San Francisco Bicycle Coalition Fri, 17 Aug 2018 22:01:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 A Life Lost on Taylor Street Fri, 17 Aug 2018 22:01:18 +0000 On Tuesday afternoon this week, Gregory Blackman, a 65-year-old resident of San Francisco, was hit and killed while riding his bike in the Tenderloin at Turk and Taylor. As we pause to mourn another person lost on our streets to traffic violence, our thoughts inevitably shift towards what could have prevented Gregory’s death.

The Safer Taylor Street Project, which has come out of an extensive community-led planning process, will make Taylor Street more safe for all vulnerable road users, including people walking and biking. A major road diet will cut down travel lanes from the existing three to just one. The travel lanes will be repurposed to make for a far more welcoming pedestrian experience by doubling sidewalk space and creating dedicated loading for the local residents and community services. While the project prioritizes pedestrian safety and passenger loading for people with disabilities, people biking will also be significantly safer with this new design.

The design for this project has gone through multiple iterations, each informed, vetted and decided upon by the everyday users of Taylor. Thirty unique events and meetings gave more than 1,000 Tenderloin residents, workers and community leaders the opportunity to decide what they wanted for their street. These events prioritized giving the most vulnerable Tenderloin residents a voice and self-determination for their street.

We will continue to work with the community to ensure that the Safer Taylor Street Project best serves the Tenderloin to reduce vehicle speeds and prioritize residents. As the Safer Taylor Project approaches final approvals, we hope that you will join us in pushing the City to approve and implement the project with haste.

Sign our petition and add your comments to our petition for Safer Taylor to add your voice to our call for safe streets and be kept in the loop about the next steps for Taylor Street.

Bike With Your Baby or Toddler Fri, 17 Aug 2018 20:54:49 +0000 Front seat, back seat, tag along or family bike? When can you start biking with your baby and how do you get ready? The SF Bicycle Coalition is here to help. Our unique class, “Biking with Babies: Pregnancy to Toddlers,” is held quarterly at public libraries and other community spaces and taught by experienced biking parents. In one hour we address every question from “how long can I bike while pregnant?” to “when will my child be ready to ride on their own?”

Our wonderful community partner Natural Resources, a resource center for parents and babies, hosted our Biking with Babies class in July for 20 parents and parents-to-be. Babies and toddlers attended on the rug, on laps or napping in this comfortable community space. SF Bicycle Coalition member and parent champion Tim Hickey addressed the group, sharing how he adapted to city biking, how his wife biked while pregnant, and what they learn as they continue biking with their now 7-year-old son, Liam, as he grows.

Leah photo

Leah rode her bike in the third trimester of her pregnancy.

Here are a few tips Tim shared with the class:

  • When to start: Your baby needs to be able to sit up and have enough head strength to wear a helmet. This is typically between 9 and 12 months. Talk to your pediatrician before you start.
  • Front seat or back seat? It’s fun to have baby up front. Know that the front seat carries 35 lbs at the most, and some parents may find the bike harder to maneuver.
  • ABC quick check plus: You’ll need to carry more stuff for your baby, so invest in a basket and panniers for snacks, layered clothing and diapers. In addition to checking your ABC (air, brakes and chain), look out for dangling straps!
  • Plan ahead: If it’s been awhile since you’ve biked, get comfortable riding on your own before you add your baby. Consider attending one of our adult bicycle education classes before you start biking with your little one. Then try out easier routes and bike at less stressful times before embarking on busier roads with your child.
  • Get social: Introduce yourself to other biking families in your play group, school and neighborhood. You’ll share experiences, find riding buddies, and be able to swap gear as your children grow.
  • Is an electric-assist family bike a good investment? It may be, if you want to ride longer distances and climb hills more easily. You can also carry more than one child or give a ride to older children who are not ready to bike on our city streets.

