Greater Greater Washington

Examiner prints incendiary anti-bike cover

It must be hard trying to be a good reporter at the Washington Examiner. You write a reasonably balanced article about the ever-present bicycle-driver tensions, and then the editors put it on the front page with a huge incendiary headline, and boomyou've just stoked a lot of hatred out there as your contribution to the public marketplace of ideas.

This morning, commuters walking to the Metro who got a copy of the Washington Examiner tabloid saw a cover that shouts, "Motorists fuming as bicyclists pack roads; Everyone angry at clueless Bikeshare riders."

Whoever did the layout even put it above a picture of actual riots and fire in the Middle East. Martin Austermuhle notes, "From afar you'd be hard-pressed not to think that the Examiner is discretely trying to make another point."

Inside, though, is a story by Liz Essley that is actually fairly even-handed. The first person she quotes is not an angry driver but a cyclist who's been legitimately wronged:

Columbia Heights resident Jack Santucci was biking on a Logan Circle street last year when a woman in a parked car opened her door, giving him no time to do anything but smash right into it.

Though D.C. rules require drivers to look before opening doors, the woman blamed Santucci. He should not be biking on the street, she told him, incorrectly.

"There's a lack of awareness of the rules," Santucci said. "That's just the adjustment for the change in the city. People need to get used to the presence of bikes on the road, and people on bikes need to get used to the idea that there are cars in the road, too."

Essley then quotes a driver complaining about cyclists and someone else complaining about people on Capital Bikeshare, but closes with a quote from Shane Farthing of WABA about how drivers could benefit from some education as well.

A pull-out box lists some rules of the road, including responsibilities for both cyclists and drivers, and Essley also has a companion piece about how many drivers are making illegal U-turns on the Pennsylvania Avenue bike lanes (though I think the story and some of the people quoted are confusing Pennsylvania Avenue NW, which has the center bike lanes, and Pennsylvania Avenue SE, which does not).

DC media, I implore youbeef up your Metro reporting so that the Examiner isn't the main source of actual information, and hire Essley, Kytja Weir, and other hardworking reporters so that they can tell us the news somewhere other than the hate-mongering Examiner.

While the story is fair to both sides, these stories about how one group is angry at another can so easily become divisive. Alex Baca wrote sarcastically on Twitter, "OF COURSE all cyclists think all drivers are the problem, and OF COURSE all drivers think cyclists are the problem. Yep. That's it." And then, more seriously, "I find assholesped, driver, cyclist(I have at some point been an asshole on all of the above and you likely have, too)to be the problem."

Geoff Hatchard observed, "People of DCI've figured everything out! We should all hate each other and anyone who is not just like us, and it sells papers." Sadly, it probably does, especially when the papers are free.

But this is no laughing matter. Topher Matthews noted, "You know what's funny, seeing the Examiner print a hilariously awful anti-bike headline the day after two drivers almost killed me." Actual road safety is rarely a part of these stories on bike crashes, traffic cameras and more.

In fact, the numbers in the story point out that safety increased. Michael Perkins pointed out that the numbers show "a 39% increase in bicycle crashes compared to an 86% increase in bicycle commuting." In other words, all of this stuff is helping people get around with less risk of being hurt. Isn't that important, too?

David Alpert is the founder and editor-in-chief of Greater Greater Washington. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He now lives with his wife and daughter in Dupont Circle. 

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Though D.C. rules require drivers to look before opening doors, the woman blamed Santucci. He should not be biking on the street, she told him, incorrectly.

The so manieth accident because a biker is too close to the side of the road. This is an accident where both parties are at fault. Bikers should drive far enough from parked cars so they can not be hit by idiot drivers that swing their doors open without looking, and drivers should look to prevent swinging their doors into idiot bikers that hug the gutter.

Bikers: Take your space on the road.

Other than that: Good article David. Just my thought as I saw the headline this morning, sighed, and was then pleasantly surprised by the decently weighed text.

BTW: I was nearly over run of the road yesterday by a biker that was typing something on hos phone while also talking into his bluetooth thingie. Can we just agree that everywhere in traffic there are idiots who think that their commute is a perfect time to multitask?

by Jasper on Sep 13, 2012 10:40 am • linkreport

Hate-mongering, or fear based media, is the Examiner's business model. It is the same approach used by FoxNews and other right wing media outlets. It is purely directed towards segments of our population (mostly conservatives) that respond more readily to fear (actual or fictitious); and is highly profitable.

by RJ on Sep 13, 2012 10:42 am • linkreport

David, literally incendiary? When I picked up my examiner this morning it was still cool to the touch.

by James on Sep 13, 2012 10:56 am • linkreport

I am shocked, shocked, the newspaper editors use headline placement and pictures to draw in audiences.

speaking of hate speech, no quote from regional road services company?

by charlie on Sep 13, 2012 11:00 am • linkreport

Just for the record: the two near-vehicular manslaughters went like this. I was jogging home across M at 28th (with the light), and a driver of a large SUV rolled through the redlight to make a right turn, having to come to a screeching halt to avoid running directly into me. Minutes later I was halfway across a crosswalk (that has neither a light nor a stop sign, but which requires drivers to yield) and a car blew through the crosswalk at 30mph feet in front of me, without either slowing down or even noticing me at all. If I had been as reckless as they were acting, I could be dead.

And this is the problem with articles like this. I agree the writer is more balanced than the headline, but she still engages in the equivilance game. Yes, everyone is responsible for traveling as safely as possible, but those that are operating a device that is significantly more dangerous to everyone else should be equally more responsible for the danger they create.

Think of it this way, imagine a crowded room where you have some people walking around with butter knives, some walking around with baseball bats and some waking around with loaded guns. Yes, everyone should be careful about the hazard their respective weapons is creating, but the ones with a gun are obviously introducing the most danger and are obviously the ones who should be held to a higher standard! Too often we are essentially saying that the butter-knife holders are just as responsible for dodging stray bullets as the gun-weilders are responsible for not firing in the first place. This needs to change.

by Topher Mathews on Sep 13, 2012 11:12 am • linkreport

First, I am a pedestrian only. I do not drive. I do not ride a bike. I take Metro and Metrobus. I walk. Everywhere.

The Examiner story quotes one person who criticizes bikeshare users, and I can't help but agree. On Capitol Hill, where I live, every day I see bikeshare users blithely running stop signs and stop lights (at a MUCH higher rate than cyclists on non-bikeshare bikes). Most don't even bother to slow down, or even look in both directions before entering the intersection. It's as if they get on these bikes and think they have this magic shield surrounding them.

The final straw for me was when I was walking my 13-month-old child in her stroller at 2nd and F NE (possibly the worst intersection in the city when it comes to bikeshare riders, who get a head of steam as they roll down the hill from the bikeshare station toward F). I was in the crosswalk when a bikeshare rider blew through the stop sign and nearly took out my child. She didn't stop, or even acknowledge the accident she nearly caused.

I anticipate the response to my comment will be: But drivers do that, too! Sure, they do. I wish they wouldn't. I just wish bikeshare riders were better educated about the rules of the road. Perhaps something as simple as putting a sticker on the bike that reads, "You MUST stop at all stop signs and red lights."

by CapHill on Sep 13, 2012 11:14 am • linkreport

@Mr Alpert: So you suggest that they suppress their tabloid instincts and become boring and earnest? That is no fun, and I think by giving voice to populist sentiment that is not printed elsewhere (besides Courtland Milloy) the Examiner is doing a service. It is a safety-valve for the resentment of the unwashed masses, i.e., the people that live here and go to work every day.

