Bicycle Accidents with Uber and Lyft Vehicles Stopped in Bike Lanes
Well implemented bike lanes improve everyone’s safety and even speed up automobile traffic. However, conflicts with Lyft and Uber drivers parking in designated bike lanes is reaching a fever pitch all across San Francisco. Vehicles pulling into bike lanes and parking in them put San Fancisco’s bicyclists at risk for accidents which simply do not need to happen, including dooring accidents. If you or a loved one is injured in a bicycle lane with an Uber or a Lyft driver, contact the San Francisco Bicycle Accident Lawyers at Bay Area Bicycle Law.
San Francisco Officials Urge Ride-Sharing Companies To Stop Parking In Bike Lanes
In particular, cyclists pedaling through Valencia Street are finding it difficult to bike without a few ride-sharing vehicles blocking their way. This issue has gotten so out of hand that Hillary Ronen, San Francisco’s District 9 supervisor, sent a fiery letter to both Uber and Lyft on November 2nd.
In this letter, Ronen demands that the two ride-sharing giants start using geofencing technology to find safer locations to pick up clients on Valencia Street. Ronen also wants both companies to hand over GPS-tracking data to District 9 so officials can keep tabs on how many times the ride-sharing giants are breaking San Francisco’s traffic safety laws.
The main reason there are so many conflicts on Valencia Street is simply because the street is so narrow. Ronen says that the lack of space is probably the main reason Lyft and Uber drivers continue to “disregard…existing traffic and parking regulations.”
While Ronen understands why Lyft and Uber drivers are having difficulties picking up and dropping off people on this street, she also says that’s no excuse to use bike lanes. She hopes that by working together, city officials and the ride-sharing companies can find safer spaces for both drop-off and pick-up.
At least 16 pedestrians and bikers in San Francisco have been killed due to road violence in 2017. While city officials have put up a few protected bike lanes on 7th and 8th in the South of Market area of town, local biker advocacy groups are demanding more protections to be put into place.
Ultimately, groups like the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and Walk San Francisco want the mayor’s office to adopt the “black spot” policy already put into place in more bike-friendly European nations. Basically, this “black spot” policy means that when a pedestrian is killed by a car at an intersection, the government must respond by a creating safer infrastructure.
A few biker advocacy groups have called for Ronen to put up walls around bike lanes Valencia Street to keep cars out. While Ronen is supportive of this strategy, she notes that it will take a great deal of time, planning, and money to make that a reality in the near-term.
Both Uber and Lyft have yet to respond to Ronen’s letter.
Although Valencia Street is undoubtedly having the most problems with ride-sharing vehicles blocking bike lanes, this issue has become so endemic that San Francisco’s Mayor Ed Lee was forced to write an open letter on the issue. In his letter, Mayor Lee encouraged ride-sharing companies to join the city government in a pilot program that would create designated ride-share parking spaces.
As of today, the mayor’s office is working on creating painted areas around the city specifically for Lyft and Uber drivers. The ride-sharing giants have also agreed to give the city traffic information from their drivers’ GPS devices.
To combat this huge issue of pedestrian safety, the city government teamed up with the Swedish road traffic safety organization Vision Zero in 2014. Vision Zero’s goal is to have zero traffic-related deaths in the Golden City by the year 2024.
Both Walk San Francisco and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition recently published an open letter to Mayor Lee calling for safer conditions pedestrian conditions around the city. Anyone can show their support for these demands by signing this letter online.