Frequently Asked Questions about Bikes on BART
It is the responsibility of riders taking their bikes on BART to be familiar with BART’s Bike Rules. Violation of the bike rules are subject to citation under CA Vehicle Code Sec. 21113 and Sec. 42001.
1. Why aren’t bikes allowed on all BART trains at all times?
Some trains and stations are too crowded to safely accommodate bicycles during busy times. The times when bikes are not allowed on BART are highlighted in the Fares and Schedules brochure and shown on the BART QuickPlanner.
2. Why doesn’t BART designate one car just for bicycles?
Because BART trains stop for only 15 to 30 seconds at almost all stops, attempting to load and unload all bicycles in one car will likely cause delays. BART’s strategy is to disperse cyclists along the length of the train allowing multiple bikes to enter and exit simultaneously—utilizing up to 18 doors rather than just two (since bikes are not allowed in the first car, a 10 car train has 18 doors on 9 cars for bicyclists to use).
It is also not possible to create a special bike car (by removing most of the seats) and have it consistently arrive in a predictable position on the platform. BART couples and uncouples trains several times a day often running shorter trains in the mid-day to minimize wear and tear and save energy. This process is influenced by variations in ridership demand, special events and vehicle maintenance cycles. Because of the variability and complexity of the process, it is not practical to have to have a bike car in a consistent location on each train.
For many passengers getting a seat is strong personal preference. Removing upwards of 60 seats from every train means at the end of the day that thousands of passengers who would have liked a seat will not get one. A significant portion of BART's riders during peak commute periods are people traveling more than 20 minutes one-way so seats are valued.
Lastly, BART does not have the option to simply add more cars because platforms fit a maximum of 10 cars and all BART cars that are not in maintenance are already in service each weekday commute period.
3. Why does the designated bike car work on Caltrain?
There are significant differences between BART and Caltrain that allow for a dedicated bike car to work on Caltrain and not on BART:
• Stopping times are much longer on Caltrain—typically 1-2 minutes rather than 20-30 seconds on BART. The longer stops give cyclists the time to enter, exit and organize bikes while the train is stationary without delaying departure.
• Caltrain does not disassemble trains so the bike car is always in a fixed, predictable position at the northern end of each train.
• A conductor is on each bike car to monitor the number of bikes and restrict them when capacity is reached.
• All passengers who would like a seat have one available.
4. Is it true that folding bikes are allowed on all BART trains?
Yes, folding bikes are allowed on all trains. During the restricted periods when full size bikes are not allowed on trains, folding bikes must be folded on the platform and in the paid area of some stations (see Bike Rules for details).
5. Why doesn’t BART consider vertical bike racks on the trains?
BART trains are too low to accommodate vertical racks. The new BART fleet is being designed with bike racks, but there is not currently a design to add to the existing fleet. There is also concern that swinging bikes up and down on a crowded train could be dangerous.
6. Why can’t I take my bike on a escalator?
This is a safety issue. Bicycles and other wheeled devices such as strollers and wheel chairs are not permitted on escalators. Escalators are moving pieces of machinery. Should someone lose control of their bike and it becomes wedged between the side of the escalator people could be pushed into the bike and each other as the escalator continues to move leading to a dangerous situation and significant personal injury.
7. Where is the safest place to park my bike at a BART station?
Bike Stations and bike lockers provide an extra level of security at most BART stations. These facilities are listed at bart.gov/bikes. If you park your bike at a rack, use a good quality U lock to secure it (cable locks are easily cut) and lock it in a location with as much activity as possible. View a video on bike parking here.
8. Is it true that bicycles should yield to passengers with disabilities and seniors?
Yes, as a courtesy, bicyclists must make space available for passengers with disabilities ,as well as, seniors. Federal regulation requires BART to designate space for seniors and persons with disabilities.
9. Why aren’t bikes allowed in the first car of a train?
In the event of an emergency the train operator needs to have a quick, unimpeded path through the first car to emergency controls and to provide assistance. This policy also provides a space for anyone who does not want to be on a car with bikes.
10. What do I do if the train I want to board is crowded?
Bicyclists should never board a train car that cannot comfortably accommodate them and their bicycle. Cyclists should wait for a less crowded train to board with their bicycle. Cars near the rear of the train tend to be less crowded so positioning oneself there increases your chances of finding an uncrowded car.
11. What do I do with my bike if a train I’m already on becomes crowded?
You may remain on the train. Do your best to not impede passengers’ entry and exit paths. Use the “bike space” if available. If it is too difficult to exit the train, you may need to stay on for a couple stops until the train is less crowded before you exit.