Good News cyclists, BART is letting you back on board, bikes and all.
Don't get too excited, though; your hassle-free ride will only last a week.
The BART bike blackout is entering the second phase of the "bikes on board" pilot program that BART is using to test the waters (more like the tracks) to see whether cyclists, their bikes, and non-cyclists can travel in harmony during the heaviest commute hours.
The next phase starts March 18 and will last the entire week. During that time, BART will observe and examine whether things run smoothly enough to maybe make this all-bikes, all-the-time policy permanent.
BART launched the first test in August, allowing bikes, which are currently not permitted on BART during peak commute hours, on trains and in stations at all hours every Friday that month.
"Our first pilot offered us great insight, but Fridays in August tend to be slow, and another round of testing and customer feedback is required before permanent changes to our bike access policy are considered," said BART Board President Tom Radulovich.
This time, BART is tweaking the rules a bit: No bikes will be allowed in the first three cars of each train during commute hours (that's 7 to 9 a.m. and 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.). This gives a little space to those grumpy passengers who would like to avoid bikes entirely.
This doesn't give cyclists carte blanche to takeover BART; the same old rules will apply: no bikes on crowded cars, yield to disabled and senior passengers, don't block aisles, don't take your bike on the escalators, and generally don't be an asshole.
After that week of experimenting, passengers can give their feedback about bikes on BART. They can offer their two cents online or by phone at 1-888-743-9921.
"We heard from countless bike riders on both sides of the Bay that the August pilot opened up regional commuting by bike for both experienced bike riders and those wanting to give it a try for the first time," said Leah Shahum, executive director of the 12,000-member San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.
Get ready for an even more miserably crowded BART ride home.