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    > A car (or bus or truck) is much wider and therefore will be less easy to safely pass an obstruction

    The obstruction here is the same either way: the car that’s stopped in a traffic lane.

    > The same does not hold for a bike, which can even be dismounted and walked around an obstruction.

    And a car could sit patiently instead of passing. You seem to always assume that bikes will always do the safest, most inconvenient thing, and cars will do the riskiest thing that’s most convenient, and then compare them as if they are equivalent.

    > From my POV, cabs can block a bike lane for the same reason that […]

    Your question started, “given that cabs can legally move into a bike lane”. I.e., you are talking about the actual “legalization” of cabs stopping in bike lanes by the SFMTA. Your POV is irrelevant to that question, what matters is the rationale for the SFMTA allowing cabs to stop in bike lanes. That rationale is explicitly paratransit needs.

    If you are just going to argue what you think the laws should be from your POV, don’t try to pretend that your argument is about an SFMTA policy that has a completely different basis.



    Sorry but the term “paratransit” is helpful here. A vehicle that is operating as a cab should be treated as a cab.

    Now, I agree that it’s better to pull into the curb when you can. I often pick up or set down my teenagers on Valencia Street, and I will usually block a driveway than double park. But that isn’t always possible and so I have to make the judgement call that temporarily stopping in the bike lane is the safest option all round.

    I really do not see the problem with a 60 second drop-off., and evidently nor do SFPD or DPT since I’ve never gotten a ticket even when a cop car has passed at the time. If you cannot wait a minute or safely pass, maybe you should not be on the road at all?



    Stuart, it is not reasonable to expect cab passengers to ask to be picked up in a location that doesn’t inconvenience cyclists because the 97% who don’t use a bike regularly will have little understanding of the problem that you claim anyway.

    Likewise an Uber driver want to be service-oriented. He doesn’t want to lose a ride or get a bad review be lecturing his customers about hiking a block or two just because you won’t be very temporarily inconvenienced.

    There are also safety considerations, especially after dark, say if leaving an expensive neighborhood, with walking onto a side street. That is why some high end restaurants have valet service or an outside guard.

    It’s part of being a road user that sometimes you get obstructed. And it’s the same, or worse, for drivers, who have to navigate a much wider vehicle around a double-parked car.



    Stuart, the reason why blocking a car is more dangerous than blocking a bike should be obvious. A car (or bus or truck) is much wider and therefore will be less easy to safely pass an obstruction, thereby becoming an obstruction itself. The same does not hold for a bike, which can even be dismounted and walked around an obstruction.

    I still do not see the difference in principle between yellow cabs and other types of cab. In terms of the situation here, both pick up and drop off on the street, and so both have a special need to move as far as out of moving traffic as they can. From my POV, cabs can block a bike lane for the same reason that cars should enter a bike lane to turn right – it’s actually safer for everyone (assuming of course that maneuver is safely executed.

    And I believe that is why such incursions bear a near zero risk of citation.



    > And given that cabs are allowed to enter the bike lane [because they are part of the paratransit system], then why not Uber/Lyft, which are [not part of the paratransit system]?

    Fixed that for you, and now the question answers itself.

    Plus, the memo from the SFMTA instructs taxis to “look for other safe locations to stop (such as an open curb space, taxi stand, or side street), using bike lanes as an absolutely last resort”. That’s very different from how many TNC drivers are behaving, so even if these rules were extended to them, they would still be violating them regularly. TNCs often stop in bike lanes very close to of–or even directly next to–open curb space, and constantly stop in Valencia’s bike lanes instead of using any of the many side streets that have at least an order of magnitude less traffic.



    > Should 97% be inconvenienced so that 3% are not?

    You are creating a false choice:
    – block car traffic on a major street, inconveniencing (or endangering) a bunch of drivers, or
    – block bike traffic on a major street, inconveniencing (or endangering) a bunch of cyclists.

    There are other options. For instance, instead of making cyclists go around them (or wait for them to do a drop off and then play with their phone for a while looking for the next fare, wasting a bunch of time), they could go to the closest side street, where the only person likely to be inconvenienced is the passenger who has to walk an extra half block.

    At commute hours on Valencia, for instance, it’s common to see 5-10 cyclists go around an Uber who is picking up or dropping off 1-2 people. Should 80% be inconvenienced so that 20% are not?

    (Even ignoring that, your numbers are very misleading. The 3% number you are using comes from a comparison that includes all other modes of transportation, including walking, BART, buses in dedicated lanes, buses on streets without bike lanes, etc. So your “97%” contains a whole lot of people who are not inconvenienced by TNCs blocking car lanes.)



