Greater Greater Washington

Bicycling


Links roundup: Clash with Courtland over bike bullying

The DC blogosphere is still buzzing over Courtland Milloy's column yesterday calling bicyclists "bullies" and "terrorists." If you've been offline for the past 18 hours or so, here's a lightning-round roundup of the internet's response to Milloy.


Photo from WABA

Empathy and understanding: David Alpert responds with an entreaty for bridge building instead of finger pointing and derision.

Point by point: Aaron Wiener and David Cranor take down Milloy's arguments and fear head on.

Cooler heads at the Post: Post transportation reporter Ashley Halsey III responds to his colleagues Milloy and John Kelly with the welcome sentiment that it's time to tone down the tirades against bicyclists.

Protest tomorrow: DCist has the details on a protest ride to the Washington Post headquarters tomorrow afternoon, and a twitter roundup.

Muppet bikes: If this whole topic has got you down, the video at the end of Ben Freed's take in Washingtonian should make you smile.

Bike lanes in Ward 8: One of the true things in Milloy's column is that there are no bike lanes in Ward 8 (but there are some trails); however, lanes are coming.

Cyclists by the numbers: Matthew Yglesias pulled together a bunch of graphs about how poor people and Latinos are still most likely to be bicycling.

The bizarro Milloy: What if Milloy had penned an identical anti-driver screen? Ben Harris imagines the alternative.

WABA responds: WABA's Shane Farthing sets the record straight on the group's bicycle advocacy. You can help make cycling safer and more inclusive by becoming a WABA member or making a donation.

Bikes on TV: David Alpert was on NewsTalk with Bruce DePuyt this morning, and discussed bicycle issues. Watch the video:

Aimee Custis is the Communications Manager at the Coalition for Smarter Growth. A policy wonk by training and a transit advocate by profession, she moved to DC in 2008 to learn everything she could about walkable communities and public policy. Also a photographer, she photoblogs at aimeecustis.com

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The Post wants the controversy. They need the clicks. Apology not accepted.

Advocating violence, whether with a broomstick or a 4,000 pound car, is wrong, and the Post was wrong to print the original screed.

The only way to fix the Post's editorial policy of baiting minorities with violence because they're too (entitled, smug, lawbreaking, different, whatever), and then enjoying the clicks of both the original sin and its supposed repentance is to annoy the owner, whose email is jeff@amazon.com

by Greenbelt on Jul 9, 2014 3:46 pm • linkreport

Courtland is expressing a sentiment that a number of older Washingtonians have - regardless of color. I have a white colleague on the cusp of retirement who thinks the city is doing too much to cater to bikers at the expense of drivers and how most bikers are rude and entitled.

While I don't feel the level of her animosity I do understand that there are a fair number of people - me included - who while think what the city is doing is good are wondering why so many bikers seem to pick and choose which rules are ones they are willing to abide by but expect others to always obey the rules they are expected to abide by. Witness every discussion on this blog or Popville that has a post about bikes/bikers.

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

ET

I bike and I drive. When biking I sometimes proceed through a stop sign without coming to a complete stop. When driving I sometimes drive a couple of MPH over the speed limit. I know perfectly well why I do both, and why other cyclists do the former, and other drivers do the latter. I also know what behavior is truely dangerous - cyclists riding the wrong way, or without lights, or way too fast on a multi use trail, and drivers going 10MPH over the limit, failing to yield to pedestrians, passing bikes too closely, driving while distracted, etc.

I suspect almost everyone who both drives and bikes understands this. I suspect those who do not are drivers who do not bike, and are unaware of the other perspective.

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

On sidewalk riding:

If there was one place in the region that I'd say was perfect for sidewalk riding it'd be downtown. That's where the sidewalks are the widest and you'll find the most congestion.

There's probably more than one stretch of blocks in downtown where you could convert some of the sidewalk into a raised cycle path with hardly any noticeable impact at all on pedestrians.

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

It takes a special kind of meanness to call label all cyclists, as a group, bullies and terrorists and say that violence towards them is understandable.

And to do on the 6th anniversary of one of the most horrific cyclist deaths in the city! One that galvanized everyone who cycles on the need for safer streets full stop.

by jeffb on Jul 9, 2014 4:18 pm • linkreport

Matt McFarland of the Washington Post has also call for a cease fire in the war between drivers and cyclists ( http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/innovations/wp/2014/07/09/we-need-a-cease-fire-in-the-war-between-drivers-and-cyclists/?tid=recommended_strip_2 )

As a bicycling advocate, I try to stress to those who don't bicycle or don't do so often why some who ride do what they do. For example, some bicyclists "jump-the-light", or cross before the light turns green, to make sure that cars see them and to allow them time to safely cross the street. Many times, this looks to motorists like bicyclists are flagrantly disobeying the law for spiteful reasons but in actuality they are showing that there is a deficiency in how roads are constructed, how signalization focuses on moving cars at the expense of bicyclists and pedestrians.

I appeal to motorists who harbor the feelings of Milloy to talk with someone who bicycles or bicycle themselves to see why bicyclists do what they do and work together to make better use of the roadway.

by Randall M. on Jul 9, 2014 4:20 pm • linkreport

randall, thats a nice column, but its typical washington post middle of the roadism

Fact is most cyclists are licensed drivers, and I bet most own cars and use them at least somewhat regularly. and the attitudes of MOST cyclists about driving and drivers in general reflects that. The 'war' rhetoric is coming from one side (and the anger of cyclists towards PARTICULAR motorists who behave badly does not invalidated that) But what can I expect from a paper that isnt ashamed to George Will and Charles Krauthammer on global warming, or that has yet to walk back their errors on fiscal policy.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 9, 2014 4:28 pm • linkreport

Ashley Halsey's column was very good. Makes the simple point that freaking out about cyclists is dumb because cycling isn't dangerous, especially for someone who's driving.

This is despite the huge problems we have in our society with how we (fail) to protect the most vulnerable road users.

Why get so mad about an activity that isn't that dangerous and in fact, gets less dangerous as more people do it?

by drumz on Jul 9, 2014 4:33 pm • linkreport

@AWalkerInTheCity:

I agree with the Post's ability to juxtaposition related comments. I'll take the sentiments of the authors at their word.

That said, I see that over 1100 people at the time of this comment who have gone through the trouble to visit the Post site to comment. Each of those visits generates revenue for the Post. That sort of bothers me more than it probably should.

I too am tired of the war rhetoric, it's exhausting to fight wars that aren't real.

by Randall M. on Jul 9, 2014 4:38 pm • linkreport

+1 Drumz

Found nail. Hit on head.

by Randall M. on Jul 9, 2014 4:42 pm • linkreport

Speaking of "bizarro Milloy" here's this:
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BsIAnCCIcAA8XbC.jpg
Milloy column from 1998 about how scary it is to ride a bike!

Posted by this:
https://twitter.com/emilycatherine/status/486952381364838400

by MLD on Jul 9, 2014 4:43 pm • linkreport

There is no 'war between drivers and cyclists'. Just talking about a 'war' annoys me. When I go out on a bike, I don't think of myself marching into battle against car drivers. Heck, I am a car driver lots of the time. All I'm interested in is getting to my destination safely.

By framing it as a 'war', the Post positions the roll-out of safe roadway engineering as an attack on a particular group. There is no war here. And there is no reason for a 'ceasefire'. What would be the terms of such a ceasefire? That we implement best practice even more slowly? That we go back to the days when cars had full use of the road, and cyclists had limited or no facilities? That is absurd. They just don't get it. What they need to do is get some editorial responsibility, which means not publishing columns encouraging and sympathizing with homicidal maniacs.

by renegade09 on Jul 9, 2014 4:45 pm • linkreport

It is time that some bicylists stopped acting like entitled brats and observed rules and common courtesy and sense, especially around pedestrians on sidewalks. Moreover, it would be better if some of the "smart growth urbanists" tried to be more aware of some of the sensitivities and concerns of long-time DC residents.

BUT I have to ask that if a white columnist spouted racial venom and condoned violence against a group that he identified as largely black, wouldn't he have had to clear his desk out by noon?

by Bob on Jul 9, 2014 5:22 pm • linkreport

It is time that some bicylists stopped acting like entitled brats and observed rules and common courtesy and sense, especially around pedestrians on sidewalks.

Ok. But that wouldn't solve Milloy's problem of getting where he wants to go quickly in his car. (it might even slow him down more).

BUT I have to ask that if a white columnist spouted racial venom and condoned violence against a group that he identified as largely black, wouldn't he have had to clear his desk out by noon?,

Funnily enough, that happened just this week with Anthony Cumia (his words were far worse but also happened "off the air" as it were). His firing was definitely justified.

I don't think Milloy needs to be fired. I just think he should go on a ride with WABA and then write about it in his next column.

by drumz on Jul 9, 2014 5:29 pm • linkreport

"lighting-round"?

by Lucre on Jul 9, 2014 6:16 pm • linkreport

@drumz -I don't trust him to be honest; to make objective observations. He already has a well-known bias and even an agenda.

by Tina on Jul 9, 2014 6:21 pm • linkreport

Lucre: Haha, oops! Fixed.

by David Alpert on Jul 9, 2014 6:57 pm • linkreport

@Bob BUT I have to ask that if a white columnist spouted racial venom and condoned violence against a group that he identified as largely black, wouldn't he have had to clear his desk out by noon

Yep. The language and rationales are darkly similar to those used to justify lynching and racial violence. These uppity cyclists have no respect for decent folks, or our laws, and need to be taught a lesson.

by SJE on Jul 9, 2014 8:27 pm • linkreport

I find it odd to see Mr. Alpert as a voice for compromise and dialogue on any issue. When it comes to those with a difference of opinion on streetcars, he is condescending, rude, and untruthful even to FELLOW URBANISTS who support different means for better transit. Like him, I do think better dialogue between cyclists and drivers would be beneficial, I just wish the cycling side was represented by someone with a better record for honest and open dialogue.

by Peter Peter on Jul 9, 2014 9:32 pm • linkreport

@Peter
Alpert doesn't represent cyclists. If anybody represents 'the cycling side', it is WABA (although they don't speak for me). I'm not even sure if Alpert 'represents' Greater Greater Washington. He might have set up the site, but there are a diversity of voices on here. If you disagree with what he says, explain why, don't engage in name-calling. On this particular topic, I agree with him pretty much 100%.

by renegade09 on Jul 9, 2014 10:31 pm • linkreport

Kind of liked the Milloy article, although it had its obvious flaws. I am not a car driver. I commute by metro and walking with my baby every day. Almost every other day, the pedestrian light turns green and I have to remind myself that we can't go yet because bikes are still speeding by. I am learning we need to wait another several seconds on a Connecticut Ave short cycle and kind of try to jog across before the light turns again. For sure, bikers are more of a threat to me and my baby than cars. I remember being 8 months pregnant walking down the sidewalk on Q between Dupont and Georgetown all wobbly and bikers just whizzing by inches away. What's the equivalent to the three-feet rule for bikers?

by Casey on Jul 9, 2014 10:36 pm • linkreport

Well, Casey, every single day, when the WALK signal lights up, I have to remind myself that I cannot begin walking because car drivers are still speeding by. I learn that I have to wait several seconds or look for speeding drivers before being able to proceed through the crosswalk.

