Bike riders continue to break BART rules, but agency is working on kinks

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Nathaniel Y. Downes/special to the s.f. examiner
BART says it will put up signs to emphasize new rules that went into effect in December regarding bikes on trains.
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Bicyclists on BART continue violating rules after they were given more access to trains, but it's partly the transit agency's own fault.

Among the 11 rules is that bikes are not permitted on the first three cars of any train during the weekday commute periods of 7 to 9 a.m. and 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. The rule was implemented in December when bikes were first allowed on board at all times. But violations persist.

“It's on us … to do a little bit more communication about the rule,” said Steve Beroldo, BART's bike program manager. “I think it's fairly clear that not everybody knows about it.”

Another commonly broken rule is bringing bikes on escalators.

BART plans to place cards in trains highlighting the rules.

“Car cards are a little challenging. We don't want the print to be too small,” Beroldo said of the 11 rules. “We would have to do a couple cards that highlight rules that we want people to be most aware of.”

BART police officers are tasked with enforcing the rules, but staffing limitations mean they focus more on safety issues, like making sure people don't ride bikes on platforms. The police force currently has 187 sworn officers and 20 openings, Lt. Gil Lopez said.

In terms of bike thefts, there has not been a noticeable spike or drop.

More than 90 percent of stolen bikes were secured with cable and not steel U-shaped locks, Beroldo said. To combat that, BART officers place tags on bikes urging use of the U-locks. The agency also installed bike lockers at the Glen Park and Balboa Park stations, along with self-storage areas at the Embarcadero station. That will soon come to the Civic Center station as well.

San Francisco Bicycle Coalition spokeswoman Kristin Smith said her group is pleased with BART's efforts on bikes, but said elevator availability remains an issue at stations and better access would help bike riders.

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