Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Market and Octavia and Bicycles and Cars

The SFMTA is attempting to eliminate the Eastbound bike lane on Market Street as it crosses the Octavia/101 on ramp. If you remember, since its opening there have been problems with cyclists being hit by cars illegally turning right from Market onto the 101 on ramp. In order to put a stop to this a barrier was finally put into place. (I would upload pics but apparently I'm at my max). What is now being proposed is that they tear out the bike lane and force cyclists to merge with morning commute traffic claiming that being in line with the cars will be safer than being side by side.
There are a few different theories out there about weather being in traffic (bikes are leagally considered and must obey all traffic laws) or separate (and supposedly less visible) is safer. I'm of the opinion that where there is a decent bike lane I'll ride in it, however where there is none I ride in traffic, behind/in front of cars. I actually prefer to be in traffic, it just feel safer taking a lane rather than trying to stay right when. At least in my history of cycling, drivers make no effort to go around. I've repeatedly almost been clipped by side mirrors and have several friends who have gone down from just that. However, riding in traffic isn't the best option for most cyclists, especially those who aren't as comfortable cycling in traffic or those who cycle just for their commute.
I almost want to say that if this were proposed on any other street I wouldn't have a problem with it. But to eliminate something that has been as "effective" as this has on such a highly trafficked bicycle commute is crazy. Nuts.

This post was inspired by StreetsBlog

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