It is far easier to just sit back and enjoy the show.

by goldfish on Sep 13, 2012 11:15 am • linkreport

goldfish: I think encouraging people to hate other people is not just a "show" or "giving voice to populist sentiment" but a real disservice to society. We shouldn't sit back and say, ha ha, tabloids, those rascals, they make everything so entertaining by setting up an environment where people are more likely to get killed, make our public policy debates more about one group hating another, what fun.

by David Alpert on Sep 13, 2012 11:26 am • linkreport

@Mr Alpert: "motorist fuming" != hate.

by goldfish on Sep 13, 2012 11:27 am • linkreport

The sub-headline is "everyone is angry at clueless bikeshare riders" but you're right we should argue over the semantics of the word hate rather than ask for more reasonable discussions about who is responsible for what on the road.

by drumz on Sep 13, 2012 11:30 am • linkreport

This newspaper ran a picture of Hitler next to an op-ed arguing against health reform in 2009 (that op-ed's tone was similarly incendiary). I expect no better from the Examiner.

by Weiwen on Sep 13, 2012 11:39 am • linkreport

Seriously? You're outraged at an idiotic headline from the Examiner? This is their stock-in-trade.

by JustMe on Sep 13, 2012 11:43 am • linkreport

There are some pretty clueless Bikeshare riders out there -- using mobile phones while riding and speeding down crowded sidewalks -- and the ineveitable crackdown will end up hurting all cyclists. But that's the price for better transportation options.

The incendiary headline is the crap we've learn to expect from The Examiner. They're really not much better than Drudge.

by aaa on Sep 13, 2012 11:44 am • linkreport

@drumz: Some confusion about a word that has two meanings. "hate" = (1) profound detestation and loathing ("the KKK hates blacks") ; (2) a strong dislike ("I hate cold coffee"). "Hate-mongering, or fear based media" is an example of the former; "Motorists hate bicyclists" is an example of the latter.

by goldfish on Sep 13, 2012 11:44 am • linkreport

"literally incendiary"

So the paper was actually on fire? Haha

by Terminal 7 on Sep 13, 2012 12:07 pm • linkreport

I usually don't like the Examiner, but I think they were spot-on with this headline. As a pedestrian, I live in fear of bicyclists, who consistently tear through red lights and stop signs, oblivious to any pedestrians in their path. I've actually witnessed a number of hit-and-runs perpetrated by bikers. They just don't seem to care about the people around them--pedestrians OR drivers.

It comes down to one thing: Biking is a public hazard. Solution? Get bikers OFF the streets, or require a bike license, with all the responsibilities--and potential penalties--that drivers have.

by Brennan on Sep 13, 2012 12:11 pm • linkreport

OK, OK, I agree "literally" isn't quite right. I was trying to refer to the way there's actual fire IN THE PICTURE. But I've taken it out because I really don't want to contribute to the trend of using literally incorrectly.

by David Alpert on Sep 13, 2012 12:18 pm • linkreport

As a pedestrian, I laugh at people who "live in fear of bicyclists". They're the same folks who are terrified of flying in an airplane, but think nothing of getting in a car and driving on the beltway. People have a very hard time evaluating risk, and this is Exhibit A.

As far as the headline goes, it's a suburban-urban divide. Aside from a few outliers, Bikeshare (and bike infrastructure, and cycling in general) is extremely popular among DC residents and folks who live in close-in suburbs. It's relatively unpopular among people who live far out in the burbs, commute by car, and generally fear any sort of social change. That group of little-'c' conservatives encompasses both Courtland Milloy and your average timid Examiner reader. Both stand athwart history, their fists clenched in impotent rage, yelling, "Stop!"

Oh, well. Life goes on, and we'll likely survive the hoards of marauding cyclists just as we did teens that listened to rock 'n' roll in the 50s, and women winning the vote in previous years.

by oboe on Sep 13, 2012 12:26 pm • linkreport

@ brennan

I dont understand - how would moving bikers off of STREETS (i assume you mean traffic lanes) help pedestrians? I also am not clear how a biker going through a red light would have pedestrians in their path.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 13, 2012 12:27 pm • linkreport

@AWalkerInTheCity

"Literally" strikes again. Bikers shouldn't be on streets or sidewalks if they don't follow clearly defined rules so pedestrians and drivers can predict their behavior. Also, you must not walk much if you don't understand how a biker going through a red light may interfere with pedestrians. Crosswalk, much?

@oboe

I think you're essentializing with your opening statement. People live in fear of bicyclists because they're erratic and don't follow the rules of the road. Fear comes from the unexpected. Airplanes--and to a lesser extent, cars--follows rules. Also, you're comment that people who don't like bicyclists "fear change" also seems pretty unfounded. People don't like bicyclists--or are simply annoyed with them--because there's no structure set up to deal with them yet, and as such, AGAIN, they don't follow any tried-and-tested rules. People don't FEAR change, they just want to know what to expect.

by Brennan on Sep 13, 2012 12:34 pm • linkreport

"Bikers shouldn't be on streets or sidewalks if they don't follow clearly defined rules so pedestrians and drivers can predict their behavior."

Drivers and peds who dont follow defined rules (and there are plenty) should not be on streets or sidewalks respectively. If drivers and peds in general should not be banned because of some lawbreakers, why should cyclists?

" Also, you must not walk much if you don't understand how a biker going through a red light may interfere with pedestrians. Crosswalk, much?"

I walk a tremendous amount. When I cross at a crosswalk, I look both ways anyway, as a driver violating a red (not uncommon) could kill me. I can't recall ever having a similar issue with a cyclist.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 13, 2012 12:42 pm • linkreport

"People live in fear of bicyclists because they're erratic and don't follow the rules of the road."

I see no evidence cyclists follow the rules of the road less than drivers or pedestrians do.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 13, 2012 12:43 pm • linkreport

@AWalkerInTheCity

Again, I think you're having a problem with the "literally" issue again. The problem is there isn't a set of comprehensive rules for bikers to follow, at least not that anyone is required to learn (or enforce). These rules do exist for pedestrians and drivers, and police exist to enforce these rules. I've never seen (or heard of) a biker getting stopped for endangering others on the road. As I mentioned, let's require biker training, a biker's license, and give bikers tickets when they break the rules. They have every right to use the road as much as anyone else does--if they at least make an initial commitment to do it safely! While we're at it, it wouldn't hurt to remind pedestrians of their responsibilities on the road! (But since they're not piloting vehicles, I think asking for a ped license would be a bit much.)

As for your second statement, I'm glad you now understand how crosswalks and red lights work. But I can count in the dozens how many times a biker has whipped around a corner at the last minute or swerved off of a sidewalk and into the middle of the street while I'm in the crosswalk. No amount of looking both ways--which I never fail to do--can solve that problem.

by Brennan on Sep 13, 2012 12:51 pm • linkreport

"The problem is there isn't a set of comprehensive rules for bikers to follow"

There certainly is - cyclist behavior is regulated by law in very jurisdiction, including DC, VA, and MD

" at least not that anyone is required to learn"

If you mean there is no exam cyclists must take to get a license, thats true. Its also true for pedestrians.

