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The Wiggle’s Green Bike Box & Left Turn Lane Combo

"The Wiggle" is one of San Francisco's most beloved and cherished bike routes and guides riders the easiest way between two nasty hills. It even has its own Wiki page.

It's so popular, it is hard to stand there at any point of the day and not see mega helpings of cyclists passing thru! (Please note: This is a camera person's dream.)  Recently, after a judge partially lifted a full ban (due to an injunction) on bike amenities, the SF DOT striped a unique combo to aid cyclist's safety and sanity.  A green bike box on Scott Street - believed to be California's first - allows riders to safely wait and queue up for a dedicated left-hand turn lane which runs the length of the entire next block.

Andy Thornley from San Francisco Bike Coalition took us around to show how it works - and some riders voiced their appreciation.

<blockquote class="_text"> [music] Andy Thornley: [0:07] We are right in the middle of The Wiggle. And if you don't know about The Wiggle, The Wiggle is one of San Francisco's most beloved bike routes. It goes from downtown and connects to the west side of town. If you're going to Golden Gate Park, it's a great way to get there. It wiggles between hills.</p><p>[0:22] What we've got here is a bike box, what we think is California's first ever green bike box. It does a really great job of giving bicyclists a place to stand and wait, and it cues folks up for a left turn. At the next intersection there's a beautiful left hand bike lane on Scott Street, and this bike box feeds bike traffic to the left and sets them up for this very convenient left turn onto Fell Street. It's a perfect system.</p><p>[0:49] All right. Let's try this bike box and this left-hand bike lane, shall we?</p><p>[musical interlude] </blockquote> <blockquote class="speaker_1_text"> <cite class="speaker_1" >Woman:</cite> [1:05] 1: I have this green mark. It says, "Bikes Go Here." It says bikes are allowed to be here. And in fact cars, you have a place, too. We all have a place here on the streets of San Francisco. </blockquote> <blockquote class="speaker_2_text"> <cite class="speaker_2" >Man 2:</cite> [1:15] It's less hectic, I think, than everyone trying to cram over to the side when the cars are here. I also like the fact they put a bike lane up there, sort of a dedicated path before you try to file through cars when you trying to make that left there. So I think it's pretty sweet. </blockquote> <blockquote class="speaker_3_text"> <cite class="speaker_3" >Man 3:</cite> [1:29] At this Wiggle and this section of Fell actually we have an issue of bike congestion that I'm encountering a great deal with. There'll be a stack up of bikes in this bike lane flowing into the auto lane, so I think it needs to be expanded because we're already over capacity. </blockquote> <blockquote class="speaker_4_text"> <cite class="speaker_4" >Man 4:</cite> [1:43] Wiggle, Wiggle, Wiggle. </blockquote> <br/><br/>
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  • What up Buttercup?


  • http://ycartreel.blogspot.com yoshiyahu

    San Francisco's Green Bike Box went in 12/2009, and Long Beach added a couple 01/2010. Who's next? Anything green with a bike stencil on it in the traffic lane is a Good Thing, I think.

  • http://walkbikejersey.blogspot.com/ Andy B from Jersey

    I don't understand why the merge to the left turn bike lane can not be made after the intersection that now has the bike box.

    As far as I'm aware, in Europe where the bike box was invented, they are only utilized with an advance bicycle signal (bikes get a green signal head a few seconds before cars do to to clear the box). This reduces the possibility of a bicyclist getting right-hooked as they approaching the bike box when the light just turns green. I have yet to see an advance bicycle signal utilized with a bike box installation in the US. In this instance without the advance bicycle signal, bicyclists approaching the box at the intersection of Oak are at risk of getting right hooked by an unsuspecting driver.

    This is the reason why there was a law suit over their use in Portland by a few supposedly "obstinate" old-time vehicular cyclist.

    If cyclists had an advanced bicycle signal I would have no objections to the use of bike boxes but I have yet seen evidence of one bike box designed in the US with this critical safety feature.

    I'm all for bicycle facility innovation but I refuse to drink the cool-aid.

  • http://walkbikejersey.blogspot.com/ Andy B from Jersey

    Oh, I love you Clarence but at time point 45sec you feature two cyclists blowing a red light while turning left onto Fell.

    Wait! And again at 1:02 with Andy Thornley of SFBC committing the violation! There is no way a "left turn on red is legal" on a two-way street!

  • Clarence Eckerson

    Actually Andy, I put those two fellas turning on the light to show how the conditions really are. Some cyclists make that left ahead of time because if there are no cars, they jump the light. I did want to show that to get the discussion going in San Francisco (where if you look at the video post there has dozens of commenters debating it...)

    Sorry, but Andy Thornley and that group of cyclists do not commit the violation, it looks like they do, but they were trying to make that left for a while (you'll see they have to wait for three cars to pass and then they make that turn just as the light goes green. The video makes it look bad, but it is essentially the same thing cars do at every intersection while waiting to make a turn and waiting for on-coming traffic to clear.)

  • http://walkbikejersey.blogspot.com/ Andy B from Jersey

    Okay Clarence. I read the explanation for why people end up looking like they are making a "left on red" on SF Streetsblog before I even saw your reply. Well understood.

    All the more reason why an advance (and/or delayed) bicycle signal head should be used at the intersection with Fell. Bicycle Signal Heads are even legally allowed in California by the CA MUTCD so there should be no reason for not using them.

  • Clarence Eckerson

    Agreed, this intersection could use a dedicated left hand bike turn signal (even if just 10 or 15 seconds) while all lights remain red. (I think this signal would be best at the end of the sequence.)

    I'd love to see them put one in.

  • http://www.sfbike.org marcSFBC

    @Andy: To respond to your concerns about the right hook on this specific intersection-- The bike box, (as a device defined as an Advanced Stop Line with additional bike marking) is not intended for use unless the light is red, and therefore is unrelated to a right hook concern during a green phase. And, since a right turn on red has always been prohibited at the intersection where the Bike Box is installed.

  • http://walkbikejersey.blogspot.com/ Andy B from Jersey

    Yes marc but what about when the light just turns green?

    I can see a situation where a cyclist is approaching the bike-box on the right side of an automobile just as the light turns green and the motorist unexpectedly hooks and collides with cyclist.

    As an LCI I teach my students that it is okay to pass backed up traffic as long as its safe but to NEVER pass the first car waiting at a light. This is because you never know when the light will turn green and it is possible that the motorist will turn right turn-signal or no turn-signal. It is safer to get in front of the second car to a point where the driver of the second can see you, wait behind the first and let the first car go when the light turns green before proceeding on ones bike.

    With an advanced bicycle signal, bicyclists approaching the bike-box will get a few moments warning that the light will soon turn green for automobiles and maybe it is best the wait and let the first car go before proceeding.

  • tl


  • Tyler (LA)

    What a hippie-fest.  

    Bikes don't make you happy.  

    Its a subculture.

    Biking will never be cool.

    Biking is over rated especially by hippies.

    Riding a bike won't make urban ills go away.

    I live in Long Beach and love to ride a bike.

  • Anonymous

     that's one dude's opinion.