Drivers have killed people on roads, in crosswalks and even on sidewalks. Drivers killed three or four people just over the past week in the D.C. area, and they kill nearly 100 a year in the area.

Actually, there does seem to be a war going on, a war committed by aggressive or distracted drivers. War usually involves death and destruction. Well, many car drivers are causing death and destruction, every week (and every day across the U.S.).

by Citizen on Jul 10, 2014 12:31 am • linkreport

A little ovr the top, but the anti car holier than thou crowd deserved this column.

I obey the traffic laws when I drive and bike. Everyone else should do the same as well. This goes for you walkers crossing the street with your eyes locked on a iphone.

by Breastaurant on Jul 10, 2014 3:12 am • linkreport

Go away, baitin'

-Washington Post

by NE John on Jul 10, 2014 6:54 am • linkreport

Breastaurant, no group--no group--needs to be broadly labeled "bullies" and "terrorists" in a national newspaper, and to have a regular columnist say that throwing a stick in their spokes or hitting them and just paying a $500 fine might be worth it. It is completely irresponsible. And no, in the context of the article, it was not a joke.

by DE on Jul 10, 2014 8:27 am • linkreport

@Breastaurant--

Yes, you make a good safety point about pedestrians and their phones. Like many, I'm a pedestrian, bike rider and driver. The times have been too numerous when I've been stopped at a light in my car, only to have the signal turn green for me while oblivious pedestrians are crossing, their faces buried in their not-so-smart devices. DC once was famous for the number of jaywalking tickets it wrote. The cops should ticket pedestrians like this, the same way they need to step up enforcement against aggressive drivers and scofflaw bikers.

by Alf on Jul 10, 2014 8:35 am • linkreport

Or, we don't worry about what pedestrians and cyclists do because they're barely capable of harming anybody.

The goal isn't to have a city where everyone magically follows the law (it's a nice idea but depends on fair laws, and enforcement that is somehow effective but not draconian).

The goal is to have a city where it doesn't feel risky or inconvenient to travel by any means other than a car.

The former wouldn't necessarily lead to a more liveable city while the latter makes sure things operate smoothly without overt coercion.

by drumz on Jul 10, 2014 8:43 am • linkreport

I don't drive, but I have to say that GGW seems to function like a bad-will ambassador for cyclists. The loudest voices who self-identify as cyclists tend to present themselves in pretty assholic ways. I don't think that their attitudes are representative of people who bike. But when this kind of hostile/entitled/scofflaw rhetoric has a strong media presence it's not surprising that that's the soundtrack that plays in some drivers' heads when they encounter a cyclist doing something that seems dangerous, inconsiderate, or unpredictable.

Also, the "I'm not a threat" analysis misses what's going on, I think. In that sense, the pedestrian who pops out onto the street midblock from between parked cars isn't a threat either, but that pedestrian's behavior creates a hazardous situation. Presumably, what drivers fear is not that cyclists or pedestrians are going to harm them but that they will inadvertently do serious harm to a cyclist or pedestrian.

In the end, the ideal solution to these problems is better infrastructure to minimize conflicts between modes, but I agree that, regardless of how you're traveling, the basic rule is don't be a jerk, be situationally aware, and follow the rules/be as predictable as possible so everyone can get where they're going safely and with a minimum amount of stress.

by BTDT on Jul 10, 2014 8:45 am • linkreport

But when this kind of hostile/entitled/scofflaw rhetoric

1. few cyclists are hostile to all drivers. Most of us ARE drivers. Most cyclists are hostile to drivers who endanger us, to people who want to deny us our rights, to people who demonize cycling, etc, etc. We do not all express it the same way though. And some of us don't express it the same way on different days

2. I don't know what you mean by entitled. We have a legal and ethical right to ride in the road (other than on limited access highways) and on sidewalks in most of the region (but not downtown DC). We also (mostly) want more infra, because it works so well in so many ways.

3. As we have repeated over and over again, some cyclists obey the law 100%, a few are reckless, and most are just like drivers and pedestrians - careful, but not 100% compliant with certain laws.

In all these ways GGW cyclists are just like the general community of cyclists - if anything, I don't think the reckless folks, the ones who ride at night without lights, who go in the wrong direction, etc are well represented here.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 10, 2014 8:59 am • linkreport

but I agree that, regardless of how you're traveling, the basic rule is don't be a jerk, be situationally aware, and follow the rules/be as predictable as possible so everyone can get where they're going safely and with a minimum amount of stress.

And if you do these things, then that pedestrian who pops out mid-block, or that cyclist that makes a blind left turn, or the driver who changes lanes without signalling will be that much less of a threat because at least you were traveling in a way that was prepared for these things.

by drumz on Jul 10, 2014 9:01 am • linkreport

The cops should ticket pedestrians like this, the same way they need to step up enforcement against aggressive drivers and scofflaw bikers.

Agreed, too bad most "pedestrian enforcement" (and bicycle enforcement) comes in the form of going to a corner with terrible light timing and ticketing everyone who crosses the street, regardless of their attentiveness or whether there's any other traffic nearby.

by MLD on Jul 10, 2014 9:03 am • linkreport

"But when this kind of hostile/entitled/scofflaw rhetoric has a strong media presence it's not surprising that that's the soundtrack that plays in some drivers' heads when they encounter a cyclist doing something that seems dangerous, inconsiderate, or unpredictable. "

Yeah, cause the dudes who pass to close or who right hook, are doing it cause they read BikeSnobNYC, or streetsblog, or because they delved into the comments here. Right. To the extent they have heard ANYTHING about biking issues, its whats in the MSM, where the cyclist POV is seldom well represented. When it is, its the moderate voices of people like WABA or the guys the WAPO got to respond to Milloy.

But since most of the time they say they didn't even see us, how could it be about anything in the media?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 10, 2014 9:03 am • linkreport

Nice old man like Courtland Milloy staked a lot of their identity as successful middle class men whose voices were worthy of being heard on being able to afford a car and moving to the suburbs. His issues with cyclists are rooted in the resentment he feels that cyclists are getting attention and respect by taking a "shortcut" via cycling and living in DC, rather than "earning" their way to respect via car ownership.

To be fair, if Milloy were a guy in Ward 8 who bicycled everywhere because he couldn't afford a car, he would not have a column in the Washington Post.

by Tyro on Jul 10, 2014 9:10 am • linkreport

@drumz

Yes, that was my point. But it's also an argument against popping out mid-block, making blind left turns, and changing lanes without signaling, etc. -- not a reason why such behavior is not really a problem.

@AWITC

I'm willing to believe that the GGW rhetoric doesn't match the behavior -- I'm just pointing out the cumulative effect of the rhetoric is on perceptions of cyclists.

by BTDT on Jul 10, 2014 9:12 am • linkreport

"I'm willing to believe that the GGW rhetoric doesn't match the behavior"

I don't understand what that means - no one in their rhetoric here supports reckless cycling. Are you suggesting that affirming one's rights, and responding to all the vile that comes from folks like Milloy, in no uncertain terms, is somehow an indicator of reckless cycling?

"I'm just pointing out the cumulative effect of the rhetoric is on perceptions of cyclists."

The rhetoric is all for balanace among modes, including autos (which, again, most of us drive) and for riding in a a safe manner. So I'm not sure how the cumulative effect of that rhetoric could be negative. I think rather that few non-cylclists ever here the rhetoric of bike advocates.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 10, 2014 9:18 am • linkreport

But it's also an argument against popping out mid-block, making blind left turns, and changing lanes without signaling, etc. -- not a reason why such behavior is not really a problem.

Right but the question is who benefits from any particular rule (or strict enforcement of said rule).

That's something that needs to be considered when a place like DC has a goal of getting 75% of trips to be done without driving.

Maybe its good to ensure people don't cross mid-block. But maybe its better to figure out that people can cross whereever they'd like and drivers understand that is a likelihood and adjust accordingly.

Before we decide that a particular rule needs to be enforced more or less we need to think about the efficacy of that rule in the first place. Some may see that as "irresponsible" but I think its prudent.

by drumz on Jul 10, 2014 9:18 am • linkreport

I don't drive, but I have to say that GGW seems to function like a bad-will ambassador for cyclists. The loudest voices who self-identify as cyclists tend to present themselves in pretty assholic ways.

I don't bike, and I have never thought this about any of the GGW writers--or heck, even the commentariat. What on earth on this blog could be characterized as "assholic" (I like that!) or the voice of a "bad-will ambassador?"

by worthing on Jul 10, 2014 9:24 am • linkreport

Well, I'd say there is a good argument to be made for biking predictably. Even though I take a whole lane on busy streets, I (usually) do not have any issues as long as I stay in that lane, in the same position relative to the curb, run more lights (even in daytime) than the Empire State Building and generally ride in a fair approximation of how a car drives.

by Crickey7 on Jul 10, 2014 9:27 am • linkreport

Also, feel free to prove me or anyone else wrong by riding yourself. What cyclists need is numbers, not debaters.

by drumz on Jul 10, 2014 9:46 am • linkreport

drivers understand that is a likelihood and adjust accordingly.

There is no adjust accordingly. Physics is on the side of the car whose mass is far greater than a human. Unless you're running a 4.4 40 time, your stopping distance is measured in single digit inches. Even at 5 mph, its taking me feet to stop in a car.

by Another Nick on Jul 10, 2014 10:20 am • linkreport

@drumz

There's certainly a good case to be made for adding mid-block crosswalks in some situations where there's an obvious place where/reason why lots of pedestrians want to cross in roughly the same area (e.g. a long block with retail uses on both sides of the street). But it makes no sense to say everyone should cross wherever they want and it's up to drivers to avoid accidents.

