Greater Greater Washington

We need empathy and understanding, around bicycling, gentrification, and much more

Like many parts of our nation where many different people coexist, there are divides in the Washington region. Like many places that are changing, groups of people can direct resentment or intolerance at each other.


Bicycle and car photo from Shutterstock.com.

In many neighborhoods, new, more affluent residents are moving in, disrupting an existing social fabric that endured when many turned their backs on such communities. Likewise, the social order of our streets, where cars had almost exclusive use of the street save for delineated side sections for pedestrians, is giving way to a new one where multiple kinds of vehicles share space.

In both cases, new social norms are still catching up to our changing city. But it's easy for all of us to see another group, all visibly different in some way from ourselves, and lump them together. That goes for cyclists looking at drivers, drivers looking at cyclists, longtime older residents versus newer younger residents, or many others.

In a new column, Courtland Milloy says that "the bicyclists" in the area have "nerve" for, among other things, "fight[ing] to have bike lanes routed throughout the city, some in front of churches where elderly parishioners used to park their cars." And he specifically mentions me for pointing out a "Trampe" bicycle escalator as one tool which might be useful on 15th Street.

The Trampe is so far from an actual, serious, actionable proposal that it's not worth debating, but Milloy is also alluding to the fight over the M Street cycletrack and Metropolitan AME church. That was a prime example of groups of people not speaking to one another or building bridges.

Some church members felt that cyclists were interlopers trying to remake the fabric of a city that is only desirable because of the churches' hard toil when others were abandoning central DC. At the same time, some newer residents too readily dismiss churches' needs and concerns by pointing to laws concerning parking which don't match a more unwritten social understanding that had been established for many years.

Church leaders told city officials that a bike lane was a nonstarter and rebuffed bicycle advocates' requests to meet and talk. Some bicycle riders belittled churchgoers for living outside the city. And so on.

It's easy to denigrate others, but harder to understand why they feel aggrieved.

There's plenty of injustice, and it's right to be outraged

Milloy points out:

I recall in the not-so-distant past when the city's bikers weren't newly arrived, mostly white millennials but black juveniles whom D.C. police frequently stoppedat least in neighborhoods that were being gentrified. Stopped for riding on sidewalks. Stopped for riding in parking lots. Now that kids like them are being moved to the outskirts of the city, if not out altogether, the District government is bending over backward to make Washington a more "biker-friendly" city.
Milloy highlights two failures of society here. First, police disproportionately stop young black males on the street. That means that that black youth who, for example, smoke marijuana are far more likely to be arrested than white youth. Black youth who break rules in school are far more likely to end up having the criminal justice system deal with the issue and possible punishment, while white youth far more often get a stern talking-to and a promise from parents to make sure it never happens again.

This sort of disparity is absolutely unconscionable. Mounds of books, articles, blog posts, and more have and will be written about this issue. We must not tolerate it.

This has little to do with bicycling. Bicyclists in DC are in fact probably very likely to support reforms to these injustices.

Second, it is entirely true that affluent groups of people tend to get more of what they want. They push for city services with more success. They lobby for zoning and historic preservation restrictions to protect elements of their neighborhoods and push change to other communities without this power.

Bicycling has long been an activity for two groups: those who can't afford cars and those who can, but choose to ride anyway. Now that the latter is growing quickly, there is new political support for bicycle infrastructure.

But you'd scarcely find a single member of that second group who feels that the lanes should just go in expensive neighborhoods. Bike lanes do not discriminate among who can ride a bicycle in them.

Cyclists, like many others, want to be safe first

Cyclists are precisely the group who want to see more bike lanes in Ward 8. Cyclists aren't looking to win some sort of battle about the soul of the city. They're looking to get where they want to go more easily and safely.

Yesterday was also the sixth anniversary of Alice Swanson's death. She was crushed under a garbage truck at Connecticut and R. Let's not forget the real human toll that traffic crashes can cause. And let's also not forget that people in poorer neighborhoods die or suffer in many ways as well, and often their families lack a voice to speak about their injustice.

Bicycling generates an odd juxtaposition where the typically most privileged members of our societymostly young, often white, primarily male, highly-educatedget to know what it is like to be a minority and feel threatened. Nikki Lee wrote that "cycling is awfully similar to being a woman," because random interactions are usually safe but every so often could be dangerous or fatal; small obstacles can be far larger just for you; and if something happens to you, society will probably blame you, the victim.

It also gives these privileged people (myself included) a chance to be reduced to a single adjective. To have peopleeven respected ones like NPR's Scott Simonassume something about you because of a superficial characteristic they can see.

There are jerks among every group. Some are riding bicycles. Some are driving. Some are white, black, old, young, gay, straight, trans, tall, short, athletic, bookish, long-haired, or like Milloy, sporting mustaches.

It's difficult to see past surface categories and understand people as people rather than as symbols of some group.

How about some bike lanes in Ward 8?

Milloy also says that "So far, more than 72 miles of bike lanes have been carved out of city streets. There are virtually none in Ward 8, by the way, which has the lowest income and highest number of children of any ward in the city."

There should be bike lanes in Ward 8. Unfortunately, DDOT planners have often tried to suggest bike lanes in projects, like the Great Streets program a few years ago, and hear angry residents say things like, "You just come in here with ideas and don't listen to us," and, "We don't want any bike lanes in our neighborhood."

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association has been working to address this with its outreach east of the Anacostia River. Black Women Bike has been trying to dispel racial and gender stereotypes. But a few programs won't dispel misconceptions overnight. We need far more dialogue and interaction, on bicycling, on gentrification, and on much more.

I would like to work toward building these bridges across the divides in our city and region. I would love to work with Courtland Milloy to achieve that, and emailed him to reach out last night. Former DC council candidate John Settles has been talking about convening conversations among disparate people in DC.

I hope that if we can find the right venue for conversations, the readers of Greater Greater Washington, and of Milloy's column, will participate, not to point fingers at another side or deride their misconceptions, but actually to learn from each other and let understanding win over hatred.

Support us: Monthly   Yearly   One time
Greatest supporter—$250/year
Greater supporter—$100/year
Great supporter—$50/year
Or pick your own amount: $/year
Greatest supporter—$250
Greater supporter—$100
Great supporter—$50
Supporter—$20
Or pick your own amount: $
Want to contribute by mail or another way? Instructions are here.
Contributions to Greater Greater Washington are not tax deductible.

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. 

Comments

Add a comment »

Yea, good luck getting a reply from Milloy, you myopic twit.

by let's be real on Jul 9, 2014 10:52 am • linkreport

Courtland Milloy is nothing but a muckraker who is growing increasingly upset that The Plan is working.

by Janus on Jul 9, 2014 10:54 am • linkreport

Poor Courtland Milloy. One day you'll get those kids off your lawn!

by Matt on Jul 9, 2014 10:55 am • linkreport

This hits the right tone. Since both of you are columnists in the Post, a joint column might be really helpful.

by JimT on Jul 9, 2014 10:56 am • linkreport

I'd like to suggest that since it's clear he reads GGW, he likely also reads the comments and there was a lot of aggression, negativity and religious and lifestyle based disrespect going on in the comments on that topic. I know that's not GGW's responsibility, but if he's using this comments section as a way to get a pulse on the "myopic little twits" (lazy journalism, of course, unlikely, no)--that's where that accusation came from.

by Catherine on Jul 9, 2014 10:57 am • linkreport

As religiously active, liberal, bike rider who works actively daily to improve the lives of everyone in the DMV, thank you for your thoughtful column. I hope you are able to pursue a dialogue with Milloy and fellow churchgoers like me on the basis that everyone deserves to live in a DMV that is:

a) A safe place to commute;
b) An inexpensive place to commute (ie. bicycle, BRT, etc.); and
c) With low-emissions development.

by Gabriel on Jul 9, 2014 11:07 am • linkreport

"Bicycling generates an odd juxtaposition where the typically most privileged members of our society—mostly young, often white, primarily male, highly-educated—get to know what it is like to be a minority and feel threatened"

Wow. That's an ego trip if I ever saw one.

"I would like to work toward building these bridges across the divides in our city and region."

Yes -- and more importantly you have.

However you are coflating two issues here. Biycling is NOT a civil right, or social justice, or being black/gay/woman. It is a bike.

by charlie on Jul 9, 2014 11:16 am • linkreport

What I don't want to see is people using their religion as a cudgel or a sword against anyone else. THAT is very uncivil.

by DaveG on Jul 9, 2014 11:17 am • linkreport

There is a natural liberal instinct to have empathy, to seek understanding between groups. But we need to distinguish between those genuinely open to such dialogue and those who are close minded antagonists that will only oppose us.

Did Milloy try to reach out to any cycling advocates for his article? No, that wasn't the point, his point was only to degrade and attack cyclists, call us terrorists, and justify violence.

