Hallelujah, say cyclists and all those whose BART commutes leave them not too conveniently close to home when they step off the train. Starting July 1, BART will finally allow bikes on all trains at all times — with a couple of exceptions, because that's how they are.

As the Business Times reports, the BART board just voted on the move to allow bikes during rush hour, and they're not calling it a permanent change just yet, rather it's an "extended trial." You'll recall that they tested this wacky idea back in May, for a week, and apparently the system did not collapse and the non-biking commuters did not revolt.

It's been a long road for BART in regard to its acceptance of bicycles and the bike culture, having opened the system with a total ban on bikes, and then requiring bicycle permits for over twenty years after that. This was followed by the current confusing system in which bikes aren't allowed on trains during rush hour, and then there's the no bikes on the first car, etc. The fear is that too many people will be bothered by the bikes, which do take up precious space on crowded cars, and even under the new rules bikes won't be allowed on the first three cars of rush hour trains, and won't be allowed on the first car ever. BART ridership is at an all-time high, making for some very busy trains at peak hours, but evidently the number of bicyclists in their earlier tests must not have strained things too much. This "extended trial" of the looser bike rules will go through December 1, at which the board will revisit the issue.

According to BART, they will be launching a bicycle etiquette campaign starting July 1, to encourage polite bicycle handling aboard trains, and they will continue to survey customers about how they feel about the bike thing. As of their last poll, 76% of riders support dropping the bike restrictions.

[Business Times]