Bike Lanes Are Big. But Blocking Them Is the Next Big Thing.

Categories: Local News

Sharrow blocked 002.jpg
We got your bike lane, right here
Just the other day SF Weekly noticed a virginal white bike lane, with a praetorian guard of traffic cones posted to ensure motorists wouldn't defile its still-wet paint.

Well, that was then and this is now. As David Sedaris noted, ringing on people's doors on Oct. 31 and demanding candy is trick-or-treating, but doing so one day later is begging. Earlier this week, bike lanes cropping up everywhere was a wondrous thing. Now those lanes are just another place for delivery trucks to double-park.

This is the same Lower Haight lane we snapped a shot of earlier this week -- trust us, it's hidden there beneath the truck. And yet, according to Leah Shahuum, executive director of the San Francisco Bike Coalition, nothing illegal is taking place in this picture -- or, at least, nothing more illegal than usual because of a bike lane being blocked.

That's because the bike lane in question isn't an actual lane per se, but a "sharrow." What's the difference? About the same between "regulation" and "self-regulation." A bike lane, which, intuitively, is a painted lane, cannot legally be blocked by a double-parking vehicle. A sharrow, meanwhile -- not a lane but merely a stencil of a bicycle rider on the pavement meant to alert drivers to be courteous -- is no different than any other street. "A sharrow is a soft, non-binding reminder," Shahum says.

With the partial lifting of the city's bicycle injunction, 75 miles of sharrows will be painted in the next year alone. Expect all of them to be blocked by trucks like these shortly thereafter.

If there's a silver lining here, the driver of this delivery truck ostensibly appealed to San Francisco's sense of whimsy by happily playing with a dog tied to a nearby tree. He then delivered Pelligrino water to a nearby eatery.

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