If you want to look at what our opponents say, read themail by Gary Imhoff. Read what AAA says. Look at how Chevy Chase fight and screams against the purple line. And look at Milloy's demonizing of the new arrivals to DC, and how he uses language that would be considered racist if the same things were said about black people.

I think we ought to welcome dialogue with whoever would have it. But we're not likely to get it with people like Milloy. He shows himself to be an angry man who is filled with hate against people not like him.

by KingmanPark on Jul 9, 2014 11:17 am • linkreport

And the New Mexico bike lane shows that affluent neighborhoods don't want these improvements either (even though there has been no documented negative impact from the changes.)

by Andrew on Jul 9, 2014 11:17 am • linkreport

[i]Wow. That's an ego trip if I ever saw one.[/i]

As a cyclist, and as a member of a religious/ethnic minority, I have to say the comparison is quite apt. Indeed, living in the USA, I think being a cyclist helps me to feel closer to my persecuted ancestors. Of course if I lived in Europe which is more bike friendly, but also has more antisemitism, I would likely feel differently.

by JewdishoowarySquare on Jul 9, 2014 11:22 am • linkreport

I love how Milloy sees an article just mentioning an interesting thing (bicycle elevator) and then translates that into "SOME ARE PUSHING FOR THIS BIKE ESCALATOR!" What a bunch of bull.

by MLD on Jul 9, 2014 11:23 am • linkreport

Will the Post run this on their web site?

by Gregory O. on Jul 9, 2014 11:24 am • linkreport

However you are coflating two issues here. Biycling is NOT a civil right, or social justice, or being black/gay/woman. It is a bike.

No. But biking issues often run paralell to walking issues (especially in the suburbs) and you'd think there is at least an implicit right to live in a society that doesn't actively try to make walking/biking somewhere more dangerous than it needs to be.

It's Milloy that is conflating issues about race with issues about cycling. David (and others) are trying to point out that cycling solutions work for all.

by drumz on Jul 9, 2014 11:25 am • linkreport

Milloy's article is yet another cheap shot which tries to not so casually link race to cycling. Since he's a columnist, writing a piece which 1) is contrarian and 2) "discovers" a new connection between cycling and race, is bound to generate controversy and paper sales. Good for him, but it's the cyclists on the street who bear the brunt of the consequence while he gets paid for his lofty opinions from a comfy office chair.

by Brendan on Jul 9, 2014 11:30 am • linkreport

Only obliquely on topic: as a cyclist, one benefit we provide to the motorists is that we're effectively always driving with our windows down; it's far easier to get our attention to ask for directions than to get help from a fellow motorist.

When my cycle commute took me downtown near the Washington monument, I often thought I should carry a stash of freebie tourist maps, in order to hand out when asked for directions, which was actually pretty frequent. These days I'm not frequently cycling in tourist-rich areas, but just last week I was flagged down by some folks on Overlook Ave SW near JBAB, who were on their way to Cape Cod, and who had presumably had gotten onto 295 and had become confused about whether it connected to 95. I assured them that it did and showed them where the nearest on-ramp was.

by thm on Jul 9, 2014 11:45 am • linkreport

I'm personally a bit unsure why Milloy's column even merits a response. It's more of the same pseudo-journalistic mudslinging that has characterized his columns for much of the last decade...using lame attacks on "the other" in order to avoid having to talk about the real problems that face our region. He's not someone who can be persuaded by facts; if anything, attempting to persuade him will likely cause him to dig further down into his own personal rabbit hole.

What's more, I think it is a bit naive to believe there is actually a right venue to bring multiple viewpoints together to talk about the issue in a constructive manner. I don't think that will, or could, ever happen. ANCs and DDOT already make earnest attempts, but they fall short.

Now, as for the Trampe post. It was a silly post, and y'all should have known that was going to be bait for people like Milloy. Someone even predicted it right there in the comments! To back-pedal now and say that the Trampe was "so far from an actual, serious, actionable proposal that it's not worth debating" is disingenuous in light of how the post was written: going so far as to call out Rosslyn as a "prime candidate" for the technology.

by Scoot on Jul 9, 2014 11:55 am • linkreport

Great post, David! This is a pitch perfect response to Milloy's over-the-top editorial. Let's stop the finger-pointing and name-calling and start having productive discussions about how to make the city (and the region) more livable for all of us!

by Bradley Heard on Jul 9, 2014 12:01 pm • linkreport

@Kingman +1

...Milloy...shows himself to be an angry man who is filled with hate against people not like him.

It's very big of you D.A. to reach out to him. But...

He's not not going to try and understand anyone. I don't think he's capable. A cyclist reaching out to him is kind of like a battered woman/partner reaching out to the batterer. Yeah yeah "where there's life there's hope" as my mom says. But he's toxic. Its best to protect oneself from his level of toxicity. Get a restraining order and document every aggressive action he takes. He might kill you in the end anyway but at least there will be evidence to convict him (extending the simile).

He's probably the middle aged black man that intentionally turned his car wheels toward me and drove at me when i was riding my bike on Taylor St NE. That is, intentionally threatened to kill me by running me down with his car while I was riding my bike on a residential block between a stop light and a stop sign.

He doesn't even live in DC. He abandoned DC years ago.

by Tina on Jul 9, 2014 12:04 pm • linkreport

David: Thank you for a very thoughtful post in response to Courtland Milloy's column, and your focus on the need to create dialogue, not foment division, and on building bridges that will allow us to talk about how we can grow our city as an inclusive, safe and livable community for all of our residents.

by Stewart Schwartz on Jul 9, 2014 12:07 pm • linkreport

Wow. The Post has gone nuclear on this bike issue. All bets are off over there, apparently. I am deeply sorry for even bringing up the bicycle escalator idea. Sometimes people are just exchanging ideas, you know? How threatening that simple idea was, simply takes my breath away.

I feel like Courtland Milloy has gone over to the other side.

Courtland, I have lived in this city probably as long as you have, and I was the one who brought the escalator idea up.

Courtland, I have lived in this city probably as long as you have, and EVER SINCE I HAVE BEEN HERE, I have heard the park referred to as both Malcolm X and Meridian Hill.

Just stop it, Washington Post. Just stop it with this anti bicycle nonsense. Talk about it, but not in the way you have been. It is completely destructive.

by Jazzy on Jul 9, 2014 12:09 pm • linkreport

Good point Scoot, this blog is always bringing up things the city should do or consider - and many of them come across as silly or even whiny in tone. Now they're being called out on it and run away.

by Janus on Jul 9, 2014 12:12 pm • linkreport

And Courtland Milloy really owes everyone an apology for saying it is tempting to hit a bicyclist with their car and pay the $500.

by Brett Young on Jul 9, 2014 12:14 pm • linkreport

The Washington Post is a great and diverse paper. I applaud them for having him on their staff to relate this point of view, but it's a very divisive point of view.

by Thayer-D on Jul 9, 2014 12:14 pm • linkreport

The entire conversation regarding sharing the road has gotten extremely divisive and while the WaPost article does nothing to help that, I think it's fair to say GGW writers and commenters haven't really helped the situation either.

by Aaron Miller on Jul 9, 2014 12:22 pm • linkreport

I would like to add, that a public conversation about cycles, cars and pedestrians is one that is long overdue. I have, from the beginning, advocated that our LOCAL GOVERNMENT take the lead with public education campaigns.

Never happened.

It would have helped.

by Jazzy on Jul 9, 2014 12:23 pm • linkreport

Milloy's column was clickbait. If he wrote a column headlined: "Empathy for Bikers Now" -- it would get 1/10 the traffic. Outrage and grievance is the fuel of discourse in DC, and the bicker vs. cars theme has just been wonderfully rich. He's probably made because he didn't get whats-his-name video first.

by kob on Jul 9, 2014 12:25 pm • linkreport

If people are still mad about the bike escalator consider the following:

David Alpert is neither:
1. An elected official
2. A DDOT employee.

Until someone who is one of those suggests any sort of infrastructure you can be assured that the project you don't like won't happen.

For Milloy, its strange that he harps on the injustice of no bike lanes in ward 8 and then scoffs at that and celebrates the "victory" of keeping a couple of parking spots open on M street.

by drumz on Jul 9, 2014 12:28 pm • linkreport

@Brett Young -
Courtland Milloy says it is tempting to hit a bicyclist with his car and pay the $500.

He said that?

Courtland -I'm older than you. Do you get your freak-on threatening middle aged women in other ways too? Hellava guy.

by Tina on Jul 9, 2014 12:29 pm • linkreport

I was wondering if the crowd that comes here to accuse GGW of demozing motorists, would repudiate Milloy for his demonization of cyclists, with no "buts".

