Bike Lane Drama!

Update: Biking on Valencia Is Still Kinda Not Great

As most Mission cyclists have known for years, riding along Valencia at rush hour is the real life cycling equivalent of Frogger.  The only way not to get doored, squished, swiped, or furious at everything is to just forgo the bike lane entirely and just take the lane.  It's a bummer experience that usually leaves motorists hostile over the perception we're slowing them down, but it's better than the alternative mouth full of blood and bill for a new front wheel.

Fortunately for us, the usually cycling-adverse watchdogs over at The Chronicle are now on the case:

[Cyclists] feel that heightened enforcement, especially during the evening hours, could help send the message that cars and bikes need to share the road and make all parties more aware of each other.

“I don't think they're doing enough to protect cyclists,” said Walsh, the registered nurse. “Why don't they hang a sign on every stoplight telling drivers to share the lane?”

Leaders of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition said they hope eventually to have separated bikeways on Valencia like the city already has in Golden Gate Park and is establishing along Fell and Oak streets.

“Simple white posts are really easy for the city to install,” said Leah Shahum, the bicycle coalition's executive director. “Anything to have full separation between moving car traffic. We hear anecdotally from folks it's a big difference.”

Separated bike lanes sure do sound great, but hopefully they are more of a Manhattan-style separated lane through the middle of traffic, rather than Golden Gate Park's that put us between the curb and row of parked cars (because, between aloof pedestrians, opening doors with no way to dodge them, slow cyclists you cannot get around, and sketchy navigation of stop signs, those lanes on Valencia would be a total disaster).

For more on the subject, see Stanley Roberts' always delightful People Behaving Badly segment on the topic, which coincidentally aired a few weeks ago:

SFPD Cruiser Ticketed For Parking in the Bike Lane

That's what I looks like, right?  This officer's cruiser, notorious for parking in this same spot along the Market Street bike lane almost daily, has been finally dealt some justice for abusing privledge?

Turns out the officer is just covering his ass—placing a false ticket on the windshield hoping that DPW won't actually ticket him (and so cyclists won't bash his windshield in).  Timothy Mendez knows his trick, “That dude puts it there himself. Keeps it up in the visor.”

At least he knows he's breaking the law?

[via Aaron Durand]

Stodgy Stanley Roberts Not Stoked with Separated Bike Lanes

We gotta admit: we're not particularly stoked on the new separated bike lanes along JFK in Golden Gate Park either.  We love the fact the city is trying new things, and separated lanes have typically worked well in other cities, but they aren't really panning out in Golden Gate Park.  People park their cars in the lanes, use the lanes as sidewalks, have made the approach to stop signs difficult, and people clearly have no idea how to park in the new spots.  That's not to say the idea should be dismissed entirely—not at all.  The city could put up new signage explaining the situation, install a curb between the bike lanes and the parking spaces, or actually stripe out specific spaces for people to park.  You know, address the problems.

But KRON's Stanley Roberts!  Fuck!  People are Behaving Badly, you see, and those people are the government experimenting with improving our transportation.  Grrrrrrrrr, Stanley mad!

Naturally, Stanley took his amazing voice and the camcorder he bought off eBay with all the milk money he's been saving up and interviewed a couple of angry (grrrrrrrr) dumb-dumbs in minivans about the problem.  And guess what?  They hate bicyclists!  “Where should bikers be a bikin'?”  In the middle of traffic, where they've always been biking.  Obviously!

I don't know what my favorite part of the video is: when some green thing claims her door will now get sideswiped when she opens it (because, that's not already a problem on roads without bike lanes.  Plus, she wants the American Privilege of opening her door into cyclists, not traffic) or when Stanley doesn't interview a single cyclist, urban planner, or someone who might actually be in favor of the lanes.

Watch below:

[Thanks for the tip, Tuffy! | Photo by SF Bike Coalition]

New Taxi Bumper Stickers Promoting the Right to Block Bike Lanes Adds Insult to Impending Injury

“If you can read this, I'm blocking the bike line and fuck you.”

When taxis aren't busy charging people $15 to go eight blocks and never picking you up when you want them, they're doing their best to kill every cyclist in town.  Thanks to SFMTA's four-month-old decree legalizing the obnoxious practice, cabs are now blessed with the God-given right to park their vehicles in the bike lane, forcing bikers into the middle of traffic and to scream out no-no words at two ton boxes of metal on the way to work.  And to make matters worse? SFMTA and Yellow Cab are slapping bumper stickers on cabs, reminding us all that “this vehicle authorized to enter the bike lane” and no one gives a fuck about rudimentary English anymore.

Locanda's New "Do Not Block the Bike Lane" Signage Prominently Ignored

Locanda has been racking up bunch of 1 star Yelp reviews thanks to their “insane plan” of having valets block one of SF's most trafficked bike lines, so they dealt with the controversy in the most sensible way possible: posting a typographically-pleasing sign pleading for fancy motorists to “circle the block” and not block the lane.  And, as we can clearly see, baller Honda drivers are straight-up disregarding the signage.

Of course, all this wouldn't bother me if SFPD wasn't cracking down on cyclists disregarding traffic laws while letting this shit slide.  Can we, like, get a little reciprocity?

[Photo by Tastr, who's been covering the Locanda drama from the get-go]