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BART to Try "Bike Fridays" in August

BART cooperated with bike coalitions in the East Bay and San Francisco on a plan to test "Bike Fridays" in August. The pilot program will allow bikes on board at any time on Friday, even during rush hours.

Starting tomorrow, BART will begin a pilot program allowing bikes on trains at any time, including rush hours, on Fridays in August, BART announced.

Dubbed "Bike Fridays," the program is intended to test whether BART should liberalize its rules for bikes on board or continue with the current limitations during peak periods on several lines, BART announced in June.

“The bicycling community, particularly the East Bay and San Francisco Bicycle Coalitions, have been instrumental in helping us design this pilot project,” BART Board Vice President Tom Radulovich said in a statement. “Issues surrounding lifting the restrictions have been long-debated inside BART. I’m happy to see that we’re now about to put the idea to the test.”

Some restrictions will remain in place on Fridays in August, including bans on taking bikes onto the first car or onto crowded trains, BART said.

BART estimates that about 4 percent of BART riders travel by bicycle to BART stations, and that about 60 percent of those customers take their bikes on board.

The East Bay Bicycle Coalition, primary advocates for bike policies in the region, released tips for BART bicycle commuters to follow during the pilot program.

From the EBBC:

  • If a car is crowded, board another car or wait for the next train. Do not try to wedge a bike into a crowded car.
  • Stay out of the 1st car, bikes still not allowed in this lead car
  • Exit and board quickly to keep trains on time. A delayed train can have a ripple effect through the entire BART system.
  • Step aside when doors are closing to avoid delaying the train.
  • Be mindful of your fellow riders and make sure your bike is leaving them adequate space.
  • When possible use the designated "bike space" on the cars that have it.
  • Do yield to pregnant, disabled and elderly passengers.

More information about the current bicycle policy can be found on BART's bike Web page.

Robert Prinz August 05, 2012 at 07:04 AM
I don't understand, you are saying that 4 people with bikes were taking up 3 seats each? I've seen people sitting at the parallel seats near the doors with their bikes taking up 2 spots, but I don't see how using 3 is even possible. If someone with their bike was unintentionally blocking passage to the rear door, wouldn't it be possible to ask them to move so you could get through? Why was everyone on the car irritated if the train was not so crowded that the bikes could be accomidated? Would they have been equally irritated by riders bringing luggage or strollers on board? Beyond this, most of the riders on BART with bikes that I have encountered go above the status quo to try to be courteous and respectful of other riders, and not get in the way. The ones I have seen stand much more than other passengers, even though there may be empty seats available, specifically because they don't want to take up more space than they have to. I also see riders with bikes allowing other passengers into cars before them, and entering at a different door when they see their first choice is too crowded. How many other types of BART passengers do this on a regular basis?
Robert Prinz August 05, 2012 at 07:05 AM
This pilot project is all about the expectation of people to be able to behave like rational adults and make decisions using common sense, but this notion extends to all riders as well, not just cyclists. If someone is blocking your way or if you see someone using multiple seats just ask them politely to move. Bikes are allowed on the NYC subway at all hours, and part of the reason it works is because people exercise their common sense and are not afraid to interact with one another a little bit.
David Ross August 05, 2012 at 02:51 PM
Robert, I researched your statement that local roads are paid by sales and property taxes. Still, one third of the fuel tax goes to local roads. The tolls that motorists pay to cross the bridges in the Bay Area should not be charged. The purpose of the tolls were to pay off the financing of the bridge. However, somewhere along the line the government forgot to discontinue the tolls once the financing was paid off. It is my understanding that some bridges are opened to bicyclists, either through a dedicated lane or via a bike ferry.
Robert Prinz August 05, 2012 at 05:08 PM
David: Yes, my point was that local roads are paid for by everyone regardless of how much one drives on them, mostly via non-user fees. The often reapeated statement that bicyclists don't belong on the road as they do not contribute financially is not factual, especially once one considers how comparatively inexpensive bike infrastructure is. Bridge tolls exist for many reasons, one of them being construction, maintenance and seismic upgrades as you mentioned. However, other important reasons include congestion mitigation and air quality management. If you think the bridges are crowded now, just wait until we made them free to use. Beyond that, most of the hugely expensive bridge and tunnel projects are also funded in part via federal grants and non-user funds like bonds. Most bridges in the Bay Area are thankfully open to bicyclists, expect for the Richmond and Bay Bridges. Some of these access lanes are just glorified shoulders or maintenance paths, such as on the Dumbarton Bridge, whereas in other cases like the Carquinez Bridge there is a very nice, protected side path. However, bike access on bridges is usually the least expensive way to increase capacity, as adding additional car lanes is usually not a realistic option. Bicyclists do have the option to ride a ferry, bus, BART, or shuttle to get across, which they do pay for like any other passengers.
Smart guy August 05, 2012 at 10:41 PM
I have read lots of good thoughts here and it seems pretty obvious that biker and non-bikers are two different species; but they both deserve to be able to use public transportation, especailly since there is so little of it available. Why not just add an extra car at the end of the BART train during commute hours that is only for bike riders?

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