Yet another cyclist hit by car on Fell Street prompts calls for Wiggle bike path safety measures

Yet another cyclist hit by car on Fell Street prompts calls for Wiggle bike path safety measuresImage: Google Street View
Joe Kukura
Published on December 14, 2020

The Wiggle is a mile-long San Francisco bike path that covers more than just the Western Addition. It stretches from Market Street to Golden Gate Park, and gives cyclists a low-incline route of getting across parts of town. But the green pavement of Wiggle path in the Western Addition is perhaps the most discussed section of the route, because the bike lane is so frequently seen by drivers as more a left turn lane, making it one of the most dangerous intersections in town for cyclists.   

Streetsblog SF reports on another “gas station deathtrap” collision wherein a cyclist was hit by a car last Wednesday (and the driver was allegedly intoxicated, also hitting two other cars and a pole). Those are unique circumstances, but the district's supervisor Dean Preston took to Twitter the following day, saying “this block (Fell between Scott/Divis) is a mess,” and that “cyclists are forced out of bike lanes into traffic as cars line up to turn left into the gas station.” 

In a follow-up statement to Hoodline, Preston said that “This block of Fell is well known to cyclists and pedestrians as being extremely unsafe, and it is one of our top Vision Zero priorities in District 5 to make this block safer. We are in contact with the MTA about possible short-term and long-term solutions and will provide updates on our progress.”

A big though unintentional culprit here may be the Arco gas station on Fell Street, popular for its cheap gas, and sometimes with a line of cars waiting to get in. Where do they wait? Often in the bike lane! And while we reported in June that the Arco station property is up for sale, it’s still going to remain an Arco, as the gas station is on a 15-year lease.  

The addition of green paint to the bike lanes dates back to 2010, but even then, KGO was reporting on protests by the cyclist community that the green pavement was nowhere near adequate. An SFGov data map does still label that corner as part of a “high injury corridor.” 

The corner of Fell and Divisadero Streets is not the most dangerous intersection for San Francisco cyclists. That distinction goes to the Market Street and Octavia Boulevard, though the Arco corner is still among the 10 most dangerous intersections. And it may be time for the city to reevaluate bike safety, as we are experiencing a spike in cars colliding with bikes this year. Shockingly, according to another SFGov dataset, 2020 has already seen more bicycle fatalities than 2019, despite shelter in place, and the fact that 2020 is not even over yet.