    > it is less safe for the passenger who now has to walk into the road

    In another comment here you say that going into the road isn’t a safety issues for cyclists because “cars should never hit cyclists”. Cars should never hit pedestrians either. So which is it: is being in a car lane safe because the law is a magical protection against harm, or is it less safe? The answer is the same for pedestrians and cyclists.

    (Hint: the correct answer is the one that is consistent with the reality that cars hit both pedestrians and cyclists.)

    > and it’s less safe for other vehicles who will be held up by the stopped car in the middle of the road, and may take risks to pass the obstruction.

    In every discussion about cars blocking bike lanes you claim that it’s not a safety issue because bikes should only go around cars when it’s completely safe and there’s no risk at all. So which is it: is blocking a traffic lane a safety issue because people will in practice take some amount of risk to pass the obstruction, or is it not a safety issue because everyone will always wait until passing is absolutely 100% safe? The answer is the same for cars and cyclists.

    (Same hint as before.)

    > Moreover, given that cabs can legally move into a bike lane to pick up or set down passengers, why should Uber be held to a different standard?

    You’re assuming that people who think TNCs shouldn’t stop in bike lanes think the decriminalization of taxis stopping in bike lanes is a good thing. I doubt that’s true in general.

    But let’s leave that aside and answer the question. Reasons include:
    1) Uber is not part of the SF paratransit system, and paratransit was the reason given for the allowance made for taxis. This reason is enough all by itself, because it makes no sense to extend the exemption to Uber when the sole reason for the exemption does not apply to Uber.
    2) The impact on cyclists is proportional to the number of vehicles stopping in bike lanes. The city controls the number of taxis allowed to operate in the city, but not the number of Ubers. Estimates put the number of TNC vehicles in SF at something like 20x taxis, so that would represent a huge increase in impact.
    3) The city mandates training for taxis, including bike safety training, but not for Ubers.



    Unfortunately, that model is not being proposed/supported by current players. What we are seeing is increasing regulatory powers & enforcement at regional level, without residents support. It’s big gov., big business, big green… all agreeing to decide whats best for us. Voters and local governments are obstacles, in that model.



    Jake, correct, the resultant mayor would be liberal but moderate. Not left-wing like in SF, Oakland and Berkeley. But not right-wing like some of the more suburban and rural areas.

    In other words we’d have more balanced and centrist governance, and less variation from one township to another



    Guy, for that to be the case you would have to interview those witnesses. I am guessing that you have not, so you have no idea what they told the cops



    Except that there clearly was enough space for the car to pass because Suyama was not hit by the car.

    Frankly it is mystery why she is dead



    farazs, I never said they were the same thing. In fact I said they were not. A cyclist taking a lane in face of oncoming overtaking traffic is taking on far more risk.



    Well, the up side to that? If 7 million Bay Area residents elected a mayor, it would likely not be one from SF, and people like Ed Lee… no chance whatsoever.


    Mario Tanev

    Why not to Townsend? Needed for dignified connection to Caltrain. Think of it as the Twitter Express for bikes.



    Sure but part of a unitary government would be making the Bay Area one large county and city.

    If bigger cities like NYC, Chicago and LA can all have one mayor, why does the Bay area have dozens of them?

    I was arguing for LESS government with FEWER layers not more.



    Maybe so but it’s still an extra danger for the passenger. Moreover it causes vehicular congestion and risk.

    This really isn’t a safety issue for cyclists. Cars should never hit cyclists regardless of whether there is a bike lane or not.

    What cyclists are really complaining about here is inconvenience – a cab in the bike lane slows them down and annoys them. I get that but cyclists are really asking others to be inconvenienced more so that they can be inconvenienced less.

    Should 97% be inconvenienced so that 3% are not?



    Most passengers would neither know nor care, or see that as a good thing if it means being dropped off in a closer and safer location



    The problem is that Valencia Street is also a residential street in a residential area. Taking out parking will affect residents and all you really achieve is replacing medium-term parking with short-term parking.

    Loading/unloading zones work best in purely commercial areas.



    chetshome, I never said it’s an exception in the vehicle code. I said it is allowed because municipal agencies are free to decide not to enforce certain laws or to allow certain actions where it is considered in the public interest.

    Cyclists should understand that as it is EXACTLY what they wanted for stop signs, although in that case the arguments made did not convince.

    Something is legal either if it allowed by statute or because it is not enforced for good cause. And given that cabs are allowed to enter the bike lane, then why not Uber/Lyft, which are de facto cabs?


    David Ly

    More green paint across the entire city and the protected islands will make me feel safer to ride a bike in the city.


    Carl Honduras

    You expect morons who dont even tell their own insurance companies what they are doing with their own cars to obey bike safety videos?



    I was thinking that, but feared putting ideas in people’s heads. If someone let slip when the SFMTA staffers were doing the study to determine whether the 90% standard was achieved, a sufficiently eager activist could start driving around the block passing stopped trains (ideally without, you know, hurting anybody) to drag down the average.