" (or enforce). These rules do exist for pedestrians and drivers, and police exist to enforce these rules. I've never seen (or heard of) a biker getting stopped for endangering others on the road., ."

you havent been paying attention then - DC police give thousands of tickets each year to cyclists.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 13, 2012 12:54 pm • linkreport

" It's relatively unpopular among people who live far out in the burbs, commute by car, and generally fear any sort of social change."

I'm not sure those people even work in DC, much less read the examiner. After all, it might have cooties.

by charlie on Sep 13, 2012 12:55 pm • linkreport

" (But since they're not piloting vehicles, I think asking for a ped license would be a bit much.)"

why?

We have discussed bike licensing. It would be difficult to define who should be licensed - would you require licenses for 7 year olds? The benefits would be small, the costs high, and by discouraging biking it would be bad for public health.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 13, 2012 12:57 pm • linkreport

"I see no evidence cyclists follow the rules of the road less than drivers or pedestrians do."

Really?

Drivers do break speed limits more often than cyclists, but I'm sure cyclists would break them too if they could. Look, I'm a driver and I'm a cyclist. I'm not taking sides here. But as bad as drivers are, cyclists are many times worse at following the rules of the road. Whether things like stop signs SHOULD apply equally to drivers and cyclists is a good question, but the fact is that cyclists almost never stop and rarely even slow down at stop signs, while drivers almost always make some attempt, however minimal, to obey them. Wrong way on a one-way street? Traveling on the wrong side of the road? You almost never see drivers doing these things, but it's common behavior among many cyclists.

As for pedestrians... I've given up on pedestrians. There's no rhyme or reason to what they do.

by jimble on Sep 13, 2012 12:59 pm • linkreport

"As for your second statement, I'm glad you now understand how crosswalks and red lights work."

I knew how they work. I was visualizing something else.

" But I can count in the dozens how many times a biker has whipped around a corner"

Do you mean turning right? But they have the right to turn right on red, just as a motor vehicle does - and its very important as a pedestrian to be wary of right turning vehicles.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 13, 2012 12:59 pm • linkreport

@AWalkerInTheCity

"We have discussed bike licensing. It would be difficult to define who should be licensed - would you require licenses for 7 year olds? The benefits would be small, the costs high, and by discouraging biking it would be bad for public health."

Why would this be difficult to define? Require a bike license for certain groups and not others--we certainly do that with helmets and with motorcycles. Maybe require one for bikers who pilot of non-residential streets. Also, maybe the city should offer these licenses for free through a counselor's office in school. I think it would certainly go a long way toward giving kids a foreshadowing of the responsibility of owning and driving a car later on.

by Brennan on Sep 13, 2012 1:01 pm • linkreport

AWalkerInTheCity

"Do you mean turning right? But they have the right to turn right on red, just as a motor vehicle does - and its very important as a pedestrian to be wary of right turning vehicles."

Right AFTER a complete stop on red. I guess it's too much to ask a biker to stop before turning right on red. In this situation, pedestrians always have the right of way.

by Brennan on Sep 13, 2012 1:03 pm • linkreport

"Drivers do break speed limits more often than cyclists, but I'm sure cyclists would break them too if they could. "

and Im sure drivers would go the wrong way on one way streets if they could manage it as easily as a cyclist could.

"Whether things like stop signs SHOULD apply equally to drivers and cyclists is a good question, but the fact is that cyclists almost never stop and rarely even slow down at stop signs, while drivers almost always make some attempt, however minimal, to obey them. "

I see cyclists stopping at stop signs and red lights all the time. The places many don't are places where the risks of an Idaho stop are small, and the delay signficant. They go through them for the same reasons pedestrians jaywalk. And I have certainly seen drivers blow through not merely stop signs, but red lights.

"Wrong way on a one-way street? Traveling on the wrong side of the road?"

The cyclists I see doing that are almost always riding cheap (not CaBi) bikes, not wearing helmets, etc. They are mostly poor folks biking with little choice. I would certainly like to see more bike education directed at them (including offering bike education in Spanish)

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 13, 2012 1:04 pm • linkreport

"Right AFTER a complete stop on red"

and if you think every driver does that, I have some suburban arterials to sell you

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 13, 2012 1:05 pm • linkreport

" Maybe require one for bikers who pilot of non-residential streets. "

Why is riding on a residential street (where there are more likely to be peds) less in need of a license than elsewhere? People keep saying this is about protecting peds, but they mostly insist on licenses for folks riding in the street, in busy areas, where bike ped conflicts are less common, and bike - AUTO conflicts are more common.

"Also, maybe the city should offer these licenses for free through a counselor's office in school."

Kids biking is often spontaneous - requiring a license would mean less of it, and would contribute to childhood obesity, and thus would be more dangerous kids.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 13, 2012 1:09 pm • linkreport

By the way, its interesting that the arguments for bike licensing come up on almost every bike safety related thread, and each time from a different handle, usually one not seen before.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 13, 2012 1:11 pm • linkreport

It's official! AWalkerInTheCity is a crazed, anarchist conspiracy theorist who wants to overthrow all drivers and pedestrians--and is convinced there's an underground movement to require bike licenses! THE HORROR. /irony

by Brennan on Sep 13, 2012 1:15 pm • linkreport

The solution to this is simple: the next time a moron riding a bike on the sidewalk nearly knocks me over, I'll shove a stick in his spokes and call it a day.

by Chris on Sep 13, 2012 1:15 pm • linkreport

I ride my bike often in a pedestrian heavy area (clarendon blvd). I've only ever gotten compliments from pedestrians. If I've cut in front of someone (and I have) and caused them to break their stride they've never said anything. If any of these people are living in fear of me I would expect them to say something (or flick me off or something) yet that never happens. I guess my anecdotes cancels out someone else's.

by drumz on Sep 13, 2012 1:16 pm • linkreport

brennan

One dude posting the same argument about bike licensing obsessively over and over again, would hardly be a conspiracy. Conspiracies usually involve multiple individuals.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 13, 2012 1:21 pm • linkreport

HA! Thanks lurker friend.

I had to allow my eyes to dilate just to make sure I'm reading this correctly.

A news source purposely published misleading and/or incendiary information? Really?

After the smorgasbord of anti-education, pro-corruption, anti-progressive, incendiary labels thrown here and about, I guess I'm a bit jaded by stuff like this.

BTW, interesting captcha thingy. I do wonder what readers are expected to get from the "full time" (orange line) descriptor. I imagine it would be confusing to those not familiar w/the system. Full-time as opposed to part-time is shown where on the map?

by HogWash on Sep 13, 2012 1:26 pm • linkreport

In the couple of months that I've been biking, I've found that the biggest difference is that bikes have a flexibility that unnerves a lot of people. Really, flexibility on the road is just a return to the way things were up until the 50s, when highway-driving attitudes about order and regularity took over. It's little things like looking at the people around you instead of just the traffic light, but all these little things add up to a very different traffic experience. Learning how to deal with uncertainty, and how to respond appropriately, is a real skill that has to be learned. Some drivers, bikers, and walkers have learned, and some have not yet.

by Tom Veil on Sep 13, 2012 1:30 pm • linkreport

" when highway-driving attitudes about order and regularity took over. It's little things like looking at the people around you instead of just the traffic light, but all these little things add up to a very different traffic experience"

Interesting argument. A big element of car design in the last 20 years is moving away from the "glass bubble" and restricting your rear views. Clearly not good for city traffic. Cameras can help but I doubt how effective they are.

by charlie on Sep 13, 2012 1:35 pm • linkreport

People live in fear of bicyclists because they're erratic and don't follow the rules of the road. Fear comes from the unexpected.

