one for slow speed and one for high speed so that people can go at the pace they want. Unfortunately I live in a real world and we cannot afford this amount of space. And I have to live with the frustration just like everybody. I like to see this as “share the road”.

    And cabs are also an important part of the transportation system. I know quite a few people who live car free. They go to work by bus but they rely heavily on cab to go to other places. Taxi is part of the support system that allow them to live car free.

  • Anonymous

    @tungwaiyip:disqus I agree with you that cabs need to be accommodated. The issue here is: should that come at the expense of cyclists? And I argue: no, it shouldn’t (excepting the case of the disabled). There is no reason cabs need to jeopardize the safety of cyclists by pulling over in the middle of the bike lane. We can *easily* solve this problem by creating more loading/unloading zones (at the expense of car parking) and by reminding cab drivers and their passengers that they can’t expect to be dropped off *right* in front of their destination so that the cabbie can pull off on a lightly-used street or find a loading/unloading zone or empty parking spot; their passengers might need to walk half a block or so, but that’s okay. We live in a city: walking is part of that life (and god knows we all need the exercise).

    The *wrong* way to handle this problem is to give cabs a bumper sticker that literally tells DPT they can’t be ticketed and hence which encourages them to block the bike lane. Hell, even when there was the threat of them being ticketed by DPT before this measure passed, they still double-parked in the bike lane with impunity! It will now only get worse.

  • Shmoozilla2000

    Jd, you are missing the point. Taxis are allowed in the bike lane to serve people who can’t be expected to walk half a block. Why are you so unwilling to accommodate seniors and disabled people? Does it really make your life that much more difficult?

  • @b061ae0867336435bc888589c1dc4e26:disqus Please go read the SFMTA memo. Here are two relevant excerpts:

    “…taxi drivers may enter a non-separated bike lane with caution to drop off all customers (disabled and non-disabled)”

    “…You may only drop off in a separated bike lane if you have disabled or elderely customers who require direct access to the curb.”

    While the SFMTA is painting this as purely for disabled/paratransit access the memo actually goes much further, giving taxis carte blanche to occupy any non-separated (of which the vast majority of bike lanes are) bike lane at their discretion. I don’t think anyone here has seriously argued against disabled/paratransit access.

  • Shmoozilla2000

    I have read the memo. It repeatedly emphasizes that taxis should use the bike lane upon request if there are no safe option and in the green lane only for elderly and disabled passengers who require direct access to the curb. And SFBC had extensive input. You are mischaracterizing the intent of the memo.

  • Anonymous

    @b061ae0867336435bc888589c1dc4e26:disqus Don’t play that card. Read my comments carefully: this isn’t about the disabled since the disabled are a small percentage of cab drop-offs/pick-ups, *especially* along corridors with heavy bicycle and pedestrian traffic like Valencia (where the conflict with cyclists mostly occurs). If the only times cabs blocked the bike lanes was because they were dropping off the disabled, this whole issue would be irrelevant because it would happen so infrequently that nobody would care. Everybody here is okay with cab drivers blocking the bike lane if it truly is because the passenger is disabled.

    However, go down Valencia and tell me what the passengers look like who 95% of the cab drivers are picking up? These people are not disabled but instead are healthy, young and are going out to dinner, drinks, or shopping. Cab drivers double-park like mad to get their business. And this is with it currently being illegal for cab drivers to block the bike lane! Now imagine how bad it will be when they have a “get out of jail free card” that tells DPT they can’t ticket them.

    Nobody here (certainly not me) has any problem with cab drivers blocking the bike lane to drop off the disabled, and this is simply because it happens so infrequently. But, and I repeat: this is NOT the issue.

    The issue is cab drivers using this as an excuse to block the bike lane for any and all pick-ups/drop-offs. After all, most of them have little incentive to avoid it when it’s illegal (like now) and it’s already a huge problem. Now it will be much worse.

    The rule should be: cab drivers may not block the bike lane *unless* their passenger is disabled, and there is no need to a “get out of jail free” card on their bumper sticker. Any DPT agent ticketing double-parkers will instantly see that the person is disabled and move along. We have a car-centric culture right now that thinks bike lanes are for extra vehicle parking, and this measure further encourages that. It should be the other way around: bike lanes are ONLY for bikes unless you are cab driver/paratransit with someone disabled.

  • The Greasybear

    Why have bike lanes at all if they’re going to be even more clogged with double-parked automobiles than they already are?

  • mikesonn

    Maybe it’s a back-handed way to increase parking?

