We're all educated people, well aware that (as first stated by Ian Betteridge), "any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no." But after watching Wednesday's "People Behaving Badly" I'm struggling to Betteridge the hed I wrote above, as this lane at Battery and The Embarcadero is completely freakin' terrifying.
Let's watch it together:
As you can see from Stanley Roberts' report, the dedicated bike lane is between two car lanes: The one on the far right is the turn lane, and the next two over (bike then car) are for travelers headed straight. But again and again we see drivers in the middle lane (including taxi cabs, which one might assume as non-Uber-driving professionals should really know better) plowing through the lane dedicated to forward-traveling cyclists to take the turn.
Even those of us who don't ride a bike can see the issue here — at one time or another we've likely all been shocked by a driver who suddenly chose to turn from the middle lane, other travelers be damned (my husband's only car crash ever was at the hands of one such driver, he announces every single time we witness such a maneuver). But, obviously, cyclists are far more vulnerable — we all recall the case of cyclist Amelie Le Moullac, killed by a truck driver who took a right turn from the middle lane through a Folsom Street bike lane. And she's not the only one.
Roberts notes that there are two signs warning drivers against turning from anywhere but the right lane, yet you see drivers ignoring it over and over and over. It's confounding.
According to Roberts, "hundreds and hundreds" of cyclists use the lane, called Bike Route 5, every day. Like I said yesterday, all the SFMTA efforts in the world won't work if people insist on driving like jerks, which they clearly are here. And I say this as a car driver who loves cars and driving!
Is there more that the SFMTA could do to protect cyclists at this intersection while still allowing cars on the road? And, as I ask in the headline, could this be the most dangerous bike lane in SF, or are there others that pose even more peril?