We're talking about collective action problems that require coordination and where the effectiveness of such coordination depends on people following the rules regardless of whether they're walking, biking, or driving. You don't get opt out on the grounds that because you're not piloting a ton of hurtling metal and glass you're not the problem/danger/threat.

FWIW, the latter attitude -- i.e. the-rules-don't-apply-to-me (or I'll-be-the-judge-of-which-rules-apply-to-me) -- is a crucial aspect of what I was referring to when I used the word "entitled."

Again, I'm all for better infrastructure/engineering to avoid conflicts and for rule changes when the rules aren't working, but make your own rules is a recipe for disaster.

FWIW, I've been a bike commuter in other jurisdictions. Won't do it in DC because it looks dangerous as hell to me (based on narrow streets, on-street parking, crazy drivers, accidents friends have experienced) and because, between walking and public transit, I can get most places I want to go in reasonably quickly.

by BTDT on Jul 10, 2014 10:21 am • linkreport

But it makes no sense to say everyone should cross wherever they want and it's up to drivers to avoid accidents.

Well, shared space (or a woonerf) is basically the application of that and works in plenty of places. And its always up to driver's to avoid collisions no matter what. Same for pedestrians and cyclists.

But the larger point is that if DC wants more pedestrians, then DC is going to have to do things that give pedestrians more power on the streets. Better infrastructure is a part of that but I think laws that protect pedestrians and allow currently illegal behavior is probably necessary, even if its not sufficient.

We're talking about collective action problems that require coordination and where the effectiveness of such coordination depends on people following the rules regardless of whether they're walking, biking, or driving. You don't get opt out on the grounds that because you're not piloting a ton of hurtling metal and glass you're not the problem/danger/threat.

Right, but again, I think in many instances the rules need to change. Personally, I think they should change so that a pedestrian or cyclist has less responsibilities while a driver has more.

Practically, that would mean things like a stop-as-yield rule for cyclists, lowering of speed limits for cars, and other changes.

Won't do it in DC because it looks dangerous as hell to me (based on narrow streets, on-street parking, crazy drivers, accidents friends have experienced)

This is just me but when I took up cycling as an adult I did it out in Fairfax. The first couple of times I rode in DC (thanks to CABI) I found that I vastly preferred riding in DC where average speeds were slower and I wasn't the only cyclist on the road.

by drumz on Jul 10, 2014 10:31 am • linkreport

So there's 3 philosophies to this.

1. Those who think everyone has an equal duty to share the road and be safe. (I think this is where BDTD is)
2. Those who think that drivers have a bigger burden to share and be safe (this is where I am)
3. Those who think that pedestrians and cyclists have the bigger burden to be safe. (I'd guess this is where Milloy is).

by drumz on Jul 10, 2014 10:33 am • linkreport

In parts of Fairfax, there is really no incentive for peds to go out of their way to a crosswalk. Typically the nearest crosswalk has no traffic signal or even a HAWK light, only a yield to pedestrians sign, and often no sign at all - just the white stripes on the pavement. 90% or more of drivers do not even slow down for pedestrians until the pedestrian is directly in front of them - IE motorist behavior is no different than it would be for a ped crossing where there is no crosswalk. Ergo, the ped is not safer at crosswalk (though their chances of recovering in a civil suit are probably higher)

That isn't even getting into the problem of legal, but unmarked, crosswalks.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 10, 2014 10:37 am • linkreport

I think a lot of people invoke woonerfs without much of an understanding of where they make sense. They're addressing the same kinds of situations that cul-de-sacs do in the US. They're basically a low-density suburban form where cars are restricted to walking speed. Not really a solution for the kinds of traffic volumes you find on the DC streets where conflicts between cars and bikes are typical.

by BTDT on Jul 10, 2014 10:48 am • linkreport

It'd be one tool (and DC is bigger than just downtown). One tool among many (including changes in law and enforcement) that would help raise the number of pedestrians in DC.

More pedestrians (and more cyclists) seems to be the best way of reducing overall pedestrian (and cylcist) fatalities.

by drumz on Jul 10, 2014 11:00 am • linkreport

Count me as one pedestrian who has found Peace with bicyclists, brokered by Donald Trump.

I was frequently almost run down in the Federal Triangle buildings' arcades along 12th St NW by cyclists coming to/from the bike rental in the rear of the Old Post Office Building; they would always ride on the sidewalks, never in the street. I could blame it on tourists not knowing the local laws, but that doesn't excuse groups lead by a bike shop staffer, who should have known the laws.

In any case, the shop has moved as a result of the Trump renovation of the Old Post Office and I no longer face being run over on those sidewalks.

by Peace on Jul 10, 2014 11:13 am • linkreport

@BTDT

First, I would like to reiterate worthing's point above. How have the contributors or commentariat on GGW been in any way "bad-will" ambassadors or "assholic"? I generally consider myself pretty open to all points of view, but in this case I can't even consider your argument because I genuinely have no idea what you are talking about. You should provide a specific example of what you mean by that comment.

I am guessing that you consider it to be "assholic" if a cyclist advocates for the selective enforcement of traffic laws by mode (i.e. supporting the Idaho Stop, etc.) or when cyclists make a point about advocating for equal use of the roads (rather than car dominance). Apologies, if I am off-base here, but once again you didn't give any context or support to your remark.

by ndw_dc on Jul 10, 2014 11:43 am • linkreport

In many of these car vs. cyclists debates, it is often said that current traffic laws and road configurations were not designed for cyclists, but rather to maximize throughput or LOS for cars. As a cyclists myself, I generally sense this but I would like to know if someone else - perhaps with some engineering or planning experience - might provide detail on just how different our roads would function if designed for all modes.

If cyclists run red lights because the roads were not designed for them, how would the roads look like if they actually were designed better for peds and bikes? I imagine this is more than just cycletracks, but would include ideas similar to the woonerf, etc.

by ndw_dc on Jul 10, 2014 11:49 am • linkreport

Attitudes like drumz is why this column was penned.

Placing a greater burden on cars is the self entitled smug attitude that drivers resent. "I'm gonna text while walking into traffic without looking because they should be looking out for ME. Oh, sorry you were inconvenienced. I'm an urbanist. I'm better than you suburbanites. I do what I want."

by Breastaurant on Jul 10, 2014 12:07 pm • linkreport

Hey, is it just my laptop, or is this column showing up as TNR-ish font, whereas all the others are a san-serif?

by KadeKo on Jul 10, 2014 12:15 pm • linkreport

Placing a greater burden on cars is the self entitled smug attitude that drivers resent.

I can kind of see why some drivers would resent it. It doesn't make it less necessary.

I'll quote Ashley Halsey,

Globally, traffic accidents kill about 1.2 million people each year, and 93 percent of them are caused by driver error.

So a little more responsibility on the part of drivers should help drivers as well.

And it's not like this isn't already the case. We make truck drivers operate under a lot more regulations than a regular driver. I'm not saying we should go and require CDL training for everyone but just that the idea of having different standards for different modes of transportation isn't as bizarre as someone may think.

Oh, sorry you were inconvenienced. I'm an urbanist. I'm better than you suburbanites. I do what I want

Fun fact: I live in the suburbs. And I'd like to see changes made in every juridiction. Not just DC.

I also drive. I own a car. But my time spent walking/biking has informed my view that I'd rather give up a little time in my car by slowing down a bit if it contributes to making walking/biking a little easier for people overall.

by drumz on Jul 10, 2014 12:24 pm • linkreport

Did folks actually read the article Mallory wrote?!? After reading these comments, I had to make sure I was reading the correct articles to figure out why all the venom and dislike for Malloy's article. I know folks don't care for this journalist, but when reading the article, he is merely stating fact, background history and using other folks commentary to illustrate the point of the article. I did not read where he actually called someone a bike ninja. He restated a questions that John Gonzales posted on his website.

Really folks, lets not act like cyclists are angels. When walking, I have darn near gotten ran over by a cyclists in the crosswalk. Forget about cars and cyclists, I would love to hear about pedestrians and cyclists clashing. I have rarely seen a cyclist ride using the proper signals, utilizing the bike lanes that we have payed for with our tax dollars. There are rogue cyclists, and until cyclists acknowledge that, we will always have a clash between car drivers and audacious, "the road is mine-move your car out of MY WAY" cyclist mindset. I'm all for making DC walkable, but there has to be some balance. I do not cycle, but I wonder if DC is willing to tax cyclists for all the costs for putting in the barriers, and bike lanes. Just a thought.

by dcresident on Jul 10, 2014 12:26 pm • linkreport

Oh, sorry you were inconvenienced. I'm an urbanist. I'm better than you suburbanites. I do what I want

Where did drivers who come into the city from elsewhere develop this smug sense of entitlement? It came from the fact that they see car ownership as a social totem that they don't think that pedestrians or cyclists are owed.

I dislike obnoxious pedestrians, but when I encounter them, they are mostly harmless and they remind me why I prefer to avoid driving in the city.

The most important thing people like Milloy need to realize when they drove into DC is that they are GUESTS who need to behave when visiting.

by Tyro on Jul 10, 2014 12:28 pm • linkreport

"Placing a greater burden on cars is the self entitled smug attitude that drivers resent"

I live in the suburbs, and I drive. When I am driving and another driver is texting, they endanger me. A pedestrian texting while crossing is stupid, but at most they inconvenience me (and in fact they usually don't - mostly they put themselves in danger of being hit by scofflaw drivers)

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 10, 2014 12:30 pm • linkreport

" When walking, I have darn near gotten ran over by a cyclists in the crosswalk. Forget about cars and cyclists, I would love to hear about pedestrians and cyclists clashing."

I live in Old Town Alexandria. I walk a LOT. I fear getting hit by a bike more than a car. Cars are relatively predictable and you can tell what they're doing at a longer distance. Car has to stop braking well before a stop sign and you can see the car slowing down and know "ok I can go" well before you actually start walking. Bikes...less so.

by Another Nick on Jul 10, 2014 12:36 pm • linkreport

" Forget about cars and cyclists,"

Except the Milloy article was precisely about that, so why change the subject?

" I would love to hear about pedestrians and cyclists clashing."

