The number of bicyclists in San Francisco has been steadily increasing over the past several years. The Municipal Transportation Agency only started recently tracking cycle traffic, but since 2006 the city has seen a 58 percent increase in the number of riders on the road.
The growing biker population in San Francisco may reflect a rising interest to be environmentally friendly, pursue a healthy lifestyle, or avoid traffic jams on the morning commute. However, new data from The Bay Citizen suggests that the city’s notoriously narrow, windy, and steep streets can be a very dangerous place for cyclists. The data shows that the number of bicycle accidents in San Francisco is higher than ever.
According to The Bay Citizen, over 1,000 bicycle accidents were reported to the San Francisco Police Department over the past two years. The numbers show that San Francisco saw a 7 percent increase in reported bicycle accidents over the course of 2010.
The report also revealed some of the most common reasons behind the increased number of accidents, with illegal turns, speeding, and dooring topping the list. The term “dooring” refers to an accident which occurs when one of a motor vehicle’s passengers opens their door and strikes a passing rider. Police officers reported 101 dooring accidents in San Francisco since 2009.
The city is making some efforts to reverse this rising trend. For example, motorists are seeing new bicycle lanes appear all over the grid, some of which are bordered by a pylon barrier for extra protection. However, the Bay Citizen’s analysis proves that these new measures have yet to cause an improvement in bicycle safety.
Source: The New York Times. “Data Confirms what Cyclists Knew: San Francisco Streets Are Hazardous.” Zusha Elinson, 10 February 2011.