I was riding my bike home after work on Friday, June 13, using the marked bicycle lane on Howard St. here in SF. And, for the third day in a row, came across a FedEx delivery truck parked in front of 500 Howard thusly:
Now, as a regular recipient of packages from FedEx and UPS, I am not unsympathetic to drivers and their need to park their vehicles and keep to their schedule. But given that this fellow had plenty of room both in front of and behind his truck to park in this marked loading zone, his decision to completely block the bike lane is either rank incompetence or a big “fuck you” to cyclists. Frankly, the motivation doesn’t matter. He has created a situation that is dangerous for every cyclist using this heavily-traveled route – and right at the beginning of rush hour.
Howard St. is a one-way, four-lane artery to both the Bay Bridge and the 101 freeway – plus this location at 500 Howard is immediately after a traffic signal – meaning that this FedEx driver’s blocking of the bike lane virtually guarantees interaction between bikes and cars as the bikes are forced to merge into the traffic lane to go around the FedEx truck.
Unfortunately, the driver of the truck was not near his truck on Friday – but I can assure you the next time I come across this (and yes, I’m sure there’ll be a next time – like I said, this was the third day in a row that he’d parked like this) and he’s around, I’ll address it with him directly. But I certainly hope that someone at FedEx sees this post and takes some steps to ensure their drivers don’t engage in such blatant disregard for bicyclists and the CA vehicle code (section 21211, if you’re interested).
So the bike racks in the parking lot at my office are of the “lowboy” variety – that is, the bike’s front wheel sits inside a pair of low profile metal loops that make up the rack. The racks are arranged in a single row with access available from either side.
Now, it is obvious to me and to any right thinking person that the only appropriate way to park one’s bike in this particular arrangement is to alternate loops on each side. In other words, if Bike A parks in slot 1, entering on the west side of the rack, then Bike B parks in slot 2, entering on the east side, Bike C parks in slot 3, etc. This provides easy ingress and egress for all bicycles; minimizes pedals, handlebars, baskets and other equipment from getting all smashed up and tangled; and leaves some room to attach the lock to the bike and rack.
Instead, of course, people just park all willy-nilly, with nary a care nor a thought for their fellow cyclists. When I arrived this morning, slot 1 and slot 4 were both being used by east-facing bikes! Whether I properly park in slot 2 or 3, the remaining slot will now either be out of commission or some jackass will just cram his shitty bike in there, making it a big production for me to simply retrieve my bike. IDIOTS. It’s really the moral equivalent of taking up two parking spaces.
And, as if that weren’t bad enough, someone (who shows up to work earlier than I – presumably solely out of spite) has AGAIN parked his bike in slot 1 – which as everyone should be well-aware is MY spot that I have been using for ages. Why must my life be such a trial? The sole consolation is that my bike is still far-and-away the best bike on the rack….