Updated July 11, 2011

Updated June 13, 2011

Updated May 9 & 31, 2011

Updated April 21 & 27, 2011

Posted April 19, 2011

Following the April 21 discussion at the Building and Operating Committee about the concept of sidewalk safety improvements including a possible speed limit, staff held two open houses on May 19 and is considering further revisions to the original proposal.


We expect to come back to the Board with a modified proposal in September pending further outreach and coordination with sidewalk stakeholders.

MAY 19, 2011, GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE SIDEWALK BIKE SAFETY MEETINGS & OPEN HOUSES

Save the Date!

On Thursday, May 19, 2011, the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District (GGBHTD) will host two OPEN HOUSE-style informational meetings to exchange information and ideas and to further discuss the recent proposal to add a speed limit on the Golden Gate Bridge sidewalks. The two meetings are scheduled as follows:

May 19, 6AM - 8AM at the EAST sidewalk entrance to the Golden Gate Bridge at Vista Point (north end)

May 19, 3PM - 5PM in the Board Room, Admin Building, 2nd Floor at the Golden Gate Bridge Toll Plaza

Materials available to review include:

Press Release issued April 21

Open House meeting exhibits summarize what is proposed and the consultant's findings

Staff Report from April 21 Building and Operating Committee meeting

Complete consultant report - Bicycle Safety Study for the Golden Gate Bridge

To comment, please email us at bridgecomments@goldengate.org.

 


 

APRIL 21, 2011, BUILDING & OPERATING COMMITTEE VOTES TO CONTINUE DISCUSSION ON SPEED LIMIT FOR BICYCLES

At the April 21 Building and Operating Committee of the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District (GGBHTD), the members voted to continue the discussion regarding the proposed bicycle–related safety enhancements to a future time not yet determined and directed staff to conduct additional outreach with the area bicycle coalitions, clubs, daily commuters, and bike rental companies.

The five bicycle-related safety enhancement recommendations discussed by the B&O Committee at their Thursday, April 21 are listed below. The items up for discussion are based on the recent consultant study, Bicycle Safety Study for the Golden Gate Bridge (Study). If approved by the Committee, this matter will be presented to the Board of Directors at its May 13, 2011, meeting for appropriate action.

The Study confirms that the Bridge sidewalks and access pathways are safe for pedestrians and bicyclists. Nonetheless, safety can be further enhanced with the implementation of the proposed recommendations, which are consistent with the Study recommendations:

  1. Adopt a 10 MPH speed limit for Bicyclists on Bridge sidewalks and access pathways;
  2. Adopt a 5 MPH per hour speed limit around the Bridge towers and in construction and maintenance zones;
  3. Set a fine schedule for California Highway Patrol’s (CHP) enforcement at a $100 fine/offense and develop an enforcement plan with CHP;
  4. Develop and implement a signage and pavement marking program for the sidewalks to post the speed limit and to better guide pedestrians and bicyclists;
  5. Prohibit bicycles with seats that exceed 4 feet in height above the ground, and a prohibition against unicycles.

 

SUMMARY OF EXISTING CONDITIONS

  1. On a busy day: as many as 6,000 bicyclists and 10,000 pedestrians use the sidewalks
  2. Over the last 10 years, there have been 164 reported bicycle-involved accidents that produced 178 injuries, 119 of those injuries were serious enough to require transport by ambulance
  3. Most common type of accident on the Bridge sidewalks is the solo bike accident
  4. 5 times as many solo bicycle accidents as bicycle-pedestrian accidents
  5. Most common accident location is the west sidewalk, where pedestrians are prohibited
  6. Speed was identified as a contributing factor in 39% of all bike-related accidents.

 

SIGNAGE AND STRIPING

If approved, speed limit signage would be posted appropriately and pavement markings added in locations that will enhance separation of bikes and pedestrians on the EAST sidewalk. GGBTD staff would also re-evaluate opportunities of enhancement to safety on the Bridge sidewalks through possible improvements in signage at either end or along the length of either Bridge sidewalk. GGBHTD staff will also review of the universal signs at either end of the Bridge on both sidewalks to determine whether new technologies, etc., are available that might make the signage even more clear than it is at this time. Staff will also review signage, including traffic signage, on other pathways used by bicyclists.

