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SFSU Students Study How to Un-Suck Biking to BART

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Professor Jason Henderson's "Bicycle Geographies" class explores how infrastructure could make cycling from BART to class safe and fun. Photo: ???TK

Professor Jason Henderson’s “Bicycle Geographies” class (seen with additional university staff in this photo) explores how infrastructure could make cycling from BART to class safe and fun. Photo: Nolen Brown

Professor Jason Henderson’s “Bicycle Geographies” class wants the ride from Daily City BART to San Francisco State University’s campus to be comfortable and fun.

And why shouldn’t it be?

After all, it’s only a 1.6 mile trip that should take even a novice cyclist about 15 minutes. Given the proximity to BART, this should be a no-brainer. But thanks to some harrowing intersections, high-speed traffic lanes, and oddly placed and timed “safety measures,” it’s anything but.

“That route probably felt quite calm in a big group with 40-plus people in a group ride,” said Joshua Handel, one of five students in the class, during a presentation to administrators at the school. Handel is referring to a Bike to Work Day ride done earlier this month with staff and students.

“But when one does it alone, there’s a lot of traffic stress,” he continued.  Read more…

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A Time to Remember

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DylanMitchellThree years ago today, 21-year-old Dylan Mitchell was riding his bike east on 16th Street when a garbage truck traveling in the same direction turned on South Van Ness and collided with him. He died at the scene–a scene where flowers were left during Thursday night’s “Ride of Silence.”

Mitchell was one of almost fifty cyclists killed while riding the streets of San Francisco who were remembered that evening. That’s just the tip of the iceberg when one tries to sum up the pain caused by San Francisco’s deadly combination of unsafe streets and twisted priorities, where street parking is given weight over human life and limb.

Riders started to assemble in the Sports Basement on Bryant around 5:30 Thursday night. Despite the nature of the meeting, spirits were generally high. People were there to enjoy the company of other survivors, it seemed, as much as remember the dead. Devon Warner, the event organizer, stressed that everyone “gets used to close calls” riding a bike in San Francisco. Every rider knows it’s just a matter of luck who gets killed and who survives.

Read more…

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Police Chief Resigns: What Does it Mean for Livable Streets?

A photo from August 2013. SFPD Chief Greg Suhr, right, gives a thumbs up at a stop light on Seventh Street on yesterday's bike-share celebration ride to City Hall. Photo: Aaron Bialick

A photo from August 2013. SFPD Chief Greg Suhr, right, gives a thumbs up during happier times (in this case on a bike-share celebration ride to City Hall). Photo: Aaron Bialick

As Streetsblog readers have surely heard, police Chief Greg Suhr was forced to resign Thursday after the shooting of an apparently unarmed woman by SFPD. The police shootings of Mario Woods in December and Luis Gongora in April both seemed to show a department where officers are failing to deescalate situations and are too quick to resort to deadly force. As the Chronicle explained:

Mayor Lee had stood by the chief he appointed in 2011 through two controversial police shootings within the past six months and revelations that a number of officers had exchanged racist and homophobic text messages. But at a late-afternoon news conference at City Hall, the mayor said that after Thursday’s shooting, he had “arrived at a different conclusion to the question of how best to move forward.”

It’s a tricky thing, taking a safe-streets perspective on the resignation. Obviously, the shootings, the texts, and other incidents have contributed to a heightened distrust between the SFPD and communities of color. But it would be remiss not to point out the overlap between vulnerable road users, the disadvantaged, and the way they are treated by city agencies, including the police. It’s no coincidence that the Tenderloin, in addition to all its other problems, is the district with the highest rate of pedestrian-versus-car injuries. And it is the last to get any bike lanes and safety measures. As Walk San Francisco’s director Nicole Ferrara put it:

The recent actions by SFPD have been deeply troubling and we support rapid reforms to ensure that black and brown communities in San Francisco are treated with respect, dignity and equity. We have been working with SFPD to ensure that they are sharing data on crashes and citations, including racial data.

Chief Suhr supported Vision Zero, San Francisco’s ambitious program to eliminate traffic deaths, publicly. But that didn’t seem to bear out on the ground. As Streetsblog readers will recall, just last month a tipster sent us a photo of Suhr’s car parked illegally in front of City Hall, blocking sight lines a few feet from where 68-year-old Priscila Moreto was mowed down by a motorist a few years before.

