Any local cyclist knows that biking across the Golden Gate Bridge is the toughest part of a glorious Marin-bound ride. The headwinds around the pillars, skinny two-directional bike lane and tourists on tandems make for some seriously treacherous riding. And get ready bikers—it’s now even tougher.
The entire west bike lane of the Golden Gate Bridge will be closed through September, as the bridge undergoes a third round of seismic retrofits. During the construction, cyclists will be forced to share the eastbound sidewalk with pedestrians. On a busy summer weekend, that can mean as many as 10,000 pedestrians and 6,000 bikers squeezing onto the same skinny sidewalk.
While cyclists are relegated to the pedestrian side before 3:30 pm on weekdays, it’s the weekend and summer traffic that is already creating chaos on the bridge. If this weekend was any indicator of the madness of a shared pathway, we’re in for a tough summer of riding. On Saturday, riders struggled to weave through throngs of camera-clicking tourist and participants of the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, whose route took their walkers across the bridge.
This isn’t the first time the bike lane was closed for bridge repairs. In the spring, the bike lane was shut down for a weekend. During that closure, the Golden Gate Bridge District offered a free shuttle for cyclists. This time they have offered no alternative to squeezing in with the pedestrians.
The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition is trying to come up with solutions. They have asked the District to either offer a bike shuttle or open up a temporary car lane for cyclists. So far, the District hasn’t budged. The SFBC is collecting comments from concerned cyclists, which they will send on to the District leaders. If you would like to add your own plea to their growing list, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. In the mean time, bike carefully—and maybe consider some nice San Francisco rides.