May 16, 2007

 

BIKE TO WORK DAY IS MAY 17, 2007
GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE REMINDS CYCLISTS TO BE SAFE
AND SHARE THE SIDEWALK

Follow the 10 Golden Guidelines

 

The Golden Gate Bridge (Bridge) sidewalks are clearly one of the most breathtakingly beautiful rides in the Bay Area. With more and more bicyclists using the sidewalks each year, they can be extremely busy at times, especially during nice weather. At any given time the sidewalks can be filled with cyclists with a wide range of skill levels, travel speeds, and cycling “cultures.” This, coupled with just as wide a diversity of tourists with varied language backgrounds who are very often distracted by the views and traffic noise, can increase the potential for incidents can rise if bicyclists are not riding responsibly.

By following the 10 Golden Guidelines for a Safe Golden Gate Bridge Sidewalk, bicyclists can assist in keeping the Bridge sidewalks a safe and enjoyable place for everyone—tourists and bicyclists alike:

  1. Cyclists should be especially cautious and exercise added patience with tourists.
  2. Cyclists should keep right, unless passing.
  3. Cyclists must always ride at safe speeds.
  4. Cyclists must yield to pedestrians at all times.
  5. When passing, cyclists should be extraordinary mindful to go slow and even come to a stop and walk their bicycles through crowded areas. It is generally very noisy on the Bridge, not all tourists understand English and are often distracted by both the noises and the views. When calling out "on your left" or ringing a bell before passing a pedestrian or another cyclist, is very likely to not be heard and possibly not understood. If there is not ample room to pass, wait until oncoming traffic has passed before proceeding, giving those behind you adequate warning first.
  6. Cyclists should exercise extra caution around the main towers as there is limited space within which to maneuver, it can be very difficult to see around crowds and the corners are tight.
  7. Cyclists should use caution when passing construction equipment or rounding corners, especially in variable wind conditions.
  8. Cyclists should stop only in the viewing areas on either side of the Bridge or out of the path of all other sidewalk traffic.
  9. Cyclists should always be mindful of cyclists and pedestrians behind them.
  10. The Golden Gate Bridge sidewalks are for everyone—please assist in making sure they remain friendly places to ride and walk!

Bicycle Safety Enhancements
In 2003, to assist in increasing safety for all sidewalk users, a 4-foot 6-inch high safety railing was added between the Bridge sidewalks and the roadway. In addition, to improve safety for cyclists, signage is upgraded periodically, landscaping is pruned to allow better sight lines, and educational outreach about cycling safety is conducted periodically with both the San Francisco and Marin County Bicycle Coalitions.

Bicycle Incidents
In recent years, as the number of bicycles using the sidewalks has risen, so has the numbers of incidents involving bicycles which has grown from 12 incidents in 2000 to 26 incidents in 2005 (the data for 2006 is not available). At the same time period, the number of bike-to-bike incidents has also increased from 1 to 10.

This data reflects the importance of continued efforts to educate and encourage bicyclists to use the 10 Golden Guidelines when using the Bridge sidewalks.

Bicycle Use Stats
As a routine course of business, the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District does not conduct counts of bicycle and pedestrian traffic on the Bridge sidewalks. Counts were conducted most recently in the late 1990s and in 2002. Here are the ranges from those counts which are weather influenced:

Bicyclists: Weekdays: from 80 to 1,600 and on Weekends/Holidays: from 125 to 5,000
Pedestrians: Weekdays: up to as many as 3,800 and on Weekends/Holidays: between 5,000 and 6,600

These numbers are likely higher in 2007 as bicycle usage has grown with the rise in bicycle rental vendors in San Francisco, along with the general increase in bicycle commuting and recreational cycling.

Bicycle Access Hours and Locations
Cyclists have toll-free access to the Bridge's sidewalks 24-hours a day. The hours are modified seasonally and the current hours for daylight saving time through November 3, 2007, are as follows:

Weekdays
EAST sidewalk 5 am to 3:30 pm
WEST sidewalk 3:30 pm to 9 pm
EAST sidewalk 9 pm to 5 am, via remotely controlled security gates located at both ends of the EAST sidewalk. Cyclists press the "buzzer" located near the closed security gate. After security staff locates the cyclist on a security camera, the gate is opened remotely. Cyclists repeat this procedure to get through the security gate at the other end.


Weekends and Holidays
WEST sidewalk 5 am to 9 pm
EAST sidewalk 9 pm to 5 am, using remotely controlled security gate system


For more information on Bikes on the Bridge as well as bikes on Golden Gate Transit, visit www.goldengate.org.