Six general recommendations are proposed to enhance safety for bicyclists and pedestrians on the Bridge:
- Establish 15 mph Bicycle Speed Limit. Based on observations and measurements of existing bicyclist speeds, a 15 mph speed limit for bicycles is recommended. Although modern bicycles, especially e-bikes, are capable of speeds much greater than this, the narrow sidewalks coupled with high mixed-use congestion (mix of bicycles and pedestrians, as well as a mix of slower and faster cyclists), opposing traffic flows, and often high winds and other unfavorable weather conditions support a speed limit of 15 mph. This is consistent with the speed limits on other shared use pathways adjacent to the Bridge, around the Bay Area, and nationally.
- Establish regulatory 5 mph bicycle speed limit around towers. The areas around the towers are among the higher crash locations on both the east and west sidewalks, especially on the Marin side. Limited sight distance, high wind speeds, and frequent rider congestion support a mandatory 5 mph speed limit around the towers.
- Continue Signage and Pavement Markings to Delineate Space. Continue the use of signage and pavement markings placed at intervals that illustrate the general separation of bicycles to the inside and pedestrians to the outside. While this would not create a “defined” space as would an unbroken dividing stripe, it would reinforce the informal bikes inside / pedestrians outside segregation that currently occurs and results in the smoothest observed flows.
- Continue Radar Speed Signs. We recommend continued maintenance and utilization of the speed signs going forward. This will offer cyclists feedback on their speed of travel as most bicycles do not have speedometers and continued monitoring of observed speed data will provide insight regarding traffic patterns and safety conditions on the Bridge sidewalks.
- Allow Pedal-Assist Electric Bikes. Consistent with other jurisdictions, the District should allow only Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes on the Bridge sidewalks, meaning pedal-assist bikes with a top speed of 20 mph. However, because e-bikes look similar regardless of which Class of bike they are, it is important to consider the reality of enforcement. It would be nearly impossible for a law enforcement officer to discern whether a person was riding a Class 1 pedal-assist or a Class 3, since the only difference is the top speed. Having a mechanism to regulate the speeds of bicycles through an established bicycle speed limit will be important to the practical management of e-bikes on the Bridge and ensuring that bicyclists are maintaining speeds compatible with the conditions on the sidewalk.
- Monitor Other User Groups and Devices. Bridge officials should continue to monitor technology developments and potentially adjust ordinances to allow future alternative technologies, beyond e-bikes, to use the Bridge if they prove to be viable alternatives to personal auto travel and can be accommodated safely on the sidewalks.
- Develop a reporting system for all bicycle safety incidents. Currently, only serious incidents that result in calls for aid from the Bridge Patrol are tracked for future reference and analysis. Development of a self-service reporting system for less severe incidents will provide a more accurate assessment of overall sidewalk safety conditions over time.