Resources for Bicyclists in the Bay Area
There has never been a better time to be a cyclist in the Bay Area, and it’s getting better all the time. In 2021, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency counted a bevy of infrastructure improvements for the approximately 4.7 million bicycles hitting the streets every day.
Last year, there were 660 new bike racks installed across the region, over 1,300 additional parking spots created, 121 protected miles added to pathway networks and 33.8 miles converted to slow streets for cyclists and pedestrians. This is exciting news for a city that had a resurgence of cyclists during the pandemic, and the community is growing stronger. If you’re new to it, or looking for a group of people who share your hobby, you won’t be disappointed.
It can be, however, a little daunting. The good news is that there’s a big community here and plenty of people who are willing to lend some tips and meet up for a quick (or not so quick) ride. From clubs, to learning local laws, below you’ll find all the resources you need to get started on San Francisco streets or expand your network.
Local bike coalitions are a great place to start if you’re new to cycling or new to the San Francisco Bay Area. We’ve talked about many of the awesome local bicycle coalitions at length previously on our blog.
While each bicycle coalition has a slightly different flavor, in general they are a place to go for information about all things cycling, and also do advocacy work to try to make streets safer for cyclists. If you want to learn the rules of the road or how to perform basic bicycle or maintenance, or if you just want to connect with other cyclists, your local bicycle coalition is a great place to start.
If riding seems like a solo activity, you’ve got to check out one of the several clubs around the Bay Area. There’s a group for everybody, whether you’re into competitive riding or just want to mosey down to your local brewery with the crew.
- Meetup: Bay Area Cycling — For people looking to meet other local cyclists for rides all around the greater San Francisco Bay Area, explore new trails, share training tips, etc.
- San Francisco Cycling Club — Founded in 2012, the club was created to fill a gap in the San Francisco cycling community. The organization’s goal is to bring cyclists together to ride, race, share advice and talk about sunglasses over a post-ride espresso or beer.
- San Francisco Bicycle Coalition — The coalition hosts events for beginners on up to avid riders. Whether you’re looking for a group of likeminded people to share the road with or a beginner class to help you feel more confident on the road, the coalition probably has something for you.
- Oakland Yellowjackets — No matter how slow of a rider you are, there’s a place for you with the Oakland Yellowjackets. The group, which was established in 1986, has a “no drop” policy, so don’t worry about being left behind on any of their rides. Find their calendar of events here.
You can learn a fair amount about Bay Area cycling even when you’re not out on a ride. Online forums can be a trove of information. You may learn a few tips and tricks about your own neighborhood or favorite paths, find new spots and help others just like you.
- Reddit — The San Francisco Bay Area Cycling Reddit page boasts information about group rides, and there’s tons of information available on local routes, gear recommendations and more.
- The San Francisco Bike Ride Crew — If you’ve got questions about riding around San Francisco, this Facebook group likely has answers. They even host their own rides regularly and post about available resources.
- East Bay Bicycle Crew — This group has been going strong since 2011. If you’ve got a stolen bike, posting here will ensure a whole bunch of people will see it and keep an eye out. Plus, you’re able to connect with others about local infrastructure, rides and more.
Crowd-sourced Online Trail Maps
If you’re looking for new trails or routes to try, crowd-sourced online bike trail maps like bikemap and AllTrails are a great resource. Although these websites aren’t specific only to the Bay Area (and instead are nationwide or even worldwide) they have tons of information about local trails and routes. Other cyclists can add routes, and add useful information about how difficult the ride was, and what they liked or didn’t like about it. Whether you’re looking for an off-road mountain bike adventure, or the safest way to get from point A to point B, online crowdsourced bicycle maps are invaluable.
Plan a trip with SFMTA
Whether you’re looking to ride to a trendy neighborhood cafe or you’re traveling by bike with visiting family and friends, use the SFMTA trip planner to find the best route.
Even if you’re pretty familiar with the region, using the app can be helpful because new projects to improve bikeways are happening all the time. You might find a faster or less hectic route by getting directions right from the source.
Before you hit the road, you should know the rules. Luckily, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition has an easy rundown.
A few local laws to remember when you’re cycling through the Bay Area:
- Pedestrians have right of way
- Obey all traffic lights
- Ride with the flow of traffic
- Plan to wear headphones? Drivers and cyclists are required to keep an ear clear, even if you’re using a hands free device
- Reflectors are required, as is a front white light
Unfortunately, having a stolen bicycle is not uncommon. If it happens to you, be sure to file a police report first. You’ll need your registration number, serial number and a recent photo of the bicycle.
Ways to file a report:
- Online — Visit this webpage to see how.
- Over the phone — (415) 553-0123
- In person at your San Francisco Police Department district station.
After you’ve done that, local crime prevention non-profit Safety Awareness For Everyone advises that you notify SF SAFE so that they can add the stolen bike to their database.
The City of San Francisco does not currently require cyclists to register their bikes with the city.
Bicycle Accident Lawyers
A crash isn’t something any cyclist wants to have to think about. But putting some thought in ahead of time so that you know what to do if you or someone you’re riding with is in a bicycle accident is a good idea. Following a collision, you’ll often have a lot of adrenaline that makes it hard to think clearly. That’s why the bicycle accident lawyers at our firm have put together a page with all the best advice we have for a bicyclist who has been in an accident. Keep your fingers crossed that you never need it, but give it a read so that you’re prepared, just in case. The bullet points are:
- Tell your side of the story to the police
- Do not make any statements to anyone else
- Obtain witness and driver contact information
- Make notes of the incident and preserve evidence
- Do not speak with any insurance company representative until after speaking to an attorney
- Get the medical treatment you need
Having somebody on your side that specializes in bicycle cases can make a world of difference if you’re in an accident. After an accident, there’s a lot to deal with and the law can be complicated. We’ve taken on this niche because we love cycling and we care about the safety of our community.
Yes, we handle a handful of pedestrian, scooter and motorcycle cases, but the vast majority of our work is for people just like you. Other firms may claim to specialize in bicycle accidents, but sometimes it’s only a small percentage of their total work. Here, it’s what we do all day, every day.
We hope you consider us an essential resource for Bay Area bicyclists. Whether you have been in a crash and are looking for a bike accident lawyer, or just have questions about bicycle law, always feel free to reach out to our friendly bike accident attorneys.