San Francisco's bike lines have become Uber's pickup/dropoff zones (and the cops don't care)


I’m all for cycling infrastructure and keeping the lanes clear. That said, I do have a soft spot for the chaos that was cycling in Chicago a decade ago. Chicago’s well behind the more progressive cities in building protected bike lanes, bike signals etc, but they’re slowly getting there.

For the majority of the time I lived there it was one gigantic free for all. Sure, there’s a bike lane on Milwaukee and it’s a perfect place to get doored, run into people walking out between parallel parked cars, double parked cabs, buses stopped in the street because the stop was blocked, jaywalkers running everywhere, skateboarders holding on to delivery trucks, all this twice as bad in Wicker Park on a weekend night because everyone’s drunk. Or add a friendly snow storm, or better yet, crusty black ice mud from last week’s storm.

Often the best way to head north/south was to jump on Ashland or Western, take a lane, and just go like the dickens. Is it as safe as puttering down residential streets? Nah, but it was certainly effective.


I used to bicycle commute 10km each way from Ashfield to Sydney University daily. In peak hour, on the same route as the car commuters.

It was a thirty-minute trip on a bicycle. Would’ve been an hour or more in a car. And it was screamingly obvious that the vast majority of anti-cyclist animus from the car drivers was motivated by nothing more than jealousy.

“How dare that peasant on a cheap bike pass my car? I paid $50,000 for the privilege of sitting here in traffic!”


They should stay out of the bike lanes and instead use the designated Uber pickup/dropoff zones conveniently located every other block throughout downtown SF.


FWIW, Taxis (of which there are less than 2000 in SF) are allowed to drop off and/or pickup passengers on the street… If they have read the memo that SFMTA put out, and carries the proper sticker.

TNC vehicles do NOT have the same privilege, but many assume they do as they fancy themselves as semi-taxis.


The news that the police don’t care to get involved in minor traffic infractions is a victory for peace.


Based on the meter maids down town during rush hour who take pictures of people blocking intersections and write up tickets on the spot, to be mailed to the registered owner of the car, I’d say that cops don’t technically even have to talk to you to issue a ticket for standing or parking in a bike lane. Even meter maids can issue a ticket, no cop needed since it isn’t a moving violation.


I thought the term was “responsible bicycle owners?”


Oh please, that absolutism is absolute BS. Bikes can be a problem. Cars can be a problem.

I agree though that bikes and cars weigh different amounts and should be treated differently. It’s why we need to have bike lanes on the sidewalks not bike lanes in the street. That’s the way bike lanes work in cities in Europe like Amsterdam and Munich. But that kind of change takes foresight and planning and it’s a paradigm shift many people will resist.


Wherever they are, there will still be people stupid enough to try and drive cars on them:


Um, Amsterdam has bike lanes on roads with a few dedicated bike lanes on sidewalks.

See the full desciption here.


If we’re looking for good implementation of bikes into a city’s architecture, Amsterdam is a gold standard.


That looks like a proper bike lane, yeah?

That’s part of the problem, here in the ATL, I think (you can ask @noahdjango, who lives here and is a committed cyclist), there are tons of streets with no dedicated bike lanes and some intown neighborhoods have rather narrow streets. I’ve more than once gotten behind a cyclist on a two lane road, who are doing their level best to not be an obstruction, but there are cars coming the opposite way, and I can’t give the cyclist the proper distance for me to go around them as a result - so I’m stuck until the oncoming lane clears. It’s certainly not the fault of the cyclist, or me, but the structure of the streets themselves. I’d much prefer a set up like Amsterdam, where streets are designed for all three kinds of traffic, it looks like - cars, bikes, and pedestrian.

It sure looks like that!

Likes for you both!



I agree. I also think that bikes are almost universally owned and used, which may be why motorists are willing to abide by the city’s planning.


I just wonder to extent do city planners could adapt these solutions to cities like New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston—cities that have been optimized for cars for almost a century. This is why I find Detroit so exciting—post-consilidation (if that ever comes to pass), its city planners would have a tabula rasa for what could be a model city optimized for pedestrians and cyclists.


The key is that bike paths are distinct from the road that is for cars. I would characterize Amsterdam as bike friendly and often pedestrian hostile.


Right back at you!


I know my city is really trying hard to push into the top-ranked bicycle-friendly in U.S. The have miles and miles of bike lanes and shared roads, which has an added benefit of slowing down cars in a more residential or small business areas. As a driver, I actually like this. On the busy PCH (Hwy 1), there is a dedicated bike lane from Newport Beach to Long Beach traffic circle and this allows everyone to travel at a good pace.


Yes. I was commenting on your sidewalk use proposal, which wouldn’t work where there is already significant pedestrian traffic on narrow walkways.


I live near Boston. There’s a huge riding scene up here, and the city has tried really hard to make the city more bike friendly. Mostly that’s meant painting in bike lanes. It’s not perfect, but it’s a start.



I think I mentioned this some months back but HBO Sports did a great segment about this: how to get established cities to plan for this. I believe it’s 2015 season. They semi-follow a city planner from…I want to say SF (?)…who goes to Amsterdam to meet with their city planners. (I’m too lazy to find it right now, but it should be easy to find if you’re interested)

etf: two incorrect autocorrected words. sorry


Duncan Gay has solved the issue of car-bike interaction in NSW by effectively fining cyclists off the road altogether.