Quick Releases

Work Never Stops on Market Street

585-BIKE Hotline Have a question about biking in SF? Need a map, route recommendations, accident advice, specifics of the vehicle code, or a list of garages that provide bike parking? Call the City of San Francisco's 585-BIKE hotline or go online to www.sfbike.org and choose "Biking Resources." These information resources for cyclists are funded by the DPT and operated by the SFBC.
The city street boasting the most bike traffic also boasts some serious safety problems. It's Market Street, of course. While we look forward to the long-range planning for Market St. that will take place over the next year thanks to our successful lobbying for a $200,000 allotment from the city's budget, there are a lot of inexpensive, relatively easy improvements that can be made.

We are working with Supervisor Mark Leno to make changes on Market between Castro and Dolores Streets, and with Supervisor Chris Daly between Dolores and 8th Streets.

Now we need your help talking with merchants and neighbors about the proposal, and handing out flyers to other bicyclists. If you want to see better biking on Market Street call Leah at 431-BIKE, ext. 2, to help out.

We Are News

The bike community has been making headlines these days. This from the Chronicle's Matier and Ross column on December 16, 2001: "...When it comes to turning out to vote, nobody beats the city's gays, progressives and bicycle crowd. 'They've become the blue-haired ladies that we used to see vote no matter what,' says pollster David Binder. And in this town, they're just as colorful as the blue-hairs, too."

And from the column by L.A. Chung in the Mercury News on December 18, 2001, titled "S.F. Activists Peddling Bicycle Use are Making Progress": Referring to SF's ranking as the #3 best biking city in Bicycling magazine, she writes: "San Francisco can thank its organized cadre of bike advocates (not anarchists), a new parking and traffic department director and the 2000 electoral sea change that swept in a new set of supervisors."

Chicago Murder Conviction Precedent May Help Protect Cyclists

Carnell Fitzpatrick, 28, was recently convicted of first-degree murder in Chicago as a result of a fatal traffic collision between him (behind the wheel of his 1997 Chevy Tahoe) and Chicago bike messenger, Tom McBride, 26, in April of 1999. Fitzpatrick now faces between 20 and 60 years in prison.

Unfortunately, justice did not prevail in a similar case in San Francisco in which truck driver Reuben Espinoza hit and killed 30-year-old SFBC member Chris Robertson on Fourth St. on November 17, 2000. The verdict in this case was painfully clear: To get away with murder, leave the gun at home. Use the car instead.

The charges against Espinoza - originally three felonies - were reduced to two misdemeanors that resulted in a jury's verdict of one guilty finding and one not guilty. In the end, Espinoza will get only a few months of jail time and a $500 fine.

District Attorney Terence Hallinan told the SFBC after the case that he has "strong feelings about reckless driving and endangering pedestrians and bicyclists." He vowed to prosecute cases referred to his office. We'll be watching to make sure the DA's office stays true to his word.

Members Elect New SFBC Board

Welcome to six newly elected members of the SFBC's Board of Directors: Dale Danley, Peggy da Silva, Scott Durcan, Chris Fenster, Pi Ra, and Maggie Robbins. Thank you to the continuing members for your good work.

End Bike Ban on Golden Gate Bridge

Most people understood the Golden Gate Bridge District's decision to close the bridge sidewalks to bicyclists and pedestrians on September 11, 2001. The immediate reaction was reasonable. But what many people - including the entire S.F. Board of Supervisors - find unreasonable is the slow pace at which the District has re-opened the sidewalk. During the months following the terrorism on the East Coast, the bike/ped ban was slowly loosened. But even five months later, bicyclists are still prohibited from riding across the Bridge at night as they once could. (A shuttle is provided in the night hours.)

The S.F. Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a strongly worded resolution in January urging the District "to reinstate 24-hour access to bicycles on the Golden Gate Bridge," stating the importance of providing transportation choices between Marin County and San Francisco and the fact that bicycles pose less of a safety risk than motor vehicles, which have far greater carrying capacity yet travel uninhibited on the Bridge.

The Golden Gate Bridge District Board of Directors will deliberate the bike ban again on Friday, February 22 at 10am at the Bridge District offices next to the toll plaza. We urge SFBC members to attend and speak during public comment. And write the District before the meeting at Box 9000, Presidio Station, SF, CA 94129.

Gotta Light?

There were 500 more safely lit up bicyclists on the road after the SFBC's recent Bike Light Giveaway campaign. Armed with screwdrivers and safety propaganda, SFBC volunteers installed fancy LED lights on unlit bikes in the Mission, Excelsior, Bayview/Hunters Point, Richmond, and Western Addition. This was the SFBC's third bike light giveaway and as always it was a huge success. In addition to the bike lights, we distributed Safe Bicycling in San Francisco, a new guide developed by the SFBC and the Department of Parking & Traffic (DPT) covering all aspects of safe and smart urban bicycling (see "Tips Hot Off the Press" below). Many thanks to the DPT for co-sponsoring the event and to Planet Bike for their discounted quality lights.

Tips Hot off the Press

Get your free copy of Safe Cycling in San Francisco today! The new 32-page guide was developed by the DPT, the City's Department of the Environment, and the SFBC, and was written by our friend in Chicago, David Glowacz, author of The Urban Cyclist's Tips and Tricks.

The guide offers practical specifics about cycling in San Francisco - biking in the rain, bikes on transit, parking and locking your bike, riding in city traffic, and local biking resources. We're giving it out to all new and renewing members this year, but if you know someone else who'd like the guide, call 585-BIKE or email sfbc@sfbike.org to order a free copy.