What Most of the Drivers Blocking S.F. Bike Lanes Have in Common

Taking a closer look at who's getting traffic tickets. 

(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

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Uber and Lyft are responsible for nearly two-thirds of congestion-related traffic violations in downtown San Francisco, the San Francisco Examiner reports. That number comes from the San Francisco Police Department, which compiled the data between April 1 and June 30. After SFPD Commander Robert O’Sullivan began to suspect that a large number of violators were ride-hail drivers, he began directing his officers to track the citations they issued. All together, from a pool of 2,656 traffic violations, 1,723 citations went to ride-hail vehicles.

From the Examiner:

Of drivers found illegally driving in transit-only lanes, 1,144 out of 1,715 were ride-hail drivers. Additionally, 183 out of 239 tickets issued for drivers obstructing a lane of traffic, or a bike lane, were issued to Uber and Lyft drivers. Ride-hail drivers also were cited more than other drivers for making U-Turns in a business district, 42 times out of a total 57.

Uber and Lyft drivers were also cited for driving in bike lanes and obstructing bike lanes, and committed “other transit violations” far more often than other drivers.

“This number is basically unbelievable,” Supervisor Aaron Peskin said at the Land Use and Transportation committee hearing where the numbers were presented earlier this week. He added to the Examiner that the number was potentially high enough to spur a lawsuit.

But ride-hail drivers blocking traffic, especially as they wait for passengers, is not a new phenomenon in San Francisco, or elsewhere, as Next City has covered. In May, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said that he would propose a pilot program to help make pickups and drop-offs smoother — if Uber and Lyft would supply data to the city about where their cars drive. Lyft referenced the proposed pilot in a statement to the Examiner addressing the more recent data.

“We are supportive of holistic efforts to address congestion and have been in conversations with city officials for months to engage collaboratively on a pilot program to do just that,” a spokesperson wrote.

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Rachel Dovey is an award-winning freelance writer and former USC Annenberg fellow living at the northern tip of California’s Bay Area. She writes about infrastructure, water and climate change and has been published by Bust, Wired, Paste, SF Weekly, the East Bay Express and the North Bay Bohemian

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Tags: san franciscouberbike laneslyft

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