I guess that won't happen.

by JewdishoowarySquare on Jul 9, 2014 12:32 pm • linkreport

Jazzy

congratulations on starting a debate that has now brought in not only Milloy, but on the other side BikeSnobNYC and even Matt Yglesias of Vox.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 9, 2014 12:35 pm • linkreport

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

by Jazzy on Jul 9, 2014 12:41 pm • linkreport

@Aaron Miller -I own and drive a car. I've never once intentionally tried to kill someone with my car. There's a connection between thoughts and actions. Speaking/writing is an action. The next step is 'doing'.

if Courtland Milloy really wrote that he would like to kill someone on a bike -joking or not- he's displayed a murderous thought process. He's demonized himself.

by Tina on Jul 9, 2014 12:43 pm • linkreport

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

by David C on Jul 9, 2014 12:48 pm • linkreport

@David C -heeheehee!

by Tina on Jul 9, 2014 12:49 pm • linkreport

Aaron Miller

I also own and drive a car. And I do not feel GGW has been divisive toward me as a driver.

I think the people who can address the divisiveness thing best are neither the cyclists who never drive, nor the motorists who never cycle. Its the folks who both drive and who bike in the streets. AFAICT 99% find the vitriol and divisiveness to overwhelminingly be from those who demonize cyclists. In fact even the assumption that cyclists are not also often drivers is but one facet of it.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 9, 2014 12:49 pm • linkreport

Freedom of speech means it's OK for Milloy to complain about 'uppity cyclists'. D.A.'s response is perfect.

On the other hand does the Post really think it's OK to publish columns that sympathize with those committing acts of violence against minority groups?
It’s a $500 fine for a motorist to hit a bicyclist in the District, but some behaviors are so egregious that some drivers might think it’s worth paying the fine.
Can you imagine the Post publishing anything similar about gay people, or women, or an ethnic or religious minority? I think that the cycling community are due a response.

by renegade09 on Jul 9, 2014 12:49 pm • linkreport

I think it's fair to say GGW writers and commenters haven't really helped the situation either.

And I think it's not.

by David C on Jul 9, 2014 12:50 pm • linkreport

@Tina

I think that can be characterized as hyperbole-inappropriate, but still hyperbole. I don't think you can come to the conclusion this guy is on a murderous rampage off that statement alone. Kind of like another commenter suggested that vandalism is the best option for dealing with Milloy.

by Aaron Miller on Jul 9, 2014 12:50 pm • linkreport

@David C

You're right, advocating vandalism is definitely the best way to improve driver-cyclist relationships.

by Aaron Miller on Jul 9, 2014 12:51 pm • linkreport

@David -- I think the larger issue here really does boil back down to re-urbanism.

Milloy chose to live in a distant, car dependent suburb. It annoys him that DC is changing in ways that discourage him from driving unimpeded to and through the city.

All the other stuff about race, gentrification, rudeness etc. is just noise.

He chose poorly. Life in the distant suburbs is fine when governments give you free uncrowded expressways and free parking where you want to drive. But when they don't, and when the incentives for free fast driving and parking start to create overuse and clogs and jams, and when governments start thinking about what people who live in the areas you want to drive through want instead of what you want, life in the distant suburbs is less attractive.

by Greenbelt on Jul 9, 2014 12:53 pm • linkreport

Ickyfoot1 in the Post comments hit the nail on the head. In a 2012 column Miloy wrote, in opposition to speed cameras: "I confess: I enjoy driving fast. Not reckless driving, just cruising at speeds more appropriate for road conditions than the posted speed limit sometimes permits"

Yet it's OK to hit bicyclists with your car? This guy should be fired.

by AnonJ on Jul 9, 2014 12:54 pm • linkreport

"I don't think you can come to the conclusion this guy is on a murderous rampage off that statement alone."

of course not, having already had his license suspended for speeding, I doubt Mr Milloy really wants more tangles with the law. He does this to get attention, to jab at young white folks, or whatever. But as the history of the last hundred years should show, not everyone who hears cynical, insincere hate speech, will fail to act on it.

I have no doubt that if someone said something parallel about african americans, Mr Milloy would not accept "oh well its not serious" as an excuse (and of course he would be correct not to)

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 9, 2014 12:55 pm • linkreport

@David C

I wanted to respond from your claim a while back that the most any cyclist can be charged for any traffic violation is $25. Evan Wilder was issued a $100 ticket for "following too closely." You may disagree with the ticket, but it still means your statement is 100% incorrect. So I repeat the question: where do you get this false information?

by Aaron Miller on Jul 9, 2014 12:56 pm • linkreport

See, you forgot to add a ;> (winkie face) to your Norwegian trampe post to let Milloy know it was humor and not a serious suggestion.
(honestly, that was not your fault)

by asffa on Jul 9, 2014 12:56 pm • linkreport

Aaron, that was clearly a joke. I do not support the a waste of perfectly good eggs.

by David C on Jul 9, 2014 12:59 pm • linkreport

@Aaron Miller - a middle aged black man in a late model black sedan threatened my life and terrorized me with his car. It was far more than hyperbole. the description fits Courtland Milloy. The fact that he publicly advocated for doing just that, along with the other matching elements of the person who did it to me is enough for me to think it was him. It could have been him. He is talking about doing exactly what someone did to me.

Even if you don't think @David C's comment was funny surely you can see the difference between egging a house, salting a lawn and threatening someone's life.

by Tina on Jul 9, 2014 1:01 pm • linkreport

...or wasting eggs...

by Tina on Jul 9, 2014 1:05 pm • linkreport

@Tina

I guess it's possible that of the thousands of Middle Ages black men in DC/wherever you were driving late model sedans, Milloy could have been the one. Doubt it though.

And again, IDT you can take hyperbole as a serious threat to your life. Even someone else on here who always sides with cyclists said it was probably hyperbole.

by Aaron Miller on Jul 9, 2014 1:08 pm • linkreport

*middle aged. Friggin auto correct.

by Aaron Miller on Jul 9, 2014 1:09 pm • linkreport

"Even someone else on here who always sides with cyclists said it was probably hyperbole."

"I decide who is a Jew" Karl Lueger, antisemitic mayor of Vienna from 1897 to 1910, in defense of his having Jewish friends.

I hope I do not have to mention which more famous antisemite lived in Vienna from 1905 to 1910.

Cynical hate rhetoric can have consequences the cynical speaker did not intend.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 9, 2014 1:14 pm • linkreport

In answer to your query, it would be arrogant and presumptuous of me to accept congratulations on what I was assuming at the time was just an idea we were batting about. I am still very much for it, but, it is neither the time nor the place to push for it. As I say, there is interim work to do, primarily by our local governments. But they want to pass the buck. So the disparate groups are left to fight among themselves. It doesn't make sense, and it absolutely does not have to be this way.

Where are the grownup leaders we elected?

Hellloo down there?

by Jazzy on Jul 9, 2014 1:16 pm • linkreport

When are they going to add more stations EOTR? It's desperately needed.

by h st ll on Jul 9, 2014 1:17 pm • linkreport

@Aaron Miller

where do u get this false information?

Go here. Click on "view text" next to Bicycle Infractions - the one effective in 2008.

A better question is where do I get my apology?

At some point I'd like to be questioned with less implication. I've proven myself wrong in our conversations many a time, and never with any sort of concession that yeah, I was right.

by David C on Jul 9, 2014 1:19 pm • linkreport

There's a pretty big difference between calls for vandalism posted as comments on a small local blog and calls for violence in an article published in one of the world’s most well respected newspapers. I doubt either suggestion is serious, but I thought the Washington Post would adhere to some level of journalistic integrity.

All that said, proposing "solutions" like the bike escalator does more harm than good. To people without a dog in the fight, reasonable requests for bike infrastructure get lumped together with unreasonable requests like the bike escalator. It's easy to jump on the bike escalator idea as an example of wasteful spending, and curtail useful spending in the process. I say this as a cyclist myself (though the extent of my riding in DC is usually on the trails rather than the streets themselves, so I'm admittedly not that familiar with the 15th Street bike lane). If the hill really is steep enough to cause problems, a better solution is painting bike lanes on alternative routes bypassing the hill. Cyclists wanting a direct route can take the hill, cyclists that can't handle the hill have an alternative option, the project costs practically nothing, and anti-cycling people have nothing to hold up as an example of wasteful spending.

by Jason on Jul 9, 2014 1:19 pm • linkreport

@Aaron Miller -I guess it's possible that of the thousands of Middle Ages black men in DC...driving late model sedans, Milloy could have been the one.

Indeed. He's also the only one who's publicly advocated doing exactly what someone who fits his description attempted to do to me. In NE DC, westbound; i.e. on a route someone coming from Prince George's County would take into DC.

