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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 "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 joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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