  • To every comment I see about “it’s not that hard, I pull off the swerve all the time”:

    It’s not about you. It’s about your 8-year-old son or your 80-year-old grandma. This is exactly the type of policy that throws sh*t right in the face of the idea of SF being ‘safe’ for bicycling.

    In my not-so-humble opinion, this is the most egregious policy to come out of local government in at least a few months. I’m ready to write some all powerful emails. Who in the SFMTA or whatnot can we contact to let them know this is BS?

    In the meantime, I encourage you to ask your favorite canidates for mayor what they think about this, publicly. ex: http://twitter.com/mfogel/status/129388000504332288

  • mikesonn

    This is a direct slap in the face of David Chiu’s 20% by 2020. I’ll retweet you in the AM if he doesn’t answer tonight.

  • Anonymous

    Your eight year old is in much greater danger trying to pass stopped cabs to the right than they are learning to properly ride around it on the left.  I hope to hell that you would be teaching your child and all road users that they must learn to ride safely around obstacles that inevitably pop up around the road.

    BTW the everything must be completely safe for children, has been shown to actually make people less safe in the long run, and is the same reason that SUV drivers have given me for why they buy SUV’s.

  • mikesonn

    I must of missed where people are advocating for cyclists to pass between the taxi and parked cars.

  • Smush – your thoughts make sense all things being equal, but they aren’t. If a taxi is blocking the bike lane, then there are methods to deal with it, but I fail to see the justification for the taxis being in the bike lane in the first place. The arguments just do not hold water.

    When you just say “OK, here is another annoyance and we will train ourselves to deal with it instead of removing it”, you are hampering progress.

  • Shmoozilla2000

    You’re right, it’s about your 80-year-old grandma who uses paratransit and needs curbside drop-off at her destination.

  • Quit conflating two separate issues. 

    One is the minor and rare inconvenience of disabled passengers’ need for curbside dropoff. The other is the fact that the SFMTA is giving taxi drivers unfettered access to block any unseparated bike lane for any reason while asking them to please do so only when absolutely necessary.

    You cannot seriously tell me that you expect taxi drivers, who already block bike lanes on a frequent basis to abide by the memorandum.

  • Shmoozilla2000

    Because this is about taxis that are providing paratransit service.

  • Anonymous

    @b061ae0867336435bc888589c1dc4e26:disqus wrote: “You’re right, it’s about your 80-year-old grandma who uses paratransit and needs curbside drop-off at her destination.”

    No, it’s not about that, because the percent of cab pick-ups/drop-offs that are for the disabled is a small percent of the total, and hence if these were the only reasons cabs/paratransit intruded in the bike lane, nobody would care because it would happen so rarely. Again, go down Valencia St on any evening and tell me how many cabs which are double-parked in the heavily-used bike lane are loading/unloading the disabled.

    Further, the issue of addressing the disabled and the able-bodied needs to be separated out. With the current measure, all cabs get a sticker on their bumper that says they can park *anytime* they want with *any* passenger (since the sticker is permanent) and DPT can’t give them a ticket, so this now confuses the issue between disabled and able-bodied. If the city really only cared about disabled access, they would just make the law say that cabs can ONLY park in the bike lane when unloading/loading disabled, never otherwise. Instead, this measure goes much further than that and gives cabs free reign in the bike lane since there is no way in hell a DPT agent is going to ticket a cab with that bumper sticker on it, regardless of the passenger’s able-bodied-ness.

    If you want to improve/ensure disabled access, you just create a bill that says *exactly* that and *only* that. Instead, this current measure is simply the result of the city caving to the pressure of the cab companies (whose drivers don’t want to pay tickets for parking illegally in the bike lane) and officially turning all bike lanes into taxi loading/unloading zones, but then trying to use vaguely-worded guidelines about recommending (but — and here’s the key — not requiring!) cabs to avoid using the bike lanes so people like you can fall for the smokescreen and sit here and try to pretend those of us who are against this are somehow against grandma.

  • Anonymous

    smushmoth: “Your eight year old is in much greater danger trying to pass stopped cabs to the right than they are learning to properly ride around it on the left”
    murphstahoe: “your thoughts make sense all things being equal, but they aren’t. If a taxi is blocking the bike lane, then there are methods to deal with it, but I fail to see the justification for the taxis being in the bike lane in the first place. ”

    The alternative to taxis blocking the bike lane, realistically, is taxis stopping just to the left of the bike lane.  In that case smushmoth’s point still applies, as bicyclists are better off passing them on the left than remaining in the bike lane and passing on the right, in the passenger door zone.