It was not hyperbole. It was real life- my life.

by Tina on Jul 9, 2014 1:19 pm • linkreport

@Aaron Miller
The entire conversation regarding sharing the road has gotten extremely divisive and while the WaPost article does nothing to help that, I think it's fair to say GGW writers and commenters haven't really helped the situation either.

What exactly are GGW writers and commenters supposed to do to "help the situation?" Preach constant deferral to auto drivers at all times, I guess?

by MLD on Jul 9, 2014 1:23 pm • linkreport

I meant "I've proven myself right..."

by David C on Jul 9, 2014 1:23 pm • linkreport

What Bradley Heard said.

by Ronit Dancis on Jul 9, 2014 1:28 pm • linkreport

@AWalkerInTheCity
"I hope I do not have to mention which more famous antisemite lived in Vienna from 1905 to 1910."

Is that your Godwinian way of ending the thread?

by MikeyS on Jul 9, 2014 1:40 pm • linkreport

Keeping my streak of disagreeing with Courtland Milloy columns unbroken.

by Crickey7 on Jul 9, 2014 1:42 pm • linkreport

All that said, proposing "solutions" like the bike escalator does more harm than good. To people without a dog in the fight, reasonable requests for bike infrastructure get lumped together with unreasonable requests like the bike escalator.

Absolute BS. The only reason why logic like that has any sort of traction is because people still have this crazy idea that basic things like paint on a five foot wide stretch of roadway is a "war on cars".

If you don't care about cyclists then you shouldn't care about what they think might be a neat piece of infrastructure. And you certainly should have the critical thinking skills to differetiate between different types of infrastructure.

It's the same bizarre thinking that says no bike lanes should be built until we stop "scofflaws".

Not to mention that idea in question is an actual thing that exists and already gets use.

by drumz on Jul 9, 2014 1:42 pm • linkreport

MikeyS

If someone has a better example of cynical hate speech that had tangible bad consequences then the Karl Lueger example (which has always struck me as the perfect example of someone using hatred purely cynically) by all means post that instead.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 9, 2014 1:44 pm • linkreport

someone has a car elevator - he shouldnt be elected president

someone talks about a bike escalator - lets run down cyclists

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 9, 2014 1:46 pm • linkreport

@AWITC

If someone has a better example of cynical hate speech that had tangible bad consequences then the Karl Lueger example (which has always struck me as the perfect example of someone using hatred purely cynically) by all means post that instead.

I submit an example from my childhood home of Alabama: George Wallace and his cynical racism, which helped create the environment for 'Bombingham' - http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/24/opinion/24rymer.html

by Dizzy on Jul 9, 2014 1:56 pm • linkreport

I'm pretty sure humanity is doomed.

by The Truth™ on Jul 9, 2014 1:57 pm • linkreport

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

by Pete on Jul 9, 2014 1:59 pm • linkreport

thats a pretty good example Dizzy.

everyone please commnet on Dizzy's example not mine, to keep this more on the rails, so to speak.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 9, 2014 2:01 pm • linkreport

I think it's great that Milloy penned that piece and GGW is bringing attention to it. The only way for people to decide what side they're on regarding an issue is provide views unfiltered by normal PR processes.

For example, people didn't really understand what the tea party was about until their candidate informed us it was about ensuring that the only kind of rape that's illegal is "legitimate rape". Or, that 47% of Americans are no-good moochers. That's the kind of information folks need to make decisions on what side to support.

by Falls Church on Jul 9, 2014 2:02 pm • linkreport

Pete,

Hang in there buddy. I worry about you, sometimes.

by The Truth™ on Jul 9, 2014 2:04 pm • linkreport

"If you come up against me in the middle of the sidewalk, I will push you aside."

someone was riding on a crowded sidewalk near me today (he was going slowly and so no collision resulted). He was african american as it happened. I do not know his attitude towards irony or artisanal cocktails. If someone collides with you I guess you can push them away. If they do not, even if they are violating the law by failing to yield to a pedestrian, or by riding on a sidewalk where it is illegal, I do not believe assault would be legal.

"2. If you overtake me on K Street (under Whitehurst) while I am turning my car, I will hit you."

You mean overtaking you on the right as you are turning right? Of course they should pass you on the LEFT in that situation. Deliberately hitting someone though is illegal.

"3. If you curse at me, I will throw something at you, and it will not be artisan chocolate or a GoPro."

Drivers are also known to shout curses at people, and even pedestrians do so. Are you going to throw things at all of them? that is assault. Be prepared to spend some time in a DC jail.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 9, 2014 2:07 pm • linkreport

'Btw, I am a mountain biker myself, and your behavior disgraces any REAL biker.'

people who use their bikes to commute are not real bikers?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 9, 2014 2:08 pm • linkreport

Thanks Dave

by cw on Jul 9, 2014 2:08 pm • linkreport

@Tina

That assumes that Milloy is the one who acted dangerously in that specific situation. Let's be honest: you really have no idea who endangered you and are going off the fact that Milloy is black and drives a car similar to the one who hit you. That's quite frankly ridiculous. It's even more ridiculous that you can brush off what David C says as a simply joke/hyperbole but try to twist what is obvious to everyone else inappropriate hyperbole but to you is a violent threat against you. If you feel that strongly that this is a violent threat contact MPD and see if they can help you.

by Aaron Miller on Jul 9, 2014 2:15 pm • linkreport

Pete--

If you use your turn signal, people probably wouldn't overtake you.

And, ok, cool. Keep up the threats of violence. Personally, I only think it helps. The less reasonable and more aggressive the drivers get towards cyclists, the more our elected officials see the need for more infrastructure. So bring it on. What's my punishment for riding too slow in front of you?

by Catherine on Jul 9, 2014 2:20 pm • linkreport

@Aaron Miller -It is not just inappropriate hyperbole. What Milloy suggested/advocated was attempted on me. I was terrified. That is, this guy terrorized me with his car. I'm lucky I was able to sprint and maneuver out of the way (like a real bike???).

There are examples of people who were injured or killed by people driving their cars into them intentionally. It's not hyperbole. It's life and death.

Milloy advocated it. He's a a middle aged black man who drives a late model black sedan from PG Co into DC, and again -advocated this very behavior. It surely wasn't done by a middle aged black man in a late model black sedan w/ MD tags who finds Milloys' advocacy appalling. That is, a decent person.

by Tina on Jul 9, 2014 2:32 pm • linkreport

While I don't agree with Milloy, its really about time for DC bikers to get off the sidewalk and onto the roads.

Every time I walk somewhere after pm rush hour in my neighborhood, there is at least one bicyclist, sometimes several, either whisking past me or weaving around me on the sidewalk. A lot of the time its on Q or R, which have bike lanes and are low-speed streets that could easily be biked on without them anyways.

Now, there are plenty in the street as well, and its pretty rare that those on the street seem to get in problems with the cars (like I said -- mostly low speed roads). But it only takes a few bad actors to create a reputation.

Licensing of bicyclists, and ticketing those who violate the rules of the road (all the way up to bicycle license suspensions for those who get enough tickets), would go a LONG way to shutting up the critics...

by Vinnie on Jul 9, 2014 2:35 pm • linkreport

Pete

Btw, I am a mountain biker myself, and your behavior disgraces any REAL biker.

You've done a great job exemplifying the behavior of folks who share your point of view. Keep up the good work. Some day they may even be posting videos of your behavior!

by Falls Church on Jul 9, 2014 2:39 pm • linkreport

"The less reasonable and more aggressive the drivers get towards cyclists, the more our elected officials see the need for more infrastructure."

Where am I? Who are you people? And what have you done with my elected officials?

by tdballo on Jul 9, 2014 2:40 pm • linkreport

@Vinnie

You read Milloy's column, and you conclude that stricter enforcement of laws against cyclists would help silence the critics? We've reached the point where the key problem isn't even "there's a cyclist in my way and I can't speed," it's "I'm stuck in traffic and the cyclists are getting there faster and it's not fair."

by David R. on Jul 9, 2014 2:40 pm • linkreport

Licensing of bicyclists,

The cost of setting up and administering such a program has been considered before and found to vastly outweigh the benefits. Most cities (definitely including DC) say that they want more cyclists. One way to get more cyclists is to keep the barriers to entry low. That means, letting people be able to just hop on and ride.

and ticketing those who violate the rules of the road

in 2011, Chief Lanier said that MPD ticketed 3000 cyclists.

http://www.wtop.com/109/3025151/Pedestrians-cyclists-shoulder-ticket-burden-in-DC

When that was reported, people didn't shut up. Some got louder.

