A safety investigation focused on the San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge concluded with several recommendations which have a good portion of the city’s biking community up in arms. An expert hired to report on the quality of bicycle and pedestrian safety measures on the iconic bridge recently advised the city to impose a speed limit for bike riders commuting on the bridge’s pathways. According to city officials who support the measure, the speed limit is intended to prevent future bicycle accidents and make the bridge a safer place for everyone.
However, many bikers-especially those who traverse the bridge everyday-say that the speed limit is unnecessary and inconvenient. Many assert that the bridge doesn’t need any extra safety precautions since the number of bike-related accidents that occur there is so minimal. Critics have convinced city legislators to table the motion pending further discussion, but the speed limit continues to spark political interest.
The specific law under consideration would impose a 10 mile per hour speed limit on all bikers as they move across the Golden Gate Bridge. This restriction would move to 5 miles per hour in construction zones and near bridge towers. Biker’s speeds would be monitored using a radar gun, and violating the new speed limit could result in a $100 fine.
A study revealing that 164 bicycle accidents have occurred on the bridge during the past 10 years-almost 40 percent of which were partially caused by excessive speed-is being cited by both sides of this controversial issue. Proponents of the measure claim that this number could be reduced significantly under the new speed restrictions. Critics, however, believe that the accident rate is too nominal to justify such strong action.
As debate continues, this motion could remain in limbo for a while. However, we will attempt to keep you posted on new developments as they arise.
Source: San Francisco Chronicle, “Cyclists bash Golden Gate Bridge speed limit plan.” Michael Cabanatuan, 24 April 2011