Every major city has a street that is absolutely hellish, and in San Francisco it’s Market Street. It bisects downtown, and with all the buses and taxis and Ubers and automobiles, it’s a chaotic and occasionally horrifying three-mile stretch that is best, and worst, traveled by bicycle.
Hundreds of cyclists ride down Market each day, mixing with all manner of motorized mayhem. Designated bike lanes—painted bright green so those in cars and buses know to keep the hell out—help, but it’s still pretty damn scary. The occasional plastic bollard is your only protection from the hulking steel coffins speeding past you just a few feet away.
Riding in just about any city is dangerous, and 141 cyclists died in collisions with cars statewide in 2013, according to the California Office of Traffic Safety. That’s nearly 20 percent of the 743 cyclists killed nationwide. San Francisco, which has an active and vocal cycling community, saw three cyclists killed last year (out of 29 people killed in traffic accidents), and is rolling out an aggressive plan to eliminate traffic deaths in the city by 2024.
“We’ve seen that when you build safer streets for people biking, it helps the environment and congestion by encouraging more people to get out of their cars and hop on a bike,” says Chris Cassidy, communications director for the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. “We are pushing for a cross-city network of protected bike lanes because physical separation is key to inviting more people to ride bikes, and to do so safely.”
Vision Zero SF includes 24 “priority safety projects” that the city vows to complete by February. […]