(bensonkua/Flickr)

Some Bay Area bicyclists are upset about a proposed 10 mph speed limit for bicycles across the Golden Gate Bridge. But a safety study commissioned by bridge officials concluded, among other things, that bicycle speed limits could help reduce accidents. We take up the issue of bike safety on the bridge.

Guests:
Andy Peri, advocacy and outreach coordinator for the Marin County Bicycle Coalition
Annelaine Clauss, spokesperson for Blazing Saddles, a San Francisco-based bike rental and tour company
Denis Mulligan, general manager and CEO of the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District

  • Julie Epona

    If the problem is often bike vs pedestrian how about putting pedestrians on one side of the bridge and bikes on the other. Also, how about solar-powered “your speed is” signs like the CHP uses on highways?
    Thank you – Julie Epona, Guerneville, CA member KQED Radio

  • Christopher

    What if they implement the speed signs that displays your current speed on the bridges for bikes, like they do for the cars on roadways? Just a thought, it might give riders an accurate speed reeding as they are on the bridge to avoid tickets and hurting other riders/walkers. Thoughts?

    • Christopher

      Do bike riders also realize, that roads (major or side roads) and bridges were developed for motor vehicles and not bicycles. They need to know their place on the road.

  • Amberart

    Bikes should not share side walks with pedestrians. Riders should walk their bikes accross the bridge. Through out the Bay Area, we walkers have to dodge being run over by speeding bikes, over and over again.. On the bridge there is no place to go when one of them tries to run you over. What an I supposed to do, jump over the edge to avoid a crash?

    I no longer do some of my favorite walks because of the rude, dangerous bike riders. I guess you can spend 3 grand for a bike but not 2 bucks for a bell. The idea of multi use paths is not working when you have to share them with bikes.

    Bkies should be walked accross the bridge!

    • Rlyu

      There’s another solution…don’t not walk on bike paths. The path on the bridge is not a sidewalk. Many of us ride bicycles as a greener alternative to commuting in pollution producing vehicle. Would you be willing to push your car down the road because jaywalking pedestrians complained about being run over?

      By the way, many of us do use bells or call out when we approach pedestrians…try paying attention.

  • Jnorthington

    I think a posted speed limit for bikers is absurd and unnecessary. I’ve been biking across that bridge for over 15 years, and bikers do have the capacity to respect each other. There is no way to prevent the occasional accident, but this is another way to harness the freedom of bikers.

  • Jeremy

    I’m an avid cyclist, and ride the GG Bridge. I’m in whole hearted agreement with this proposal, although I don’t know how a cyclist can gauge 10mph v. 15mph. In general, I think cyclists need to slow WAY down on the bridge.

  • Maritasews

    I’m supportive of speed controls for bicyclists on the bridge. It’s an issue of safety. There is a growing sense of entitlement in the cyclist community as demonstrated by cyclists who come into my community (Moraga) and do not follow basic traffic laws such as stopping at stop signs.

    • Scott

      Marita,

      We are talking about safety on the bridge. What does your experience with bicyclists running stop signs have to do with the topic?
      What you’re really saying is that cyclists are not perfect and we should penalize them with new laws regardless of how unworkable they are or how much they discourage people from cycling.
      Most car drivers routinely exceed the speed limit. That is to say that they “do not even follow basic traffic laws.” Would you support new laws to keep divers from exceeding the speed limit? Laws that would probably discourage drivers and make driving less practical?
      Perhaps we need better enforcement of the current laws for both. (I’d join you in voting for that.)
      As far as safety on the bridge is concerned, I sounds like the accident rate is probably too high, and something should be done, but I don’t think impractical speed limits for vehicles that are not even typically equipped with speedometers is the way to go. Perhaps with electronic speed signs to show riders how fast they are going, and more reasonable limits, we could reduce the accident rate.

      • Groach

        Agenda much? The poster is “supportive of speed controls…on the bridge” and says its “an issue of safety”. Then the poster elaborates about he sense of entitlement bicycle riders demonstrate by not following basic traffic laws. It is a natural extension of the discussion, just as out of control cyclists on the Embarcadero is also a natural extension of the discussion.

        I see you’d rather implement expensive electronic speed signs as opposed to a twenty dollar accessory to your bike? Good call Scott. If it’s all the same, I’d rather you shoulder the bill.

  • SFRider

    I don’t think a speed limit is the answer here. With only a slight tailwind and no pedaling, one can easily reach more than 10 mph on the downslope of the bridge. Most near accidents I have witnessed have been the result of bikers either riding on the wrong side of the path, riding side by side, or stopping abruptly to take pictures. A line dividing the path into north/south lanes, increased sign-age, designated stopping/photo areas, and increased tourist and locals education is better than a speed limit. Utilizing CHP to enforce a speed limit is outrageous: As of March 11th, 7 people have committed suicide from the bridge in 2011. No one has died in a bicycle accident. Use those CHP officers to patrol for jumpers instead of speeding bikers.