He was also at odds with bike community over the Bike Yield Law. Read more…

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Tim Doyle Crash Demands Faster Fixes for SF Streets

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On Bike to Work Day, 48-year-old Tim Doyle nearly died demonstrating, once again, the fundamental flaw of painting bike lanes between fast-moving traffic and parked cars.

There’s no need to watch this horrible wreck again, which was shot from the cell phone of someone driving a few car lengths behind Doyle, if you’ve already seen it. It’s sufficient to say Doyle was riding in the bike lane, doing everything right and legal, when a parked SFPD cruiser suddenly and completely without warning, pulled directly into him, catapulting him through the air. It’s a miracle that Doyle is alive to complain about San Francisco bicycle infrastructure. And it’s sufficient to say, again, that lanes like this don’t work. We’ve seen it again and again.

Read more…

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BREAKING NEWS: SFPD Hits Cyclist in Bike Lane

This video just came in via the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and the San Francisco Bike Ride Crew. It’s truly nuts. An SFPD cruiser apparently parked in the right-turn pocket suddenly pulls out, swerves left and hits a cyclist.


Streetsblog will post more information as it comes in, but apparently the cyclist is Tim Doyle, and it seems he suffered some pretty bad injuries, although he was discharged from the hospital after 10 hours in the emergency room.

Here’s Doyle’s description of the crash on a related thread about a different collision between a driver and bicyclist that occurred yesterday, on Market Street.

I got hit by a SFPD car at 5:45pm at 2nd and Mission. At Least I got hit by a cop who didn’t try to flee. He called an ambulance for me. But I did see that a bit of a lie trying to be put into the report that the lights and siren were on. Not true. The cop car was in a parking space alongside 2nd street and without looking or seeing me just pulled out into my lane as I was doing 25mph and I t-boned the cop car. I flew 15 feet through the air and landed flat on my back. Spent 10 hours in the SFGH Emergency Department and was discharged with a few cracked bones and a gnarly right leg wound.

Thank goodness he’s alive. And thank goodness for video so there’s no question of fault. Doyle confirmed directly in an email to the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition that he was released from SF General at 4 a.m.

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SF Celebrates Bike to Work Day

Margaret McCarthy, Interim Executive Director of the SF Bicycle Coalition, gives a rousing speech in front of SF City Hall. Photo: Streetsblog.

Margaret McCarthy, Interim Executive Director of the SF Bicycle Coalition, gives a rousing speech in front of SF City Hall. Photo: Streetsblog.

San Francisco has come a long way. That was the theme of a rousing speech delivered by Margaret McCarthy, Interim Executive Director of the SF Bicycle Coalition, at a ceremony this morning in front of San Francisco City Hall. “We’ve seen a 184 percent increase in cycling in the past decade,” she said with her trademark ebullience. “San Francisco is a biking city!”

Bike to Work day, of course, is a chance to grow those numbers and take a look at what still needs to be done to make cycling accessible to all. It brings together advocates and lawmakers and helps them focus on getting more and better bicycle infrastructure everywhere in the city. But for Julia Schaber, a graphic design intern with the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, the ride had a greater significance: it’s her first ride since a crash on April 7. “I hit the Muni tracks on Ocean and San Jose, behind Balboa Park BART–it’s one of the worst,” she said, referring to the cycling conditions at that dangerous intersection. “I went over the handlebars, went to the ER in an ambulance, and spent about a month recovering.” Read more…

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Let’s Make “Bike to Work Day” a “Check-Up Day” On Bay Area Bike Lanes

A sharrow on a dead end street? Photo: Streetsblog.

A sharrow at the end of a dead end street? Photo: Streetsblog.

Behold, in the photo above, San Francisco bicycle infrastructure, at the end of St. Charles way, where it deadends at Brotherhood Way in Oceanview. There’s a walking path at the end that leads to Brotherhood Way. There’s a large curb.

Exactly what this sharrow marking is supposed to accomplish is difficult to imagine. Perhaps a Streetsblog reader has an idea. Most likely, the sharrow is painted there simply because a crew was told to go paint some sharrows–because, cycling.

Tomorrow is Bike to Work Day throughout the Bay Area. It’s an opportunity for everyday cyclists to encourage their bike-curious friends and for new cyclists to ride with a group. It should also be a great deal of fun. Streetsblog California did a great breakdown of all the events in the Bay Area.

