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Bicycle Safety

Eyes on the Street: Cops Tell Double Parkers to Get Out of the Bike Lane

2:12 PM PDT on June 8, 2009

motorcycle_cop_on_valencia_1.jpgPhotos by Bryan Goebel

We've written before about obstructions caused by motorcycle cops parked in the bike lane (and the SFPD generally doesn't have a good reputation among cyclists), but yesterday around 4:30 p.m. -- a few hours after Sunday Streets wrapped up -- I spotted a cop parked in the bike lane on Valencia Street just before 16th for a good reason: to shoo away a motorist who was double parked.

"What are you doing?" I asked his partner, who stopped in the street.

"This car can't be parked here. It's the bike lane," he responded.

A woman who was a passenger in the car got out, darted across the street, and brought the driver back, and he was gone within minutes, but without a ticket. Double parking in a bike lane carries a $100 fine and San Francisco's law is "explicit about the bikes-only limitation," according to the SFBC.  However, it's the first time SFBC executive director Leah Shahum has heard of SFPD motorcycle cops telling cars to get out of the bike lane. I watched them do it on a few blocks of Valencia.

"We encourage the police department to enforce the law," said Shahum. "It's not just an inconvenience for bicyclists it's a serious hazard and we'd be thrilled to see them enforce it regularly." 

motorcycle_cop_talking_to_driver.jpgA driver is told to move his car out of the bike lane.

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