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Friday, November 6, 2009

'Signs' Point to Better Times Ahead for Cyclists

Posted By and on Fri, Nov 6, 2009 at 11:15 AM

Page 2 of 2

San Francisco actually has dozens of street signs like this, bolted to lamp-posts and other poles all over the city:


But chances are, you've never seen one. That's because they're typically positioned high in the air, near the level of streetcar power lines.

"They're up where the dirigibles can see them," says the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition's Andy Thornley. "The placement of those signs is, in most cases, worse than useless. They're up way higher than anybody can look. And if somebody actually does look at them, they'll be likely to hit a bicyclist because they weren't looking where they were going."

Here are a few pictures I took earlier this week, just a sampling of dozens of instances of these oddly positioned signs. If you were a motorist who felt it was fine and dandy to menace a bicyclist who's taking the whole lane, would these street views change your mind?

click to enlarge sign1.jpg
Where's Waldo? Can you spot the traffic safety sign advising motorists to let bike riders take the whole lane?
click to enlarge sign2.jpg
We're now a quarter-block from the sign, and even if one were to anti-intuitively look to the skies for traffic direction, the type's so small as to be unreadable.

click to enlarge sign3.jpg
Finally, looking straight up in the air, we can barely make out what the sign says. If we were in a car, however, we'd have had a fender-bender, or pedestrian-mutilator by now.

Yesterday, I asked Municipal Transportation Authority spokesman Judson True whether there's a reason for these signs' ultra-high placement; how this apparent hide-the-bike-signs policy got started; and whether it's likely to change. He and his colleague Kristen Holland hadn't heard back from SFMTA staff by Friday.

It seems that two city employees with ladders and wrenches could spend a few days placing these signs at an ordinary height, and make San Francisco a safer place, without falling afoul of Busch's injunction. Concerned readers are urged to call SFMTA director Nat Ford at 415-701-4720 and request a well-placed sign on the route of your morning or evening commute.

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