Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Renegade Bike Striper Strikes Again

First there were the "Keep Clear" stencils and bicyclist-with-antlers icons on Fell Street approaching the ARCO station at Divis. (see July 1st post). Then this past Sunday morning new bike-friendly messages appeared on Oak just east of Divisadero advising motorists (and cyclists) "BIKES ONLY" in the outer lane and the cyclist icon sports a distinctive unicorn look.

A prankster with a message? A distraction for drivers?

For bicyclists in NOPA the few blocks of Oak Street between Baker and Scott provide a crucial link for east-bound travel. Slalom through these risky blocks and reach relative safety turning right on Scott and ride the Wiggle, the much-loved, much-used bike route connection between NOPA, Duboce Triangle, Market Street and the Mission.

Motorists sometimes get annoyed when cyclists take the full lane on Oak Street to get to the Wiggle. Why don't bikers share the road here? One big reason: getting doored. Motorists all too often open car doors, after parking, without checking oncoming bike traffic. The only way cyclists can avoid door collisions, is to travel outside the door zone even if that means in the center of a busy traffic lane. No renegade action here. State law grants full use of the lane to cyclists.*

Not many Oak Street motorists are likely to yield the full lane to cyclists even with the new, temporary striping. But over on Fell Street, I noticed on Saturday that a driver pulled away from the bike lane back into the traffic lane to await the next open slot at ARCO. Sometimes even pranksters get a safety message across.

* Calif State Vehicle Code, Div. 11, Ch.1, Article 4, 21202.


  1. I agree that we've got to travel outside the door zone, and that means in the center of the lane. Once a car driver yelled at me - "Get off the street, this is a highway!" That was a couple of years ago, and most of the time it's not that bad to take the lane. Maybe one day it will be Bikes Only and then more riders will feel comfortable there.

  2. BIKES ONLY striping no more. The MTA has painted over the stencils the same day the covered the KEEP CLEAR signs on Fell. MTA says someday they will address the safety problems officially.