    Of course, I would never interfere with a traffic study, nor would I advocate that anybody do the same, and knowing drivers in SF, I suspect the 90% standard won’t be reached even without any such mischief, but this pilot program does create some perverse incentives indeed.


    StrixNoctis .

    Either many motorists failed to read the DMV handbook, never took driver’s ed or choose to ignore that traffic law of the requirement to merge into the bike lane prior to making a right turn.

    What irks me more than their failure to merge into the bike lane includes when they don’t use their turn signals, don’t bother to look to make sure there isn’t a cyclist near them or see the cyclist next to them but want the cyclist to slow down and go behind them so they can merge into the lane rather than the driver merging behind and giving the cyclist (or any other vehicle for that matter) the right of way as required by law! Something is seriously wrong with the brains of people on the road these days!



    Muni continues to burst at the seams. Build actual train service, people take it…



    Hmm, I see that SF is trying to half-ass the ADA requirements. This is kind of dumb of them and will get them in trouble. Anyway, the ADA stops will be:

    West Portal
    Taraval & 19th
    Taraval & 28th (westbound only, high block with no long platform?!?)
    Taraval & 30th (inbound only?!?)
    Taraval & Sunset
    Taraval & 42nd
    Wawona & 46th

    ….I think you can see where this is heading. In the long run the list of accessible stops may simply become the full list of stops. The spacing is a pittle too wide for my taste and I think they need to do something about the gap between West Portal and Taraval/19th, and the gap between 19th and 30th.



    All new islands are *required* to be ADA compliant, no exceptions. That’s what the ADA is all about. (There’s actually an exception for stations which board directly from the street, or from the sidewalk, but an island isn’t the sidewalk. It’s best practice to have ADA compliance with sidewalk extensions too, though.)



    So this is a slightly weird plan.

    West Portal — already has its own platforms
    Ulloa & Forest Side Avenue — remains as dangerous as before.
    Ulloa & 15th — removed
    Taraval & 15th — curb extensions for boarding safely
    Taraval & 17th — removed
    Taraval & 19th — boarding islands, “near side” (before intersection)
    Taraval & 22nd WESTBOUND — closed
    Taraval & 23rd WESTBOUND — boarding island, crosses right in front of 23rd
    Taraval & 21st/22nd EASTBOUND — boarding island, block long
    Taraval & 24th EASTBOUND — closed
    Taraval & 26th WESTBOUND — boarding island, “near side”
    Taraval & 26th EASTBOUND — painted “stop here” markings
    Taraval & 28th — closed
    Taraval & 30th WESTBOUND — boarding island, “near side”
    Taraval & 30th EASTBOUND — painted “stop here” markings
    Taraval & 32nd WESTBOUND — boarding island, “near side”
    Taraval & 32nd EASTBOUND — painted “stop here” markings
    Taraval & 35th EASTBOUND — painted “stop here” markings
    Taraval & Sunset WESTBOUND — boarding island, extending across 36th
    Taraval & Sunset EASTBOUND — boarding island, extending across 37th
    Taraval & 40th WESTBOUND — boarding island, “near side”
    Taraval & 40th EASTBOUND — painted “stop here” markings
    Taraval & 42nd — boarding islands, “near side”
    Taraval & 44th — boarding islands, “near side”
    Taraval & 46th WESTBOUND — boarding island, “near side”
    46th & Ulloa — remains just as dangerous as before
    46th & Vicente (currently only northbound) — remains just as dangerous as before
    Wawona & 46th (Zoo) — already has curb extensions and platforms for boarding



    More to the point, BOSTON has safety islands for its streetcars, and they’re older than San Francisco’s. So SF really does need to catch up.

    Still, at least in SF it’s just a matter of catching up. The stops without boarding islands have been like that basically forever. It’s not like some of the regional rail stations on SEPTA, where they used to have platforms and the platforms were actually *removed* in the 1960s / 1970s, leaving the trains stopping at asphalt patches on the side of the tracks.



    Hey, at least it’s better than NYC, where pedestrians get killed and the reaction by DOT, NYPD, and the rest of the government is ¯_(ツ)_/¯



    Congestion caused by empty side seats of cars. Fix: single-width electric cars Win for drivers: drive and park faster. Win for bicycles: parked to curb eliminates bike dooring and very pleasant to ride beside



    SFMTA’s list of planned 2016 bike improvements released in May ( included a bike lane on 10th from Market to Folsom. Has anyone heard whether this is still happening? It’s arguably the worst stretch of “official bike route” in SoMa.



