On May 31, 2011 the West Side of the Golden Gate Bridge closed for renovations. The renovations are scheduled to last thru September 2011. For more information, see the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District information page here.
The West Side is known as the “bike side” of the bridge. Typically, this side is open for cyclists from 3:30 pm to sunset Monday through Friday and 5am to sunset on the weekends.
But now, cyclists at all times of day will have to deal with the pedestrians and tourists present on the East Side of the bridge.
The interaction between pedestrians and cyclists is tenuous at best and hostile at worst. On a typical weekend, over 5,000 bicyclists cross the Golden Gate Bridge. The next four months are high season for tourists and for cyclists who are training for tours and competitions.
The hardest part of crossing on the pedestrian side of the bridge is inattentive tourists who don’t think bikes belong on their side. Or the teenagers with headphones in who don’t hear the bikes announcing their presence over their music. To experience what it is like to bike across the pedestrian side of the bridge, check out Ridin’ Dirty below.
Over the next four months, the pedestrians will need to be aware of how crowded the bridge will be. Hopefully, signs will be posted to make the pedestrians more aware of the bikes and hopefully they will pay attention.
These next four months will require lots and lots of patience from the bicyclists and understanding from pedestrians. Let’s hope this occurs.
Until then, be careful crossing the bridge.