It is, of course, all about getting more people into the healthy habit of cycling. But promote cycling all you want, if the infrastructure is sub par, we’re never going to turn cycling into what it could be–a hugely significant and perfectly safe transportation option for everyone, including children and the elderly. You know, like it is in much of Northern Europe. That’s why Bike to Work Day presents another opportunity for Streetsblog readers: let’s use it to take a look at how the Bay Area is doing.

What are you seeing when you ride your bike? Do you see signs of improvement all over? Or are things in your district not advancing the way they should? Send your observations to tips@sf.streetsblog.org or drop us a line on Facebook or Twitter. Let us know, with photos preferably, where is Bay Area infrastructure working? Where is it failing? And what could be better?

Streetsblog will be riding from Oceanview to City Hall tomorrow morning with a commuter convoy. Come say hello.

After the page break, enjoy some examples of our favorite bike infrastructure fails (and a couple of successes).
Read more…

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SFMTA Open House Gets Feedback on Bike Lanes and More

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SFMTA took public comment on three different streetscape projects Monday night. Photo: Streetsblog.

SFMTA took public comment on three different streetscape projects Monday night. Photo: Streetsblog.

Some 30 residents of the Western Addition, Lower Haight and Hayes Valley neighborhoods (plus some interested folks from outside the area) showed up Monday night to the auditorium at John Muir Elementary School to learn about SFMTA’s plans on three different, but related, projects: the Western Addition Community-Based Transportation Plan, the Lower Haight Public Realm Plan, and the Page Street Green Connections Project. From SFMTA’s release about the meeting:

  • The Western Addition Community-Based
    Transportation Plan’s overall goal is to
    improve the community’s transportation
    options and enhance access to more
    employment and education opportunities.
  • The Lower Haight Public Realm Plan is
    working to develop a community-based
    vision that will complement and enhance the
    neighborhood’s public spaces.
  • As part of the Octavia Boulevard
    Enhancement Project, the Page Street Green
    Connections Project is about making Page
    Street a more walkable, bikeable, and
    sustainable corridor in the Hayes Valley
    neighborhood.

Streetsblog readers can follow these projects and make comments via SFMTA’s web page. Two things immediately stood out. On a table at the center of the room, SFMTA had left the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) manual. The cover features what is now widely accepted as the preferred design for bike lanes: make them protected, either by bollards, curbs, planters, or–in this case–parking.
Read more…

Via Streetsblog California
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Bike Month in the East Bay: Where Bike to Work Day Began?

Some of the Bike to Work Day "Energizer Stations" that will cheer on bike riders on May 12. For a complete map, go here.

Some of the Bike to Work Day “Energizer Stations” that will feed and support bike riders on May 12. For a complete map, go here.

It’s generally acknowledged that Bike to Work Day was started by the League of American Bicyclists—then called the League of American Wheelmen—in 1956. Rumor has it (can anyone confirm this?) that in California the first Bike to Work Day event took place in San Diego circa 1993.

What’s indisputable is that Bike East Bay, then known as the East Bay Bicycle Coalition, kicked off its first Bike to Work Day in 1994 and, in the 22 years since then, the event has grown ever more popular amid a rapid increase in bike commuting. In Oakland alone, bike commuting has tripled in the last twelve years, according to the U.S. Census.

National Bike to Work Day is officially May 20, but the Bay Area celebrates it on May 12. San Francisco, Silicon Valley, and Marin each celebrate their own versions of Bike to Work Day (more on that later). But the East Bay celebration covers the most territory, from Richmond and Concord in the north to Fremont and Hayward in the south, and reaching east to Dublin and Pleasanton. The map above shows just a portion of the 130 “energizer stations” in the East Bay where volunteers are ready to cheer on bike commuters. Bike East Bay partners with a wide range of other organizations, among them 511.org, Walk Oakland Bike Oakland, and local cities, to put together goodie bags to hand out to riders, feed them coffee and pastries, and offer bike safety checks along popular commute routes.

Bike East Bay has given out some version of these goodie bags for more than 20 years. Photo: Melanie Curry/Streetsblog

Bike East Bay has given out some version of these “musette” bags for more than 20 years. Photo: Melanie Curry/Streetsblog

A pancake breakfast in downtown Oakland and no fewer than eight after-work parties (details below) make the East Bay’s Bike to Work Day one of the biggest such events in the state.