People like to latch on to the scofflaw meme because they know the issue will never go away (employing a type of "no true scotsman" fallacy). But its crazy to tie together infrastructure improvements with some sort of obedience standard. Can you imagine the uproar if DDOT announced they were going to repave roads that saw a lot of speeding?

by drumz on Jul 9, 2014 2:47 pm • linkreport

While I agree that it's preferable for cyclists to ride on the roads rather than the sidewalks, required bike licensing would have the opposite effect. Making it harder to legally cycle means fewer cyclists. There's a safety-in-numbers effect here, so fewer cyclists leads to more dangerous conditions for those that still ride (less driver awareness, less pressure to build infrastructure, etc.). More dangerous road conditions makes sidewalks seem more appealing.

by Jason on Jul 9, 2014 2:51 pm • linkreport

What's more, we have thousands of cyclists coming in from MD and VA, some of whom ride into DC once or twice a year. No licensing system could possible provide any value and still deal with that situation. And what of kids? How do you deal with the fact that many riders have multiple bikes and switch them routinely? Is there in fact any evidence that police find it burdensome to stop riders now?

by Crickey7 on Jul 9, 2014 2:51 pm • linkreport

@drumz:

Lanier was either grossly misinformed or lying. DC issued only 231 citations to cyclists through July 1 of 2011, and has issued only 1,250 citations to cyclists TOTAL since 2010.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/dr-gridlock/wp/2014/07/09/more-bikes-on-the-roadways-means-more-tickets-for-cyclists-right/

That story shows that DC barely bothers to ticket cyclists anymore, even as their numbers have grown. But considering that the city has turned nearly all enforcement of motor vehicle laws over to cameras, it shouldn't be surprising.

by anon2 on Jul 9, 2014 2:58 pm • linkreport

@tdballo
You must not be paying attention. There's been some pretty stupid battles in the region over the installation of bike facilities and the crazier the people who petition city council against them, citing the "scofflaw cyclist" meme, the less credible they seem, and the easier it's been to get the bike facilities.

by Catherine on Jul 9, 2014 3:00 pm • linkreport

The number of tickets received by cyclists doesn't even come close to the number of tickets issued by cameras which have NOTHING to do with pedestrian safety, ie the cams on DC 295.

by Aaron Miller on Jul 9, 2014 3:01 pm • linkreport

@David C

Again, please explain to me how Wilder received a $100 ticket for following too closely when, according to you, it is absolutely 100% fact that no cyclist can receive a ticket for ANY traffic infraction for ANY amount greater than $25. I'm waiting...

by Aaron Miller on Jul 9, 2014 3:03 pm • linkreport

This is sounding dangerously close to a Triple-Dog-Dare.

by The Truth™ on Jul 9, 2014 3:06 pm • linkreport

That story shows that DC barely bothers to ticket cyclists anymore, even as their numbers have grown.

Ok. That also means that the uptick in cycling is also making city streets safer overall. DC probably wouldn't want to harm that by handing out tickets willy-nilly if it made people less apt to bike then.

I'm not that interested in proving whether Chief Lanier is accurate or not. I just disagree that the way to harmony is too ticket cyclists at a rate equal to drivers. Harmony will happen when so many people are biking that it's east for people to imagine themselves on two wheels.

by drumz on Jul 9, 2014 3:07 pm • linkreport

Oh joy, we are on to traffic cameras. Courtland Milloy would be so happy!

Mr Miller, please don't speed next to me when I am driving on I295.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 9, 2014 3:07 pm • linkreport

@AWITC

If any amount of speeding makes you that uncomfortable, I would suggest not driving at all. Not being rude, just realistic.

by Aaron Miller on Jul 9, 2014 3:11 pm • linkreport

@AWITC

Please don't drive 40 MPH on the Beltway in the far left lane. Deal?

by Aaron Miller on Jul 9, 2014 3:12 pm • linkreport

If any amount of bikes on the roads and sidewalks makes people uncomfortable, I would suggest they not walk or drive. Come on! Get out and bike, America!

I just popped a freedom wheelie!

by The Truth™ on Jul 9, 2014 3:13 pm • linkreport

Biking and walking doesn't make me uncomfortable. Bumblebee looking dudes riding on the sidewalk who proceed to run over my foot make me uncomfortable. It makes me even more uncomfortable when people on a website claiming to want to make the region better choose to stand up for the cyclist simply because he is, a cyclist.

by Aaron Miller on Jul 9, 2014 3:20 pm • linkreport

I didn't realize someone once hurt your tootsies. Your continued rage and fixation seems completely justified. You should probably continue mocking people based on their appearance. That seems to be a therapeutic activity for a certain class of people.

by The Truth™ on Jul 9, 2014 3:22 pm • linkreport

I think @Greenbelt is right that Milloy's real target is urbanism, but I don't think it's that he "guessed wrong" per se. A lot of people, maybe a majority and certainly a majority of men Milloy's age, would much rather live in a gated community in the suburbs with lower taxes and no poor people, and I'm sure Milloy would absolutely hate to live in DC.

His underlying complaint is that DC seems to think it should have priorities other than Courtland Milloy's convenience. There's no principle to his arguments other than that.

by cminus on Jul 9, 2014 3:24 pm • linkreport

Only $500 to hit a ninja biker...why didn't someone tell me sooner! Get a life gentrifiers, ask your parents to buy you a car instead of a bike.

by getoyt on Jul 9, 2014 3:26 pm • linkreport

"@AWITC
If any amount of speeding makes you that uncomfortable, I would suggest not driving at all. Not being rude, just realistic."

If driving where there are traffic cameras makes you uncomfortable, how about not driving in DC. Not being urde, just realistic.

"@AWITC
Please don't drive 40 MPH on the Beltway in the far left lane. Deal?"

If drivers doing 40 MPH or less in the far left lane on the beltway makes you uncomfortable, you should stick to the HOT lanes during rush hour. Not being rude, just realistic.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 9, 2014 3:26 pm • linkreport

@The Truth

Kind of like past commenters have said to drivers to continue driving while they get fat, right? Or how cyclists get absolutely hysterical when a car comes within 3 feet of them yet sustain no injury whatsoever. Right?

by Aaron Miller on Jul 9, 2014 3:27 pm • linkreport

" It makes me even more uncomfortable when people on a website claiming to want to make the region better choose to stand up for the cyclist simply because he is, a cyclist. "

If GGW makes you uncomfortable - well I think you know the rest ;)

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 9, 2014 3:28 pm • linkreport

I haven't corresponded with them, just you.

by The Truth™ on Jul 9, 2014 3:28 pm • linkreport

@AWITC

Actually, the far left lane is for passing. Those who have ever driven on interstate highways and aren't old fogeys whose vision isn't completely shot have seen large signs which say, "SLOWER TRAFFIC KEEP RIGHT." Most people would understand that driving 40 in a 55 means you are slower traffic.

by Aaron Miller on Jul 9, 2014 3:29 pm • linkreport

"Kind of like past commenters have said to drivers to continue driving while they get fat, right?"

I think most of us would like the fat drivers to consider biking, and lose weight. But that's their choice to make or not make.

"Or how cyclists get absolutely hysterical when a car comes within 3 feet of them yet sustain no injury whatsoever. Right?"

That action is illegal and dangerous.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 9, 2014 3:30 pm • linkreport

@AWITC

If one is uncomfortable driving/walking/biking in a place where for profit companies don't have metal boxes in place for their "safety", they should never leave their house. Right?

by Aaron Miller on Jul 9, 2014 3:31 pm • linkreport

"Actually, the far left lane is for passing. Those who have ever driven on interstate highways and aren't old fogeys whose vision isn't completely shot have seen large signs which say, "SLOWER TRAFFIC KEEP RIGHT." Most people would understand that driving 40 in a 55 means you are slower traffic."

Dude, do you actually ever drive on the beltway with traffic in rush hour? Half the time you wish you could drive faster than 20MPH in ANY lane. It ain't about old fogeys, its about congestion.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 9, 2014 3:31 pm • linkreport

It makes me even more uncomfortable when people on a website claiming to want to make the region better choose to stand up for the cyclist simply because he is, a cyclist.

Well I don't know about other cyclists (including ones that run over people's feet) but I'm standing up for myself, a cyclist.

Overall, city streets are safer and flow better with more cyclists. Air quality and public health also improves with more cyclists. Those are the main reasons most cities at least say that they want to make cycling easier and more popular (getting them to back up what they say is a different matter).

by drumz on Jul 9, 2014 3:31 pm • linkreport

@Aaron Miller - there is actual documented evidence that more time spent driving increases ones risk for obesity and type II diabetes.

by Tina on Jul 9, 2014 3:32 pm • linkreport

@AWITC

Do you think that driving 40 in a 55 constitutes being slower traffic?

by Aaron Miller on Jul 9, 2014 3:32 pm • linkreport

"@AWITC
If one is uncomfortable driving/walking/biking in a place where for profit companies don't have metal boxes in place for their "safety", they should never leave their house. Right?"

