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23/09/2011 // INFO Leave a comment

San Francisco unveils building bike access law


Bike Office

Sometimes you just have to look admiringly at the bicycle friendly polices some cities have. One such city is San Francisco.

Fresh from its inclusion in this week’s Copenhagenize Consulting’s Top 20 bike friendly cities across the world, San Francisco has announced some ground breaking legislation that would allow cyclists in San Francisco to take their bikes into their place of work (i.e. right into the office itself) if there is no secure bike parking on the premises of the building.

Legal obligation

The law, the “Bicycle Access and Safety Ordinance”, would put a legal duty on owners of all commercial buildings to allow bikes in the building. The law has been proposed by John Avalos, mayoral candidate, and current member of the city’s legislative body (The San Francisco Board of Supervisors).

It is envisaged the law will be applicable from January 1st, 2012, if the 11 member San Francisco Board of Supervisors passes the legislation through.

Mr Avalos has previously indicated that all commercial buildings in the city would be required to provide indoor bicycle parking. There is already a requirement that office property owners provide secure bike parking in all new commercial buildings built in the city.


Any property building owner can apply for an exemption to the bike law but must go through a city inspection to gain approval. Exemptions will be given to properties where the building’s lifts are not suitable for bicycle access due to substantial safety risks or where there is secure alternate covered off-street parking or secure alternate indoor (no-cost) bicycle parking available on the premises or near the property (within 750ft).

Encouraging cycle take-up

One of the major deterrents to people commuting by bike into cities is the prospect of leaving their bikes on poles or bike stands for hours on end and so open to theft.

San Francisco’s law recognises this. Indeed the drafted ordinance reads: “Creating a safe, secure place for cyclists to store their bicycles while at work will help to promote alternative modes of transportation and contribute to the City’s effort to cut emissions, improve air quality, maximize public transportation and ease congestion. Allowing bicycles in office buildings is an effective way to encourage cycling.”

It would be lovely to similar legislation enacted here in the UK, but I can’t see if happening anytime soon.

See also

SpinCycle – The bicycle washing machine

Cycle shop burglar caught with his pants down

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