San Francisco continues to rank as one of the busiest cities for bicyclists in the country. As any cyclist in an urban setting can tell you, the opening of car doors into bike lanes can be a major cause of bike accidents. According to the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, “dooring” is the #1 injury for motorist-caused bike accidents in San Francisco.
Often times it is difficult for motorists to know when a biker is approaching, and cyclists may have little room to maneuver when a door is suddenly opened in front of them. To make matters worse conventional bike lanes leave little room between parked cars and bikers.
In recognition of this issue, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is planning on re-designing bike lanes to protect cyclists “dooring”. The SFMTA has painted in a number of T’s on sections of Polk Street which are intended to show the safe space for bicyclists when car doors open in bike lanes. It has also experimented with a crosshatch, using a diagonal design to keep bicyclists out of the door zone on 17th Street between Dolores and Guerrero streets.
Many cyclists however are pushing for buffered bike lanes as the safest way to prevent bike and car collisions and dooring.A number of buffered lanes already exist on Market Street, Division Street and Laguna Honda Boulevard. And the SFMTA is currently considering proposals for separated bike-ways on Fell and Oak Streets between Scott and Baker Streets.
No matter what they decide, these are positive developments for the city of San Francisco and bicyclists.