Eyes on the “Street:” Bike Space on Trains

After yesterday’s post on the Metro Board’s decision to delay their "bikes on trains" rules until more information could be gathered, a couple of readers commented with links to the new "bike space" markings on trains.  What used to be a sign directing handicapped riders to the areas which were formerly two-person benches, the "bike area" is now marked in yellow next to the handicapped area.  A rendering off a Metro presentation for this week’s Board Meeting, gives a more complete view of what the "bike areas" will look like, including markings on the outside of the train.

When Metro rail operations chief Michael Cannell justifies his proposed two-bike per car limit on Metro trains he points to the "hazards" created when too many cyclists are in the aisle or blocking the doors.  It will be interesting to see if these new decals actually alleviate this problem as cyclists are directed where is the best place to put their bikes.  I’ve actually been on a train in an unmarked bike area with Gunpowder and been told that I’m standing in the handicapped area and should move. If nothing else, at least these decals should clear up that kind of confusion.

However, I can’t help but remember that when Metro staff unveiled the "two-car" rule that during a back-and-forth with Stephen Box a frustrated Cannell snapped that if cyclists weren’t happy with the proposed spacing he would design the space so that all forms of freight had to share the same area.  While Cannell quickly recovered his cool, it’s hard to see how the above pictures create a different "shared space" than what he proposed in the heat of the moment two weeks ago.

While the stickers are continuing to go up, Metro is taking time to re-evaluate their new bike rules before going forward with either a plan to remove the rush-hour ban or to limit the number of bikes allowed per train.

  • David Galvan

    My wife has jury duty today. She was considering taking her bike on the red line but it was during the rush hour ban and it was unclear if that was against the rules any more. It would be nice to know if/when these new rules take effect.

    As to the location of the bike area: I suspect the signs will help, but not all that much. Those cyclists who decide they want to sit down will probably still do so. What would be most useful would be decals on the OUTSIDE of the train, so that cyclists know which car and which end of the car to go to when boarding the train.

  • David Galvan

    By the way, how can we remind the people deciding on the language for these new rules to consider folding bicycles and to explicitly mention them in the new rules? As I recall, the proposed new rules eliminate any mention of folding bycicles, whereas the current (previous?) rules explicitly state that folded bikes are allowed at any time. Without a mention, the presumption would be that a folded bike counts as 1 of the two bicycles allowed per train car, which is unreasonable as a folded bike takes up much less space.

    See the following pics of folded bikes on the blue and red lines, for example. They take up much less room and there are a variety of locations that are appropriate for them. The pics I show are of the folded bikes placed somewhere, but they would obviously be even less of an imposition if the cyclist stands while holding the folded bike close to themselves.

    Folded MTN bike on red line:

    Folded MTN bike on blue line:

    Folded Bike Friday Tikit on red line:

  • M

    David, if you look at the sideshow someone posted yesterday, they do seem to plan on putting decals on the outside. I would argue that still isn’t completely useful unless someone is familiar with the system. People regularly can’t even see the signs on the sides of the train that say which direction it is going when you point directly to the sign. Unless someone KNOWS to look for a special luggage/baby carriage/bicycle area, why would they be looking for it? When it comes to infrequent riders (which I suspect some of the people with luggage are, especially from other countries), it’s somewhat frustrating to see some people sit down with their luggage on the seat next to them during rush hour.

    Then again, I don’t even know what to think about some of the people riding the trains. I am somewhat surprised that there is a constant supply of people sitting on the stairs in the train stations during rush hour. Even after being asked to move with people standing right in front of them trying to walk up the stairs, some of the people still just sit there. The monitors in the stations periodically show messages saying to not sit on the stairs. People still sit there. Common sense and simply looking around the station might lead someone to the conclusion that blocking the stairs is a safety hazard in the case of an emergency and that you are setting yourself up to be accidentally stepped on, hit by bags or have someone fall on you, but people still do it, day after day.

  • Andy B from Jersey

    I don’t know why transit agencies have such a hard time comprehending that bicycles take up much less floor space when they are stored vertically.

    On the Swiss made RiverLine trains in New Jersey, the clever vertical bicycle racks allow three bikes to be stored in the same space as half a bike stored horizontally (on its two wheels). You would think that transit agencies would be rushing to replicate these bike racks since they probably cost only $2000 installed. But no, they continue to ignore the need of one of there greatest supporters.

    When will they get it?!?!

  • Some of those photos from David prove to me that you could get 4 to 7 bikes easily, stored vertically in the space provided (I’ve never been to LA BTW). 4 Vertically stowed bikes would seem to still leave room for a passenger in a wheelchair.

  • Pouya Bagheri

    Hey budd, which city is this?


Box: Metrolink Passes Bike Friendly Test

(This is the first in a three-part series from Stephen Box.  In the coming weeks he’ll be discussing the bike (and passenger) friendliness of Metro Rail and Amtrak. – DN) When I embark on a #BikeTrain adventure, I typically put my train-boarding theory to work by heading for the front car. I believe that this […]