According to a San Francisco Examiner article (found here), the SF MTA (San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency) has recently allowed taxis to use bike lanes to pick up and drop off passengers. Naturally, this has caused positive and negative reactions.
Proponents argue that this will allow passengers to enter and exit taxis safely. Passengers no longer have to cross a bike lane to enter and exit the taxis. In particular, this is a safer alternative for handicap taxi passengers who need more time.
Opponents argue that the rule will be abused and taxi drivers will park their cabs in the bike lane while waiting for a new fare. Bikers fear that taxis will do more than just load and unload passengers. Parked taxi cabs may create an obstacle that cyclists will have to avoid by entering into the flow of traffic. This defeats the safety goals of bike lanes.
If you’re a passenger entering or exiting a taxi cab, it’s always important to be aware of your surroundings, even with this new law in place. It is important to not only look out for cyclists, but cars as well. The same goes for cyclists as well. Taxis might create obstacles, but maneuvering around them should be done with utmost caution.
New traffic laws come and go, and drivers and cyclists alike will have to get used to them. It may cause confusion and frustration at times, but it is good idea not to solely rely on whatever rules may be in place. Whether you’re a driver, cyclist, or pedestrian, it is best to follow all laws of the road, but to do so in a manner that is safest for you and others.