On top of all that, this year East Bay cities will celebrate four ribbon cuttings at brand-new bike facilities during the second week of May. This must be a record, and if the Fulton Street lanes really are finished on time, they probably will have a record for fastest completion of new bike lanes. The ribbon cuttings will happen on:

  • Telegraph Avenue, Oakland: May 10, 9 a.m., at the corner of 20th and Telegraph. The City of Oakland will hold a ceremony to officially open the new parking-protected bike lanes that run between 20th and 29th streets.
  • Grand Avenue, Oakland: May 12, 7 a.m., 1221 Grand Street. The new Grand Avenue configuration includes a long-overdue road diet, buffered bike lanes, and back-in angled parking. Paint is being applied now, and the lanes should be completed before Bike to Work Day. After this early ceremony, ride your bike with Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf to the pancake breakfast at Frank Ogawa Plaza.
  • Fulton Street, Berkeley: May 12, 8 a.m., Corner of Bancroft and Fulton. In response to a bad bike crash three months ago, Bike East Bay and other advocates stepped up the pressure to fix this two-block-long section of “disappearing bike lane” and got a commitment from the city to remove some parking and put in protected bike lanes. Final designs will be submitted to the City Council at its meeting on Tuesday, May 10. If they are approved—and most observers expect them to be—the lanes will be painted the following day, and officially opened on Bike to Work Day. Afterwards, bike riders can join a ride to City Hall to continue the Bike to Work Day celebration there.
  • 

Christie Avenue, Emeryville: May 12, 9:30 a.m., Corner of Shellmound and Christie. This short two-way cycletrack completes a much-needed connection between the Bay Trail and the bike path on the Bay Bridge. It’s now possible to ride a bike all the way from Richmond to the Bay Bridge path with minimal interactions with car traffic, or do a “two-bridge loop” that takes in the bike and pedestrian bridge near University Avenue in Berkeley. It’s been open for a few months, but officials saved its official ribbon cutting for Bike to Work Day.

After-work parties in the East Bay on May 12 include: Read more…

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One Year Later: Assaulted Cyclist Reflects

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Anthony Ryan near the spot where he was attacked by a raging motorist. Photo: Streetsblog.

Anthony Ryan near the spot on Phelan Avenue, in front of City College of San Francisco, where he was attacked by a raging motorist. Photo: Streetsblog.

Last year, Streetsblog brought you the story of Anthony Ryan, a middle-aged art instructor who teaches at several San Francisco colleges. He was on his way home one evening from a job at San Francisco State, around 9 p.m. this time last year, when he suddenly found himself in mortal danger at the hands of a motorist who was determined to harm him. You can review the details here.

The end of the attack was caught on video and detectives tracked down the assailant by the license plate. The man driving the car was eventually convicted of assault. But the incident still troubles Ryan. Streetsblog has covered several stories about cyclists who have been harmed or threatened, either intentionally or because of irresponsible behavior. But it’s important to remember that the physical and psychological pain and disruption from these incidents, even when there aren’t serious injuries, lingers. All the more reason that the core causes are so important to address, both with law enforcement and better infrastructure.

That’s why Streetsblog sat down with Ryan to reflect on the incident and the trial and prosecution, one year later.

Streetsblog: How often do you ride your bike?

Anthony Ryan:  Every day, basically. Even when I take the bus and BART to Diablo Valley College, where I teach in Pleasant Hill, I bring my bike for the last half-mile and to get around campus.

SB: I understand the road rage incident in 2015 wasn’t your first life-and-death experience on a bike?

AR: Yes, I had a crash in 2011. I was in a crosswalk at Victoria and Ocean and someone ran the red and hit the front of my bike. And I was launched and landed on my face.

SB:  You ended up in the hospital and had your jaw wired, is that right?

AR: Yes. I was cited for unsafe movement.

SB: What! Did you challenge that?

(Shook his head)

SB: Why not?

AR: I was talking with a lawyer for a while. I had minimal liability from the driver and then I was battling with my insurance company. I had a $100,000 bill from SF General and spent close to two years fighting Anthem Blue Cross, getting them to pay. Pretty typical.

SB: What did the lawyer do?

AR: She actually really helped with the insurance company and didn’t get any money for herself out of that.

SB: But you didn’t go after the driver? I guess that’s hard if the police cited you. Did you talk with your Supervisor about the police?

AR: I was in touch with the Bicycle Coalition. They said to file a complaint with the Office of Citizen’s Complaints. I didn’t pursue that. Read more…