Why? Of course cyclists should yield to the vulnrable users, the peds. Most do in my experience, both as a cyclist and as a pedestrian. Some do not.

" I have rarely seen a cyclist ride using the proper signals,"

I regularly see cyclists signal. Occasionally thats difficult. I have heard of cyclists falling when they took a hand off the handle bars at a difficult spot.

" utilizing the bike lanes that we have payed for with our tax dollars."

Cyclists utilize bike lanes all the time. However in DC and Virginia they are not required to use them. If you want to understand why some do not like them, you need to bike.

" There are rogue cyclists, and until cyclists acknowledge that, we will always have a clash between car drivers and audacious, "the road is mine-move your car out of MY WAY" cyclist mindset."

Most cyclist dislike reckless, dangerous cyclists. But often what people mean by "rogue cyclists" is not that.

" I'm all for making DC walkable, but there has to be some balance."

I'm confused, what does that have to do with biking?

" I do not cycle, but I wonder if DC is willing to tax cyclists for all the costs for putting in the barriers, and bike lanes. Just a thought."

Cyclists already pay sales taxes on their bikes. Pretty big revenue compared to the most costs of bike lanes. Plus a tax on cyclists per se would be difficult to administer, and go against the policy of encouraging more biking.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 10, 2014 12:37 pm • linkreport

Placing a greater burden on cars is the self entitled smug attitude that drivers resent.

A greater burden than...what? The status quo? It's DC policy to encourage and increase biking as a means of transportation, and thus shift the status quo. The road has long been car-dominated, and the trend is becoming increasingly unsustainable in urban environments, DC included, for a variety of reasons (congestion, environmental concerns, etc.). That's not being "self entitled"; it's just logical, reasonable policy.

You can disagree with it, but that doesn't make it "smug."

by worthing on Jul 10, 2014 12:54 pm • linkreport

@dcresident

I am also a DC resident. I bike to work. I ride the Metro and walk. And I also own a car and drive in DC. I have been in the same situation you have (and that the Post's John Kelly wrote about) with cyclists almost running into me on the sidewalk. I too, wish that cyclists would ride more on the street and less on the sidewalk. I also know that it can be disorienting and aggravating for many drivers to drive near a cyclist. As a driver, your field of vision is reduced and cyclists are generally less visible than other cars (especially at night), so you have a genuine worry and frustration with hitting them. And it is genuinely frustrating as a driver to be stuck behind a cyclist. Your car is much faster, you've chosen a car presumably because of its speed, etc., and I think that any honest person can admit that any delay in your trip is unwanted.

But what I also realize is that the roads are not made merely for cars, despite the overwhelming bias that are current system has for them. As opposed to a rural or exurban area where the point is to travel between distant places at high speeds, inside of an urban area the streets themselves are places and are meant for all modes of transportation. Ideally walking would take precedence, but certainly pedestrians, cyclists, public transit and cars should all share the streets. Streets are first and foremost public spaces that everyone has the right to use, not just those who are wealthy enough to afford a car (and presumably a place to park it).

I would ask that as someone who is concerned about the problems that bikes can cause for pedestrians and motorists, you consider the immense problems that motorists can cause for cyclists (that is, death) and how we might design our streets in a way that minimizes conflict between the modes. All too often drivers assume that they are at the top of the pecking order, so to speak, and are aghast that they would ever have to share the road with something other than a car. I think if there ever was an honest consideration of the truly shared nature of the public streets, then what you consider to be a rogue cyclist would be seen merely as someone exercising their perfectly valid right to ride a bike without perpetually deferring or cowering in fear from cars.

Also, the uproar is not merely because Milloy wrote a column critical of cyclists, but because he specifically advocated violence against cyclists and went out of his way to paint all cyclists with the same broad brush. Even from the most militant, do you ever hear any cyclists advocate for the outright murder of motorists?

by ndw_dc on Jul 10, 2014 12:54 pm • linkreport

@BTDT,

+1 on all points!

by august4 on Jul 10, 2014 1:50 pm • linkreport

Placing a greater burden on cars is the self entitled smug attitude that drivers resent. "I'm gonna text while walking into traffic without looking because they should be looking out for ME. Oh, sorry you were inconvenienced. I'm an urbanist. I'm better than you suburbanites. I do what I want."

LOL unlike the "smug" (I guess) attitude underpinning "no we can't put a bike lane there because I need to park right there/need more car lanes/etc etc!"

"Sorry you were inconvenienced/killed, cyclist, because we couldn't protect you because then it might take me 5 more seconds to get where I'm going!"

Hopefully more transportation departments will figure out that each mode needs to be offered priority and funding in accordance with the benefit it provides to everyone, not just "cars are fast and we need to make sure they can go as fast as possible."

by MLD on Jul 10, 2014 1:57 pm • linkreport

To be fair, if Milloy were a guy in Ward 8 who bicycled everywhere because he couldn't afford a car, he would not have a column in the Washington Post


Very likely not.

For the simple reason of lacking the requisite education and experience.

BTW, according to CAPTCHA the Bethesda station is no longer between Medical Center and Friendship Heights. When was it moved?

by august4 on Jul 10, 2014 2:03 pm • linkreport

@BTDT - one could think of the typical DC back alley as being very similar to a woonerf since the same sorts of conditions apply - very narrow so drive very slow, often uneven pavement, heavily used by residents to access their homes, maybe even host a block party in the alley, etc.

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

: One of the true things in Milloy's column is that there are no bike lanes in Ward 8

Actually that's not true. There are bike lanes on 25th St SE and on Naylor Road. These roads are on the border between Ward 7 and Ward 8. If we say they are not in Ward 8, then we would also have to say - by the same logic - that they are not in Ward 7. This would mean that they do not exist. But they do exist - in both Ward 7 and Ward 8. Which means Ward 8 has bike lanes.

Aaron Weiner, who I admire as a writer, made the unorthodox call to say that there are no bike lanes in Ward 8 anyway and made it into a headline in January. Unfortunately, no one really pushed back and now it has sunk in. But like there being no J Street because John Jay annoyed L'Enfant, this is a DC myth. Created, I suppose, to make a better headline.

by David C on Jul 10, 2014 2:28 pm • linkreport

Courtland is expressing a sentiment that a number of older Washingtonians have - regardless of color.

Glenn Beck expressed sentiments that people had to. Being wrong is still wrong, even if a lot of people are wrong with you.

by David C on Jul 10, 2014 2:32 pm • linkreport

There is no 'war between drivers and cyclists'

Exactly, if there were a war, all the cyclists would be dead. If anything, we are all co-operating pretty well and working together to keep each other safe. At the margins, it's not perfect and we can do better. But 99.999999% of all interactions end exactly as they're supposed to - with everyone safe.

by David C on Jul 10, 2014 2:35 pm • linkreport

there are a diversity of voices on here.

I know he has published posts of mine with which he disagreed. Much to his credit.

by David C on Jul 10, 2014 2:37 pm • linkreport

Presumably, what drivers fear is not that cyclists or pedestrians are going to harm them but that they will inadvertently do serious harm to a cyclist or pedestrian.

Well, considering Milloy lost his license for getting too many speeding tickets (pre-cameras) I'm not sure that fear of hurting someone is a big concern of his.

by David C on Jul 10, 2014 2:40 pm • linkreport

Placing a greater burden on cars is the self entitled smug attitude that drivers resent.

A person walking around with a gun holstered on their belt has a greater burden to be safe than someone with a pen in their front pocket. [Even if the pen is mightier than the sword]. That's the general idea.

Or as Jesus said "With great power, comes great responsibility".

by David C on Jul 10, 2014 2:48 pm • linkreport

"@BTDT - one could think of the typical DC back alley as being very similar to a woonerf since the same sorts of conditions apply - very narrow so drive very slow, often uneven pavement, heavily used by residents to access their homes, maybe even host a block party in the alley, etc."

Yeah, I know, I live along a DC alley (and on a street where we have occasional block parties). But these aren't the contested spaces/travel lanes that get large volumes of people to and from work during rush hours. And they don't provide a workable model for such streets. (The flipside is that we typically don't need woonerfs in DC because we already have alleys).

by BTDT on Jul 10, 2014 2:48 pm • linkreport

he is merely stating fact, background history and using other folks commentary to illustrate the point of the article.

And what is that point I wonder?

by David C on Jul 10, 2014 2:49 pm • linkreport

I fear getting hit by a bike more than a car.

Even when one adjusts for the larger population of cars on the road, one is about 8 times more likely to be hit by a car than by a bike.

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

Given that a car weighs at least 20 times what a bicycle and rider do, I'm that much more fearful of being hit by a car than by a bike.

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

@David C
The statistics I have seen are that bicycle journeys account for 1.6% of national trips, but bicycle vs pedestrian conflicts account for just 0.1% of pedestrian deaths. As such, cycling accounts for a disproportionately low number of pedestrian deaths, which makes perfect sense, considering that bicycles are much lighter and in operation possess much less kinetic energy.

Despite these objective numbers, pedestrians may perceive bicycles to be more of a threat, because typical urban infrastructure often inadvertently encourages bicycles to share space with pedestrians, whereas cars operate at a different grade.

Targeting cyclists is the exact opposite of what is required to keep pedestrians safe, because when a cyclist switches to a car, s/he endangers pedestrians more. What is needed is better bicycle infrastructure to enable cyclists to get around without coming into conflict with pedestrians. Better cycle infrastructure is also shown to lead to more orderly cycling.

by renegade09 on Jul 10, 2014 3:13 pm • linkreport

You can blame conflict between drivers, cyclists and pedestrians on infrastructure, and you would be partially right.

We aren't talking about drivers going through school zones who should be mindful of children who don't know any better. For the most part we are talking about ADULTS. Contributory negligence is still negligence. You text and walk, you're putting yourself in harms way, not to mention others.

When I'm in cycling mode and pedestrian mode, my state of alertness is greater than when I'm driving, because its MY skin on the line. Sure sometimes I may have right of way in less-than-driver mode, but I'm not going to challenge the laws of physics with a legal concept.

So lose the attitude, sense of entitlement and practice common sense regardless of your mode of transport.

by Breastaurant on Jul 10, 2014 3:17 pm • linkreport

I dont think there are any current proposals for woonerfs in the area - there was one such proposal for a short section of street in old town alexandria, and I think an informal proposal here to apply that to the service lane in Cleveland Park. Neither moved forward.

