The Golden Gate Bridge District Operating Committee will meet Thursday morning to consider a proposed 5 MPH and 10 MPH bicycle speed limit on the Golden Gate Bridge sidepaths.
Alta Planning & Design submitted their “Bicycle Safety Study for the Golden Bridge.” While they concede that safety is not a serious issue on the Golden Gate Bridge (GGB) sidewalks, they were paid to Do Something, so Alta Planning recommends a 10 MPH bicycle speed limit at all times on the west and east sidewalks, with a 5 MPH speed limit around the towers, where space and sightlines are constrained.
GGB Staff forwarded this report to the Building and Operating Committee with their endorsement. If this committee approves the proposal, they will forward it to the full board for their approval on May 13, 2011.
Besides the 5 MPH and 10 MPH speed limits, Alta recommends a ban on tallbikes and unicycles because they might tip over the bridge safety railings and fall into the Golden Gate, like certain high school students have been known to do lately. Alta has a good idea by recommending signs telling pedestrians to stay to the right side of the east sidewalk when bicycles are passing by.
Contact the Golden Gate Bridge District
As far as I can tell, the GGB District neither sought or received input from those who would be impacted by this proposed speed limit, depending only on information from Alta Planning’s study. The GGB District does not have a bicycle or pedestrian advisory committee.
This committee meets this Thursday morning at 10 AM in the Board Room, Administration Building, Golden Gate Bridge Toll Plaza, San Francisco, CA. The GGB Administration Building is the beige block immediately adjacent to the southbound toll plaza. If you show up to this meeting, you’ll have 3 minutes to speak during the public comment period.
To provide your feedback to the Golden Gate Bridge District on this issue, you can send email through the Board Secretary. You can also write the Board with snail mail at
President of the Board
Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District
P.O. Box 9000, Presidio Station
San Francisco, CA 94129-0601
Finally, you can fax a letter to (415) 923-2013.
Alta reports that they measured average cycling speeds of 7 – 10 MPH on the upslope portion of the bridge, 10-13 MPH on the flat part, and 13 – 17 MPH on the downslope portion (with no explanation of why their “averages” are given as a range of speeds). Alta says increased risk of collisions occurs when cyclists try to pass other bridge users too fast, which makes sense, but cyclists traveling at these average speeds are likely not passing each other at dangerously fast. Alta even acknowledges that the sidewalks are reasonably safe even now, and asking the CHP to expend resources on bicycle speed limits seems like a waste of scarce state resources to me.
I get annoyed at the speed demons when I’m slowly riding across the GGB with my family, but 10 MPH is unreasonably slow. GGB District’s failed to even solicit user input on a change that will impact every regular bridge user.