The BART Board of Directors last night voted to lift bike blackout periods for another five-month trial starting in July. At the end of November, the board will once again consider changing the policy permanently.
The trial was approved with a 6-3 vote, with directors Tom Radulovich, Robert Raburn, and James Fang voting against it, instead favoring a permanent removal of the bans.
“What I keep hearing from staff is we’re there, we’re ready to do this,” said Radulovich. “So let’s do it tonight.”
Despite the board’s hesitance to fully commit, bike advocates lauded the move toward a change in policy, which BART surveys show is supported by 76 percent of riders. According to KQED, “an overwhelming 95 percent of the roughly 400 people who sent letters or emails prior to the meeting urged that the ban be lifted.”
“Today’s BART decision is a momentous occasion,” said SF Bicycle Coalition Executive Director Leah Shahum in a statement. “For years people on both sides of the Bay have had to contort their lives simply because they needed to take a bike on BART but couldn’t during commute times. We commend BART for taking the smart steps toward opening up regional travel by bike.”
BART board member Joel Keller of Brentwood, who said he initiated the board’s 1997 vote to remove the permit requirement for bikes brought aboard trains, was confident the policy would be successful but still favored limiting it to a trial period to err on the side of caution. “I’m prepared to support this on November 30, assuming that the facts don’t change,” he said, “and there’s no reason for me to believe the facts will change.”