Today’s Headlines

  • Growing Bike Theft Problem Makes Headlines as City Develops Bike Registry (SF ExamCBS, SFGate)
  • MTC, ABAG Finally Approve Plan Bay Area After Listening to Bused-in NIMBYs Past Midnight (Marin IJ)
  • More on the Compromised Bike Lane Plan for Polk Street (SFGate)
  • Dolan Law Firm Attorney Blasts Lack of Safety Regulations for Ride-Share Drivers (SF Examiner)
  • BART to Show Wooden Model of Future Train Cars to Public
  • After Fatal Hit-and-Run, Berkeley Adds Sign Telling Pedestrians to Find Bridge (Berkeleyside)
  • Vibrant Bay Area: ZipCar’s Arrival in San Rafael Will Make it Easier to Live With Fewer Cars
  • Licenseless, Meth-Using Driver Who Hit Boy on Bike in Palo Alto Won’t Face Criminal Charges (PAO)
  • San Jose Man on Bike Hit by Driver Dies of Injuries (CoCo Times)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • gneiss

    And we wonder why parents don’t let their kids out onto the streets by themselves anymore. When a DA can’t find a *single* thing to charge a meth using distracted driver with a suspended license who hits a kid riding a bicycle legally in a bike lane, we have a societal problem that starts from the top – from the people who are expected to protect the most vulnerable. To protect and serve indeed. Only if you happen to be in a car, obviously.

  • Double Standard

    If a lycra-wearing cyclist doing 25-35mph into the sun hit a kid in a crosswalk I’ll bet they’d find something to charge him with.

  • Anonymous

    If it is not illegal for a driver to drive in the bike lane, it should be. That’s more of a no-brainer than the 3ft law that we tried to pass.

  • Neil

    There are various situations where it is legal for a car to be in a bike lane. These include when making a turn, when entering or leaving a driveway, and in an emergency.

    One can also reasonably argue that there is no great sin for a vehicle to be in a bike lane when there are no bikes around.

    There is something of an asymmetric nature to such laws, as bikes can also use car lanes so it isn’t so clear why there isn’t reciprocity.

  • Anonymous

    when a bike crosses into a travel lane it doesn’t kill or maim anybody, and it’s to avoid an obstacle. The other difference is that there are not bike facilities on every street.

  • gneiss
  • Anonymous

    As coolbabybookworm pointed out, bicycles and cars are *highly* asymmetric, so the rules should be as well. Just look at pedestrians: we don’t treat them like cars either via laws or urban design. Bicycles, though in between pedestrians (slow, light, and no power) and cars (heavy, fast, and powerful), are much closer to pedestrians in every way than they are to cars, and the laws should therefore treat them closer to pedestrians than cars. The lack of understanding of this issue is THE single biggest mistake of our urban design. In the end, they need their own infrastructure and their own laws, just like pedestrians.

    As for when cars can be in bike lanes, yes the examples you gave are cases. But as we all know, there is zero enforcement of how bike lanes are actually used by cars the vast majority of the time: to double-park.

  • Neil

    I would remind you that two pedestrians have been killed by cyclists in Sf in the last two years.

    Perhaps not as many as have been killed by vehicles, but not nothing either. Ignoring that won’t convince many of those you wish to convince.

  • Anonymous

    I was speaking of bikes moving into a travel lane from a bike lane vs. a vehicle moving into an out of a bike lane. Bikes moving out of their lane have, in my understanding, never killed anyone. I was not saying that bike are unable to hurt people.

  • Anonymous

    and in an emergency

    Sir – I am ticketing you for double parking in the bike lane.
    “DUDE – I HAD A DOUBLE ESPRESSO EMERGENCY”
    Oh then, carry on.

  • Anonymous

    One can also reasonably argue that there is no great sin for a vehicle to be in a bike lane when there are no bikes around.

    Presumably you also believe it is no great sin for a bike to roll a stop sign when there are no cars or pedestrians around?

  • Neil

    Only if the same rules applies to all other road users. Is that your idea? If so, say so.

  • Neil

    No, but what about a breakdown where the driver doesn’t want to impede traffic and represent a hazard? Or where the vehicle needs to swerve to avoid an oncoming vehicle? There are many legitimate examples one can postulate rather than resort to your silly self-serving example.

  • Anonymous

    First of all, a car swerving into the bike lane to avoid an obstacle is terrible because you’ve just transferred the danger from the occupants of the car that is swerving (who are protected with steel) to a bicyclist with no protection. Motorists can’t be swerving into bike lanes as an emergency maneuver — that is ridiculous if you think that is acceptable behavior. This is another reason why bike lanes need to be completely separate from car lanes, i.e. with a curb. It really scares me, as a cyclist, to think that many drivers are out there that think like you that my safety doesn’t matter since the space designated for cyclists is also apparently for cars to swerve into if they need to.

    As for breakdowns, as I’ve said before, these things happen so rarely that they wouldn’t be a problem. I can’t even think of a single time I’ve seen a car parked in the bike lane because it was broken down. Instead, they are double-parked so they can drop-off/pick-up their friend, get a latte, etc. You are appropriating extremely rare events and trying to make it sound like that is anything even close to how the vast majority of bike lane violations by cars occur.

  • Anonymous

    “Perhaps not as many as have been killed by vehicles”. Perhaps? Are you really not sure? Come on: it’s several orders of magnitude more:
    http://blogs.kqed.org/newsfix/2012/07/25/pedestrian-fatalities-up-in-san-francisco/

    I love how 2 pedestrians that have been killed by cyclists in the last decade + somehow trump the 100+ that have been killed by cars in that time. Amazing how contorted the logic is of a car-centric society.

  • Anonymous

    Blocking the bike lane is impeding traffic

  • Neil

    jd-x, I wasn’t recommending any of these behaviors. I was simply outlining some examples of where a vehicle might be in a bike lane without breaking the law, which was the topic, I thought.

    As for the case where a vehicle swerves to avoid another vehicle, it does represent a dilemma for a driver. I’ve been in a head-on collision myself – luckily not a serious one – but there isn’t always a rational thought process that goes on in the head of a driver in an emergency.

    If you see a vehicle, especially a much larger vehicle, coming straight at you, then instincts take over, and the instinct is to swerve out of his way, not least because even if you could stop in a straight line, the other vehicle may not.

    If you swerve left, you are swerving into oncoming traffic, and these situations usually occur when the vehicle coming the other way is passing recklessly. So the instinct is to swerve right, onto the shoulder, sidewalk, grass verge, ditch or whatever else is to your right.

    I agree that could be risky to a third party there, but in a split-second emergency situation I suspect that most drivers would take that risk over the 100% certainty of a head-on accident. Indeed, it would probably be an involuntary sub-conscious reaction.