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San Francisco Vigilante Bike Barrier Brings Big Safety Improvements

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) -- Cyclists tired of waiting for the city to make safety improvements in San Francisco constructed their own vigilante bike barrier.

San Francisco bicyclists took matters into their own hands, with a bold move to make a dangerous route into Golden Gate Park safer.

They put in their own plastic barriers on a route heavily used by cyclists.

Typically when people or groups put up large objects or barriers, they are taken down by the city immediately.

But that's not the case with these barriers. These will stay up until the city can replace them. And there hasn't been a specific deadline set for when that will happen.To get into the east side of Golden Gate Park, bicyclists -- and cars -- branch off of Fell Street and veer right onto JFK Drive.

A couple weeks ago, the San Francisco Municipal Transformation Authority, or SFMTrA, an organization not affiliated with the city, installed 10 safe hit posts, as a way to physically separate the cars from the bikes. It cost about $300 and the money was all donated by the group's supporters.

Copenhagen, a member of the SFMTrA said, "...we see cars come around this turn fast, cutting into the lane."

And those speeding cars are what deters people from biking in this area, according to Copenhagen, a member of the SFMTrA who wanted to remain anonymous.

"The truth is," Copenhagen said. "We don't even necessarily need to do this work. We don't even want to do this work. We'd like our city to do this work. But they're not and they're not doing it fast enough."

SFMTrA members aren't the only ones concerned about the stretch of roadway.

Richard Wilson rents bikes for tourists in the park and says the corner can be dicey for bikers.

Wilson, a crew member of Parkwide Bike Rentals & Tours said, "Stanyan [Street] from the park has always been a little hazardous just because of that intersection there."

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency spokesperson Paul Rose says the area is -- and has been -- on the city's radar.

He says they were already planning on putting some type of barrier there.

"The issue in the past has been that the safety posts would be crushed by the street sweeper. So now that the street sweepers are getting smaller, we're able to install safety posts there," Rose said.

According to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, in 2010 the city had zero protective bike lanes and now there's about 30.

Still, SFMTrA says they want to double that number themselves in a year's time.

Adding more protected bike lanes is part of Mayor Ed Lee's plan that he put out a couple of months ago.

The city hopes to work with the cyclist group moving forward.

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