Urban Bicycling Workshop: Intro to Safe Biking TONIGHT!

Urban Bicycling Workshop: Intro to Safe Biking TONIGHT!

Richmond Rec Center (251 18th Ave.)

The SF Bicycle Coalition will be hosting a one-hour workshop on safe bicycling for everyone. Learn about types of bikes, the rules of the road, and how to manage everyday riding while performing tasks including grocery shopping. All skill levels welcome and no bike necessary.

RSVP at http://www.sfbike.org/?edu-intro

The Economy Needs More Cyclists


The 1% of trips taken by bike in the U.S. save the American people $4.6 billion each year.


Here are some useful numbers to know:

1. According to Forbes, the average annual cost of operating a bike is $308. The average cost of operating a vehicle is $8,220.

2. According to the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, bike path and trail projects create more jobs that highway projects.

3. The more paths there are, the more people will use them (it seems intuitive, but it’s an important point when trying to win legislative support and funding for more bike and pedestrian paths).

4. Transportation is overtaking housing as the single largest household expenditure

5. If American drivers replaced 1 four-mile car trip with a bike trip per week for one year it would save the U.S. 2 billion gallons of gas. If we assume that gas is $4 /gallon (a fairly low estimate), that would total a savings of $7.3 billion a year.


It seems that supporting cycling infrastructure would:

1. Help with Health Care costs (a hot button issue at the moment) by promoting better health

2. Reduce dependence on foreign oil (something nearly all Americans can agree is a good idea)

3. Reduce the deficit by promoting federal investments that generate the maximum economic activity


Really, what is not to love about cycling?


Source: SF Streetsblog

BART Bike Plan Focuses on Secure Parking

BART is setting a goal in its new bike plan to double the rate of passengers who bike, currently at 4%, within 10 years. Their updated bike plan includes:

  • Expansion of secure parking facilities 
  • Reduction of ‘blackout periods’
  • Reevaluation of the bike ban on escalators
According to a SF Streetsblog post, the plan is supported by the SF Examiner and the SF Bicycle Coalition. SFBC Executive Director Leah Shahum commented that the organization “commends the BART leadership for stepping up their commitment to encouraging more bicycles on and to the BART stations.” 
The final plan will be presented to the BART Board on June 14, 2012. 
The draft BART bike plan can be accessed in its entirety here

Shaana Rahman Featured in the American Association for Justice’s Trial Magazine

For their February 2012 edition entitled “Moving Violations”, the AAJ’s Trial Magazine chose to address motor vehicle and bike accidents and their place in the law. As such, I’m pleased to say that our very own Shaana Rahman was featured in Trial Magazine with her highly informative essay on what attorneys representing bicyclists should expect, and what they should be doing to protect your rights.

Assembly Bill 819 to Aid Bikeway Developments

For those unfamiliar with it, Assembly Bill 819 is the important new bill that would give California cities a significant boost towards advancing bikeway designs and renovations. Introduced in February 2011, the bill aims toamend Section 890.4 of the Streets and Highways Code, relating to bikeways.” The bill’s opening statement is as follows:

“Existing law requires the Department of Transportation, in cooperation with county and city governments, to establish minimum safety design criteria for the planning and construction of bikeways, and authorizes cities, counties, and local agencies to establish bikeways


This bill would include a class IV bikeway among the bikeways subject to the above provisions and would define a class IV bikeway to include a segregated bike lane which provides exclusive use of bicycles on streets, as specified.” [1]