Right, but my point is that "people" don't fear bicyclists. I've yet to meet a single living, breathing human being who lives in fear of bicyclists. They seem to exist exclusively on the internet.

My mother suffers from anxiety attacks, and may be the most high-strung, phobic person on the planet, and even she is not afraid of bicycles--for all their erratic behavior.

by oboe on Sep 13, 2012 1:36 pm • linkreport

[This comment has been deleted for violating the comment policy.]

by Brennan on Sep 13, 2012 1:37 pm • linkreport

"The fact that you think only ONE PERSON in all of DC is in favor of licensing bikers is pretty startling."

Where did i say that? I think its quite likely that only one poster on GGW is advocating for it though.

"I guess "anarchist" was pretty accurate."

hmm? If anarchist means someone who disagrees with your position on bike licensing, than okay, Im an anarchist.

" Go complain some more about how bikers are saints and drivers are to blame for the world's problems."

Projecting a bit, are we?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 13, 2012 1:41 pm • linkreport

"The problem is there isn't a set of comprehensive rules for bikers to follow"

Of course there is - there are laws that specifically state the rules for bikers. Just because you're ignorant about them doesn't make them any less real.

by Trixie on Sep 13, 2012 1:43 pm • linkreport

"By the way, its interesting that the arguments for bike licensing come up on almost every bike safety related thread, and each time from a different handle, usually one not seen before."

More than one person holds the same opinion? SHOCKER.

by Chris on Sep 13, 2012 1:45 pm • linkreport

"Just because you're ignorant about them doesn't make them any less real."

I think you mean "just because no one follows them..."

by Chris on Sep 13, 2012 1:46 pm • linkreport

But guys, we need to liscense cyclists because of all the people they run over!

and if that isn't actually true then surely we will start hearing stories everyday of cyclists killing pedestrians inadvertantly because they just made the drivers do it. Why assume the fault of the driver for not controlling their vehicle when there could have been a cyclist within a 8 block radius that made that driver a little jumpy?

by drumz on Sep 13, 2012 1:47 pm • linkreport

Yes, they do need licenses. If you're on a road, you need to be licensed. As soon as I start seeing pedestrians walking down the middle of the road, impeding traffic, I'll think they should be licensed too.

by Chris on Sep 13, 2012 1:50 pm • linkreport

Behind my block the streets don't have sidewalks, do I need a liscense for that? Or should we not worry about whatever your definition of fairness and rather look at who is more likely to to cause fatal damge.

And bikes don't impede traffic, they are part of the traffic. I wonder if people get this angry about Amish buggies where those are prevalent and with the same arguments.

by drumz on Sep 13, 2012 1:53 pm • linkreport

Chris

Cue AWalkerInTheCity with, "I see pedestrians walking down the middle o the street for miles all the time!

by Brennan on Sep 13, 2012 1:54 pm • linkreport

" If you're on a road, you need to be licensed. As soon as I start seeing pedestrians walking down the middle of the road, impeding traffic, I'll think they should be licensed too. "

but we are constantly told, including by brennan, that this is not an "impeding traffic" (IE motor vehicle traffic") issue, its a safety issue, and specifically a safety issue.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 13, 2012 1:57 pm • linkreport

specifically a pedestrian safety issue.

Thanks for reminding us of the truth - the crocodile tears for ped safety are mostly a cover for "get the cyclists out of MY road, so I can drive faster!"

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 13, 2012 1:58 pm • linkreport

AWalkerInTheCity

Biking down a major highway at ten miles per hour is a safety issue. So is bolting out in front of traffic--"impeding" it, in any form--on your bike because you have a superiority complex.

by Brennan on Sep 13, 2012 1:59 pm • linkreport

Bikes don't impede traffic? Are you kidding me? You must live in an alternate reality where bikes travel at the speed limit. And who is talking about the Amish? Growing up in an area where they were prevalent, I can tell you that they don't use them on CITY STREETS. It's more of a rural thing. But if you want to make false equivalencies, then by all means. Any more you'd like to throw out?

by Chris on Sep 13, 2012 1:59 pm • linkreport

@Chris,

If you're on a road, you need to be licensed.

This is factually incorrect. If you're on a road, and riding a bicycle, you do *not* need to be licensed.

Now, if you want to modify it to read, "if you're on a road, you *should* be licensed", you'll probably want to add an argument of some kind.

by oboe on Sep 13, 2012 2:01 pm • linkreport

"get the cyclists out of MY road, so I can drive faster!"

Yes. Faster. You know, the posted speed limit.

by Chris on Sep 13, 2012 2:01 pm • linkreport

You're defining impeding traffic as not going the speed limit. That's not impeding traffic. If conditions are bad and I'm driving I might drive below the speed limit. Guess what? The people behind me are stuck until they can safely pass. That's the rule whether I'm in a car, bike, tractor or whatever.

So if you get mad because I'm slowing you down? I don't care.

by drumz on Sep 13, 2012 2:02 pm • linkreport

*safely and/or legally pass I should clarify.

also, the places that have speed minimums are also the same places that don't allow bicycles. This should be obvious but I'm covering my bases here.

by drumz on Sep 13, 2012 2:03 pm • linkreport

"So if you get mad because I'm slowing you down? I don't care."

If my car accidentally runs you over, I don't care either.

WHOOPS.

by Chris on Sep 13, 2012 2:04 pm • linkreport

Biking down a major highway at ten miles per hour is a safety issue.

Hmm... Not sure where this is happening.

So is bolting out in front of traffic--"impeding" it, in any form--on your bike because you have a superiority complex.

Ah, okay, I think now we're really getting to the heart of the matter.

by oboe on Sep 13, 2012 2:04 pm • linkreport

@Chris,

Just want to point out, the posted speed limit is a maximum speed limit. I know there's often a lot of confusion on this point among 99% of drivers.

by oboe on Sep 13, 2012 2:05 pm • linkreport

drumz

I found those laws people were mentioning--glad I now know they exist. And guess what? IMPEDING THE FLOW OF TRAFFIC IS ILLEGAL.

Guess that throws a wrench on my plan to walk slowly down every bike lane I see.

by Brennan on Sep 13, 2012 2:06 pm • linkreport

If my car accidentally runs you over, I don't care either.

So much for cyclists' sense of "superiority" and entitlement. In any case, cyclists get hit by cars because of driver carelessness. Almost never intentionally. If every chest-thumping bully who brayed about running down a cyclist or pedestrian did it, we'd probably have better laws.

by oboe on Sep 13, 2012 2:08 pm • linkreport

I think I am going to stop using the sidewalk and solely walk in bike lanes.

by Chris on Sep 13, 2012 2:08 pm • linkreport

And again, going under the speed limit is not "impeding traffic".

