Citing a need to "provide access to the curb for taxi and paratransit van customers with disabilities" the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has announced that taxi cabs can now pick up and drop off passengers while parked in a bike lane without fear of getting a ticket.
Parking Control Officers have been instructed not to issue citations on such occasions and taxis will receive bumper stickers indicating their new permissions. Drivers will also be given decals to place in their rear window that advise passengers to look for bicycles before exiting the vehicle. Additionally, new taxi drivers will be required to undergo "defensive driving" training on how to safely share the road with bicyclists.
Leah Shahum, Executive Director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, views the additional training as positive but wishes the memo, which calls for taxi drivers to treat separated and non-separated bike lanes differently, was more clear.
"There are parts of the memo that I think folks will find confusing and even conflicting," said Shahum. "This really does seem to invite conflict and even unsafe conditions."