How would AB 819 change current bikeway advocacy plans?
Around this time last year, select San Francisco streets were newly painted with green bike boxes. The effort and lobbying put into implementing these boxes are often ignored, but it is important to acknowledge that just these 7 boxes took a year to complete. [4, 5]
Such delays in development are caused by current state laws and Caltrans guidelines, which dictate what and how new bikeways are created. And “under current state law, facilities like protected bike lanes and bike boxes–which are not established within Caltrans guidelines–must go through an expensive and time-consuming approval process.” [2]
Meanwhile, AB 819 would allow planners to “use guidelines that have been established outside Caltrans, like the NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide, which includes designs for protected bikeways.” Such guidelines have allowed cities like New York, Chicago, and DC to develop protected bikeways with greater ease, efficiency, and therefore success than those in San Francisco. [3]
Current status of AB 819
Last Monday, the State Assemble Transportation Committee passed AB 819, but with crucial corrections. The amended bill “would only require Caltrans to create an experimentation process through which engineers can establish bikeway standards” [3] before making any real and effective changes to bike lanes and bikeways.
Though a step forward, it is still not the greenlight the California Bicycle Coalition and other advocacy groups have been waiting for. Despite such setbacks CBC Communications Director Jim Brown says, “We’re continuing to work with Caltrans to figure out how innovative bikeway designs already used in other parts of the U.S. and Europe can be implemented in California.” [3]


Shaana Rahman & KGO Radio on Embarcadero Collision

For those who missed it, Shaana Rahman spoke to KGO this past Tuesday afternoon regarding the District Attorney’s decision on Monday to charge Randolph Ang, the cyclist involved in the fatal collision with pedestrian Dionette Cherney, with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter. The collision occurred on July 15th, 2011 on Embarcadero and Mission and resulted in Ms. Cherney’s death after the 68-year-old tourist received “blunt force injuries to the head” from being knocked to the pavement. On Monday, Assistant D.A. Omid Talai announced that Mr. Ang would be arraigned on November 23rd to carry out his one-year sentence in county jail.*

Reactions to Mr. Ang’s sentence have ranged from cries of too little to too much. Fast forward to 43:52 to hear Ms. Rahman’s speak on this tragic accident. What are your thoughts?
Audio Clip Courtesy of KGO Radio

The Tour de Fat is Back!

Grab your bike and get ready to party. Because this year’s Tour de Fat is gonna be next Saturday the 24th at Linley Meadow in Golden Gate Park, from 10am to 5pm.

Organized by member-volunteers over at the SF Bike Coalition, the Tour de Fat is a free and open celebration for everyone of all ages. This year’s entertainment features live music, face painting, and silk screening. On top of the fun will be the conventional bike parade, as well as the slightly-less-conventional fire-jumping bike show.
And finally, if a rodeo-circus isn’t your cup of tea, remember that there will be plenty of good food and beer for sale in the park as well, with all proceeds going to the SFBC and The Bay Area Ridge Trail Council!
For event details, visit the SFBC website at http://www.sfbike.org/?fat

Plaintiff Magazine: Bike Law 101 by Shaana Rahman

As those of you who follow us on Facebook may know, our very own Shaana Rahman recently wrote an article for Plaintiff Magazine in which she outlines 4 key tips to bike law and to representing cyclists.

As explained in the article, the attention directed on cyclist-motorist collisions–and the laws concerning them–is a direct result of the rise in urban cycling.
While I highly recommend reading the article itself, here is a brief summary of the 4 tips Ms. Rahman offers:
  1. Remember that the California Vehicle Code applies to cyclists: “It is important to ascertain whether or not your cyclist was in a riding position that comports with the Vehicle Code.
  2. Get to know what type of cyclist your client is: “The best client will be someone who is an experienced rider, riding a bicycle that has all the requisite safety equipment, meeting the requirements of Vehicle Code sections 21201 and 21201.5 and who is wearing bright, reflective clothing (including a helmet) to maximize their visibility.
  3. Evaluate differently each of the 5 most common car-versus-bike collisions: “1) A vehicle making a right turn across the cyclist’s lane of travel; 2) A vehicle executing a left turn at an uncontrolled (or non-dedicated left turn) intersection; 3) Dooring; 4) The failure of the cyclist or motorist to stop at a red light or stop sign, and 5) A vehicle or cyclist passing on the right.”
  4. Identify the other causes of the collision, including defective roadway collisions: “If you can identify a dangerous roadway condition, you will need to pursue a claim against any public entity that owned, possessed or maintained the roadway. If the public entity retained a private contractor to perform the road work which gave rise to the defect, the contractor will also be a defendant.”

If you are a regular reader of our blog or Facebook, or even if you have just been in the city streets, you are probably more than aware of how important bike law and safety is becoming. These tips, particularly the 4th, are critically important to follow when defending your client, not only to aid the individual, but to prevent future accidents from occurring by improving the condition in which our cyclists are riding.