Probably. Cause even with no traffic cameras, you will be walking past businesses with security cameras. Do you avoid ATM's and convenience stores too? Also don't go to London, like ever.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 9, 2014 3:33 pm • linkreport

"@AWITC
Do you think that driving 40 in a 55 constitutes being slower traffic?"

Not at LOS F.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 9, 2014 3:34 pm • linkreport

@AWITC

"Do you drive the Beltway in rush hour?"

Nope. I stay the hell away from that S*#t. What I'm talking about is when traffic is free flowing yet people (and it seems to happen more frequently with people with DC plates) insist on driving 40 in the far left lane.

by Aaron Miller on Jul 9, 2014 3:34 pm • linkreport

If one is uncomfortable driving/walking/biking in a place where for profit companies don't have metal boxes in place for their "safety", they should never leave their house. Right?

????

by Tina on Jul 9, 2014 3:35 pm • linkreport

" What I'm talking about is when traffic is free flowing "

Then I guess what I said went over your head.

I ride in the right lane IF I want to go 15 MPH below the speed limit.

I do note that there are people who appear to ride steadily in the left lane. Since its a passing lane, I think thats just as improper at 80MPH as it is at 40MPH. You aren't always supposed to be passing, right? Esp when free flow traffic in the center lane is already above the limit.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 9, 2014 3:37 pm • linkreport

@AWITC

There are specific situations in MD where the 3 foot law doesn't apply:

1. Cyclist is failing to maintain a steady course. This happens all the time in DC and MD.

2. IF the cyclist choose not to use a bike lane. Not in DC, but in MD the cyclist is REQUIRED to use a bike lane if available.

3. If the cyclist is violating the legal requirement to ride as far to the right as practicable and safe. This is an issue because it doesn't allow the cyclist to assert their right to the road by slowing everyone down intentionally.

4. If the highway is too narrow for the driver to legally pass with the required clearance.

http://www.thewashcycle.com/2012/04/in-maryland-3-foot-law-still-requires-cyclists-to-be-vigilant.html

by Aaron Miller on Jul 9, 2014 3:39 pm • linkreport

Wow, makes me glad I rarely bike in Md. Number 2 in particular is a bad idea, for many reasons. Number 3 - of course people who take the lane are not doing so to slow down people intentionally, but preceisely because there isn't room to pass safely - so taking the lane is safer. As for 4, then you don't pass till there is room to do so.

Anyway, the discussion here where was about a case in DC, not Md, and none of those applied, IIRC.

yes another red herring.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 9, 2014 3:43 pm • linkreport

@Aaron Miller - The entire conversation regarding sharing the road has gotten extremely divisive and while the WaPost article does nothing to help that, I think it's fair to say GGW writers and commenters haven't really helped the situation either.

Hm. Maybe someone needs to edit his/her divisive comments before posting them if s/he thinks such comments are unhelpful to a real dialogue about sharing the road, including drivers sharing the road with one another.

by Tina on Jul 9, 2014 3:48 pm • linkreport

@AWITC

I would think you would feel much safer biking in MD, considering we lead the nation in speed camera deployment. It's called the People's Republic of Maryland for a reason.

by Aaron Miller on Jul 9, 2014 3:51 pm • linkreport

@Tina

Kind of like the guy above ridiculing me for being upset that a cyclist ran over my foot on a sidewalk. That's sharing the road, right? OR sharing the sidewalk?

by Aaron Miller on Jul 9, 2014 3:52 pm • linkreport

I don't particularly care what absurb remarks people make about Md, but the 3 foot passing law there is problematic - as is discussed in the comments to the piece you linked.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 9, 2014 3:54 pm • linkreport

@AWITC

This website is called Greater GREATER Washington. Discussing laws about close-in suburbs doesn't detract from the discussion, no matter how much it doesn't fit with your close-minded agenda.

by Aaron Miller on Jul 9, 2014 3:55 pm • linkreport

Mr Miller

We are here, mostly, to discuss policy on a range of issues. Sometimes illustrating a policy discussion with an anecdote is useful. The same anecdote over and over again is not, especially if its about something over which there is ZERO controversy (IE that a bicyclist, when riding lawfully on a sidewalk, has an obligation to yield ROW to pedestrians)

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 9, 2014 3:56 pm • linkreport

@Aaron Miller-That person didn't bemoan divisive language while minimizing the real threat of Milloys advocacy to run people down with one's car, then proceed to produce a bunch of divisive language.

by Tina on Jul 9, 2014 3:56 pm • linkreport

@AWITC

Yes, the comments are reflective of only the cyclist's POV. IT's a cyclist advocacy site.

by Aaron Miller on Jul 9, 2014 3:57 pm • linkreport

I discuss issues in the suburbs all the time. But snarky names like "peoples republic of X" are irrelevant to a discussion of the 3 ft passing law in Md, or anywhere else.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 9, 2014 3:57 pm • linkreport

@Tina

I still don't understand how you take inappropriate hyperbole from a newspaper article as a violent threat against your life, using justification that someone of the same race of the same area of the city was involved in an unfortunate incident with you.

by Aaron Miller on Jul 9, 2014 3:58 pm • linkreport

Nonetheless thats the site you chose to link to.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 9, 2014 3:59 pm • linkreport

"I still don't understand how you take inappropriate hyperbole from a newspaper article as a violent threat against your life, using justification that someone of the same race of the same area of the city was involved in an unfortunate incident with you."

the same race was not relevant. But it was a suggestion that a desire to hit someone and take a $500 fine (Milloy is wrong there, doing so DELIBERATELY is assault and subject to greater punishment) is perfectly understandable. In the main daily newspaper, still widely read, in the region.

It was reprehensible.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 9, 2014 4:01 pm • linkreport

Because it very eloquently described the laws in a straightforward manner. I'm sure if I linked to the MD Driver's Alliance you would give total credit and consideration to the comments there.

by Aaron Miller on Jul 9, 2014 4:01 pm • linkreport

...and what @AWITC said -there is no one commenting here who would defend someone who failed to yield to pedestrians while riding a bike. No one.

The facetious comment you refer to was made to draw an illustrative difference between having a bike run over a foot and having an automobile intentionally driven into you.

Most sane people would choose the former if given a choice, though not defend it, and in fact condemn it.

by Tina on Jul 9, 2014 4:02 pm • linkreport

@AWITC

I agree with you that race is not relevant. But Tina repeatedly brought up that a middle aged black man driving a late model sedan was involved in an incident in the same area as Courtland Milloy must drive everyday. It's all up there.

by Aaron Miller on Jul 9, 2014 4:02 pm • linkreport

@Aaron Miller - there is actual documented evidence that more time spent driving increases ones risk for obesity and type II diabetes.

The risk is from a sedentary lifestyle, and driving in its current form is done while seated.

by Scoot on Jul 9, 2014 4:02 pm • linkreport

It's true that Maryland requires a bike to be in the bike lane. Of which it has practically none at this point. And, no, multi use paths are not bike lanes.

I'm striving to be more zen all the time. But the 3 foot rule is an inviolate thing for me. A car that pulls into that space will get a loud verbal warning, at the least.

by Crickey7 on Jul 9, 2014 4:02 pm • linkreport

If I linked to the Maryland drivers alliance, to quote the law, and showed ignorance of the nuances of the law pointed out in the comments, I would probably quit while I was ahead.

It amazes me how many times people link to things and have no sense of what they linked to. Google makes things too easy, I think.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 9, 2014 4:03 pm • linkreport

"Aaron Miller - there is actual documented evidence that more time spent driving increases ones risk for obesity and type II diabetes.
The risk is from a sedentary lifestyle, and driving in its current form is done while seated."

when the google car is here, we will be able to let the car drive itself, while sitting in the back riding a "stationary" bike.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 9, 2014 4:04 pm • linkreport

@Aaron Miller -I still don't understand how you take inappropriate hyperbole from a newspaper article as a violent threat against your life, .

--there was in fact a violent threat against my life made in the exact manner advocated by Milloy. An advocacy you keep calling "hyperbole". It happened to me exactly as Milloy envisioned. It was a real act of terror on me, not hyperbolic words. I still don't see how you fail to see the difference between words and actions.

by Tina on Jul 9, 2014 4:06 pm • linkreport

@AWITC

Kind of like how you gave great credit to a link I posed off of TheNEwspaper.com. And comments there which pointed out great injustices in current ATE law. Oh, wait...

by Aaron Miller on Jul 9, 2014 4:08 pm • linkreport

@Tina

You have claimed that Milloy himself has made a violent threat against you. Please substantiate this.

by Aaron Miller on Jul 9, 2014 4:09 pm • linkreport

I just want to say I'm shocked none of my comments have been deleted yet by the fearless leader. I tip my hat to you, DA.

by Aaron Miller on Jul 9, 2014 4:14 pm • linkreport

This thread is again descending into sniping. Please refrain from arguing about what links someone else posted, why, and so on. Please continue to discuss bicycling, Courtland Milloy, and other topics other than each other's commenting behaviors.

