On Saturday morning outside AT&T Park, cyclist Diane Sullivan died while riding her bike westbound on King near Third Street. While exactly what happened remains under investigation, what we do know is that Sullivan collided with a large cement truck just before Third. Neither drugs nor alcohol played a factor in her death. What we also know is that, on King just before Third, the bike lane comes to an end -- a jarring end that forces cyclists to ride elbow-to-elbow with bustling traffic (the majority of which funnels to the 280 freeway entrance.)
I Love Biking SF posted a thoughtful piece in light of Saturday's tragic accident. First, a video they made highlighting the King Street bike lane problem:
Regarding the video, I Love Biking SF writes: "The video above was taken during a time of low traffic but during rush hour and baseball games (AT&T Park is right across the street) the area gets very activated and busy with cars and pedestrians. When there isn’t much traffic, cars zoom by on the lane very fast as it is a major boulevard that leads them directly onto a freeway ramp which is further down."
The biking blog goes on to point out how the accident could have been avoided. Plus, why the area is so dangerous for both pedestrians and cyclists (especially on game days):
This terrible accident would’ve probably been avoided if the street and bike facility were designed much better. At the very least, the bike sharrow should be placed in the middle of the car lane telling cyclists to take the full lane and not try to futilely hug the curb. There should be a sharrow visible every 100 feet to remind motorists to share the road.
Within the vicinity of the accident, there is a Caltrain Station located at 4th and King Streets, about 1.5 blocks away. This highly-utilized station sees thousands of commuters everyday and a few hundred cyclists take their bicycles on them. MUNI light rail stations are also across the street from the Caltrain station and you get people rushing from the light rail ramps to the Caltrain, hurriedly crossing the busy street to catch their connector train in time. AT&T Park’s main entrance is only half a block away. On any given Giants game or other event, tens of thousands of attendees walk around the area. On average, a couple of hundred SF Giants fans ride their bikes to AT&T Park. Not to mention, the low-income senior home Mission Creek Community which houses 150 seniors is only 3 blocks away. As you know, seniors require a lot of time to cross the street. Then you have this ridiculous speed limit of 35 mph (56 km/h) in a walkable neighborhood that should be reduced to 25 mph (40 km/h) or slower. And you know motorists are not going to respect the posted speed limit. What is so crazy is that King Street continues directly onto a freeway ramp which is 1/2 a block away from the busy Caltrain Station! This encourages motorists to drive faster as they speed up to go onto the ramp. And as you know, cyclists are not really supposed to be on the sidewalk and you can’t always take the sidewalk here anyway because on Giants game days and such they are too crowded to ride on. The street doesn’t even have a sign to tell cyclists where to go. So, you can see why this area is poorly designed for both pedestrians and cyclists.
Read more at I Love Biking SF.