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There are more than 50 hills within San Francisco city limit and operates the last manually operated cable car system in the world. Despite this challenging geography, San Francisco has invested millions and has rapidly grown its protected bike lane network.

Key facts 

  • Over the last decade, the city has invested more than 100 million dollars in cycling infrastructure, going from zero protected bike lanes in 2010 to more than 200 miles today.
  • Commuting by bike increased from 2.3% in 2006 to 4.3% in 2015. Estimated 82,000 trips by bike every day.
  • Between 2018 and 2021, the City will be investing a further $112m in bike-related improvements.
  • To work quickly, the City has adopted the “quick build” method, using paint and plastic or moveable concrete barrier to get protected bikes lanes and then allowing the community to provide feedback on ways to improve it.
  • However, San Francisco achieved its cycling mecca in a more controversial manner.
  • Critical Mass, a monthly political protest ride, originated in San Francisco in 1992 became the catalyst through some critical stages in the San Francisco’s transformation, including during the four-year injunction that prevented the development of its bike plan, that was eventually lifted in 2010.

Key Project Temporary bikeway on Embarcadero

  • In 2013, a temporary, two-way bikeway put in place on a short stretch of the Embarcadero provided a brief glimpse of what a permanent, safe bike route along the waterfront could look like.
  • The bikeway was a measure to encourage attendees of the America’s Cup races to bike to the event, repurposing a north-side traffic lane and car parking lane for bicycling space separated from motor traffic using metal barricades.
  • This has allowed the city to devise plans and find the funding towards a permanent solution for San Francisco’s longest and most iconic landmarks.