Where the EAST sidewalk is shared by both pedestrians and bicyclists signage and pavement markings would be added, at intervals to illustrate the general separation of bicycles to the inside and pedestrians to the outside, to assist in delineating specific space on the sidewalk for each type of user. Although it would not create a completely defined space, as striping would, it would reinforce the informal rules that users already follow where bicycles stay to the inside and pedestrians stay to the outside.

 

COUNTS AND ACCIDENT DATA

WEEKEND DAY PEDESTRIANS ON EAST SIDEWALK: 10,000 pedestrians

WEEKEND DAY BIKES ON WEST SIDEWALK: 4,600 bicyclists

WEEKDAY: 4,200 pedestrians and 1,900 bicyclists on the east sidewalk. Although there were only 600 bicyclists on the west sidewalk on a weekday, the west sidewalk is only open to the bicyclists after 3:30 p.m. on weekdays.

West Sidewalk

2000 and 2009: 85 accidents involving bicycles, of which 16 were head-on accidents, were reported on the WEST sidewalk. The majority (2/3) of these incidents involved a solo bicyclist. To be sure, the number of bicycle accidents on the west sidewalk is not increasing nearly as quickly as the number of cyclists on the sidewalks. The vast majority of the incidents that do occur generally have not resulted in significant injuries.

The highest occurrence of head-on collisions was reported in 2002, when there were 5 separate incidents involving collisions where two or more bicyclists traveling in opposite directions made contact on the west sidewalk. In 2004, after the completion of the public safety railing in 2003, there was only one head-on bicycle accident on the west sidewalk. In 2005, there were three; in 2006, there was one; and in 2007, there were four head-on accidents reported on the west sidewalk. Apart from one 2005 head-on collision that did result in serious injuries, all other collisions resulted in only minor injuries.

East Sidewalk

2000 to 2009: 79 incidents involving bicyclists on the EAST sidewalk. While the number of collisions has increased in the aggregate, the accident rate has not in light of the dramatic increase in the numbers of pedestrians and bicyclists who use the east sidewalk. The crowded and mixed-use nature of the east sidewalk plays a role in keeping the accident rate from increasing. The congestion itself controls the bicycle speeds on the east sidewalk, and thus plays an important role in controlling the severity of injuries resulting from bicycle accidents on the east sidewalk.

 

BICYCLE SPEED

  • In recent years, the number of incidents involving bicycles on the sidewalks has continued to increase as the number of bicyclists using the sidewalks rapidly has increased;
  • 164 reported accidents from 2000 to 2009;
  • 39% involved speed as a factor;
  • 43% of incidents involving two or more bicycles involved speed as a factor;
  • 32% of solo bicycle collisions involved speed as a factor;
  • 12% of the 164 accidents involved bicyclists and pedestrians. Speed was cited in 63% of these incidents, compared to 35% for all other types of bike-related accidents.

Under California Vehicle Code section 21206, the GGBHTD is authorized “to regulate the operation of bicycles on pedestrian or bicycle facilities, provided such regulation is not in conflict with the provisions of the Vehicle Code.”

It is standard practice for a local entity to adopt an Ordinance that: (1) identifies the applicable speed limit(s); (2) identifies the citation amount(s) for violating the speed limit(s); and (3) specifies that a violation of the speed limit is an “infraction.”

When an individual is cited for violating the speed limit, the original citation is delivered to the Traffic Court located in the county where the citation was issued. Once the court receives the citation, the court generates and mails a courtesy notice to the person who was cited. The courtesy notice contains the amount due and procedures for contesting the citation. Should the cited individual choose to contest the citation, the park ranger or law enforcement officer who issued the citation may be required to appear in court to testify.

In other jurisdictions, both park rangers and local law enforcement officers are authorized to issue citations for violations of bicycle speed limits. In practical terms, however, the individuals tasked with enforcement vary depending on the location and resources of the local entity. As an example, the Mid Peninsula Open Space District has a “Bicycle Ranger” program whereby park rangers are equipped with bicycles and radar guns in order to enforce the speed limits. On the other hand, park rangers at the Marin County Open Space District are not equipped with radar guns, nor are they trained to use radar guns, and therefore a local Sherriff assigned to the Open Space District enforces the speed limit.

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