As part of our blog we have discussed a number of San Francisco bicycle accidents, the prevalence of which contribute to the city’s reputation as a dangerous place to travel on two wheels. We’ve also highlighted how San Francisco city officials have been charged with addressing this problem and making the city more bike-friendly.
The San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency is currently in the process of executing an ambitious plan to build a significant number of additional bike lanes in various areas of the city. The plan has been a long time in the making, including a hiatus due to traffic concerns, yet continues to garner a lot of support from the city’s biker population. Advocates claim that more bike lanes will help reduce the number of bicycle accidents on the roads and therefore also reduce the number of injuries suffered by both riders and drivers.
However, not all San Francisco residents support either the plan to add more bike lanes to city streets or the way in which the Municipal Transit Agency and its partners are executing their vision.
Many of the extra bike lanes are using space which was once reserved for street parking. Home and business owners who live and work near these sites have expressed concern and dissatisfaction over losing their access to valuable parking spots, especially as some claim that they were not properly notified about the plan in time to fight the decision.
At meetings and hearings to discuss the bike plan, people have also charged the initiative with favoring the needs of a relatively small community of San Francisco residents-those who travel mainly by bike-over all the citizens who cannot utilize the new bike paths on a regular basis, including the elderly or physically disabled.
The plan continues to be decisive, even as bike path construction carries on. What do you think: is the city’s bike plan an effective and vital way of reducing bicycle accidents or do the extra paths unjustly inconvenience San Francisco residents who don’t bike?
Source: New York Times, “Speed Bumps in the Path of the Bicycle Juggernaut.” Scott James, 21 April 2011