And if you hit someone from behind, explain to the police (and maybe a judge) that you hit them because they were going to slow and see how they react. Because that should count as assault.

by drumz on Sep 13, 2012 2:09 pm • linkreport

"cyclists get hit by cars because of driver carelessness."

No. They get hit by cars because to them, "sharing the road" means "darting dangerously in and out of traffic"

by Chris on Sep 13, 2012 2:10 pm • linkreport

drumz

You really do live in an alternate reality. Speed limit: 40. Biker: 10 mph during rush hour. Traffic jam ensues. But obviously, this is in no way IMPEDING traffic.

I see this daily in downtown Washington. Maybe I should start a pinterest board.

by Brennan on Sep 13, 2012 2:11 pm • linkreport

Ooo we got a lawyer in the house!

"Because that should count as assault."

I wonder what a judge would have to say about a bicyclist riding on a sidewalk, side-swiping a woman causing her to fall over, and then speeding away? Happened last week ten feet from me. 4th st SW. I believe it's called a HIT AND RUN.

by Chris on Sep 13, 2012 2:13 pm • linkreport

Man show me where you can drive 40MPH in downtown DC and I will bake you a cake!

Looking down on K street from my desk though, I pretty much only see stop and go traffic... all day.

GTFOOMW!

by MLD on Sep 13, 2012 2:14 pm • linkreport

Where is there a 40mph road (that doesn't end in -95) in downtown DC.

Plus there is no law that says that while bikes may share the road they must not impede traffic by adhering to the speed limit. Maybe that's a fault with the law but I think its more the fact that we all know what speeds bikes are capable of and we recognize that the ability of a cyclist to be able to use the road trumps the fact that in some instances they may skirt across the letter of the law regarding traffic impeding.

but certainly its the few bikes holding up traffic and not the thousands of cars that are causing the congestion

by drumz on Sep 13, 2012 2:15 pm • linkreport

Ok. What kind of cake? It better be good.

by Chris on Sep 13, 2012 2:16 pm • linkreport

I think I am going to stop using the sidewalk and solely walk in bike lanes.

See, now that actually is illegal. As opposed to one mode of "traffic" (i.e. bikes) somehow "impeding the flow of traffic", which is almost recursive in its nonsensicality.

by oboe on Sep 13, 2012 2:16 pm • linkreport

No. They get hit by cars because to them, "sharing the road" means "darting dangerously in and out of traffic"...

Either way, my point stands: it's pretty rare that puffy chested he-men intentionally run over cyclists and pedestrians. Most people are able to put on their big boy pants and behave in a civilized manner when out and about. It's what makes civilization function, after all.

by oboe on Sep 13, 2012 2:20 pm • linkreport

Chris,

um yes. If you hit someone and cause injury you should be liable. But you're ignoring the scale, being hit by a car is far more common to the point that when a cyclist is responsible for killing someone it makes national news. I don't see where I've ever argued that if you break the law you shouldn't be punished or ticketed. What I've been saying is that by and large, vehicles are the more dangerous instrument and its reasonable to expect that they should be subject to more scrutiny relative to a bicycle.

by drumz on Sep 13, 2012 2:20 pm • linkreport

drumz

Maine Ave. SW comes to mind. And incidentally, there are a LOT of bikers there.

Chocolate, please!

by Brennan on Sep 13, 2012 2:22 pm • linkreport

You got me, there is a road with a higher speed limit (I guess). So, is it the bikes or the other cars that are proven to cause the congestion? Moreover, where is the law that says not going the speed limit = impeding traffic in an unreasonable manner?

by drumz on Sep 13, 2012 2:24 pm • linkreport

@Brennan

As they say in sports, "let's go to the tape!"

http://goo.gl/maps/7rroL

Speed Limit 25?! What gives?

by MLD on Sep 13, 2012 2:26 pm • linkreport

Whether or not it's a law, I thought that we should "behave in a civilized manner when out and about. It's what makes civilization function, after all"

And speaking of laws, I sure hope your bike as both a light and a bell. I mean, it's the law!

by Chris on Sep 13, 2012 2:27 pm • linkreport

"I think you mean "just because no one follows them...""

Nah, I was responding to Brennan, who clearly wasn't aware that there were laws (followed or not!). They are -occasionally- enforced, although rarely.

I really don't see a lot of cyclists IMPEDING traffic in DC. There are hardly any places to go 40 mph, and traffic is pretty much stopped anyway. Cyclists are supposed to stay as far to the right as possible, so theoretically drivers should be able to pass them without too much difficulty.

I've noticed an uptick in mopeds on suburban streets where they patently do not belong, though - including on streets with 45+ mph speed limits when the moped tops out at 35 mph - while making it absolutely impossible to pass.

by Trixie on Sep 13, 2012 2:29 pm • linkreport

MLD

SHOCKER! Speed limits vary on the same street.

by Brennan on Sep 13, 2012 2:31 pm • linkreport

I'm not entirely sure you'll be able to see, but a friend of mine has been collecting Examiner covers that are accidentally juxtaposed. If you can't see the full album, this is my favorite. Anyway, juxtaposed covers are fairly typical. Though I suspect the OP's particular juxtaposition was intentional, perhaps not all.

Having news outlets that report on transportation issues in a fair and unbalanced manner - from headline to story - would be wonderful, and its sad that it's not just "normal".

by OctaviusIII on Sep 13, 2012 2:37 pm • linkreport

Well, at least the folks who are mad as hell about the impact of cyclists on traffic have stopped claiming their concern is for pedestrian safety.

BTW, my sense is that lots of cyclists take Water Street to avoid dealing with traffic on Maine Avenue.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 13, 2012 2:45 pm • linkreport

@Brennan,

Maine Ave. SW comes to mind.

Which part? It'd be really funny if it were something, like, one block long and six lanes wide. Not exactly the best example of a spot where cyclists routinely "impede" cars.

by oboe on Sep 13, 2012 2:46 pm • linkreport

Face it.

Bewtween running red lights, blowing through stop signs, weaving through traffic, jumping on and off sidewalks and just plain inexperience, bicycles are definitely unpredicatable and scary.

Throw out all the insults and snark you want about "fear of change", "lower-case 'c' conservatives", "the 1950's", etc., you want. Fact is, when a bikes and cars collide, cars nearly always win.

I've had enough near-misses with clueless/reckless cyclists to be scared myself. No amount of caution and awareness on the part of a driver will suffice against someone on a bike who doesn't know or care about the rules of common sense and physics.

I ride a bike myself (mainly in parks and on trails). But I mostly drive. And contrary to what some might think I'm not some vicious, irresponsible suburban speed demon invading the city in my killing machine trying to put notches on my fender. All I want is to get where I'm going safely and on time without someone else's life on my conscience.

Is that too much to ask?

by ceefer on Sep 13, 2012 2:59 pm • linkreport

"Bewtween running red lights, blowing through stop signs, weaving through traffic, jumping on and off sidewalks and just plain inexperience, bicycles are definitely unpredicatable and scary."

between running red lights, blowing through stops signs, weaving between lanes at 80MPH, and speeding, cars are definitely unpredictable and scary.