  • Familysmith_685

    I’m tired of being out hiking on a Sunday, anywhere in the bay area. and having bicyclists scream from behind, Out of the way. Is this the Senior path patrol? Rude and Dangerous

    Dan/Moraga

  • sosnewark

    I tried biking across with kids some years ago. It was a harrowing
    experience. I decided to not try again until my kids were teenagers.
    Several bicyclists raced and zoomed by at great speed without any consideration. Any wiggle by my kids would have resulted in a collision.
    A speed limit that would open the bridge to kids would be nice.
    Birgitta Bower (Newark)

  • Sweetbluehouse

    Code of Federal Regulations – Title 36: Parks, Forests, and Public Property
    (2) Bicycle speed limits are as follows: (i) 15 miles per hour: Upon all designated routes in Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

    (ii) 5 miles per hour: On blind curves and when passing other trail users.

    10 MPH around walkers is way too fast

  • biker

    I hear the Bike Coalition’s concern that bicyclists often cannot tell how fast they are going, but it’s a very weak argument. Like dayglo jackets, lights and whistles, bike speedomoters are easily available and can cost about $20-25.

    Bike Coalitions and the SF bridge can do public education to encourage the use of speedomoters, just as the do lights, day-glo, etc.

    There is no reason for bicyclists not to have speedomoters on the bridge and other fast throughfares.

    • Joe

      I agree. Car, truck, and motorcycle operators can’t tell how fast they’re going either. That’s why the DOT requires them all to have speedometers.

  • Joseph in SF

    Do we know how many of these accidents happened on the pedestrian free west side vs. The pedestrian/bicycle contact east side? Is separation being given any sort of consideration? This starting to sound like an anti-cyclist pet project of some bureaucrat.

  • Scott

    Bikes are vehicles, entitled to share the road way. Why are they relegated to the sidewalks on the bridge? How would car drivers respond to having to go around the pylons?

  • Coyote

    set up cameras to spot “reckless riders”, this would include going too fast under certain conditions

  • Amberart

    This is frustrating that you will not respond to the “bikes, walked on the bridge” idea.

    No where, in any town are bikes allowed on side walks with wakers.

  • SFRider

    Actually, Amberart, there is a sidewalk on Chrissy field that has lanes for cyclists and walkers. The system works very well.

  • Joe

    The last caller on the show made the comment that there is a culture difference between mountain bike riders and street bike riders, implying that many street riders are in essence riding with a mindset of making time and therefore not concerned with “riding friendly”. I have witnessed this same mindset in other places as well, notably Albuquerque, NM, where joggers and bicyclists routinely encounter each other on common use paths.

    Studies of riding accidents should at least consider differentiating between categories of riders (the tourist rental-biker rider is a great example) and see what type of rider is involved in what type of accident and how often.

  • Cryin

    I’ll try to put how much speed is not an issue on the GGB.. In the past 10 years there have been 164 accidents reported on the bridge. They say somewhere near 2.4 million pedestrians and cyclists cross over the bridge in any given year. I will make it easy and round that to 2 million for simplicity.. Basically, .00082% of the people crossing the bridge have been in an accident in the past 10 years and 39% of that was due to speed…

    What I didn’t see mentioned show many of the people involved in any type of accidents were local, tourist, type of bike they were ride, etc.. That would be a neat piece of information..

    I can assure you that speed is no an issue.. Stupidity is.. Plain and simple.. I mean really, if you were driving down the freeway would you stop your car in the middle of it to take a picture?, And who in their right mind out let their small children ride a bike across a bridge that on a calm day can have 15MPH cross winds? And who would rent a bike to a person with no safely instructions given to someone who doesn’t speak english very well, is over weight or hasn’t been on a bike in 20 years? And who rides a bike with one hand steering, one hand holding a camera whist looking out over the water? And tandem bikes with 5 year old on it.. Brilliant…

    The local commuters and cyclists are not a safety problem.. Bike rental companies and tourists are.. Plan an simple.. Companies like Blazing saddles need to educate people before sending them on their way..

    People need to dig a bit deeper to find the real reasons behind this policy they board tried to slip past the public…

  • David P

    I’m a cyclist of the GGB daily. Of every accident I’ve ever experienced, it was because a tourist is using a camera or videocamera while riding and they are not focused on the road. I’ve seen them steer into both walls, causing minor accidents and I’ve seen then verve into oncoming bike traffic and cause accidents. Speed was never the program. Paying attention is. Solve that problem and I assure you safety on the bridge will dramatically improve. Fine anyone filming or taking pictures while riding and you’ll make a mint.

