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Safety considerations rise as San Francisco sees more cyclists

Over the last few years, more and more San Francisco residents have been turning to bicycles as alternative transportation options. Although this trend has been obvious to anyone traveling the city’s streets, a recently released report from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency shows just how popular biking has become.

The 2012 San Francisco State of Bicycling report shows that annual ridership has more than doubled over the last six years. In addition, the number of people who commute by bicycle increased by 66 percent between 2002 and 2010.

To accommodate the increasing number of bicyclists, the city has made a number of large and small infrastructure changes. There are now approximately 65 miles of designated bike routes throughout San Francisco, an increase of about 65 percent from 2008. In addition, the number of secure bicycle racks has increased by 85 percent over the same period. There are now almost 2,600 throughout the city.

Still, many cyclists worry that the city has not done enough to protect bikers from the real hazards of the road. For example, though painted bike lanes send an important message, they don’t prevent bicycle accidents as well as other strategies. Some cyclists want the city to install protected bikeways that take bikers out of the flow of motorized traffic. Others would like to see more bicycle-friendly boulevards throughout San Francisco.

Of course, all the safety measures in the world cannot completely erase the risk of encountering a negligent driver. Sadly, even though biking has become more popular, not all drivers understand that they are required to share the road.

Source: SF Bay, “City Pedals Fast to Keep Pace With Bike Growth,” Jesse Garnier, Sept. 20, 2012.

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