Precedents Do Exist for Safe Bike Lanes
Shame on the DPT staffer who dismissed the possibility of a segregated bike lane on the right of parked vehicles solely because there's no precedent in the United States, even though such bikeway configurations work well in Europe ("Chavez East: No Place for Bikes," Tube Times, Aug/Sept '01).
Such timid, provincial attitudes keep us mired in our current dangerous mess. Let's learn from whoever we can, regardless of nationality. Let's be willing, even eager, to be the first in the U.S. to replicate safe bicycle infrastructure that has been developed elsewhere.
Can the DPT embrace such an approach, adopt such a policy? They could start by checking out www.hunke.com/dub for urban bikeway configurations in Amsterdam that San Francisco could benefit from.
Billy Ray Boyd
Walk 'Em in Train Stations
As a member of the SFBC and an employee of Amtrak, I would like to bring something to your attention in the hopes of heading off a future problem.
I work at the 4th & Townsend CalTrain station. Bicycles were allowed on the trains after much lobbying and hard work by SFBC members.
Lately, more bicyclists boarding the trains have been disobeying the "walk your bikes while in the station" rule. This wasn't much of a problem in the past, but with CalTrain ridership up, it has become a real safety issue.
Please inform everyone that a rider can be denied entrance to the train and can even be arrested for disobeying this simple rule. Rider privileges can be permanently denied. The rule exists for one basic reason: to protect the safety of pedestrians already in the station. Yes, it's easy to scoff at this and believe you have complete control, but when the day comes that a child's hand gets mangled by the spokes of a passing cyclist who is in control, everyone will see this in a different light.
If you are a CalTrain rider, please walk your bike when in the station. Let's all work together to retain our privilege of taking bikes on the train, plus keep the station safer.
Promote Safe Bike Behavior
At April's Critical Mass I witnessed a tribute to Chris Robertson that was appropriately free of vindictiveness regarding the criminal judgement in Chris' death. But another San Francisco bicyclist was killed that very day and I couldn't help thinking that we're not doing enough to stop this tragic circle of death.
While the SFBC concentrates on getting people out of their cars and onto bicycles Ñ emphasizing the physical aspects of safety (bike lanes, etc.) Ñ it loses sight of the individual rider. I believe we are shortchanging bicyclists and hurting our overall cause.
I think the vast majority of bike accidents could be prevented by the bicyclist, no matter who is at fault, with defensive bicycling. Also, as someone frequently charged with implementing bicycle improvements, I'm often making presentations to citizens and politicians who complain about errant bicyclists. It makes my job so much more difficult.
I challenge the SFBC to lead the way in training and monitoring the behavior of city bicyclists with a goal of a 50% reduction in accidents. I'm sure there are enough of us who could get together to help reach this goal.
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