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Bicycle Safety

Eyes On the Street: When a Cop Blocks a Bike Lane

3:37 PM PST on February 11, 2009

_2.jpgAn SFPD motorcycle parked in the bike lane on Market Street between 8th and 9th.

San Francisco's Traffic Code states that a motorcycle officer or the driver of any other emergency vehicle is allowed to park in a bike lane when "engaged in emergency services." California code is a little less clear but Streetsblog tipster Andrew Turley points out that cops obstructing the bike lane can create dangerous conditions for cyclists forced to merge into busy traffic. He came upon an officer parked in the bike lane on Market Street between 8th and 9th today. He sent these pictures and his account of what happened when he confronted the officer, who was preparing to eat a plate of eggs at Sam's Diner:

I asked him if the motorcycle parked in the bike lane was his. He told me that it was. I told him that I thought he should move it since it was dangerous to block the lane like that. He responded by saying that there was enough room for a bicycle to get around the motorcycle. There was some space to the left of the motorcycle. However, it seems dangerous to assume that a cyclist can easily just go around on a busy street like Market, especially on a rainy day like today.


We're told by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition that different officers give different takes on protocol for parking their vehicles in the bike lane. What we really need, says Neal Patel, the SFBC's community planner, is for the orders to come down from the top that officers should quit blocking the bike lanes with their vehicles when it's not an emergency.

That might happen. SFPD Sergeant Lyn Tomioka sent us an email with this response:

I am confident the Captains can talk with their personnel and correct this problem. I am sorry for the problems that this issue has caused.

She suggested Turley forward his complaint to the Office of Citizen Complaints. 

Have you seen other examples of flagrant bike lane parking? Add to our feed by
tagging bookmarks in with for:sf.streetsblog, pictures in Flickr with sf.streetsblog, or videos in YouTube with sf.streetsblog. 

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