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Protected bike lane on Valencia Street works

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“Commonsense safety improvements dramatically reduce the risk of collisions and save lives”

Woman cyclists with helmet riding along Valencia Street inside of a protected bike lane. Cars are at her left, safely separated by a barrier. Photo courtesy of SF Bicycle Coalition

Following the completion of the Valencia Street Pilot Safety Project, a December 2018 program that installed buffered bike lanes on Valencia between Market and 15th Street, the results are in: protected bike lanes work.

According to data from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), there was a 95 percent decrease in interactions between drivers and cyclists at mid-block locations where bike riders are at risk of being doored by cars.

The amount of vehicle loadings and unloadings (e.g., Uber pickup and drop-offs) also dropped significantly from 159 observed instances in October 2018 to two observed instances in May 2019.

“Valencia Street was one of the most dangerous corridors in our city before this project, which is why I pushed to have these safety improvements expedited,” said Mayor Breed in a written statement. “The data now backs up what we knew to be true—commonsense safety improvements dramatically reduce the risk of collisions and save lives.”

Brian Wiedenmeier, executive director of the San Francisco Bike Coalition, added, “These numbers are further proof that infrastructure like protected bike lanes dramatically improves safety on our street.”

An estimated 2,100 cyclists use Valencia daily, according to SFMTA. It’s also one of the corridors with the highest risk of injury to cyclists—not to mention a popular street for dining, shopping, and nightlife, making it an area rife with Uber and Lyft cars.

Similar renovations on Valencia up to 19th Street will tentatively be completed by spring 2020. Mayor Breed has promised 20 miles of new protected bike lanes to be finished by the end of 2020, according to a statement from the Mayor’s Office.