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How to Get on Muni with Your Bike

As more and more Bay Area residents look for reasons to escape the house, bicycling is growing in popularity.  People that may feel stuck at home have turned to two-wheeled travel for exercise or even to get to work or score some groceries.

Trek decided to find out exactly why bikes have grown in popularity in the time of social distancing. They took an old-fashioned poll. Trek found that of Americans who own a bike, 21% have been riding more since the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly two-thirds of those that responded also believed bike riding helped relieve stress.  Something we could all use a little more of.

Muni or Not to Muni with Your Bike

With many of these cyclists being new to the sport or possibly renewing their love of biking after a long break, some may be a bit clueless on certain protocols when navigating big cities like San Francisco.

One snag may arise when a rider who’s been out of the game for a while needs to utilize city transportation.  Perhaps the “Muni” (San Francisco speak for buses, light rail, and cable cars) is the best choice for you.

So, what do you do with your bike before you board? It can’t be that hard, can it? We checked out the process so that you don’t have to find yourself without a clue.

Bus Biking but No Light Rail Biking

The first thing you’ll need to know, so you don’t look like a total noob, is that you can only hitch your bike to city buses.  There’s no place to stash your bike on the Muni Metro and other light rail vehicles. And don’t even think about it on a cable car. The Muni Metro and other light rail vehicles do allow foldable bikes on board. They must be kept in a folded position and must be kept out of the way of other riders.

With that out of the way, you’ll want to know that Muni Buses have space for two bikes on their front rack. First come first serve. Also important to note is that certain extra gear on a bike may not fit and must be removed.  Things like air pumps, saddlebags, luggage, front-mounted baskets, must be taken off. Rear-mounted racks, baskets, and child seats ARE permitted.

Proper Boarding of a Bike on a Muni Bus

The process of taking a bike along on a bus ride is simple and safe if you follow the rules.  Here are the basics.

  • Wait for the bus to make a customer stop.
  • Make eye contact with the operator before walking your bike to the rack; this is for your own safety.
  • Load your bike only from the curbside of the bus. Loading from the traffic side of the street is forbidden.
  • Before boarding the bus, remove all loose items from your bike.

The actual act of putting your bike on the rack is easier to show you than tell you.  There’s a handy Muni video here that teaches you how it works. It’s really not that hard. It involves a handle you pull to drop the rack down.  Then you mount the bike and secure it with a bar.  That’s it.  Keep in mind you are not allowed to lock your bike to the rack.

Retrieving your Bike from a Muni Bus

Exiting and grabbing your bike is a similar process that involves more polite eye contact. Remember, that eye contact could save your life.

  • Notify the bus operator that you will be removing your bike from the rack before your stop.
  • Exit from the front door.
  • Make eye contact with the bus operator before removing your bike.
  • Unload the bike only from the closest curbside, never from the traffic side.
  • Remove your bike and return the bike rack to its upright position if there are no other bikes on it.
  • For your safety, you will need to step away from the bus towards the curb to avoid oncoming traffic.

That’s the process! Hopefully, this helps any new bicyclists who have used the new normal as an excuse to ride more.

Let’s Review Bus Riding with a Bike

A few more tips to take with you.  Muni is not responsible or any damage to or theft of your bike.  Also, Muni drivers are not allowed to leave their seats to help you with your bike. Loading and unloading are your responsibility.

Please use this knowledge as an excuse to do some safe riding and busing around the Bay Area.  Get out there and have fun!

We are Bay Area Bicycle Law

Bay Area Bicycle Law has spent years advocating for the bicycle community.  We want safer rides for every cyclist.  In the event of an accident, we also want to help protect the victim.  We concentrate our practice solely on bicyclists who have been injured as a result of the carelessness and negligence of others. We’re dedicated and effective bicycle accident lawyers. If you were injured in a bicycle accident in or around San Francisco or anywhere around the bay area, contact us right away for a confidential free consultation and case review.