OAKLAND -- Beginning July 1, BART riders will be allowed to take their bikes on trains during rush hour for a five-month test run.

BART trustees voted Thursday to approve the pilot project that will run through November. In a 6-3 vote, the board authorized the test and ordered a reassessment of the change in November -- before the trial is up.

Voting no were BART Directors Tom Radulovich and James Fang, both of San Francisco, and Robert Rayburn of Oakland They said it's time to dump the ban permanently.

But other board members said they want to monitor the five-month trial to ensure the change doesn't create too many conflicts or collisions between cyclists and other passengers.

During the trial, riders may enter trains with bicycles during peak hours as long as they avoid the first three train cars and follow a rule restricting the two-wheelers from overcrowded cars.

"I think it's likely everything will turn out fine," said BART Director Joel Keller of Brentwood. "If things turn out badly, we will hear about it."

Most of the 29 speakers who addressed the board Thursday, as well as 95 percent of the nearly 400 people who wrote letters or emails prior to the meeting, favored dropping the ban.

BART twice has relaxed the ban during trial periods, and surveys showed most riders were not upset. One trial was during Fridays for a month, and the other was for a week in March.


Advertisement

Fang, the director from San Francisco, said he had encountered a few cyclists who were rude and nasty on BART but added that it would be unfair to judge all cyclists by the actions of a few.

Director Rebecca Saltzman of Oakland said the rush hour ban had forced some people to "change their lives," including giving up job opportunities because commuting to them via BART and bike was so difficult.

She said she knew of one rider who owned two bikes and kept them at rented lockers in different train stations to commute.

Board members said they want to encourage more people to pedal rather than drive to train stations to ease the heavy demand for spaces in BART parking lots, which often fill up early in the morning on weekdays.

Contact Denis Cuff at 925-943-8267. Follow him at Twitter.com/deniscuff.