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SF studies which bike lane posts can take the most ‘abuse’

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People biking by the new mix of safe-hit posts on Market. (Courtesy SFMTA)

San Francisco’s transportation agency has a problem: It’s flexible street poles, used to protect bike lanes from traffic, are wearing out too often.

And while it may seem like small potatoes, those posts are responsible for keeping cyclists safe from oncoming vehicles. And because they can be knocked down and get back up, they’re also key in letting emergency vehicles cross bike lanes safely.

To root out the problem, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is testing out a bevy of new “safe hit posts” on Market Street from Ninth to 10th streets.

The mix of posts will help the agency see which one can take the most “abuse,” the agency said in a Friday blog post.

“To do their job, they need to last,” the SFMTA wrote. “In many cases, the types of safe-hit posts installed in SF and other cities in past years have continued to be run over illegally and need to be replaced regularly.”

More than a year ago the SFMTA switched to a type of post that’s drilled into the ground, the agency wrote, but just what kind of post weathers getting hit the most is yet to be seen.

Market Street is a “petri dish” for new transit experiments, the agency wrote, adding they tried four raised bike lane prototypes on and near Market. The new safety posts are at Ninth and Division streets, 17th, Folsom Street and Polk Street.

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