But I think we can still get learning from woonerfs - how a space can function with complete open movement by peds, cyclists, and slow cars. There are lots of places where bikes and peds mix that way, and it works fine. The issue is cars, and their speed. Even with cars, there are some places that work close to that - I would note the Mosaic District in Fairfax County of all places. Its a place very consciously designed for non-auto users, and drivers go slowly and are very deferential to cyclists and peds there. Now this is fairfax, so its not due to the selection of the motorists - its the design. Note it has no traffic signals. And while its easy to cross at crosswalks, pedestrians often cross mid block. And it works.

Of course drivers there are all going to or from mosaic - through motorists are on the traffic sewers nearby.

But many parts of the region have traffic sewers without those functioning to create a woonerf like space elsewhere. I think its worthwhile understanding how such places work, and where else those principles can be applied. That they are not technically woonerfs seems irrelevant to me.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 10, 2014 3:17 pm • linkreport

"So lose the attitude, sense of entitlement and practice common sense regardless of your mode of transport."

yes, but please aim that first at a columnist who encouraged hitting cyclists because some pedicab got in his way.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 10, 2014 3:20 pm • linkreport

The statistics I have seen are that bicycle journeys account for 1.6% of national trips, but bicycle vs pedestrian conflicts account for just 0.1%

One is 8 times less likely to be HIT by a bike. They are much much less likely to be KILLED by a bike.

by David C on Jul 10, 2014 3:21 pm • linkreport

Well trolled, Mr. Milloy!

He saw his opportunity when David Alpert made the ill-thought-out proposal in GGW on July 3 to build a Trampe on 15th St. NW...and make it free, because it is so hard to collect payments online in 2014....and hell, one in Rosslyn, too...did Alpert forget about the hill on E. Capitol Street, that could get a Trampe, too! Here's what Mr. Alpert suggested:
it could indeed be a great addition to the 15th Street cycletrack along Meridian Hill Park. The Trampe requires people to pay using a special card they can buy or rent; that could help the device pay for itself, but the hassle of managing a payment system also would seem to be somewhat considerable. It might be better just to make it free... Edited to add: There are also many other places around the region which could benefit from such devices. Rosslyn would be a prime candidate, for instance.

GGW's Trampe boondoggle is where Milloy started his diatribe, and while it was foolish to go from there to calling bicylists terrorists and bullies, Milloy obviously hit home when he called out Alpert on this silly proposal for expensive infrastructure.

Even Alpert realized his error. Less than a week at writing in favor of the Trampe, he was back on July 9 to disavow any support for the Trampe at this time. Here's Alpert shifting gears yesterday (HEY BUDDY, SIGNAL BEFORE YOU MAKE A U-TURN LIKE THAT!):
[Milloy] 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

OK. Milloy caught Alpert off-base, and with his slick move, he was able to pick off Alpert and get even Alpert to disavow the Trampe. That idea for bicyclists is now dead.

Again, well-trolled, Milloy.

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

>>yes, but please aim that first at a columnist who encouraged hitting cyclists because some pedicab got in his way.

Hyperbole. High horse. Dismount.

by Breastaurant on Jul 10, 2014 3:31 pm • linkreport

when David Alpert made the ill-thought-out proposal in GGW

There was no proposal made. Go back and re-read it.

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

David C, it's right in the quote in my post. On July 3, a free Trampe on 15th was a great addition. Less than a week later, a Trampe was not worth debating.

by Trulee_Pist on Jul 10, 2014 3:41 pm • linkreport

trulee

"could" "might" The words of someone musing on an idea. Happens among folks interested in technologies and new ideas. Its different from a proposal.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 10, 2014 3:44 pm • linkreport

"Hyperbole. High horse. Dismount."

Aim THAT at people enraged that pedestrians look at their cell phones while crossing in a crosswalk, with the light.

Or at people upset about being stuck behind a pedicab. Or people who think cyclists are ipso facto racists. The CM column was a grand example of being on a 'high horse'

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 10, 2014 3:48 pm • linkreport

Please, AWalker, saying it was not submitted on an official Proposal Submission to DDOT does not change the fact that Alpert made an ill-thought-out suggestion for one free Trampe on 15th St. and another in Rosslyn, and for that matter, Trampes in all the many other places around the region which could benefit from such devices. That was July 3rd.

Yesterday, Alpert was wise enough to throw things in reverse and get away from that suggestion or proposal or whatever you might want to call it as fast as he could. Be like David! Concede that Milloy "gotcha" when he used the Trampe as an attention-getting device to introduce an otherwise foolish attack on bicyclists.

by Trulee_Pist on Jul 10, 2014 3:51 pm • linkreport

When I'm in cycling mode and pedestrian mode, my state of alertness is greater than when I'm driving, because its MY skin on the line.

Sure, but I don't think it has to be that way. Someone shouldn't have to be vigilant just to walk or ride their bike.

Those should be pleasant activities.

If we required people to be a little more vigilant behind the wheel then we could expect less of people who aren't and I think that'd be a net benefit to society.

by drumz on Jul 10, 2014 3:52 pm • linkreport

TP

I do NOT concede. We have discussed LOTS of things here, from the hyperloop, to high speed ferries, to an automated guideway for Tysons, to some really very unrealistic proposals for new metro lines, to, you know, automated cars that will make downtown parking garages obsolete. The only way to discuss if something makes sense, where, how, etc, is to, you know, suggest it. Thats all DA did.

I think CM, who used to mock folks for using twitter, is not particularly in tune with the way folks in technology and related fields think. I have seen nothing in his columns to suggest an interest in technology, or even in public policy from a technical or quantitative POV. At his BEST he writes about issues of class and racial justice. Thats fine, but it does not necessarily lead to understanding how everyone else thinks.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 10, 2014 3:58 pm • linkreport

Please, AWalker, saying it was not submitted on an official Proposal Submission to DDOT does not change the fact that Alpert made an ill-thought-out suggestion for one free Trampe on 15th St. and another in Rosslyn, and for that matter,

A: The Trampe is already in existence and in use in one place. So apparently it's not so ridiculous to at least think about it.

It's only ridiculous here because people freak out at the thought of using paint to give some space to bicycles in the first place.

B: Even so, that's hardly a reason for Milloy to tie that "proposal" to a thread of thought that says drivers are probably justified with running cyclists on the road.

Do we really want to make the suggestion that an idea about how to make an uphill climb a little easier is more crazy than saying you wish someone would just hit a cyclist and gladly pay the fine?

by drumz on Jul 10, 2014 3:58 pm • linkreport

We have discussed here the idea of building a municiple garage in Logan circle. Some people found it absurd, but I dont think anyone said that it would be understandable to do physical harm to motorists because of that - or even that motorists as a class are all entitled twits.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 10, 2014 4:03 pm • linkreport

The Trampe is so far from an actual, serious, actionable proposal that it's not worth debating...so I refuse to debate about it any further.

As David wrote yesterday, Please refrain from arguing about what links someone else posted, why, and so on.

by Trulee_Pist on Jul 10, 2014 4:19 pm • linkreport

@Trulee_Pist

Good points.

The whole Trampe idea is absurd and speaks to the issue that many people have. It's that they see the city gov't spending lots of money to cater to a small segment of the population, people who ride bikes, when we have bigger issues that should be addressed.

@AWalkerInTheCity

Drifting off topic I see.

by Brett on Jul 10, 2014 4:20 pm • linkreport

The topic here is Malloy. He got outraged that DA would discuss the Trampe, seeing it as entitlement. It was not entitlement, but an idea raised for discussion in a forum with a lot of biking infra nerds. Nerds like to toss around ideas. Ergo, DA is right, and CM is wrong. On Topic 100%. CM is wrong.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 10, 2014 4:38 pm • linkreport

"It's that they see the city gov't spending lots of money to cater to a small segment of the population, people who ride bikes, when we have bigger issues that should be addressed."

In fact very little money is spent on cycling in DC. Its a small portion of the total DDOT budget, which itself is a small piece of the total DC budget.

Note even CM Barry has disassociated himself from Milloy on this. No one serious that I know of in the media or in politics has stepped forward to defend Milloy. All reactions I have seen in the media are negative. That some people who like to comment on GGW find a need to defend the piece, or to use it as a hook to attack DA, is quite revealing.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 10, 2014 4:41 pm • linkreport

pardon I stand corrected. There IS one voice coming to the defense of Milloy.

The Daily Caller.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 10, 2014 4:43 pm • linkreport

And WTOP commenters.

by engrish_major on Jul 10, 2014 4:47 pm • linkreport

Im not talking commenters. Actual media figures or pols.

Right now its only the daily caller. Which says something.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 10, 2014 4:55 pm • linkreport

a free Trampe on 15th was a great addition

Nope. He said it "could indeed be a great addition". There is a difference between saying something could be great and that it is great. Ben Affleck could be a great Batman. Or he could not be. We don't know.

Christopher Nolen was a great Batman. See the difference?

And musing that something might be great is a very far cry from proposing it. [Deleted for violating the comment policy.]

by David C on Jul 10, 2014 5:05 pm • linkreport

oh and Petula Dvorak is kinda sorta defending him. All the other Posties are retweeting the responses to him.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 10, 2014 5:12 pm • linkreport

@AWalkerInTheCity

What's off topic was Tysons, Twitter, Logan Circle garage, Ben Afflek, Batman, etc.

"In fact very little money is spent on cycling in DC."

That's not a fact as "little" is relative.

But the mayor's 2015 budget actually carved out over $100 million for bike and pedestrian safety improvements and infrastructure. And a total of 14 miles of bike lanes are planned by the end of 2014. That sounds like a lot to me.

by Brett on Jul 10, 2014 5:24 pm • linkreport

I looked up the Daily Caller story because I was curious.

The pic they have is of a red Specialized bike. I own a red Specialized bike.

by drumz on Jul 10, 2014 5:31 pm • linkreport

But the mayor's 2015 budget actually carved out over $100 million for bike and pedestrian safety improvements and infrastructure.

Really? I remember $100 million for affordable housing (that's over 6 years I think).

And a total of 14 miles of bike lanes are planned by the end of 2014. That sounds like a lot to me.

Considering DC has something like 1,500 miles of roads (3,400 lane miles) it's not that much.

by MLD on Jul 10, 2014 5:35 pm • linkreport

Re: Wash Post

While some folks may be outraged that the Post would print Milloy's article, I think it's important not to silence critics regardless of how absurd (or bordering on dangerous) they may seem when they represent the views of significant numbers of people.