Tim concluded the class with video clips of his son Liam on a balance bike at age two, and riding on his own at Golden Gate Park’s car-free Healthy Saturdays. After the presentation, parents were able to get an up-close look at the two family/cargo bikes, balance bike, and baby seats on display.The SF Bicycle Coalition’s free family biking workshops for all ages and stages also include Freedom From Training Wheels and Test Ride a Family Bike at most Sunday Streets. We lead family-friendly bike rides and teach older children skills, often in partnership with the Presidio YMCA’s YBike program. All our family programs are free, thanks to SF Safe Routes to School, MTC-Spare the Air Youth program, and our members’ generous donations.

Check out our calendar and join us for our next class!


One Less Minivan

Weigh In On Valencia Designs Thu, 16 Aug 2018 22:27:09 +0000 We saw an incredible turnout at last month’s SFMTA workshops where we caught our first glimpses at the new proposed designs for Valencia Street. If you weren’t able to make it, you still have a chance to weigh in! We need your input to help shape the future of this vital bike corridor.

The SFMTA has created an online survey to gather your input on their proposed designs. Take a minute now to fill out the survey before it closes on August 24.

Take the Survey Today

We know you’re tired of chronic double parking in bike lanes on Valencia. The design options the SFMTA put forward each have their pros and cons, so it’s important we hear about what will work best for you. The City will take your feedback into account as they create a final preferred proposal to be revealed later this fall. This is your chance to make sure we create a Valencia that places the safety of people as the highest priority.

Don’t miss your chance to weigh in. Let’s dream big to make Valencia a more welcoming street for all ages and abilities.


Meet Jordon, A Bike Building Legend Fri, 10 Aug 2018 20:13:07 +0000 By Emily Rudger

For over a year, Jordon Bluestein has been a friendly face with our Community Bike Builds Program and has become a volunteer superstar in the process. We wanted to find out more about why he loves volunteering with the SF Bicycle Coalition and we recently had a chance to chat with him at Community Repair Night.

SF Bicycle Coalition: What made you want to get involved with the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition? How did you hear about the Community Bike Builds Program?

Jordon Bluestein: I’m a long time SF Giants fan and while using SF Bikes Valet Bike Parking at AT&T Park, I picked up a copy of the Tube Times and read about the Community Bike Builds Program. After reading about the program and its mission to help distribute bikes to low-income residents, I was inspired to volunteer.

Part of what makes this program great is the Community Repair Nights because they attract volunteers from all walks of life. Some people are there to learn how to repair bikes while some volunteers come because they want to make affordable transportation, such as biking, available to all residents. You’ve attended over 22 Community Repair Nights, what keeps you coming back?

I’m learning good repair skills from staff members like Miles Stepto. With volunteers, Miles is welcoming, patient and an expert mechanic teacher. That gives me the confidence to help my wife or friends when we’re out riding. I also enjoy hearing the background stories and experiences of cycling in the Bay Area from the diverse group of people at Community Repair Nights.

How does it make you feel that the bikes we are repairing are going to low-income residents, many of whom lack affordable transportation options?

It is fantastic, anything we can do for people who need transit and don’t have the means is more than a bonus, it draws me in. Because I work long hours, I can’t do enough of that work on my own. If this program didn’t exist the bicycles would be unused or scrapped. Community Bike Builds exemplifies the best of the Bay Area ethos and dedication to social justice. It is one of those programs where people make an impact.

Thanks Jordon, your dedication and enthusiasm makes this work possible. With volunteers like Jordon, we’re able to repair hundreds of bikes each year and donate them to low-income families across the city.

Want to be a volunteer superstar by helping to get another 60 kids on bicycles? Come help out at our upcoming event with B-Magic on August 18th. It will be our largest Community Bike Build yet!

Wheel Talk: Is MIPS Just Spin? Wed, 08 Aug 2018 22:31:28 +0000 Wheel Talk for Wheel People is a monthly advice column written by Christopher White, our adult education program coordinator. Though bikes, biking and getting around SF are our areas of expertise, feel free to ask anything! To submit your questions, please click here.

