Andreas of London Cyclist fame was recently in San Francisco and spent the day sightseeing around the city on a rental bicycle. He blogged about his experience and it sounds like he had a great time exploring Golden Gate Park and points north, including the obligatory trip across the bridge. It’s fun to read about the city from the perspective of a bicyclist from another country.
Did you know that bicycle rentals in S.F. have exploded from $500,000 a year in 1995 to over $10 million last year, with most of those bikes being used to cross the Golden Gate on sightseeing excursions? Recently, the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation district commissioned a study to look at bike/ped safety on the bridge sidewalks. Alta Planning and Design conducted the study, which, among other things, recommends a 10mph speed limit on the bridge (5mph near the towers). Many feel the speed limit is not justified by the study’s findings – Alta’s statistics show 165 “accidents” on the bridge between 2000-2009, with the most common type being “solo bicycle”. A majority of the incidents took place on the western sidewalk where pedestrians are not allowed. A resulting backlash by bicyclists and bike rental companies has delayed implementation of the speed limit (for now).
While the speed limit is intended to be permanent, its recommendation comes just as a bridge retrofit project is set to begin which will require closing the west sidewalk from 5/9/11 – 8/26/11.