This is not a courtroom where you are cross-examining the other person to try to trip them up in a minor inconsistency between one comment and the next. Think of it more like you are on a panel with other people. Be civil and keep in mind that the other person isn't the only one listening. Thanks.

by David Alpert on Jul 9, 2014 4:15 pm • linkreport

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

by Scoot on Jul 9, 2014 4:16 pm • linkreport

Quick, somebody link to Dr. Who so somebody can be angry about Tardis drivers.

by asffa on Jul 9, 2014 4:17 pm • linkreport

In my bicycle gang, they call me Bumble Beeyotch. We've got a LOT of nerve, and we don't care WHO knows it!

by The Truth™ on Jul 9, 2014 4:23 pm • linkreport

I do not defend lawbreaking cyclists or inconsiderate ones. Nor am I in any sense responsible for them. When I read a screed like this, I believe that I am right to worry about the effect such intemperate opinions have on others. And ultimately, on me. That's why it's important to not be silent when a piece like this comes out, so that no one thinks that such hateful attitudes are acceptable.

Tomorrow, I will resume my role of hectoring fellow cyclists to do better. But not today.

by Crickey7 on Jul 9, 2014 4:25 pm • linkreport

Enforcement of bicycle violations is an interesting issue. As the Post reported today, the number of police tickets issued to bikes so far this year is "incredibly low" --

2010: total of 300 tickets;
2011: 231;
2012: 446;
2013: 203; and
Jan-May 2014: 63.

I'd be curious on why those numbers are so low since even the WABA staffer quoted in the article is surprised by them. I wonder if part of the answer is that cops don't want to bother with some of the Twitter shaming we see when they enforce the law for bike violations (e.g., "we have murders in this city and cops are wasting their time for bikes who don't stop all the way at stop signs"). And perhaps another part of the answer is that it's easier to issue a ticket to a car driver than a bike rider (driver has to carry ID and would have harder time trying to escape getting pulled over). It would be an interesting topic to delve into further.

by Lurker on Jul 9, 2014 4:32 pm • linkreport

@Lurker

I doubt it has to do with Twitter shaming. MPD just doesn't enforce traffic laws very much, period. They've more or less turned the job over to ATE systems. Park Police enforce traffic laws more than MPD does. In MoCo, I believe the same thing has happened but to a lesser extent. On highways it's usually MD State Troopers pulling people over.

by Aaron Miller on Jul 9, 2014 4:51 pm • linkreport

Mr. Alpert

This was a very thoughtful and useful analysis/response to the Post article and the situation in general. It's refreshing to read after reading a majority of trollish comments on Milloy's article that summarily dismissed him as some kind of lunitic with a bully pulpit.

by Eric B on Jul 9, 2014 4:53 pm • linkreport

please explain to me how Wilder received a $100 ticket for following too closely

I have to admit when I've been bested and this may be one of those cases.

The only way to reconcile Wilder's $100 ticket with the regulations explicitly listing the fines for bicycle infractions showing none of them to be over $25 and including the blanket statement that "The fine for any bicycle violation not listed in this section is twenty-five dollars ($25.00)" is to believe in the impossible: namely that an officer with the MPD made a mistake.

Nonetheless, I will make my final stand on the highly improbable proposition that this is the exceedingly rare case when an MPD officer has made a mistake. Not that I expect anyone to believe that such a thing could be true.

by David C on Jul 9, 2014 4:54 pm • linkreport

@David C

Since when do MPD officers determine fines? Lawmakers do that. And it's just as possible the DC Govt web team made a mistake...

by Aaron Miller on Jul 9, 2014 4:58 pm • linkreport

I did not "summarily dismiss him as some kind of lunitic with a bully pulpit." I dismissed him as a dangerous and hypocritical curmudgeon.

by Crickey7 on Jul 9, 2014 5:03 pm • linkreport

Yes, it's seems that, when discussing DC regulations, we should believe an unverified claim about a ticket that neither of us has seen more than the official DC regulations website. Perhaps we can ask Evan why he said it was a $100 ticket.

So, the link I gave is not compelling at all? Does it at least mean that I'm not making a false claim?

by David C on Jul 9, 2014 5:05 pm • linkreport

Not exactly an unverified claim. The incident was reported on GGW as well as several media outlets. Maybe Wilder is lying?

by Aaron Miller on Jul 9, 2014 5:15 pm • linkreport

Evan Wilder's claim is verified. If anyone considers him a more credible source on what the laws and regulations are with respect to fines for bicycle infractions than the Secretary of the District of Columbia [aka the officer charged with publishing the District of Columbia Register and the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations which contain the fines for bicycle infractions] that would be an odd choice. I don't believe there is a judge who can be found who would make that choice. What, I wonder, makes Wilder an expert on such details?

Since when do MPD officers determine fines? Lawmakers do that.

Actually, they usually don't. Lawmakers make laws defining what is and is not illegal. Then they authorize an agency to write regulations to set the fines. That's why these fines are found in the regulations, not in the DC Code.

In the case of bicycle infractions, the fines were all lowered in 2006 in rulemaking that was led by DDOT (specifically Jim Sebastian). I know, because I was on the BAC at the time and we were asked to help decide what fines would be appropriate for which violations. DDOT then wrote the regulations that were then accepted via the usual process, and these regs set the fines at the values the BAC chose. Not lawmakers.

That's how I know that the maximum fine is $25. I helped write those regulations.

by David C on Jul 9, 2014 9:22 pm • linkreport

Are cyclists only subject to these bicycle infractions, or are there vehicular infractions where the driver of any vehicle can be guilty?

by JimT on Jul 9, 2014 9:35 pm • linkreport

Cyclists can still be charged with felonies related to their action - like hit and run, and vehicular homicide.

by David C on Jul 9, 2014 9:38 pm • linkreport

As I bike commuter I wish there were at least a few things I could say "you're welcome" to in Malloy column:

- You're welcome for reducing traffic and parking congestion by biking instead of driving my own car into downtown.
- You're welcome for going out of my way to voluntarily segregate myself into a designated bike lane rather than taking up the full travel lane I'm legally entitled to on a more direct route.
- You're welcome for occasionally retreating onto an empty sidewalk rather than risking road rage from the driver on my tail who can't tolerate the top speed I'm capable of.
- You're welcome for tolerating prolonged overcrowding at popular Bikeshare stations downtown to ensure that wards 7 and 8 can be well-served by 21 stations, despite far lower usage than other areas of the city.

But no, there's not a single thank you in the column. It's all vitriol based on the bad behavior of a few and resentment for broader demographic trends and social injustices that have nothing to do with bikes.

Did it ever occur to Malloy that those bike lanes help us get out of his way? Or that we occasionally ride on the sidewalk because we're SCARED of the rage we'll face for riding in a travel lane at our top speed?

I am genuinely thankful to patient drivers who share the road, recognizing that the travel lane is a safer place to be than the perilous "door zone" we're squeezed into when we "get over" as many drivers are prone to yell. My thanks ARE sincere. I just wish we could get some sincere thanks in return.

by Sean R on Jul 9, 2014 10:57 pm • linkreport

Courtland's oped was all over the place, talking about race and going to extremes arguing against bike lanes. If he had stuck to the bullying behaviour of some cyclist toward pedestrians ,he would have been on more solid ground. There's a minority of cyclist that give the rest a bad name by ignoring the right away of pedestrians during the "walk" light. They are a menace.

In aggregate the bike lanes are great. It would be good to understand many cyclist prefer the sidewalk, the bike lanes are frequently ignored by motorist. Motorist bully cyclist and cyclist bully pedestrians. The psychopaths who think because they are bigger they can have their way on the road or sidewalks are the problem here. The lanes themselves are a boon to the District. Let's hope 8 gets their fair share of lanes soon.

by Bryn Gilkey on Jul 9, 2014 11:21 pm • linkreport

I do not ride on sidewalks often, but now I will definitely do so occasionally, knock some peoples' hats off, get a bell and always ring it, to keep up the myth.

by NE John on Jul 10, 2014 6:22 am • linkreport

@DavidC: But the traffic infractions themselves are different for bikes? Compare with Maryland where bikes are just a vehicle subject to the same laws as drivers with very few exceptions and there is no separate schedule of fines. Technically you get the same number of points unless you go to court, in MD.

by JimT on Jul 10, 2014 7:15 am • linkreport

In theory DC could have had a bike-soecific schedule of fines only for the regulations that are specific to bikes. Interesting if there is a bikespecufic schedule even for the traffic that apply to bikes and motor vehicles, e.g. Following too closely, running red light, or speeding.

by JimT on Jul 10, 2014 7:23 am • linkreport

Anyone in the criminal justice system (police, prosecutors, judges, etc.) trying to tack driver license points onto bicyclists should lose their jobs immediately.

by DaveG on Jul 10, 2014 10:04 am • linkreport

JimT, yes, all the fines for traffic infractions for bikes are different than for cars. And they are capped at $25. Speeding. Following too close. Etc....

by David C on Jul 10, 2014 11:24 am • linkreport

@"I hope...the readers of Greater Greater Washington...will participate, not to point fingers at another side or deride their misconceptions..."

