Bikes only in the bike lane, please
Taxi-Bike Lane Policy Means Well, but . . .
In October 2011 the SF Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) issued a memo to taxi drivers declaring a new policy meant to help paratransit customers whose trips begin or end on a street with a bike lane or cycletrack. The new policy tells police and parking control officers not to ticket taxicabs blocking bike lanes. It's not a change to the law — it's still against the law (CVC Sec 22500, SFTC Sec 7.2.70) to double-park in an ordinary "travel" lane or a bike lane. The new policy directs SFMTA (and SFPD Traffic Company who report to SFMTA) to look the other way when they see a taxicab violating the law. It's meant to allow paratransit customers to be picked up and delivered as close to their destination as possible, but because of peculiarities in existing paratransit policy the new bike lane policy is very broad — too broad, in our opinion, making it ripe for abuse and unsafe conditions.
In order to reach the city's official goal of 20% of trips by bicycle by 2020, we urge the SFMTA to develop a more coherent policy that prioritizes safe conditions for all road users, while also creating more dedicated taxi stands for greater predictability. Increased use of both bicycles and taxis will help the city meet its transit-first goals and can be complimentary of each other. For more on the policy, read these articles from Streetsblog and KQED.
** Please note: This page is out of date. SF Transportation Code was recently amended and Section 38.N was quietly removed. We're working to restore and enhance legal protection for bike lanes and will update this page as appropriate, meanwhile we're leaving the now-obsolete Sec. 38.N here for reference **
California Vehicle Code (CVC) is a little ambiguous on bike lane law — CVC 21211 prohibits parking or standing in bike paths (and maybe bike lanes, too, depending on how you read it), and double-parking in a bike lane is still double-parking (CVC 22500) and presumably just as illegal, but San Francisco Traffic Code gets explicit about the bikes-only limitation:
SFTC SEC. 38.N. PARKING IN BICYCLE LANES PROHIBITED; FINES.
(a) No person shall park any vehicle such that any portion of the vehicle is within a marked bicycle lane. No person shall block any portion of a marked bicycle lane with his or her vehicle on weekdays from the hours of 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Any person violating this Section shall be subject to a fine of $100. The Department of Parking and Traffic may install signs or otherwise alert motorists of this prohibition and the fine.
(b) This Section shall not apply to vehicles engaged in emergency services including, but not limited to, fire engines, police vehicles and ambulances.
(c) This Section shall not apply to public utility vehicles while such vehicles are operating, maintaining, or repairing facilities of the public utility or are being used in connection with providing public utility service.
(d) This Section shall not apply to commercial vehicles if an exemption is reasonably necessary to load or unload merchandise or passengers at any hours except between 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. and between 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.
But how should a someone driving a car make a right turn from a street with a bike lane? Learn more here...