Great day for biking

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: