Great day for biking

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by Amanda Witherell

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More please. Image courtesy of San Francisco Bicycle Coalition

In spite of the dreary un-bicycle friendly weather today, things are looking up for cyclists in the “safety” and “free shit” categories.

First off, this afternoon City attorney Dennis Herrera filed a request with San Francisco Superior Court Judge Peter J. Busch to amend the injunction against the city’s Bike Plan. The city is banned from making any bicycle-related infrastructure improvements until an Environmental Review of the plan is completed, a draft of which was released last Friday.

But, the injunction was recently waived for the deadly intersection of Fell and Masonic Streets, which allowed the city to alter the traffic flow and install a bike signal. It’s great. We love it. (Though I still see cars blowing right through it occasionally, so don’t take it for granted, fellow pedalers.)

Similar to the Fell and Masonic waiver, Herrera is asking the court to review more than 100 pages of supporting evidence detailing an alarming increase in the number of collisions between bicycles and automobiles at locations throughout San Francisco. You can read the full pleading here.

"We are confident that our motion today makes a compelling case for how we can best address and alleviate hazards to cyclists and pedestrians while respecting the limits of the court's injunction,” Herrera said in a press release. “With more and more commuters making use of bicycles as their preferred means of transportation, we have an obligation to do what we can to make bicycling as safe as possible on San Francisco streets.”

Top of Herrera’s hit list is Market and Octavia where, according to the press release, at least fifteen bicyclists have been struck by cars since the 101 highway entrance opened on Sept. 9, 2005. Cars routinely make illegal right turns and clip cyclists who have right of way to cross. The city is asking to change the traffic lanes so cars and bikes queue up in front of each other, rather than side by side.

Five other sketchy places to ride are also listed for safety improvements. They, and their collision totals as of 2003, are as follows:

Polk Street between Beach and Market Streets: 73 motor vehicle-bicycle collisions

Valencia Street: 65 motor vehicle-bicycle collisions

Third Street Corridor: 32 collisions

Folsom Street between 13th Street and the Embarcadero: 52 hits

Lower Market Street, from 8th Street to the Embarcadero: 179 accidents (Can safety improvements here include some frikkin’ pavement, too, please?)

Herrera also threw in a couple of spots for more bike parking, at Church and Market Streets and Dolores and Guerrero near 18th Street, where too many hipster fixies are clogging up the sidewalks creating “potentially hazardous conditions for passing pedestrians and the disabled,” states the press release.

We at SFBG are particularly pleased to see 3rd Street on the list and wondered if our nearby Dogpatch-living city attorney is, too. We asked his press secretary Matt Dorsey if Dennis ever dons the spandex and rides. Dorsey said, "Dennis tells me he occasionally rides a bike recreationally with his son in Golden Gate Park, and that when he does so, he rents one." And added, "Dennis Herrera doesn't
date men, either, but that didn't stop him from being an effective advocate for marriage equality."

In other, equally exciting cycling news, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition is giving away free blinkie lights tomorrow, Dec. 2. After work, between 6 – 7 p.m., if you don’t have a bike light beat feet to:

Market St. @ Duboce
Howard St. @ 8th
Valencia St. @ Cesar Chavez
McAllister St. @ Webster
Polk St. @ California

Map here.