    In fact, by encouraging taxis to stop in the bike lane rather than to the left of it, the uninitiated are more likely to pass properly on the taxi’s left than if the bike lane remains unoccupied. An open bike lane invites bicyclists to ride there… better to block it with the taxi when the taxi is there.

  • Shmoozilla2000

    jd, you’re the one who suggested grandma could walk a half block because she needs some exercise….

  • Anonymous

    Indeed, why have bike lanes?

    It’s a good question not only because they are often clogged with double-parked automobiles.  They are often also clogged with debris, and are incapable of designating the proper place for bicyclists to ride because the proper place varies based on the ever-changing situation.  So, the guidance they provide, such as it is, is often wrong.

    Free bicyclists… black out the segregationist bike lanes!

  • Anonymous

    @b061ae0867336435bc888589c1dc4e26:disqus Nope. I’ll say it one more time: cabs with disabled people, and disabled people only, can block the bike lanes. That’s it. Everybody else can walk a bit so the cab can find a place to load/unload without blocking a bike lane (or car traffic lane). Again, this measure lumps two separate passenger types — disabled and able-bodied — into one, and therein is the problem.

    By the way, grandma almost certainly could use the exercise, but I don’t think the appropriate way for her to get it is to force her to walk from her cab. That’s another issue.

  • Anonymous

    @b061ae0867336435bc888589c1dc4e26:disqus Alright, you’ve officially reached troll status, repeating the same things without acknowledging the arguments against you.

  • Anonymous

    If someone doesn’t know how to manage the behavior of others around them while cycling, include taxi drivers, to keep them from cutting you off, squeezing you and right-hooking you, you might want to read a few books, and/or take a class from the bike coalition.  There is no reason for that kind of treatment to be a regular occurrence in any cyclist’s life.


  • LaJollan – the option is going to the corner. Or a side street.

  • mikesonn

    LaJollan, I’m still waiting for you to make a comment with some substance.

  • Anonymous

    murphstahoe – Okay.  I was under the impression that the corner/alley options are not always available/viable.

    In any case, to have an obstacle in one’s current trajectory is a normal aspect of traffic, and requires an adjustment in trajectory. Anyone who can’t deal with that basic aspect of traffic safely and comfortably, should not be riding in traffic.

  • Anonymous
  • mikesonn

    The comment I replied to was removed. I was speaking more to your continuing to argue that the only alternative to a cab parking in the bike lane is next to the bike lane. It’s a straw man argument and adds nothing to the conversation.

  • mikesonn

    Actually looks like a Disqus error. Either way, I don’t want to debate someone who is stuck on a repeating loop.

  • Anonymous

    @LaJollan:disqus You are changing the subject. Nobody is saying that as a cyclist (or motorist or pedestrian) you should expect never to have obstacles. What is being said, however, is that we should create policy that *decreases* these obstacles. Instead, this particular policy of allowing cab drivers to block the bike lane *increases* these obstacles. As users of the road, the less obstacles, the safer. Nobody is saying that we shouldn’t all still learn and expect obstacles, but they would should be working to reduce them.

  • But you’re not users of the road, you’re users of a bike lane. This seems yet another example of how bike lanes turn cyclists into second-class citizens, first taking away our rights to the road by creating bike lanes, and then legally allowing motorists to block said bike lanes. Sure, one should expect obstacles while riding in traffic and be able to safely maneuver around hazards which is just what cars blocking bike lanes are – hazards. Cyclists should not expect or take lightly an official policy that allows motorists to become hazards to cyclists by giving motor vehicles access to the narrow strip of roadway to which bicycles have been relegated.

    This policy could very become a slippery slope. Does giving one class of motor vehicles the right to block bike lanes open up the door for others? Taxis today, perhaps carpools tomorrow…where does it stop?

  • Anonymous

    jd_x – I’m all for reasonable reductions in obstacles, and, again, if it’s reasonable to  require taxis to use corners and alleys, that’s fine.  I’m just not convinced that’s always a reasonable option for them.  But my point is that we should not be having conniptions every time the bike lane is blocked.  It should be no big deal.

    Shelley makes a very interesting point… “you’re not users of the road, you’re users of a bike lane.”  That thinking is understandable, but problematic.  

    Per CVC 21200, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers of vehicles.  Although we are required by 21208 to use bike lanes when we’re moving slower than other traffic, they’re essentially preferential use space allocated primarily for bicyclists.  So we are users of the road.  The bike lane mindset is actually kind of debilitating.  It’s very liberating to toss that albatross over the brink.


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