Frequent Driver Education
Making Streets Safer for Everyone
In an effort to make streets safer for everyone, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition initiated a campaign in 2007 to educate professional drivers on how to safely share the road with people biking.
There are nearly 1,500 licensed taxi cabs in San Francisco (2007 stat). By approaching the San Francisco Taxi Commission -- which regulates and administrates the city's fleet -- and the city's taxi driver training programs, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition found an opportunity to reach taxi drivers before they hit the road. Our goal has been to reach as many drivers as possible with education materials on bicyclists' rights and responsibilities.
We developed a flyer for taxi cab drivers which illustrates the common (and avoidable) collisions and dangers. These flyers can be downloaded here.
We also developed a welcome letter addressed to new cab drivers from cab drivers who also bike in the city. Many thanks to driver Josh Pryor, Mike Rothstein, and Gernot Newman for their help with the letter! The letter currently goes out to new drivers through the San Francisco Police Department.
In the summer of 2008, we worked with the Taxi Commission to successfully get bike-related questions in the Taxi Commission's test for medallion holders. We are still working on getting questions in the test administered through the San Francisco Police Department, as well as working to ensure that bicycle-related education is a mandated part of driver training curricula throughout the city.
Commercial Trucks and Big Rigs
We also have an education flyer for truck drivers. Through the work of dedicated interns and volunteers, these flyers have been posted by companies that employee truck drivers all around the city as well as incorporated in the trainings of some companies. If you work for a trucking company or know someone who does, please share this flyer with them and ask them to post it and share it with employees!
We have also been doing dedicated outreach to the major truck driver companies in the Bay Area, including FedEx, USPS, and UPS. This summer both FedEx and USPS agreed to include educational articles and messages in their employee newsletters. When these newsletters go out, bicycle education and safety information should reach tens of thousands of professional California drivers.
Dedicated Volunteers and Interns Needed!
Our frequent driver education campaign has primarily been powered by dedicated interns and volunteers. We always have a need for regular volunteers willing to follow up on outreach, give presentations to taxi and truck drivers, and initiate next steps in our campaign.
If you are interested in volunteering for these key jobs, please email us!
2007 Billboard Campaign
In fall of 2007, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition worked with the Municipal Transportation Agency to create a series of educational billboards with safety messaging for bike riders and drivers.
In 2003, the SFBC was funded by the Department of Public Health to carry out a program to reduce injury collisions that occur between bus or taxi drivers and cyclists.
To gauge existing attitudes that influence on-road behavior, we held 3 focus groups, one each for bicyclists, Muni drivers, and taxi drivers. The main comments from bus drivers and taxi drivers about bicyclists was concern about the fact that many San Francisco cyclists ride after dark without both a front and rear light. When cyclists wear dark clothing, these professional drivers report not being able to see the cyclist until they were very close. As a result of these comments, we worked with Muni to produce an extensive ad campaign directed at cyclists reminding them that using lights after dark is the safe thing to do, and also the law. We also distribute thousands of lights to bike riders in conjunction with the SF MTA in our Light Up the Night campaign.
Through surveys, focus groups, anecdotal reports, and other research, we've been able to identify the leading causes of conflict and collisions between bicyclists and buses/ taxis on city streets. From these findings, combined with additional research of other cities' safety programs, we have worked with Muni and the Taxi Commission to design curriculum that will prevent these types of behaviors. Below are listed the behaviors that prevent the major sources of conflict for each of the three groups.
We have been working closely with the Taxi Commission to approve our safety stickers. The Taxi Commission is the body that is responsible for approving all informational material that is placed in or on city taxicabs. The Commission voted on November 25th, 2003 to approve the sticker.