    Agreed. It would also help if the apps themselves provided some of this guidance. I’ve occasionally seen the apps offer an alternate spot, but not nearly enough. If a passenger requests to be picked up/dropped off at a location where there’s no legal stopping point (say, right in front of Uber’s HQ on Market), the app ought to know that and suggest someplace else. That way the message comes from the service and not the driver, who has little power to refuse a request lest he/she receive a bad rating.



    Exactly. There are some places that are clear hot-spots for pickups/dropoffs (and the Uber and Lyft apps already know how to direct passengers to these spots for convenience). We have more people who want to be dropped off, but not enough safe places to do it. The trick, of course, is enforcement to ensure that such spaces are kept clear for loading, not just used as free parking spaces.

    As an example, I frequently see Uber/Lyft drivers blocking the bike lane on WB Market near Polk. This is obviously wrong and not ok, but there’s also no legal place to stop for a considerable distance in either direction. Passengers are going to get upset and give the driver a bad rating if he insists on picking them up or dropping them off more than a block and a half away from their chosen spot, so of course they block the bike lane. The design of the street makes this an inevitability.



    Any word on exactly how these videos are being used in driver trainings? Are these voluntary or mandatory viewing? Can we now expect every Uber driver to know these guidelines, and be subject to discipline by Uber for not following them?
    What are the proper procedures for registering complaints with Uber about drivers not following these rules?

    “It is illegal and dangerous to load or unload passengers in a bike lane.”
    “When you’re dropping off a rider on a street with a bike lane, *look for* open curb spaces or side streets so there’s plenty of room.” (Language makes it a suggestion.)
    “Always signal before pulling over.”

    This is encouraging. I like the thought of the growing ranks of citizen/contract drivers being exposed to this material.



    Diversity Panel Topic: When a cyclist dies, does it really matter if a vehicle hit them?



    And bird-flipping all around, for pizzazz!



    “passenger who now has to walk into the road”

    True, but that ‘road’ contains of 200lb vehicles moving at 20mph, not 4,000lb vehicles moving at 40mph as your comment implies.


    Jym Dyer

    @donsf2003 – Still awaiting your principled, angry denouncement of the sleazy tactics of the 2014 Yes on L campaign.



    dude you want to remove parking? What are you, a techie? A newbie? Or some other demonizable crazy?


    Karen Lynn Allen

    On Valencia Street especially, daytime metered parking could be converted to taxi/ridehail drop off zones in the evenings from 5 pm to 1 am. As it is, some evenings the bike lane is blocked by three to four cars per block. Of course the best answer is what should have been done in the first place on Valencia–protected bike lanes that cars physically can’t get into.



    Why hasn’t the SFBC and city begun to create taxi/ridehail dropoff zones (the way we have bus zones), at least on the most trafficked blocks. If there were a specific spot on each block for double parking / loading, then it wouldn’t be dangerous or illegal for them to stop here, and ridehail folks would know to head to that zone for their car to arrive. Easier on everyone.



    Helpful advice to motorists turning right across bike lanes: yes, be aware of the risk of approaching cyclists from behind. But also be aware of the risk of hitting the double parked cars in front. :)



    Lets all drive our cars on sidewalks and get “rid” of all pedestrians in one go. Then we can drive at whatever speeds we want without ever having to slow down for cross-walks.

    Is that your ultimate goal?



    This is a very important point. I moonlighted as a Lyft driver a couple years ago when it was still an emerging service. It was fun, but as the service became more widely used, I noticed a steep rise in unrealistic passenger expectations. They would be mildly upset when I didn’t load them exactly where they were standing, especially in bus zones. I made it clear that I was required to pull over safely and legally, which at least made them more understanding when I dropped them off at the nearest curbside clearing (usually a driveway within 50 feet) at their destination rather than next to a parked car in the middle of a traffic lane. I haven’t driven for the past year or so, and I can only imagine how much worse it’s gotten based on my bicycling experience. I’ve all but given up on riding down Valencia Street because the bike lanes are completely filled with double-parked cars, Ubers, and even taxis (they still exist??).



    Nothing that California has ever done has reduced government, I’m not drinking that Kool-aid. The prime driving force behind regionalization is a new method to tax the overall region as a whole. Our long standing democratic process centers around the requirement for developing some sort of consensus, and the process is enhanced by that fact.



    And now the thread is over 50 comments. Rich wins, you lose. Block him, please.



    Merging the Bay Area into a single entity would actually reduce government if done right. Right now there’s a lot of duplication. Not just the jurisdictional overlaps of city-county-region but even between adjacent cities.


    Kristof Didrickson

    Simple UX solution: at the end of the ride, ask the user: ‘Did your driver pick/drop you off in a bike lane?’



    That’s not an exception in the vehicle code–it’s also illegal. SFMTA made the decision to not enforce this law.



    There is an exception, actually, which is elderly and disabled passengers.