Valencia Street Commute is Dangerous for Cyclists

In 1999 City Officials and the SFMTA transformed the restaraunt-lined Valencia street by trading in two traffic lanes for bike lanes. This transformation made the street a regular commute route for cyclists going to and from work. However, the increasing late-night popularity of the corridor among foodies and those looking for a meal in a chic part of town has led to more car traffic especially at night.

The street is notorious among cyclists for incidents of cars darting into the bike lane to nab a prime parking spot, and nearly hitting cyclists while they do it. In addition, cars often double park in the bike lane and taxis stop in the lane to drop off their passengers. All of these obstructions force cyclists to swerve into the busy car traffic and risk injury.

The problem is a combination of lackluster police presence and enforcement and inadequate bike lanes. For now, the solution, bike commuters say, is increased enforcement of traffic laws including wreckless driving (for the sudden swerving into the bike lanes) and parking violations for the double parking. For the future, however, the SF Bike Coalition is hoping that Valencia will join Golden Gate Park as well as Fell and Oak streets by instituting a protected/separated bike lane.

Until then, cyclists will have to continue to be vigilant and reactive and the community will have to continue to pressure the SFPD and the MTA for more enforcement on the corridor.


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