Can someone get cars off the interstates, so I can drive my car on them without getting so frightened?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 13, 2012 3:02 pm • linkreport

Liz Essley is a good reporter. I used to work with her at the Wash Times when she was a college intern.

by John Muller on Sep 13, 2012 3:06 pm • linkreport

"And contrary to what some might think I'm not some vicious, irresponsible suburban speed demon invading the city in my killing machine trying to put notches on my fender. All I want is to get where I'm going safely and on time without someone else's life on my conscience.

Is that too much to ask?"

And no one disagrees with that. What we disagree with is that its cyclists who hold the majority of responsibility in all instances in:

a. pedestrain safety
b. Bike safety
c. Traffic flow
d. The national debt (kidding)

but instead of reasonable solutions that benefit a greater number of people we get screeds about "*all* cyclists do X", or "why are you preventing me from driving the way I want to drive!", assumptions that piloting a multi-ton vehicle is easier and safer than a 20 pound bicycle that relies on muscle power and therefore it is the cyclist who needs to be liscensed and treated with suspicion at every infraction.

by drumz on Sep 13, 2012 3:12 pm • linkreport

Walker, that's not the same thing and we all know it.

You're trying to make a mockery of serious concerns. I hope, for your sake, you never run into a driver as cavalier as yourself while you're on your bike - or driving, for that matter.

by ceefer on Sep 13, 2012 3:12 pm • linkreport

"You're trying to make a mockery of serious concerns. I hope, for your sake, you never run into a driver as cavalier as yourself while you're on your bike - or driving, for that matter."

Me neither, you know why? Because driving a car recklessly is way more dangerous!

by drumz on Sep 13, 2012 3:17 pm • linkreport

I'm not cavalier, and I do find lots of frightening drivers -including folks who, cross multiple lanes of traffic at high speeds in ways that DO scare me out of my wits.

I am quite serious - I have often been frightened by drivers (more often as a driver than as a cyclist, probably because I do not yet cycle that much) and I don't think I've ever had a scare from a cyclist, such as I see discussed here.

I am all for serious concern about safety and improved cyclist education. What I see is people wanting to remove bikes from the roads, impose requirements to discourage cycling, etc. THAT is not serious.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 13, 2012 3:19 pm • linkreport

drumz,

EVERYONE , drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians alike share responsibility for their own - and everyone else's safety on the streets and roads. That's why we have rules.

As for "singling out bikes", this discussion is about bikes. And, as a matter of fact, many people on bikes ride as if they either don't know or care about the rules. We wouldn't be having this discussion if cyclists behaving badly wasn't a problem.

Say what you will about drivers - and I see bad drivers nearly every time I go out. But I RARELY see any driver slow down then blow past a red light (in rush hour,no less). I've never seen a driver jump onto a sidewalk to avoid traffic (at least not in the the US). I see bikes do that and more every day.

And no one in a car has ever deliberately damaged my vehicle for blowing my horn to warn them of possible dangerous consequences of their own actions. Cyclists have done that to me twice this year. I could have killed them if I used my vehicle like they used theirs and they took offense and acted out when I did them the courtesy of warning them.

If I get hit by a car, I can sue for damaages if I don't collect on the owner's insurance. Good luck getting redress if I get hit by a bike.

by ceefer on Sep 13, 2012 3:28 pm • linkreport

EVERYONE , drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians alike share responsibility for their own - and everyone else's safety on the streets and roads. That's why we have rules.

and no one has advocated not following them. What we have said is this,

I could have killed them if I used my vehicle like they used theirs

Cars are more dangerous, that's why they're subject more scrutiny. I'm fine with coming up with reasonable suggestions to make biking safer (turns out cyclists do get ticketed and a liscensing program is a. hardly practiced anywhere else and b. hugely impractical if implemented anyway, so no those two points that are constantly brought seem unreasonable to me and apparently the local governments in charge).

What I'm not fine with is the constant repetition of the false notion that it is cyclists who are the "real" danger on our streets.

and you shouldn't honk your horn at a cyclist (or anyone) unless they're actively in danger, not if "they're acting dangerously" the horn is for safety, not traffic lessons.

by drumz on Sep 13, 2012 3:35 pm • linkreport

"As for "singling out bikes", this discussion is about bikes."

this thread was about a misleading headline about bikes, and about motorists views of bikes.

" I've never seen a driver jump onto a sidewalk to avoid traffic (at least not in the the US). I see bikes do that and more every day."

First off, if the sidewalk is clear, Im not sure thats either dangerous or illegal for a cyclist to do. Sometimes its the safest thing to do. Anyway, its obviously something a car cant do - just like crossing 3 lanes of traffic in one go at 70MPH on the beltway is something bikes can't do.

"We wouldn't be having this discussion if cyclists behaving badly wasn't a problem."

I dont see how that follows. Some people who dont like that bikes slow them down want to discourage biking - its quite possible they would claim cyclists are particularly disrespectful of the law, whether that was the case or not.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 13, 2012 3:45 pm • linkreport

We wouldn't be having this discussion if cyclists behaving badly wasn't a problem.

We're having this discussion because people on bikes pose a minor inconvenience to people in cars. Since area traffic is enough to make you want to kill yourself, that minor inconvenience is enough to drive some people over the edge into irrational anger. Because these folks realize that simply saying "Gah! I HATE getting stuck behind a bike!" is not particularly compelling, they feel the need to spin elaborate theories justifying their antipathy.

But if every cyclist obeyed every law every single time they went out on the road, that still wouldn't address the "he's in my way" issue. But the sad fact is, going forward, cyclists are going to be in your way. And you'll eventually make your peace with it.

by oboe on Sep 13, 2012 3:52 pm • linkreport

and you shouldn't honk your horn at a cyclist (or anyone) unless they're actively in danger, not if "they're acting dangerously" the horn is for safety, not traffic lessons.
---

Is running a red light light at 9PM while dressed in black and ending up almost in the path of a vehicle moving at 25-30 mph"actively in danger" or "acting dangerously"?

How about cutting off a driver in a 4000 lb vehicle while not looking where you're going? How ould you classify that?

Just asking.

by ceefer on Sep 13, 2012 3:53 pm • linkreport

@ceefer:

And no one in a car has ever deliberately damaged my vehicle for blowing my horn to warn them of possible dangerous consequences of their own actions.

Do you go around honking your horn and yelling at other drivers? If so, and you haven't had your car deliberately damaged (or been punched in the nose) by a fellow driver, all I can say is, you've been damned lucky.

by oboe on Sep 13, 2012 3:53 pm • linkreport

"As for "singling out bikes", this discussion is about bikes."
this thread was about a misleading headline about bikes, and about motorists views of bikes.

"Why are women so irrational? They make bad decisions, and behave erratically."

"Um... So do men..."

"Hey now! This discussion is about *women*!"

Dammit, where's my "eye roll" emoticon when I need it?

by oboe on Sep 13, 2012 3:56 pm • linkreport

Is running a red light light at 9PM while dressed in black and ending up almost in the path of a vehicle moving at 25-30 mph"actively in danger" or "acting dangerously"?

How about cutting off a driver in a 4000 lb vehicle while not looking where you're going? How ould you classify that?