Make it your mission to protect and speak up for these cyclists if you want to see some real change to our city.

Folding Bikes on Muni

Muni has recently decided to allow folding bikes aboard all buses and streetcars, excluding the historic cable cars.

Bike advocates including Bert Hill, chairman of the SF Bicycle Advisory Committee, have been lobbying for all bikes to be allowed onto Muni buses. Nevertheless, Hill and others see this as a step in the right direction. Spokesman Paul Rose of the MTA believes this policy will promote the city’s transit-first policy which, according to the Chronicle, “aims to get people out of their cars to cut down on air pollution and traffic congestion.”
However, Rose also warns that officials need to keep an eye on how this change will affect commuters. Because while Hill and other bike advocates have responded positively to this announcement, many comments on this article–by mostly non-biking commuters–are not nearly as welcoming. The topics of criticisms range from demanding bikers pay extra to complaining that bikes will overcrowd already overcrowded buses. Such comments included:
JuniperoSerra: Bad idea! Who wants to get dirt from their tires or grease from the bike’s chain on their clothes when these folks take their folding bikes onto a crowed [sic] bus or streetcar.
ender_of_sf: Things are bad enough on our too often overcrowded busses [sic] as it is, espeically [sic] during commute hours. Why do bike riders think the public transit should haul their vehicals [sic] around at no extra charge when they don’t feel like riding them.
sfnative650: So now some guy rides his bike up to the bus and everybody has to wait for him to fold up his bike? And then they get to trip over it trying to get in or out the bus? Looks like lawsuits here…Aren’t bikes to be ridden and not ride on a bus? How about the bus tow a trailer behind it so you can store your car and ride the bus?
qframer: I’m a folding bike rider. I love them. I am a member of bicycle advocacy groups, and I want transit options for bikes.
But this is INSANITY. There is no way I can fit comfortably in any Muni vehicle with my folding bike unless it is nearly empty. I can’t believe both Muni and Bicycle Coalition people put this much effort into something that will only build resentment toward cyclists.
What are your thoughts?

Speed Limit for Bikers on the Golden Gate Bridge

The Plan
In the past couple of weeks, there has been a lot of talk about how officials with the Golden Gate Bridge District are planning on imposing a biking speed limit of 10 mph on the regular path and to 5 mph near the towers. Highway patrol will be using radar guns to monitor passing cyclists’ speed. Violators will be fined $100.
GGB spokeswoman Mary Currie told the Chronicle that this plan is to prevent bike and pedestrian accidents that are, according to GGB officials, commonplace on the bridge. A study showed that in the past ten years, there has been a total of 164 accidents, 39% of which involved excessive speeding. The solo bike crash happened 5 times more often than collisions between bikes and pedestrians.
The GGB’s Board of Directors will vote on the approval of this new project on May 13th. If it’s approved, the limit would most likely be in effect by the end of the summer.
Cyclists’ Criticisms
So far, the response has been generally negative. Hunter Ziesing of local cycling group ZTeam calls the plan a “smart” idea, but thinks the fine is too high and the speed too slow.
However, most others are not so agreeable. In contrast to the safety concerns raised by the GGB officials, many cyclists are arguing that this speed limit is unwarranted and unnecessary. In another article by the Chronicle, recreational cyclist P.J. Gallagher, who often bikes the Golden Gate, calls this plan “a joke” because “it’s a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist.”
Other cyclists have raised the complaint that it will be difficult for them to know what speed they’re travelling because most bikes are not equipped with speedometers. According to the study, the current average speed of cyclists on the bridge is 13-17 mph.
And even more have complained about the singling out of bicyclists when tourists are “the real problem” because, according to daily-commuter Lew Ketcher, “There are people coming right at you with a camera in one hand, looking out at the water. There are people stopping right in the middle of the path to take a picture.”
It’s too bad that, with money as the concern, tourists and unnecessary fines are the city’s best friends.

If you ever need a bicycle accident attorney in San Francisco, Paso Robles, or the surrounding Central California Coast area, contact us for a free consultation.