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BART opens doors to more bikes

There’s a bit of a love-hate relationship between BART and bicyclists.

The transit system is generally friendly to bike riders, allowing them to bring their wheels onto trains — with one glaring, massive exception: No bikes during rush hour.

This loathed (by bicyclists) restriction can strand those without cars on the wrong side of the Bay, forcing them to wait their turn until peak hours were over.

BART has repeatedly killed off any hopes of allowing bike riders to share the train with commuters during the afternoon rush — until now.

The transit system has proposed “Bike Fridays,” an experimental project where, every Friday this August, bikes would be allowed on trains all day.

Unlike other transit systems that handle bike riders by restricting them to the last car, BART is allowing two-wheeled patrons to ride on any car except the first, as per BART rules.

BART has referred to this process as an evaluation period because during this time, riders and operators will be surveyed to see if everything is going well. This feedback will determine the fate of the idea, officials said:

“The evaluation will help determine if the pilot is extended or if BART continues to restrict bikes during peak periods. The evaluation will include feedback from riders, both cyclists and non-cyclists, and an analysis of operational issues, such as the amount of time a train remains at each station to accommodate bicycle boarding.  Any suggested changes to BART’s bike rules will go to the BART Board for discussion.”

The SF Bike Coalition — and no doubt, the many Bay Area bike riders they represent — is totally stoked on this new plan, and have written out a few pointers for bicyclists to make sure this process goes well:

  • If the car is full wait for another train, and do not try to wedge a bike into a crowded car.
  • Refrain from holding doors to get your bike inside, as this delays the train.
  • Be mindful of your fellow riders and make sure you are leaving other people adequate space.
  • When possible use the designated “bike space” on the cars that have it.
  • Yield to pregnant, disabled and elderly passengers.
  • A complete list of bikes on BART rules are here.
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