How does blowing your horn help in either of these situations? Seems to me using your brakes would be more effective.

by oboe on Sep 13, 2012 3:58 pm • linkreport

Oboe

Let's go back to the very, very beginning. This conversation is NOT just about bikes or cars or pedestrians. It's about HOW bikers present a unique regulatory issue on our streets and sidewalks. And basically what you're saying is that because I'm a pedestrian, I don't matter. Bikers are an inconvenience to cars--yes--and a DANGER to pedestrians.

[Deleted for violating the comment policy.]

by Brennan on Sep 13, 2012 4:03 pm • linkreport

Sure, but if I had a nickel for every time I've had a horn honked at me for no reason (somehow its always in a bike lane on a straightaway) vs. giving away nickels every time I saw a cyclist do something that put themselves in danger prompting me to honk my horn I'd only be losing a few nickels.

But usually when someone does something illegal that does me no harm I just grumble and get on with my life rather than think of the myriad ways that we as a society should make cycling harder.

by drumz on Sep 13, 2012 4:05 pm • linkreport

Let's go back to the very, very beginning. This conversation is NOT just about bikes or cars or pedestrians. It's about HOW bikers present a unique regulatory issue on our streets and sidewalks. And basically what you're saying is that because I'm a pedestrian, I don't matter. Bikers are an inconvenience to cars--yes--and a DANGER to pedestrians.

Ok, so they add a wrinkle in regulations. What are you going to do about it, you seem to propose that its cyclists who need to monitored with more scrutiny with drivers. I think that's silly because as someone who reads about bikes and traffic every day I can only think of TWO instances where a cyclist has killed a pedestrian, and one of those was on a trail. I can name specific people I know who have been killed by cars. I ask you again, who then needs more regulation?

by drumz on Sep 13, 2012 4:09 pm • linkreport

this conversation is NOT just about bikes or cars or pedestrians. It's about HOW bikers present a unique regulatory issue on our streets and sidewalks.

I'll keep going, it seems to me that the evidence suggest (due to accident rates, inability to seek legal recourse against being hit accidently or intentionally, quality of facilities et al.) that the regulatory system FAVORS cars anyway already putting bikes at a disadvantage. Maybe if the regulations acknowledged that bikes are an essentially different mode of transportation than cars then maybe we'd see a decrease in law breaking by cyclists coupled with an increase in safety. Moreover, there is evidence to suggest that! Referenced in the article that the instance of bike collisions is growing much slower than the growth of cycling overall which means that the more people bike the less likely any one of them will be in an accident.

But no, the evidence clearly suggests that cycling should be diminished because they aren't cars.

by drumz on Sep 13, 2012 4:18 pm • linkreport

"Let's go back to the very, very beginning. This conversation is NOT just about bikes or cars or pedestrians. It's about HOW bikers present a unique regulatory issue on our streets and sidewalks."

No, its about how the examiner took an article and distorted it in its headline. And positioned it in a hilarious way above a picture of rioting middle easterners.

"And basically what you're saying is that because I'm a pedestrian, I don't matter. Bikers are an inconvenience to cars--yes--and a DANGER to pedestrians."

If this were about pedestrians, I wouldnt see suggestions for getting cyclists off roads, for licensing them when they ride in streets (or on sidewalks but only outside residential areas) or similar things.

There are active pedestrian advocacy orgs in this region and elsewhere. AFAICT their main issues are A. Ped infrastructure B, Motor vehicle behavior and enforcement and C. Pedestrian education. Bike-ped conflicts are a pretty minor issue.

My sense, and this thread reinforces it, is that most folks speaking for pedestrians frightened by bikes are, as others have said, drivers concerned about delay, not people really concerned about Ped safety. Just as the folks warning about bike/street car conflicts are mostly not cyclists, but are folks opposed to street cars for other reasons.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Sep 13, 2012 4:21 pm • linkreport

AWalkerInTheCity

ANOTHER CONSPIRACY! All pedestrians concerned about bike safety are really SECRET ANGRY DRIVERS bent on getting ALL bikes off the road. Get real.

by Brennan on Sep 13, 2012 4:26 pm • linkreport

@Chris,
""get the cyclists out of MY road, so I can drive faster!"
Yes. Faster. You know, the posted speed limit."

Hate to break it to you, but speed limits are the upper limit of what is permissible, not a given right of how fast you should be able to drive on a given road. Do you get this angry when there is heavy car traffic and you are unable to hit the speed limit? When there's a bus holding things up? Same thing. All part of traffic.

by Catherine on Sep 13, 2012 4:29 pm • linkreport

ANOTHER CONSPIRACY! All pedestrians concerned about bike safety are really SECRET ANGRY DRIVERS bent on getting ALL bikes off the road. Get real.

Not sure I'd call concern trolling a "conspiracy", but AWITC pretty much nails the dynamic at work here.

by oboe on Sep 13, 2012 4:43 pm • linkreport

[Deleted for violating the comment policy. Folks, please remember to keep the comments about the issues and not about the other commenters. This discussion has quickly gotten beyond the acceptable level here. - DA]

A little personal anecdote. Today I turned off R south onto 17th. There were several trucks, cabs, etc. in the bike lane (as there usually are). There were also a number of slower moving bikes. I wasn't pedaling hard, but I slotted in behind a car in the right most car lane and followed it past MA Ave to RI Ave (the "Y"). I was "keeping up with traffic" the entire time, yet as we got to MA Ave. the woman behind me honked and then sped around me, apparently to get to the red light quicker. We actually had a fairly decent conversation about it..much better than some others have gone. The gist of her argument was that I wasn't allowed to be in "her" lane and was confined solely to the bike lane. I asked her if I should stay there even if the lane was blocked, or if I needed to go around an obstacle or another person. That seemed to blow her mind (like I said, there was a lot of action in the lane this morning). I also asked her if she thought she had "lost" any time b/c she was behind me (the two cars in front of me did not make it through the light..she wouldn't have either). I pointed out that bikes are allowed to use the lane and also that we got to the light at the same time. She didn't "gain" anything. The last thing I said as the light turned to green was that we all just want to get to where we're going safely and that I hoped she had a nice day. I'm not sure it resolved anything, but maybe the next time a cyclist is in front of her, she won't honk or gun it around them.

The thing I'm most scared of everyday on my bike is drivers of motor vehicles. Period.

by thump on Sep 13, 2012 5:00 pm • linkreport

thump

[Deleted for violating the comment policy.]

As a pedestrian, my greatest fear are bikers, not cars. Again, I say, because I walk places, I don't matter in bikers' minds.

by Brennan on Sep 13, 2012 5:08 pm • linkreport

@Brennan-The facts (pedestrians killed or injured by cyclists vs. motor vehicles) don't back up your fears so I don't know what to tell you.

by thump on Sep 13, 2012 5:22 pm • linkreport

Brennan,

Are you really more afraid of bike, or do you just think it's considerably less likely that a car will cause you harm? Considering the potential damage each can cause, it would seem cyclists would have to be behaving recklessly en masse for me to fear them over a car. \

by onelasttime on Sep 13, 2012 5:24 pm • linkreport

What I see is people wanting to remove bikes from the roads, impose requirements to discourage cycling, etc.
----

Sorry, but I don't see any of that here - least of all from me.

I can't speak for others.

