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San Francisco cycling campaigners form “people protected bike lane” in call for safer infrastructure

Initiative comes after city authorities made one of the group’s guerrilla bike lanes permanent last year

Cycle campaigners in San Francisco have formed a ‘human protected bike lane’ to call for safer infrastructure for people who ride bikes in the northern Californian city.

The initiative from the San Francisco Transformation Agency (SFMTrA), involved 15 campaigners dressed in yellow t-shirts linking arms to provide physical segregation – literally – between cyclists and motor vehicles on Golden Gate Avenue.

It happened on 1 May, the day before the director of the San Francisco Municipal Transport Authority (SFMTA, the name of which inspired that of the campaign group) was due to meet to discuss possible protected cycle lanes on Market Street and Turk Street.

SFMTrA organiser Matt Brezina told Bicycling.com: "My friend Maureen actually came up with the idea.

“She thought, ‘I put my unarmoured body in this unprotected space next to cars – the bike lane – daily. What if a bunch of us put our bodies in this dangerous space to make a statement about our daily unsafe riding conditions and temporarily make the bike lane more safe for other cyclists?’

“I heard the idea and thought it was brilliant."

He continued: “Our shirts have an illustration of a parent bicycling with a child.

“If a parent wouldn't walk a stroller in an unprotected bike lane next to moving car traffic, why do we expect them to bicycle with their children in this dangerous space?"

The reaction, according to Brezina?

“Cyclists cheered and said ‘thank you!’ Drivers stayed in their lane instead of entering the bike lane, which was a goal of our effort.

“No-one was aggressive. We weren't blocking car lanes, we were just making an unprotected bike lane safe.”

The SFMtrA has already enjoyed some success in making conditions safer for the city’s cyclists.

In November, we reported how it had installed a guerrilla separated bike lane on the city’s Folsom Street that the authorities subsequently decided to make permanent.

> San Francisco authorities respond to guerrilla bike lanes... by making them permanent

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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