Doug O’Connor is a Luxor taxi cab, van and limo driver who loves the increasing popularity of biking in San Francisco. “We depend on people biking,” Doug told your San Francisco Bicycle Coalition recently. “If they go out at night and don’t want to bike home, there’s an opportunity for us to reach new customers.”
It’s not all about the bottom line for Doug, though. He’s a fan of recent safety improvements, like the Safer Market Street project, which placed turn restrictions for private automobiles onto the city’s busiest thoroughfare. He also supports separating auto traffic from people biking with protected bike lanes, as well as your SF Bicycle Coalition’s safety education classes for professional drivers.
A relatively new taxi driver, Doug took our taxi driver safety education class in December 2014. He says the class helped him think differently about his shifts behind the wheel, particularly when he is driving around people biking.
“There were things I learned that I didn’t know about before, like how to safely handle right turns through a bike lane,” Doug said of the safety training, which is required by law for all San Francisco cab drivers.
Your SF Bicycle Coalition staff show professional drivers, including cab and tow truck drivers, how cautiously merging into the bike lane before making a right turn is safer for everyone.
“It’s easier to stay close to the curb, then turn right,” Doug said.
“I try to let people on bikes go around me on the left, instead of hooking right and risking a collision.”
Before merging into the bike lane either to make a right turn or to drop off passengers, Doug follows the SF Bicycle Coalition’s suggestion and looks for people biking in his immediate vicinity. “I let people bike past me first. If I need to drop a passenger off, I try to give people biking enough room to get around me on the left and I check my mirrors before I let passengers out,” Doug said.
While not everyone who drives or bikes follows best safety practices, Doug is a shining example of how we can all cooperate and get around safely. Through our professional driver education programs, your SF Bicycle Coalition aims to continue reaching people driving and spreading the word about how to navigate our streets in the safest manner possible.
“Add more bike lanes. There are some parts of San Francisco where they have a separation between the bike lane and other lanes. I like that,” Genevieve told us, when we asked what one improvement she’d like to see to San Francisco’s streets.