  • Fast and safe cyclist

    Watch out for “Blazing Dangers”, you guys give any training/safety infos to your tourist bike renters?

  • Catofthebubbas

    The thing that is missed with the concept of a bicycle speed limit is the fact that it is possible to ride at 20mph and be absolutely safe, and it is possible to ride at 10mph and be totally reckless. If there is going to be enforcement personnel on the bridge, then have the rule be: ride safely and courteously. When I cross the bridge at 6AM and there are no walkers, I can ride safely and courteously at essentially any speed. When I cross the bridge at 3PM on a sunny Saturday, and the entire lane is filled with pedestrians, I can’t ride at all safely, so I get off and walk the bike. If I rode headlong into a crowd at 10mph, I should get a ticket for riding recklessly. It’s common sense. Walkers don’t hate cyclists, they hate rude and reckless cyclists. Cyclists hate rude and reckless cyclists as well.

  • news_and_interests

    In case some of you if not many, are reluctant to learn the logical rules, here it goes: – A vehicle must watch out and yield to pedestrians and bikers. The bikers and vehicles must watch out and yield to pedestrians. By the way, there is not such a thing as I have more driving skills and I know better than you, therefore it is ok for me to speed. Whenever you see a human being in a situation of confrontation that involve you, your bike or vehicle, slow down, watch out and proceed with caution. Avoiding accidents is the goal above all.

  • Coleo

    I think most of the accidents are caused by reckless, clueless driving and not the speed. A line dividing the sidewalk into 2 sections – on the east side a pedestrian and a bike side – on the west side arrows pointing to the direction you should be going in on each half of the sidewalk. I would also color one side in – like the green used in some bike lanes downtown – to make it even more clear.

  • SF-road&mountain-biker

    I was riding slowly on the golden gate bridge today, behind some tourist bikers, and had a conversation with a policeman on a mountain bike. I asked him if there was a speed limit, and he said no. He also thought it was a bad idea. I shared the concept of a minimum speed limit, and he chuckled as if that was a smarter idea. Before I took off to resume a low wattage training pace, I checked the my bike speedometer — 11mph.

  • john lawrence

    One caller mentioned the tendency of riders to use the GG Bridge leg as part of their personal time-trialing. I live on a major bike artery, Spruce Street, in Berkeley where downhill bicyclists regularly speed 15-20 miles beyond the posted speed limit of 25. They sometimes careen around a curve at near death speeds and yell at drivers who are entering or exiting their driveways. There is a sign by Dorothy Bolte that says “Bicyclists, slow down.” Most riders are courteous and safe but some need to be told emphatically that time trials are not appropriate in mixed use paths. –John In Berkeley

  • saimin

    The sign says KEEP RIGHT. The problem is that many bicyclists and pedestrians do not KEEP RIGHT. That forces oncoming traffic to swerve and weave, creating a dangerous situation for everyone. If everyone did follow the sign and KEEP RIGHT, then the bridge would be a lot safer for everyone.

  • jimmy

    build a bike lane &make the drivers slow down

  • Rlyu

    This is a proposal of pure stupidity and lack of understanding of the root causes of accidents. It’s not the cyclists, it is the clueless tourists (and occasional pedestrians walking on the weekend bike-only side!) who stop in the middle of the bike path. As another commenter wrote, would you stop in the middle of the freeway to take a picture? And let’s assume you did, would you stand in the middle of the road, or would you at very least pull over the the side? The other issue is the lack of awareness that it is a small bike path. I cringe every time I see two or more tourists riding abreast across the path.

  • Dwtcs20x

    Bicyclists are the most self rightous entitled group of people today. They demand that cars yield to them (as they should) and routinely (yes, it happens to me at least once a day in SF) DO NOT yield to pedestrians. Everyday, I will be in a crosswalk and the no-break hipster dufuses or the spandex weekend warriors will continue full speed and weave around me at a close distance. Now, if a car did that to a biker…ohh my, their would be protests at City Hall. As the guest points out, Bikes are vehicles in the eyes of CA law, meaning they have the right to use the road. But with rights come responsibilities!! That means, bikers, slow down, obey ALL trafic laws and at all times yield to pedestrians. That means, when a pedestrian is walking in the crosswalk, come to a complete stop and wait until they exit the crosswalk before procedding.

  • Piccolome

    andy Peri . you are a brialliant speaker. your sugestions are doable
    my fear is a bicyclist will fall into traffic and be killed

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