Today, Uber is launching a campaign to educate hundreds of thousands of its users and drivers on using the “Dutch Reach” when opening car doors as well as avoiding pickups and drop-offs in bike lanes. Your SF Bicycle Coalition has been working with Uber and Lyft (who recently launched a similar education effort) to get them to adopt these practices. In addition, Uber will also be making window decals available to their drivers that warn passengers to look out for people biking before they open their door.
San Francisco faces unique challenges that other municipalities don’t, given both our city’s density and the extent of Lyft’s and Uber’s operations in our city. The tens of thousands of vehicles that both companies are responsible for putting on San Francisco’s streets every day pose an array of safety hazards, which we have consistently and pointedly called out.
That’s why we will continue to advocate for sensible regulation at the state level by the California State Public Utilities Commission as well as a local tax on Lyft and Uber trips that helps fund desperately needed Vision Zero safety improvements like protected bike lanes.
But in order to improve safety and increase the number of people choosing to bike, we must also direct our advocacy at companies themselves. After all, whatever you may think of their labor practices or the sustainability of their business models, both companies have raised billions of dollars, are pervasive on our streets, and are not likely to go away in the near future.
They are also increasingly investing in shared mobility services like bike share, which is a service that we strongly support. Both Ford GoBike and JUMP (owned by Lyft and Uber respectively) have introduced thousands of San Franciscans to getting around by bicycle. Our advocacy ensured that both systems are affordable and accessible to San Franciscans, reflecting our strategic plan goals and values. We also worked to ensure that Jump and GoBike invest in high-quality safety education through the SF Bicycle Coalition to empower newer riders using their systems.
As we seek to grow our movement and introduce more people to the joy of bicycling, we cannot maintain a narrow focus on people who already bike. Our membership and impact will shrink if we do.
We remain committed to using our direct advocacy with Uber, Lyft and other emerging mobility technology companies and services in order to minimize their negative impacts and maximize the positive ones. This recent educational effort by Uber is one small example of that work. We hope that when users see our logo beneath this new safety information, they take the opportunity to learn more about our work and become a member in order to invest in a safe, sustainable San Francisco.
While San Francisco continues to grapple with the impacts of tens of thousands of additional vehicles on our streets, the SF Bicycle Coalition is fighting hard for better infrastructure that makes illegal loading and unloading impossible. In the meantime, we need to get the word out to Uber drivers and riders about potentially lifesaving safety techniques. If it prevents even just one collision, it will be worth it.
Members help guide our work. If you care about improving safety for people who bike, join today.