It's better to get those views out in the open, so the debate can happen and the silent majority (who sit in the middle and observe these discussions) can decide what side to support.

Milloy is wrong but he's not (quite) yelling fire in a crowded theater or about to invade Poland. There's no need to muzzle him.

People's opinions on cyclists will come around when they have friends who are cyclists and especially when their child/sibling/spouse becomes a cyclist. It's not so different than how people's attitudes changed on gay marriage so quickly. The cyclist you don't know is some "crazy lunatic who flouts social conventions and is a danger to traditional ways". The cyclist you do know is the person you picture when someone jokes about running them over.

by Falls Church on Jul 10, 2014 5:52 pm • linkreport

But the mayor's 2015 budget actually carved out over $100 million for bike and pedestrian safety improvements and infrastructure.

Assuming the $100M figure is correct, that doesn't seem like much considering that ~30% of all trips in the District are done by walking or biking.

by Falls Church on Jul 10, 2014 5:59 pm • linkreport

@MLD

"Really?"

Yes.

"Considering DC has something like 1,500 miles of roads"

DC has a total of 57 miles of bike lanes and counting, and I doubt it's necessary for them to be on many side streets in the City, such as Highwood Drive, Highview Terrace, or Warren Street, for example.

by Brett on Jul 10, 2014 6:00 pm • linkreport

Already WaPo has printed an opinion piece calling on everyone to tone down the anti-bicycle tirades:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/its-time-to-tone-down-the-tirades-against-bicyclists/2014/07/09/950a98b4-077b-11e4-8a6a-19355c7e870a_story.html?hpid=z2

Hopefully this will be followed by some sort of apology from Milloy himself.

by DaveG on Jul 10, 2014 6:03 pm • linkreport

>Aim THAT at people enraged that pedestrians look at their cell phones while crossing in a crosswalk, with the light.

Nonsense. No one should be looking at their phones unless they are stationery and not an obstacle. Your right to text does not take precedence over your obligation to be responsible.

by Breastaurant on Jul 10, 2014 8:05 pm • linkreport

>Someone shouldn't have to be vigilant just to walk or ride their bike.

Yes they should. It's called personal responsibility. And for the latter it's the law.

>Those should be pleasant activities.

And driving shouldn't be pleasant? Who gave you or anyone the right to make that determination?

by Breastaurant on Jul 10, 2014 8:09 pm • linkreport

@Trulee_Pist,

Very, very few people read Alpert's post on the Trampe as "a proposal". Maybe just two. And he says it was not intended to be a proposal. It certainly was not a case of people "pushing" this, as Milloy said. But we're all entitled to hold opinions about facts that are in direct conflict with what all other reasonable observers believe.

If one truly believes that a person can not simultaneously think that a Trampe "could indeed be a great addition to the 15th Street cycletrack" and that "The Trampe is so far from an actual, serious, actionable proposal that it's not worth debating" then perhaps that's reason to believe one has flip-flopped.

But, I suspect that David still thinks that a Trampe "could indeed be a great addition to the 15th Street cycletrack", and if he does, then he has not thrown things in reverse as is claimed.

by David C on Jul 10, 2014 9:33 pm • linkreport

The whole Trampe idea is absurd

It's not so absurd that a city in Norway didn't build one.

and speaks to the issue that many people have. It's that they see the city gov't spending lots of money to cater to a small segment of the population, people who ride bikes, when we have bigger issues that should be addressed.

That's not a fact as "small" is relative, but I'll point out that 50% of Americans ride a bike once a year. Besides the idea of spending was never mentioned in Milloy's column and the city hasn't expressed any interest in building a Trampe. As far as I know, no one in DC Government has even said or typed the word.

What's off topic was Tysons, Twitter, Logan Circle garage, Ben Afflek, Batman, etc.

Analogies are not off topic.

by David C on Jul 10, 2014 9:37 pm • linkreport

But the mayor's 2015 budget actually carved out over $100 million for bike and pedestrian safety improvements and infrastructure.

That's in the 6 year CIP (which is part of the budget).

"The capital budget proposes to spend $114.2 million from a mix of federal and local funds to improve sidewalks, alleys, curbs, and bicycle and pedestrian facilities to achieve the goals of the Age-Friendly D.C. initiative."

It's $114 million over 6 years out of nearly $3B in transportation spending.

If ~30% of all trips in the District are done by walking or biking then 4% of the money is kind of paltry.

by David C on Jul 10, 2014 9:56 pm • linkreport

There's no need to muzzle him.

Having people tell Milloy he's wrong and that his column is absurd is not "muzzling" him.

by Tyro on Jul 10, 2014 11:04 pm • linkreport

Even asking that he be fired isn't muzzling him. He's free to say whatever he wants, but the Post is free to fire him if they want to too. And even after being fired, he can keep saying whatever he wants.

If the police ever try to arrest him for this column, then I'll be there standing up for his right to say almost anything; but being able to retain employment no matter what one says is not a right. Just ask the Greaseman, or Don Imus, or Paula Deen, or Rush Limbaugh, or Charlie Sheen, or Alec Baldwin, or Bill Maher, or Gilbert Gottfried, or Jimmy the Greek, etc...

by David C on Jul 10, 2014 11:23 pm • linkreport

Even asking that he be fired isn't muzzling him.

That's muzzling him just as much as VA AG Cuccinelli's attempt to have the UVA professor who wrote research on global warming fired was muzzling him. Places like universities and newspapers should be forums where there's a free exchange of ideas (that are thought to be legit by a significant portion of the population) without fear of losing your job or retribution.

Having people tell Milloy he's wrong and that his column is absurd is not "muzzling" him.

I agree that's not muzzling him. That's the debate that should happen. The fact that so many people and news outlets have brought attention to the state of discourse on this topic would have never happened without Milloy's column. And trust me, it's not just Milloy who thinks/talks/writes like that.

In social bullying, a person or people of greater social status excludes someone else.

I don't know if this refers to Milloy but I can assure you he's not a person of great social status. He's kind of pathetic, actually.

by Falls Church on Jul 11, 2014 12:18 am • linkreport

Those who are calling Courtland Milloy an idiot, want to see him lose his job, and think he owes them an apology should be thanking him instead. If anything, Mr. Milloy has shed light upon and started a discourse about a subject that many people feel very strongly about - on both sides.

I won't say if Mr. Milloy is right or wrong, but based on the reactions of a significant portion of the response, it should be obvious that there are a lot of people who agree with Mr. Milloy. And they aren't by any stretch all middle-aged Black men who live in PG County and drive SUVs.

The matter at hand is not what to do with Courtland Milloy. It's where do we go from here.

by August4 on Jul 11, 2014 7:12 am • linkreport

@August,

I've noticed that is the general issue with GGW. Despite what its contributors and daily readership would like to believe, this is an echo chamber for a relative few in the region.

The "protest ride" at Wapo attracted a couple dozen people. Considering the indignant press from the blogosphere Milloy and the other columnists at Wapo got this week for daring to critisize cyclists, only getting 25-30 people to show up is pretty embarrasing.

by Kane on Jul 11, 2014 7:53 am • linkreport

...Places like universities and newspapers should be forums where there's a free exchange of ideas (that are thought to be legit by a significant portion of the population) ...

so, are you saying you think advocating murder or aggravated assault is a "legit" idea?

by Tina on Jul 11, 2014 7:55 am • linkreport

...daring to critisize cyclists, ...

The reaction to the column was not generated by "criticism of cyclists". It's that Milloy advocated murdering cyclists or attempting to cause them grave bodily harm as an acceptable; and secondarily that he compared people in the region who ride bike to terrorists. Did you live in DC in 9/11/2001? i did. The suggestion that riding a bike is comparable to what this city went through that day was personally insulting to a lot of people.

Thirdly, the fact that Milloy published his suggestion that it's acceptable and worth it to ram your motor vehicle into someone on a bike on the anniversary of the death of Alice Swanson was exceedingly cruel. To do that shows either a mind-blowing level of cruelty or exceptional laziness as a journalism.

by Tina on Jul 11, 2014 8:06 am • linkreport

Tina,

If you are twisting Milloy's words in such a way to read "aggravated assault", or "murder", then how exactly does it translate to you when contributers here actually threaten ulocks through windows?

I guess thats just hyperbole then?

by Kane on Jul 11, 2014 8:10 am • linkreport

Intentionally hitting someone with your vehicle is assault. I don't think I've ever actually seen a comment here threaten violence with a U-Lock.

by MLD on Jul 11, 2014 8:15 am • linkreport

MLD,

http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/8767/should-trucks-double-park-in-bike-lane-or-next-to-it/#comment-82521

The first of many such instances where threatening with a ulock is considered a joke amongst the regulars.

I suggest a search of the archives.

by Kane on Jul 11, 2014 8:18 am • linkreport

@Brett
DC has a total of 57 miles of bike lanes and counting, and I doubt it's necessary for them to be on many side streets in the City, such as Highwood Drive, Highview Terrace, or Warren Street, for example.

DC has 427 miles of roads that are Prinicpal Arterial, Minor Arterial, or Major Collector. That doesn't include freeways or other separated roads. Most of those 427 miles should have bike facilities - so we are still a long way from that.

by MLD on Jul 11, 2014 8:19 am • linkreport

@Kane
I've noticed that is the general issue with GGW. Despite what its contributors and daily readership would like to believe, this is an echo chamber for a relative few in the region.

As AWalkerInTheCity said, there isn't anybody in the media who is defending Milloy. It is really telling that some people feel the need to come here and defend Milloy or otherwise argue that being upset about his message is fringe behavior.

The first of many such instances where threatening with a ulock is considered a joke amongst the regulars.
Sorry, is that assault against a person? Or an object (the vehicle's mirror)?

by MLD on Jul 11, 2014 8:22 am • linkreport

@Kane -I clicked on the link you provided and it is two comments both of which more or less say its not a big deal if a truck is parked in the bike lane.

In any case, the reach of commenters on a local blog is not the same as a column in a national/international paper.

by Tina on Jul 11, 2014 8:22 am • linkreport

^^^^ and what @MLD said; i.e. the difference is between an inanimate object and human life.

by Tina on Jul 11, 2014 8:25 am • linkreport

Tina/MLD,

Where did I say I was defending Milloy? He is a racist mental lightweight in the same box as Marion Barry in my book, but that doesn't mean that I can't point out the flagrant hypocrisy of posters here.

