BART may soon ditch bike ban 

click to enlarge Passengers’ feelings toward bikes on BART appear to have softened after recent trials; only 23 percent of riders now support keeping current restrictions against bicycles during peak hours. - MIKE KOOZMIN/2012 S.F. EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • Mike Koozmin/2012 S.F. Examiner file photo
  • Passengers’ feelings toward bikes on BART appear to have softened after recent trials; only 23 percent of riders now support keeping current restrictions against bicycles during peak hours.

Bikes could be allowed on BART trains at all times of the day — minus a few restrictions — as part of an initiative that will be voted on by the agency’s board of directors later this month.

Under the current policy, bikes are banned from certain trains during peak travel times, a measure aimed at easing overcrowding. However, after two recent pilot projects during which those restrictions were relaxed, BART is now considering a permanent change.

There would no longer be a blackout period for cyclists, but bikes would still be banned from the first three train cars during the morning and evening commutes. The current restriction for crowded train cars would remain.

The board of directors is expected to vote on the new policy May 23. At the board meeting Thursday, directors seemed split on the proposed initiative.

Tom Radulovich, president of the board, expressed confidence in the plan, given how smoothly things went Thursday for the highly anticipated Bike to Work Day.

“I got a chance to go out and observe things on Thursday and this was a nonevent,” Radulovich said. “That gives me confidence in the new bike policy. I think this is going to work, and I want to try it.”

Some directors expressed concerns. Gail Murray questioned the enforcement of the new initiative and how station agents and other BART employees would be trained to handle the influx of cyclists.

“I’m in favor of expanding this program,” Murray said. “I just don’t want it to fail.”

Other directors suggested pursuing an extended pilot program instead of approving a permanent policy initiative.

In August, BART eased the restrictions on bikes for every Friday of the month. In March, restrictions were lifted for one full workweek.

Passengers appear to be warming up to the idea of more bikes on BART. Following the August pilot, 37 percent of riders said they would like to keep the current restrictions, but that number plummeted to 23 percent after the March run.

The new initiative would be in effect from 7 to 9 a.m. and 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Bikes also would be allowed in the 12th Street and 19th Street stations in Oakland, where they’re currently banned.

Along with reviewing its cycling policy, BART is working on reconfiguring its train interiors to allow for more bikes and expanding its bike storage capacity at stations.

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

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