After Killing of Ethan Boyes, Advocates Demand Protected Bike Lanes on Arguello
4:21 PM PDT on April 11, 2023
The cycling community was devastated last week to learn that cyclist Ethan Boyes was killed in an unprotected bike lane on Arguello by an apparently reckless driver (no arrest has been made as of press time). As has been shown again and again, except on the smallest of streets, roads can never be safely shared by motorists and cyclists–there simply must be distance and/or concrete, physical protection/separation between the two modes. Activist Luke Bornheimer put together the following post and call to action for protected bike lanes on Arguello:
A grassroots coalition of sustainable transportation advocates are calling on Mayor London Breed, Supervisor Connie Chan, and Supervisor Catherine Stefani to direct the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) to install protected bike lanes on Arguello Boulevard between Fulton Street and Pacific Avenue immediately.
The advocates have organized a growing number of community members calling for protected bike lanes on the street and have rallied them to gather on Tuesday at 5:45 p.m. for a memorial ride from the Presidio, next to where Ethan Boyes was killed by a driver, to the Golden Gate Park Polo Fields to raise awareness about the critical and urgent need for protected bike infrastructure on Arguello Boulevard.
These protected bike lanes will increase safety for all people using Arguello Boulevard, especially people on bikes. In addition to increasing safety, protected bike lanes on this critical bike route will help San Francisco take action on its roadway safety crisis and the climate crisis, while helping the City achieve its goals for zero roadway deaths by 2024 (‘Vision Zero’) and eighty percent of trips by sustainable modes by 2030 (‘sustainable mode share’).
“The time is now to make Arguello safer. Arguello continues to be a high-injury corridor. Protected bike lanes have been installed quickly in other parts of San Francisco,” said Kristin Tieche, Vice Chair of the San Francisco Bicycle Advisory Committee. “District 1 has no protected bike lanes, and that needs to change immediately. San Francisco must stop accepting severe injury and death as the status quo on our streets. We can achieve our Vision Zero goal by creating a connected network of protected bike lanes.”
In an effort to increase safety and encourage more people to ride bikes, the coalition of advocates is calling for the following infrastructure improvements to be installed immediately:
- Install protected bike lanes on Arguello Boulevard between Fulton Street and Pacific Avenue using quick-build materials to fully separate people on bikes from moving cars and trucks.
- At every intersection, install protected islands and eliminate stressful / dangerous “mixing zones” to increase safety for all people at the most-common location of crashes/collisions (intersections).
- At bus stops, schools, and sites with passenger-loading needs, install floating boarding islands to increase safety and reduce conflicts and collisions.
Following the installation of these transportation infrastructure improvements, the coalition of advocates is calling on SFMTA to protect the bike lanes using concrete or raise the bike lanes to sidewalk level. These improvements reinforce those detailed in a San Francisco Bicycle Advisory Committee’s resolution from December 2022.
“For decades, Arguello Boulevard has been a critical north-south route for people on bikes with tremendous amounts of people riding bikes between Golden Gate Park and The Presidio as well as to and from the Richmond District, shops, restaurants, schools, and playgrounds,” Richmond District parent and co-founder of Richmond Family SF Dave Alexander said. “It’s long past time for the City and SFMTA to prioritize sustainable transportation on this street by installing protected bike lanes to make people feel safe riding bikes for transportation in District 1 and throughout San Francisco. The lack of physical separation and protection for people on bikes is asking for another person to be critically injured or killed on Arguello.City officials must act now to prevent another tragedy from occurring.”
The call for protected bike infrastructure was reignited in November 2022 after a sixteen-year-old boy was critically injured at the intersection of Arguello Boulevard and California Street. Community advocates demanded immediate action again after the tragic death of USA Cycling champion Ethan Boyes on Arguello Boulevard in the Presidio on April 4, 2023.
The coalition of advocates asks all San Franciscans to voice their support for protected bike lanes on Arguello by sending an email to policymakers using the coalition’s campaign. The campaign can be found at actionnetwork.org/letters/arguello.
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