SF Supervisors Urge BART to Remove Bike Blackout

SF Bicycle Coalition Member Cathy Kora Takes her bike on BART during the March 18-22 pilot

Today, Supervisor John Avalos introduced a resolution at the Board of Supervisors urging BART to permanently lift the blackout ban and make it easier for Bay Area residents to commute regionally by bike. The resolution was unanimously approved by the full Board of Supervisors, and shows growing support for opening up all day access for bikes by City leaders.

“It is great to hear the initial public feedback of another successful pilot of allowing bikes on BART during rush hour. Making this simple policy permanent will make BART more flexible and convenient for countless commuters on both sides of the bay,” says Supervisor John Avalos.

Leah Shahum, Executive Director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, applauds the Board of Supervisors’ resolution. “We’re thrilled to see the strong support of the Board of Supervisors for this commonsense policy change, and we hope to have an opportunity soon to have this conversation at the BART Board of Directors.”

East Bay residents are also closely watching the results of this pilot.

“By making full access for bikes on BART a permanent policy change East Bay residents will have a new healthy and convenient commute option,” said Renee Rivera, Executive Director of the 4,000-member East Bay Bicycle Coalition. “This particularly benefits those who commute within the East Bay on BART lines where there is ample room for bikes, but who are restricted from bringing bikes on board by the current rules.

Personal Stories from BART riders:

Over the past month, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition has been collecting personal stories about how the current blackout period impacts people on both sides of the Bay. For many people, being able to take their bike on BART allows them to spend important time with their families.

Says Bonnie Williamson, “My mother lives in Oakland and I go over several times a week to help care for her. My preferred method of transportation is bike plus BART. Because I cannot take the bike on BART during commute times, I am unable to go from work and stay overnight with her. I often have to skip visits or take a car to get there due to the restricted times bike times on BART. Having BART available any time would be a great help to me and my mother.”

Says Anthony Z, “I’m lucky I have a 18 month old that sleeps in. Unfortunately for me, to get to the last bike train at Civic Center I have to leave my house right at 7 am. Every morning I have to choose, ride BART, or see my daughter and drive. On the mornings my wife needs help I have no option but to drive.”

For other BART riders, the ability to take their bike on BART during rush hour has made them feel safer getting around the city, particularly at night. Says Amanda Oetzel, “I leave the office after the sun goes down, and I do not feel safe walking to the Montgomery Bart station, and then getting from the 24th Street station to my home on foot. I feel safer on my bike, and it would help alleviate some anxiety I feel daily walking in the city alone.”

Info on the March 18-22 Bikes on BART pilot:

BART has been busy over the last year modifying cars to create more room for people with wheels: wheelchairs, strollers, bikes, suitcases. The agency has also made other commonsense improvements to the stations and trains to help accommodate more people with bikes, and other wheels. New York City, Los Angeles, Montreal and many other major transit systems already allow bikes on board at all times.

The second pilot ran from March 18th through 22nd and came on the heels of a first pilot of allowing bikes on board on Fridays in August of 2012. The results of the first pilot found solid support for removing the ban. See more history of the policy at sfbike.org/bart.

For hi-res photos of the March 18-22 bikes on BART pilot, visit the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition’s flickr set (flickr.com/sfbike). Credit San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.

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