Caltrain the commuter rail system serving Santa Clara, San Mateo and San Francisco Counties, provides an excellent commute method for bicyclists to combine bicycles and rail to travel longer distances and increase the opportunity to use a bike and transit. Passengers can bike to the station and park at the station or use the Caltrain bikes on board service to take their bikes on the train.
Bikes On Board Caltrain. This service allows passengers to bring their bikes on board the train. Using the service bike riders can ride to the station, bring their bike on board and travel to the destination station and then use their bike to travel to their final destination. Bike capacity is limited and the service is so popular the bike cars get filled to capacity and sometimes customers with bikes not allowed to board with their bikes. BikeSMC and other organizations are working to improve on board bike capacity to take full advantage of this commute option. For more information on bikes on board, information on capacity and efforts to increase capacity see our Bikes On Board Section
Caltrain Modernization: Caltrain is working on electrification of the Caltrain system. This will use electrically powered electric multiple units ( EMUs) to replace the current diesel system. Electrification will allow faster acceleration, add about one trainset per hour, per direction, reduce travel time and provide a quieter and cleaner system. The plan is to have the EMU's in operation by 2020. Decisions are being made now on the car design, bicycle capacity, station design for level boarding and numerous other issues related to implementing a new electrified train system.
The future of bicycle accommodation on an electrified Caltrain is uncertain and input from bicyclists is needed to ensure Caltrains takes full advantage of bicycles both for on board accommodation and bike access and parking at the Caltrain stations. See Caltrain Modernization for additional information and how to get involved.
The Courteous Bicyclist
In looking for ways to enhance or initiate safe transportation infrastructure amenities and to ensure our right to travel as legitimate street traffic, many of us joined organizations, attended public agency meetings, and wrote letters to elected officials. As the success of these efforts has served to promote more documented everyday bicycle usage, it has also brought the unintended consequence of increased friction among the user groups of motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists. Bicyclists who pay no heed to the Vehicle Code, undermine all the hard effort put forth to provide better bicycle accommodation. Although most bicyclists ride safely and lawfully, there remain enough two-wheeled scofflaws on our streets and sidewalks who continue to underscore the notion that "Bikes DON'T Belong".
Bicyclists tend to overlook their most direct opportunity toward achieving safety and accommodation which involves no funding, no new laws, or waiting for advocacy groups to organize. Rather than reinforcing an image of bicycle outlaws, it has become the mandate for each cyclist to become an individual ambassador to demonstrate that street space is deserved because of mutual user respect.
Bike San Mateo County has authored "The Courteous Road User's Guide" to provide guidelines for all road users on how best to accommodate everyone. In addition to defining how bicyclists should conduct themselves, it explains how motorists can accommodate bicyclists by recognizing the specific hazards bicyclists must avoid and explains why bicyclists sometimes need to "Take the Lane" in order to ride safely. The intent of the Guide is to provide a simple educational blueprint to encourage individual responsibility to meet the social and codified obligations that all must undertake to ensure that our public thoroughfares retain and continue to maintain safe accommodation for every user.