Wheel Talk, I’m in the market for a new helmet, and I keep seeing helmets touting themselves as having “MIPS” technology. It seems to be some safety feature, but I’m skeptical. What is it, and does it actually increase a helmet’s safety? —Hard-Headed

Dear Hard-Headed: Countless ads asserting a product’s life-changing “revolutionary technology” have built up in most of us a callous of healthy skepticism towards such claims. I shared your doubts about that little MIPS sticker but never bothered to do much research because I didn’t need a new helmet.

However, recent research into bike helmet safety out of Virginia Tech caught my eye. Scientists tested many commercially-available helmets, all of which had met the standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, or CPSC. Their study measured a helmet’s ability to deal with both linear forces (direct impact) and rotational forces (like those that make a ball spin when it hits a surface at an angle). All of the helmets that received Virginia Tech’s top five-star rating used MIPS technology.

Virginia Tech’s Helmet Lab tests collisions at a variety of angles. Courtesy of Virginia Tech

So what the mips is MIPS? It stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System, and it consists of a thin layer of plastic on the inside of the helmet, next to the head, that’s attached to the outer foam of the helmet with an “elastomeric attachment system.” This extra layer mitigates for rotational forces by creating a slip plane that mimics the layer of fluid between your skull and your brain. That slip plane allows the helmet to move just 5mm or so, absorbing rotational forces that would otherwise make your brain slosh around in very unhealthy ways.

Is it worth it? At this point, MIPS helmets are available from many companies at many prices. The data says they’re safer. So I would say: yes, it’s worth it!

Wheel Talk, is it legal for me to “filter up” at a red light, passing cars that are stopped to get to the front? —Upstream

Dear Upstream: First, let’s talk about why it might be advantageous to “filter up.” The most obvious is that human eyes are in the front of our heads, and those of us on bikes can feel most confident about being seen when we’re in front of those eyes. If we know people driving have seen us, we can feel relatively confident that they’ll refrain from hitting us. Additionally, car exhaust spews from the rear of a vehicle, not from the front; being in front of traffic permits us to breathe cleaner air than if we were at the back. Getting up to the front at a red light has its benefits.

Not all red lights or intersections are created equal, however, so there are a few different situations I should address here. If there’s a bike lane, no problem; pass all the cars you like. In fact, in San Francisco, we’re seeing more and more “bike boxes,” green-painted, bike-only boxes at intersections that specifically invite people on bikes to move in front of vehicular traffic.

Regarding shared streets with no bike lanes, the California Vehicle Code states that people on bikes must ride as close to the right-hand curb as is practicable, except in certain circumstances, such as overtaking other bicycles or vehicles. When there’s no bike lane to remind people in motor vehicles that bikes are present, passing stopped traffic on the left is preferred — after all, people in cars are imperfect in their use of turn indicators, and a person in a car making an unexpected turn just when you’re passing to the right could result in a crash.

We can also consider that, according to the California DMV, the state “does not allow or prohibit” lane-splitting. Taken together, I would say that filtering to the front is permitted insofar as it isn’t illegal. I’ll give the important caveat, however, that you do so at your own risk. Avoid squeezing through tight spaces, and never try to squirm between a Muni bus and a boarding island on Market Street! Also be aware that Muni buses might be releasing passengers, and you should avoid interfering with their safe disembarkation. Even car doors might suddenly fly open to release a passenger at the red light. Better to wait at the back of traffic for a moment then to squeeze through in a way that puts you or other people at risk.

Up Next: Howard Protected Bike Lanes Fri, 03 Aug 2018 16:35:24 +0000 It’s true: protected bike lane designs for Howard are finally being revealed to the public!


Earlier this year, we saw the completion of protected bike lanes on Folsom. For the thousands of daily commuters, they made the ride in to work that much safer. These new bike lanes on Folsom were a near term project, offering protection on a quick timeline to bridge the gap until a larger streetscape project rebuilds the street. But Howard, Folsom’s sister street, didn’t get a similar near term treatment.

At the time that the Folsom bike lanes were being built, Howard was left behind in the planning process. Inter-agency disagreements delayed the project indefinitely, leaving a big question mark on Howard’s near-term future.