David A gets a regular column in the Post, so how is what he or his contributors advocate for any less important?

And Tina, are you seriously saying that if a cyclist gets hit by a vehicle, accident or not that it is ok to take a swing at them with your u-lock? Really? I guess that means that if a cylist hits my car, its ok then to run them over? Ridiculous...

Again, MLD, I suggest a search of the archives where there is ample examples of ulocks through the windshield, mirrors, swinging at heads etc..

by Kane on Jul 11, 2014 8:30 am • linkreport

Actually Oboe made an U-Lock suggestion (also, I miss reading Oboe's comments).

But then he amended and suggested that parking attendants also put large stickers on windshields as a deterrent.

by drumz on Jul 11, 2014 8:34 am • linkreport

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

by Kane2 on Jul 11, 2014 8:36 am • linkreport

@Kane

You are correct. That some cant distinguish between hyperbole vs a call to arms is unfortunate. Yet some of these very same people are shocked, shocked I tells ya that people actually believe Alpert was suggesting DC builds a escalator for cycles.

by Breastaurant on Jul 11, 2014 8:47 am • linkreport

@Breastaurant- the language ceases to be hyperbolic when the suggested action is taken upon you. It may look like hyperbole to you. to someone who has experienced the exact action Milloy suggests it's a real threat.

The fact that Milloy's suggestion was published on the anniversary of the death of a young woman who died horrifically in the manner of action Milloy suggested takes it past hyperbole.

by Tina on Jul 11, 2014 8:56 am • linkreport

Yes they should. It's called personal responsibility.

See, I think personal responsibility is different from the call to vigilance I'm talking about. I think most people are responsible when it comes to their personal well being.

I don't think eliminating risk means we're making people less responsible. And if so, then so what? I have a lot of things to be responsible for (my job, family, etc.) it's probably good overall if we can remove at least one source of stress by making our streets safer for pedestrians or cyclists.

And driving shouldn't be pleasant?

Driving can certainly be pleasant. But if you somehow can't enjoy your driving when pedestrians and cyclists are present (and in a city like DC, there's always going to be some who are taking risks/making mistakes no matter what) then you need to enjoy your driving way out in the country, or on a track.

Still, it's other drivers who are making things more unpleasant for a driver in DC more than any pedestrian or cyclist.

by drumz on Jul 11, 2014 9:02 am • linkreport

It does not help anything for any road user to advocate or commit any sort of road rage against any other road user, or their vehicle(s) if they are using them. That means pedestrians should also refrain from slugging each other :-) I think Martin Luther King, Gandhi, etc. would agree with me.

by DaveG on Jul 11, 2014 9:06 am • linkreport

@Kane -And Tina, are you seriously saying that if a cyclist gets hit by a vehicle, accident or not that it is ok to take a swing at them with your u-lock? Really?

Please find the comment where I said this or even implied it. (you won't, because I didn't).

I guess that means that if a cylist... "is in my way"..., its ok then to run them over?

This is what Milloy said.

Ridiculous... Yeah, it is.

by Tina on Jul 11, 2014 10:22 am • linkreport

only getting 25-30 people to show up is pretty embarrasing(sic).

The Post said it was "more than 40". Not bad for a last minute protest, during working hours, without some organization putting it together or hiring people. Perhaps there is an example of another, similar protest that had a larger turnout? I can't think of one, which makes this pretty impressive.

by David C on Jul 11, 2014 10:23 am • linkreport

Wapo got this week for daring to critisize(sic) cyclists

John Kelley's article criticizing sidewalk cyclists got no official response from anyone and did not result in a protest. Cyclists can handle fair-minded criticism.

by David C on Jul 11, 2014 10:25 am • linkreport

when contributers (sic) here actually threaten ulocks through windows?

Which happened when?

by David C on Jul 11, 2014 10:26 am • linkreport

@David C

"It's not so absurd that a city in Norway didn't build one."

Yet Alpert is distancing himself from the notion that it was a serious consideration.

And whether a tiny city in Norway built it or not is totally irrelevant. Trondheim can afford to throw it's money away since it doesn't have a fraction of the problems DC has to address.

If you can't bike up a hill, do what everyone else does and get off and walk up the hill.

"Analogies are not off topic."

Ben Afflek, Batman and Logan Circle garage have nothing to do with the topic.

"That's not a fact as "small" is relative"

It's a fact that regular bikers represent less than 5% of the population. That's the fact.

"It's $114 million over 6 years"

Inaccurate.

@MLD

And DDOT is building more bike lanes as we speak, and the mayor proposed millions towards bicycle infrastructure for 2015.

by Brett on Jul 11, 2014 10:54 am • linkreport

@Brett
"It's $114 million over 6 years"

Inaccurate.

Maybe you need to clarify with some actual information, then. David posted a direct quote from the 6-year capital plan which is here:
http://cfo.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/ocfo/publication/attachments/DCOCFO_Volume_6.pdf

Page 38 of the PDF.

by MLD on Jul 11, 2014 11:04 am • linkreport

Yet Alpert is distancing himself from the notion that it was a serious consideration.

There's a lot of room between serious and absurd.

Ben Afflek, Batman and Logan Circle garage have nothing to do with the topic.

Taken out of context, they don't; but as analogies, they do.

Inaccurate.

Fine. Prove it.

And DDOT is building more bike lanes as we speak, and the mayor proposed millions towards bicycle infrastructure for 2015.

With an annual budget in excess of $300M, "millions" isn't necessarily that much money.

by David C on Jul 11, 2014 11:06 am • linkreport

I won't say if Mr. Milloy is right or wrong,

Why the heck not? Idiotic ideas fester if people aren't willing to call them out.

by Tyro on Jul 11, 2014 11:37 am • linkreport

so, are you saying you think advocating murder or aggravated assault is a "legit" idea?

I don't think Milloy's ideas are legit. However, significant portions of the population do think so. As long as that's the case, I don't think he should be muzzled with calls to have him fired. Let's not make him into a martyr*.

Now, I do think there's a line that could be crossed if his writing caused rioting to break out (all protests have been peaceful so far) or even a significant uptick in violence against cyclists. If that happens, then yes, he should be fired and possibly further action taken against him.

* An example of what not-to-do was NPR's firing of Juan Williams over his controversial remarks. That led to the immediate resignation of NPR's SVP of News and was a stated factor in NPR's CEO resignation a few months later.

by Falls Church on Jul 11, 2014 11:48 am • linkreport

@ Falls Church -I really don't think large portions of the population think it's acceptable to run people down with your car. Really, you think large portions of the population find that acceptable? If that were the case then people would be doing it already all over the place and, as @DaveG hinted up thread, pedestrians would be breaking out into fist fights. There would be pugilistic mayhem. That's what makes Milloy's suggestion so egregious; it's so unacceptable.

by Tina on Jul 11, 2014 12:10 pm • linkreport

FC

some of the juan williams controversy was tied to NPR getting federal funding (albeit mostly indirect, via CPB funds to local public radio stations) making it more a genuine 1st amendment issue.

WaPo is a purely private entity in a way NPR is not.

That said, what I would like to see is not CM being fired, but a real shift in WaPo coverage of biking.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 11, 2014 12:18 pm • linkreport

@Tina,

That is fallacious logic, and I think you realize this. You can only be offended if you let Millroy offend you.

by Breastaurant on Jul 11, 2014 12:20 pm • linkreport

Tina - That's what makes Milloy's suggestion so egregious; it's so unacceptable.

Different people interpret Milloy's writing/suggestion in different ways. There are clearly large numbers of people who didn't find what he wrote unacceptable. Those people didn't think Milloy was making a serious, actionable proposal.

AWITC

Firing Juan Williams was never a legal issue. His contract with NPR was "at-will" meaning they had the right to terminate the contract for any reason (or no reason at all) at any time. No one ever disputed NPR's legal right to terminate Juan Williams' contract. At any rate, the government asks employees to resign (usually high ranking political appointees) for making controversial remarks all the time. No one disputes the President's right to do that.

by Falls Church on Jul 11, 2014 12:35 pm • linkreport

FC

I had no problem with NPR firing Williams, I am just explaining the POV of the folks who did see it as controversial (and clearly NPR employees are not political appointees, though they also do not have civil service protections) There is an expectation among many that NPR, which indirectly relies on federal funds, will be "unbiased" A private newspaper has every right to be biased if it chooses.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 11, 2014 12:47 pm • linkreport

AWITC

Williams was not an NPR employee. He was a contractor. Contractors don't have civil service protections and are "at-will" like political appointees.

However, I'm not sure I understand your comment. Williams' contract was purportedly terminated because of his history of providing biased commentary on Fox (and his comments about Muslims were supposedly just the breaking point) when NPR is supposed to be an unbiased institution. So the fact that NPR is supposed to be unbiased was the reason for firing him, not the reason why folks were outraged that he was fired.

At any rate, my overall point is that firing or severely reprimanding CM could very well make him a martyr, rally support for his viewpoint, and overall becomes a distraction from the issue at hand. It would be a classic case of over-reach which would take the heat off his article and deflect it to his detractors.

by Falls Church on Jul 11, 2014 1:10 pm • linkreport

FC

I am not speaking to Williams legal rights or status. The reason it became a national issue is because it got all tied up with NPR funding question. Leaving it to citizens, AS citizens to debate whether being unbiased meant keeping him, OR firing him.

No such issue exists for WaPo, which is a private entity which does not rely on indirect federal funds as NPR does.

Some folks would of course get upset can call him a martyr. But WaPo could respond that they are a private entity with their own freedom of speech, in a way NPR could not so reply. Funding for public broadcasting was debated on the floor of congress. No such issue for WaPo.

But as I said, I do think the better approach is to push for WaPo to issues an apology and to commit to better bike coverage, rather than firing anyone.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 11, 2014 1:18 pm • linkreport

AWITC

WaPo responding that they have their own freedom to fire CM would not stop the probable controversy that would follow firing him. WaPo's response in that scenario would just fuel the fire of the discussion of whether he should have been fired, which is a distraction from the real issue.

