The Department of Parking & Traffic has received funding for thousands more "bikes belong" stencils to mark bike routes and will be able to apply them to most of the bike network within a year. The stencils are intended to remind bicyclists to ride outside of the door zone and motorists that bicyclists have the right to a traffic lane.
Experimental stencils have already been placed on parts of Page St., Columbus Ave., Grove St., Market St., 17th St., and others. Green in color and small in size, many cyclists say the stencils are too small, not visible enough, and unclear in their message. The Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC) and the SFBC are currently working with DPT to improve the stencils so that they are more effective.
The stencil project is an innovative solution to the problem of accommodating bicyclists on a street with limited right of way. If the stencils are effective at educating motorists that bicyclists have the right to take a whole traffic lane, the traffic lane will serve bicyclists as well as a bike lane without posing the political difficulty of permanently removing traffic lanes. This might even serve some bicyclists better because they would not be relegated to a narrow bike lane where bikes are less apparent to other traffic and which is often blocked by double parked cars.