Over the past months, we’ve pushed the City to cut down delays and deliver safety projects on Townsend and Embarcadero. Howard is no different. To accelerate Vision Zero, we need to continue resolving inter-agency conflicts that block safety projects and demand collaboration and creativity that will ultimately result in accomplishing our safety goals.

In the case of Howard, a new staff person at the SF Fire Department has allowed them to work hand in hand with the SF Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) to make street safety projects a reality. Because of this new collaboration, Howard is moving forward.

In a couple of weeks, the SFMTA will be bringing the protected bike lane designs for Howard to the public at two open houses. This will be our opportunity to make sure that the designs address the urgent safety needs on Howard. We need member voices to fill these open houses and make sure that we get these lanes built by the end of the year.

We fought hard for Folsom, and now it’s time to do the same for Howard. RSVP today to make protected bike lanes on Howard Street a reality.

Howard Open House #1
Aug. 16 — 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Bayanihan Community Center, 1010 Mission St.

Howard Open House #2
Aug. 18 — 11:00 am – 12:30 pm
Bayanihan Community Center, 1010 Mission St.

Now Hiring: Fall Interns Thu, 02 Aug 2018 23:18:37 +0000 Applications are now open for our fall internships! Our interns are talented and motivated folks who want to jump right into the bicycle action. We accept both student and practical experience internships, and request that interns make a minimum commitment of 10-to-20 hours per week for the fall semester.

This season, we’re hiring for nine different positions:

Bicycle Advocacy Intern: Put on your advocate hat! Join our advocacy team to support our various street campaigns both inside City Hall and out on the streets.

Bicycle Education Intern: Get firsthand experience in all aspects of bicycle education programming with the leading provider of bike safety education in San Francisco.

Community Bike Builds Intern: Learn more about this amazing program and give back to those in need.

Development Intern: Can you fundraise and fun-raise? Help us keep the wheels of advocacy spinning on with our Development team!

Event Planning Intern: Make your list and check it twice; join us in managing logistics for the best biking events in the city.

Graphic Design Intern: The Creative Suite is your thing. Make graphics to support our work.

Public Affairs Communications Intern: Learn the ins and outs of public relations, and put language to work on behalf of people who bike.

Volunteer Coordination Intern: We rely on over 1,000 volunteers each year to push our work forward. Put your people management skills to work in collaborating with these amazing folks.

Youth Programs Intern: If you love getting little ones on two wheels, this is the internship for you.

In addition to spicing up your resume with practical experience, interns get other great benefits like a one-year free membership to the SF Bicycle Coalition, ongoing professional development opportunities, discounts on store swag, first dibs on exciting events and opportunities, and more! Still not convinced? See what past interns have had to say about their experiences here and here.

We’re accepting applications now, and will review them on a rolling basis. What are you waiting for? Apply today!

If you’re not able to commit to a full internship, but still want to help us out — don’t worry! We’d love to have you join us at one of our many volunteer opportunities.

Want to join our team of staffers dedicated to making San Francisco streets welcoming and safe for everyone? Review our complete list of staff openings and internships and apply today!

Dig into Valencia Street Designs With Us Wed, 01 Aug 2018 23:23:30 +0000 Two public meetings, two packed rooms. Now that the protected bike lane proposals have been unveiled for Valencia Street, join us as we dig into the designs and take a deeper look at three different options presented at the recent meetings.

Join Our Valencia Committee

After months of collecting data and interviewing stakeholders, the SF Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) hosted two public meetings to share three potential design options for bringing physically protected bike lanes to the entire length of Valencia Street. Given that the usual biking experience on Valencia is filled with passenger drop-offs and delivery vehicles in the bike lanes, we weren’t surprised when nearly two hundred attendees filled the rooms to see and provide feedback on the designs.

Center Running Two-Way Bikeway

Parking Protected Bikeway

Curbside Two-Way Bikeway

Curbside Two-Way Bikeway

Couldn’t make it to the meeting? All the project boards are available here.

Now, it’s time to regroup and look over the designs together as the City looks to identify a final, preferred proposal by this fall. Meet with other SF Bicycle Coalition members who are like-minded advocates and stop by our Valencia Member Committee. We are stronger when we work together.