So much for that idea, judging from the initial comments on this page!

@drumz

"...and you'd think there is at least an implicit right to live in a society that doesn't actively try to make walking/biking somewhere more dangerous than it needs to be."

Who actively tries to make walking/biking more dangerous and how?

by Brett on Jul 10, 2014 12:45 pm • linkreport

@Brett

Local and state departments of transportation, who, by and large, prioritize motor vehicle traffic at the expense of all other modes.

by JDS32 on Jul 10, 2014 1:32 pm • linkreport

@JDS32

Perhaps because most people and goods travel by motor vehicle.

But how does that "actively try to make walking/biking somewhere more dangerous?"

by Brett on Jul 10, 2014 2:08 pm • linkreport

"Who actively tries to make walking/biking more dangerous and how?"

The legislature of the commonwealth of virginia.

A. Its illegal in Va to follow a motor vehicle too closely. An attempt to delete the word "motor" was defeated in the last session
B. Its illegal in Va for a locality to implement more than one speed camera per jurisdiction. The legislature could have instead banned them on limited access highways, at locations with little bike/ped traffic, etc but they did not.
C. IIUC its illegal in Va for a locality to set a speed limie lower than 25 MPH other than in a school zone or hospital zone.

OTOH progress is being made. By approving 3 foot passing, the legislature seems to have acknowledged the mistakes of the past. And VDOT at least in principle is committed to complete streets denser places, though their implementation seems weak so far.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 10, 2014 2:18 pm • linkreport

Perhaps because most people and goods travel by motor vehicle.

You're looking at it backwards. So many people drive because its often the only mode of transportation that's planned for.

We see positive changes sure, but Milloy's column itself is a backlash against those changes.

But there's a lot of different governments to work with. DC may be adding miles of bike lanes but VDOT is trying to widen roads in places where Fairfax County says they don't want to see an increase in driving.

Heck, even some of DDOT's proposals really only treat non-drivers as an after thought (see: the south capitol oval proposal).

by drumz on Jul 10, 2014 2:30 pm • linkreport

@AWalkerIntheCity

I don't see how A, B or C show how VA actively tries to make walking/biking more dangerous.

@drumz

"You're looking at it backwards. "

That's your opinion, not everyone has to agree with it.

"So many people drive because its often the only mode of transportation that's planned for."

Many people do indeed; and in DC, where there is access to multiple transport modes, just as many people drive as take Metro.

Also none of that explains how governments "actively try to make walking/biking somewhere more dangerous"

by Brett on Jul 10, 2014 2:51 pm • linkreport

a bunch of cyclists showed up at the WaPo today. There should be coverage on the news tonight.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 10, 2014 2:58 pm • linkreport

A very thoughtful and reasonable response. I don't know if such a thoughtful and reasonable response was warranted considering Milloy's column came right up the line of advocating violence against cyclist simply for being cyclists. It's especially hard to accept columns like Milloy's when I think about my brother who was hit numerous times on his bicycle while living in DC. One thing is clear -- neither Milloy nor members of his family regularly cycle in the city.

by James Hare on Jul 10, 2014 3:06 pm • linkreport

"I don't see how A, B or C show how VA actively tries to make walking/biking more dangerous."

YOu have now added the word actively. Good call, to raise the bar a bit. I think that there are policies, that, without excess cost to society, or even being benefit cost positive, reduce the level of bike ped safety from what it could be, indicate that Drumz' point is correct. For example, NYC is now instituting Vision Zero. That implies, to me, that what NYC did BEFORE, was not the best it could reasonably be for bike ped safety, and so was a policy that needlesslyh increased bike ped danger.

But of course the previous govts of NYC were not twirling their mustaches hoping for blood on the streets.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 10, 2014 3:07 pm • linkreport

I actually said "actively" I stand by it, but there are plenty of passive ways to make it hard on pedestrians as well.

by drumz on Jul 10, 2014 3:10 pm • linkreport

@AWalkerIntheCity

"YOu have now added the word actively. "

It was actually a quote from drumz, and recall that my original question was directed to drumz.

"NYC is now instituting Vision Zero. That implies, to me, that what NYC did BEFORE, was not the best "

And how does that show NYC is actively making things more dangerous for bikers and peds?

@drumz

"Yes it does. "

How?

"Here's a bunch of stories"

Posting a sign that says no pedestrians on a highway or having a law that pedestrians use crosswalks are for the safety of pedestrians and don't show that gov'ts "actively try to make walking/biking somewhere more dangerous."

Now if you had some example of a gov'ts instituting policies of taking away or reducing crosswalks, sidewalks and bike lanes, then I would agree with you.

Instead, there are more bike lanes, sidewalks and pedestrian crosswalks and signals than ever.

by Brett on Jul 10, 2014 3:29 pm • linkreport

Posting a sign that says no pedestrians on a highway or having a law that pedestrians use crosswalks are for the safety of pedestrians and don't show that gov'ts "actively try to make walking/biking somewhere more dangerous."

Actually, it can. It can drive down the number of pedestrians.

But pedestrians are safer in numbers. When the number of pedestrians goes up we often see the fatality rate go down.

Therefore, it's making things worse for pedestrians.

Instead, there are more bike lanes, sidewalks and pedestrian crosswalks and signals than ever.

In DC and other jurisdictions, yes. But that's a relatively recent development and it's involved a lot of reworking. This re-working is the cause of Milloy's (and others) ire because he views as an attack of some sort on cars.

And even in DC we've seen backtracking on pedestrian and cycling improvements (most recently the M street cycletrack, or the reversal of the project on Wisconsin avenue).

by drumz on Jul 10, 2014 3:38 pm • linkreport

@drumz

Not sure what you;re talking about, but that doesn't explain how telling pedestrians to use crosswalks and avoid walking on highways means gov'ts are actively making it more dangerous for pedestrians.

"In DC and other jurisdictions, yes. But that's a relatively recent development and it's involved a lot of reworking. "

So how can one prove that gov't actively make it more dangerous for peds/bikers when there are more ped/bike infrastructure and fewer ped/biker fatalities nationwide???

by Brett on Jul 10, 2014 3:54 pm • linkreport

"NYC is now instituting Vision Zero. That implies, to me, that what NYC did BEFORE, was not the best "

And how does that show NYC is actively making things more dangerous for bikers and peds?"

It does not show they are, but that they WERE making it more dangerous, by not instituting the changes now made by vision zero.

Whether that counts as active or not, I don't care. I think this came up as an explanation of current mode share, and the word active is not needed to explain that (whoever first used it.)

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 10, 2014 4:01 pm • linkreport

@AWalkerIntheCity

"It does not show they are"

Exactly my point. Thanks!

by Brett on Jul 10, 2014 4:04 pm • linkreport

Brett

it shows they WERE. And lots of state and local govts are not where NYC is on that - yet.

Indeed I dont know of any others that have yet adopted vision zero.

There are a few places moving ahead with twenty is plenty on residential streets. Not DC or VA or MD yet though, I believe.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 10, 2014 4:16 pm • linkreport

@AWalkerInTheCity

LOL, so how does it show the were "actively try[ing] to make walking/biking somewhere more dangerous?"

by Brett on Jul 10, 2014 5:42 pm • linkreport

@Brett - I don't think any govt. planners or engineers were deliberately trying to make non-motorized transportation more difficult or dangerous. It's just that until recently, NMT was an afterthought at best, if it was ever thought of at all. That's how a car-first policy worked.

by DaveG on Jul 10, 2014 6:09 pm • linkreport

@DaveG

"I don't think any govt. planners or engineers were deliberately trying to make non-motorized transportation more difficult or dangerous."

I agree.

by Brett on Jul 10, 2014 6:15 pm • linkreport

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

by NS on Jul 15, 2014 8:49 am • linkreport

Very insightful post! Several great and informative points were mentioned within here! Thanks for sharing!

by Caryl Anne on Oct 14, 2014 3:22 pm • linkreport

Add a Comment

Name: (will be displayed on the comments page)

Email: (must be your real address, but will be kept private)

URL: (optional, will be displayed)

Your comment:

By submitting a comment, you agree to abide by our comment policy.
Notify me of followup comments via email. (You can also subscribe without commenting.)
Save my name and email address on this computer so I don't have to enter it next time, and so I don't have to answer the anti-spam map challenge question in the future.

or