I'll just say I wish cyclists would OBEY the traffic laws instead of treating them as "suggestions" at best and an inconvenience at worst. DC cyclists have gained notoriety for doing exactly that along with having the attitude that EVERY accident involving a cyclist and a car (or a pedestrian) is ALWAYS the other person's fault.

I understand that bikes are far more vulnerable than cars. I get that. What I don't get is the rationale that says "I'll get on my bike and do as I please on the streets and everyone in a car or on foot better look out for me, stay out of my way, and stay out of DC if they don't like it".

You have a right to use the road. I get it. But I also know that with rights come responsibilities. Too many cyclists act as if they don't get that simple fact.

As I said ealier, I just want to get to my destination without having my life ruined by the consequences of someone else's "No, YOU watch out for ME!" sense of entitlement.

by ceefer on Sep 13, 2012 5:40 pm • linkreport

What we need to do is set up a few observation posts along 14th street in the morning. Better yet, a rolling observation post. It is pretty chilling to watch.

Every morning at 7:15am I drive down 14th from Columbia Heights and every morning this summer thus far witness the following.

5-7 cyclists who ignore EVERY redlight the from Florida Ave down to the Circle that they come to. Not the occasional light…EVERY redlight. I can count on two hands the number of times this year I’ve seen a cyclist actually do a full stop at a redlight during my morning commute.

I see atleast 1 cyclists a day completely ignore the Construction flagman that dot 14th street (with the stop sign forward) and bolt around him and the dump truck/crane/concrete truck that’s backing up or pulling in, forcing the dump truck/crane/concrete truck driver to do a last minute brake slam to avoid making a red spot out of them on the street.

I see 2-4 cyclists cycle out of nowhere from a side street (again, completely against the light)

The best is when they get to Thomas Circle. They cut across (without looking or signaling) from the right lane, to the inside lane of the circle, then back to the right lane of 14th, trying in effect to cut through the circle straight as possible without actually following the road. I see atleast 2-3 people a week do that (again, having run right through their red light) and the traffic issues it causes.

This all happens in the 4 or 5 minute drive down 14th from Florida to Thomas Circle.

I have likely saved more lives at this point that an average ER doctor does in a lifetime by swerving, locking up my brakes to avoid hitting just the cyclists who’ve ignored their redlights. Not the ones who ignore stop signs, or bike from the street to the sidewalk, back to thestreet at full speed to avoid the light and come out of freaking no where, or the ones biking the wrong way down a one way street…just the ones running redlights. I am tired of looking out for the best interest of a bunch of folks who don’t care enough to look out for themselves. I wouldn’t be injured, my car would go relatively unscathed and the law would be on my side. If I stopped actively saving cyclists from themselves, I would probably send atleast 2 people a week to the ER. It is a sad fact.

The roads are only marginally safe when EVERYONE, pedestrians, drivers and cyclists included follow the same rules. It allows everyone to anticipate and rightfully predict each others next move. That all goes to hell when you have one of the three users of said road, decide to make it up as they go.

by ColHeights on Sep 13, 2012 6:08 pm • linkreport

Everybody's fears seem valid to me, so why invalidate them? We just need to enforce the laws. The camera enforcement should generate a surplus of funds that can be used to enforce key safety laws that require a police officer.

Automatic enforcement probably will be feasible for CaBi bikes. Doing so may be cost prohibitive, and at first glance that would seem unfair. But as long as the fines are recycled back to CaBi, it could be viewed as a supplemental fee for illegal cycling which would reduce the cost of the bikes for those who comply.

by Jim Titus on Sep 13, 2012 6:15 pm • linkreport

Its "discreetly," not "discretely," discretely would mean separately

by David Marcenaro on Sep 13, 2012 8:06 pm • linkreport

Wow. This thread is again an example of the total lack of self-awareness that all traffic participants have.

All drivers speed. At some point. Yes you do. It's pretty much unavoidable.
All bikers ignore stop signs. At some point. Yes you do. It's pretty much unavoidable.
All pedestrians jay-walk. At some point. Yes you do. It's pretty much unavoidable.

So, in stead of screaming at each other, can we just lead by example?

Drivers: Don't speed when others are present. You're surrounded by a ton of steel. Bikers and pedestrians are not.
Bikers: Don't blow through intersections. Ever. It scares drivers and pedestrians alike.
Pedestrians: Don't just step in the road when there's traffic. It scares the hell out of speeding drivers and bikers.

All: Look at yourself first. Then at others. Lead by example.

by Jasper on Sep 13, 2012 8:42 pm • linkreport

Most [CaBi riders] don't even bother to slow down

Sure they do. They got on a CaBi bike right?

by David C on Sep 14, 2012 1:01 am • linkreport

It's made me join WABA.

by Capt. Hilts on Sep 14, 2012 7:52 am • linkreport

If headlines weren't spicy, people would read the stories less. In this case, it got your attention!

by Jim on Sep 14, 2012 4:14 pm • linkreport

I'm a walker and recently joined Capital Bikeshare. Used to regularly commute to work by bike a few years ago before my bike got stolen.

Long windup to say: I have to admit I've noticed an uptick in cyclists blowing stop signs in the Capitol Hill area, sorry to say. It's not super frequent but it's more prevalent. They're not doing Idaho stops, they're totally and completely flying through the stop signs without pause. I was nearly hit twice in one week while crossing the street. WABA or the city needs to run an advertising campaign to educate some of these new bikers about the rules of the road.

I'll still say cars are more dangerous than any biker out there and I've had way more close calls with two-ton weapons.

But nonetheless, while I'm happy to see more people biking, I wish they'd be more cautious.

by louc on Sep 14, 2012 5:41 pm • linkreport

Simple fix: apply insurance surcharges the same for cycling tickets as driving. If I get a moving violation on a 125cc scooter, my car insurance goes up, so make it the same for a bike infraction. Watch as compliance suddenly improves (for those with driving licenses)!

by Mark on Sep 15, 2012 8:25 pm • linkreport

Bike share riders blowing through red lights is simple physics. Heavy bikes encourage more conservation of momentum than lighter bikes. Lightweight race bikes promote higher speeds. Accident data so far seems to indicate slower bike share riders have fewer accidents than other cyclists.

by Mark on Sep 15, 2012 8:27 pm • linkreport

Simple fix:

I'm not sure I understand what problem this fixes.

Accident data so far seems to indicate slower bike share riders have fewer accidents than other cyclists.

I don't think we can draw that conclusion yet. Yes, bikeshare cyclists tend to be in fewer accidents than the average cyclist, but there are more variables than just the bike. Bikeshare cyclists are all adults, they ride primarily in the city, they aren't participating in mountain biking, racing, trick bike riding or other risky cycling activities. They're riding short trips so they aren't getting tired and making mistakes like someone doing 75 miles on the weekend. Even if the bikes are responsible, it might have more to do with the fact that they all have front and rear lights and are well maintained.

by David C on Sep 15, 2012 10:01 pm • linkreport

David, yes, I agree there are too many factors, including being required to pay for loss or damages to share bikes. Since only ~25% of bike accident ER visits are from motor vehicle interactions, share bike riders are safer in the city. Those drivers are clearly watching out for riders conserving momentum through traffic control devices.

by Mark on Sep 16, 2012 11:14 am • linkreport

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