Valencia Member Committee
August 7 – 5:30 to 7:00 PM
Muddy Waters Coffee House, 521 Valencia Street

Breaking: Townsend to Break Ground in November Mon, 30 Jul 2018 20:20:58 +0000 After a month of defending and demanding protected bike lanes on Townsend, we are excited to share that our member-powered advocacy was successful.

After making a verbal commitment nearly two weeks ago, today the SF Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) officially put their commitment in writing: they will move forward with protected bike lanes on Townsend between Fourth and Eighth streets with an aggressive new timeline that will begin construction by the end of this year.

The plan has the project up for approval by the SFMTA Board in November and beginning construction immediately afterward. Along with protected bike lanes, new dedicated pedestrian paths will connect people to Caltrain and repaving will make for a much smoother bike ride. On the block in front of Caltrain between Fourth and Fifth streets, they will build out a full length sidewalk between the bike lane and automobile traffic, keeping Lyfts and Ubers physically separated from people on bikes.

Protected bike lanes at Caltrain

Supervisor Kim, who has been a staunch supporter of our push for protected bike lanes on Townsend, is optimistic about the new design and timeline. “The new commitment by the SFMTA to move Townsend towards construction at an accelerated pace is an amazing victory for our residents and workers who utilize one of the busiest corridors in our City and SF Bicycle Coalition members,” said Supervisor Kim. “Over the past month, hundreds of members showed up to fight for this safety project emphasizing the need to update street design for current use and save lives.”

The new commitments by the SFMTA to move Townsend towards construction at an accelerated pace are an amazing victory for SF Bicycle Coalition members. Over the past month, hundreds of members showed up in a number of ways to make this project happen.

SoMa Member Committee Meeting
Tuesday, Aug. 14 from 6:00 – 7:30 pm
SF Bicycle Coalition, 1720 Market St.

Hermandeep shares her event planning intern experience Mon, 30 Jul 2018 18:45:33 +0000 Ever wondered what it’s like to intern at the SF Bicycle Coalition? Hermandeep Kaur interned with us during the spring as an Event Planning Intern. We caught up with Hermandeep, a San Francisco State University student, to get insight on her internship experience and how it has prepared her for the future.

SF Bicycle Coalition: What were some of your major accomplishments while interning?
Hermandeep Kaur: I was able to accomplish a variety of things during my internship that helped me grow in my professional and personal life. Professionally, a few of my major accomplishments included helping gather snack donations for Bike to Work Day, arranging coffee donations and learning how to write posts for social media.

When I started this internship, one of my personal goals was to become comfortable biking in San Francisco. I gained experience biking in the city while participating in volunteer opportunities. The bike ride from my house to the Inner Sunset Energizer Station was challenging, but absolutely rewarding.

Were you able form connections with other interns at the SF Bicycle Coalition?
Yes! It was great to talk to other interns about school and their internship experience. After finishing our internships, a few other interns and I got together for lunch and we continue to keep in touch.

I also really enjoyed talking to staff during all-staff activities. It was really great to celebrate accomplishments with colleagues, which helps foster a positive work environment. I’m happy that I’ve was able to make valuable connections with such amazing people.

How will your time at the SF Bicycle Coalition affect you in the future?
In the future, I see myself working alongside community members towards a common goal of building more sustainable and healthy cities. This internship introduced me to community engagement, which has been a very valuable experience. By volunteering at Sunday Streets, I was able to have conversations with neighbors about questions or concerns they had about their surroundings. It was a safe place to talk about our city and what aspects need improvement, such as bike infrastructure.

What’s the thing you liked the most about interning at theSF Bicycle Coalition?
The work of the SF Bicycle Coalition is so inspiring. When I wrote a paper about freeways and their impact on communities, I envisioned alternatives for a healthier city but was unsure of how to implement those alternatives. The SF Bicycle Coalition has shown me that my vision can become reality by advocating for biking, walking, public transit, etc.

We’re looking for some great people to join our team as interns this fall! If you’re interested in interning with us check out our internship postings and apply today!