Also, I don't think WaPo needs to apologize for printing CM's column or refuse to print his future columns (although I agree they should improve their bike coverage). CM's editorial column was "fit to print" because it represented a view/opinion held by a substantial number of people in the area and in their judgement it did not comprise "dangerous speech" which would be likely to result in mass violence (so far it hasn't).

An investigation by the Ombudsman should happen but I doubt he would find that the editorial staff acted incorrectly in printing the column.

by Falls Church on Jul 11, 2014 1:35 pm • linkreport

FC

subsitute the name of an ethnic group for the cyclists in that column, and I guarantee it would have resulted in an apology. That the opinion was shared by many people in the area would not matter, and that it wouldnt result in mass violence would not matter.

WaPo needs to apologize because it just printed what was in effect an apology for violence against a group that constitutes a significant portion of the area, and of its readership. And indeed, of its employees, many of whom appear to be seething. To fail to issue an apology would be poor business judgement, IMO. Especially as the get off my lawn crowd is not a growth market.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 11, 2014 1:49 pm • linkreport

@Breastuarant -what Milloy suggested -turning your car wheels toward a person on a bike and driving into them -was attempted on me. That he advocates doing this very act is a direct threat - I've experienced it. I wasn't run down because I sprinted and maneuvered out of the way. I'm not "offended". My life was threatened. I'm "offended" if you don't like my cooking.

re; logic- the fact that people aren't murdering each other with abandon when inconvenienced is good evidence that it's not acceptable to act that way. Its pretty amazing the level of violence between people in a crowded city is as low as it is.

by Tina on Jul 11, 2014 1:53 pm • linkreport

and its not milloy they should fire

its Fred "why should I make george will apologize for his rape remark, afterall I never apologized for the Iraq war or for supporting zombie lies about austerity" Hiatt who needs to be fired.

The paper has been running on automatic pilot for the last couple of years. It seriously needs revamping.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 11, 2014 1:58 pm • linkreport

It's simply amazing that WaPo would print something like Milloy's anti-bike screed when the 15th St. cycle track runs past their front door.

by DaveG on Jul 11, 2014 2:35 pm • linkreport

@Tina,

If you believed Milloy was actually advocating violence, then please read "A Modest Proposal" and then come on over. I'm cooking Irish food, and I won't be offended if you don't like baby.

by Breastaurant on Jul 11, 2014 3:51 pm • linkreport

If it's just satire then why bother defending him or agreeing with the complaints he makes?

by drumz on Jul 11, 2014 3:54 pm • linkreport

Given Milloy's previous comments, the general tone of the column, and the defenses he has since made it wasn't swiftian satire.

It may not be that he actually wants to see cyclists get hit, but he clearly does not like cyclists (unless they are black teenagers riding for fun, I guess) and he does particularly care about making things better for them, nor does he care that some folks may be encouraged by his article to commit acts of violence. What he does care about is inconvenience to drivers, and about gentrification and political change in DC. Which of those he cares more about, I am not altogether certain.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 11, 2014 3:59 pm • linkreport

does not particularly care

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 11, 2014 3:59 pm • linkreport

If u believed Milloy was actually advocating violence, then please read "A Modest Proposal"

I don't think he was advocating violence, but Bikesnob kind of nailed it when he wrote " It's not exactly like saying it might be worth shooting at people in hoodies since yu're unlikely to be convicted, but it's not all that different either."

Comparing this to Swift is giving him too much credit by far. A modest Proposal is pretty clear in it's message.

But Milloy's claimed message is inscrutable. He claims that when he wrote that an aggrieved cyclist might spit or hit a driver's car, kick a door etc... and that "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." that his point was that "if cyclists are violent on the road, drivers may react with violence."

Now, if that was his point, it was not clear to me. Or to anyone who is upset about this column. Nor does it appear to have been clear to anyone who supports his column because after reading many comments and posts from supporters, I can say that no one theorized that this was his point. If that was his point, why not just say that? And I know what satire is, but this does not meet the definition of satire.

What was missing from this part of his column was something to the effect of.

"Of course, those drivers would be wrong. None of this behavior warrants taking another person's life."

Which, I think he believes. But to believe that, I'm relying way more on my faith in other people, then on what he wrote.

by David C on Jul 11, 2014 4:52 pm • linkreport

Something was missing as well from the original July 3 David Alpert column, musing as it did in a totally non-proposally way, about a bicyclist infrastructure project.
You know, something to the effect of "The Trampe is so far from an actual, serious, actionable proposal that it's not worth debating"

That was not a proposal that Alpert was urging, he says now. Just something to muse about.

By the same standards, Milloy can point out that assholes on bikes face the risk of retaliation from assholes in cars or on foot--He is not proposing or advocating or urging that bad retaliatory behavior.

Stating that Malloy's column *advocates* murder and mayhem is as silly as saying Alpert was proposing a fleet of Trampe for the Greater Greater Washington metropolitan area. Maybe Alpert was just musing and observing regarding Trampe installation, maybe Milloy was just musing and observing that if you act like a jerk on your bicycle in the big city, you might get popped. I don't have a problem with either one musing and observing, but I also don't pretend I think either one is advocating that YOU hit the next jerk on a bike you see with your car.

by Trulee_Pist on Jul 11, 2014 6:01 pm • linkreport

If I muse publicly about punching you in the face, you'd be in your rights to punch me first.

by Crickey7 on Jul 11, 2014 6:19 pm • linkreport

Awww, but I was sitting here musing about giving you a big smooch, Crickey7. And now I just said it publicly. What are you going to do about it?

Milloy was not musing about ramming a bicyclist himself nor urging anyone to do so. He was just observing when bicyclists push too hard--whether in their riding habits OR toward those who see negative externalities in spending $$$ and changing things around in the crusade for improved bicyclist infrastructure--they might get a push back.

But, no, if you write here that you are coming over to punch me in the face, our meeting will be as unpleasant for you as I can make it but I never resort to violence. Thanks for the offer to let me punch you in the face, but I'll pass.

by Trulee_Pist on Jul 11, 2014 6:30 pm • linkreport

So David writes something that Milloy thinks is such a bad idea that he writes a column that says he's ok with intentionally hitting cyclists.

But it's actually David's fault for having a silly idea.

Ok.

by drumz on Jul 11, 2014 6:35 pm • linkreport

I'm not angry. I'm just saying you are making a distinction that isn't valid.

by Crickey7 on Jul 11, 2014 6:38 pm • linkreport

Milloy sez he had been planning for awhile to write something on this topic. As it happened, as he sat down to write, David Alpert presented him with this gift: A dumb idea related to installing a Trampe on 15th Street NW. David's dumb idea was a perfect example of fiscal bullying overreach in the crusade for improved bicyclist infrastructure. I think David Alpert agrees (now).

Now here's the hard part to understand, so stick with me: Nowhere. In. His. Column. Does. Milloy. Say. It's. OK. To. Intentionally. Hit. Cyclists.

*NOWHERE*

by Trulee_Pist on Jul 11, 2014 6:43 pm • linkreport

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.

Apparently, proposing something that somehow counts as "cyclist overreach" (let us know beforehand next time) means it's a justifiable ramming next time you see a cyclist.

by drumz on Jul 11, 2014 6:53 pm • linkreport

And that above is clearly a threat. When one makes a threat unintentionally the solution is to apologize and change behavior.

Not figure out a way to argue that someone else started it or use technicalities to explain that since the threat wasn't explicit t doesn't count.

by drumz on Jul 11, 2014 7:00 pm • linkreport

Hi, drumz, thanks for helping me make the point. He says, as you point out, "some's drivers might think it's worth paying the fine."

He does NOT say he thinks it's OK to hit bicyclists with your car.

He does NOT say he does that (not even in the face of egregious behavior) and he does not say YOU or anyone else should do so.

But all that is in response to your second comment. Regarding your first comment, WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE. Alpert was NOT proposing something. He was musing, observing.

by Trulee_Pist on Jul 11, 2014 7:36 pm • linkreport

Breastaurant: Maybe you should read "A Modest Proposal" again. Swift was trying to point out callous attitudes to the poor. The first half of the essay details the starvation of Irish children, and then he proposes eating those same people you just started to care about.

If this were Swiftian, you'd like the cyclists by the end an hate Milloy... Oh, maybe it did work!

by Neil Flanagan on Jul 11, 2014 7:40 pm • linkreport

One doesn't always get to choose the way their words are heard.

Many people took the words and te whole column as a threat (a veiled threat, at best). That leaves one two choices:

1. You stand by it.
2. You apologize and change your tone.

You can try to clarify, but eventually you can't force someone to feel a certain way.

Anything else is just weaseling.

by drumz on Jul 11, 2014 7:44 pm • linkreport

Iow, Milloy made a threat the moment enough people felt threatened by his words.

by drumz on Jul 11, 2014 7:49 pm • linkreport

I apologize because of all those millions of people who think that when I say it's not a good look to propose a many-multi-million-dollar Trampe for 15th Street, what I am really saying is that everyone in a car should aim for any bicyclist they see. That is certainly NOT what I meant, but I will change my tone now that you have demonstrated to me that my words were a threat of mayhem and violence the moment enough people felt threatened by my words.

by Trulee_Pist on Jul 11, 2014 8:03 pm • linkreport

Feel free to think that the Trampe is a bad idea. I'm kind of apathetic about it myself.

Just don't write columns that end up making threats because of it.

by drumz on Jul 11, 2014 8:12 pm • linkreport

I think that Trulee Pist was pretty clear in showing that that nowhere in the quote provided, nor in the rest of the piece, did Milloy actually threaten cyclists. Yet, this explanation is met with additional assertions that people felt threatened, so it should be viewed as a threat and treated accordingly.

I am reminded of the 1999 incident where a top aide to Mayor Williams used the word niggardly, which means miserly, in a budget discussion. Following this discussion, there were calls for the aide’s resignation, based on assertions that his remarks showed racial insensitivity. A resignation was offered and quickly accepted by Mayor Williams. NAACP Chairman Julian Bond criticized Williams saying that people should not have to "censor" their language to meet other "people's lack of understanding." Williams did reverse himself on accepting the aide’s resignation, a move that was praised by Julian Bond.

by OtherMike on Jul 11, 2014 8:52 pm • linkreport

That would be terrible. Let me know if anyone ever does that.

by Trulee_Pist on Jul 11, 2014 9:13 pm • linkreport

A lot of this boils down to not liking what Millroy has to say about the Dave Alpert's of the world. He just used the self entitled, smug and scofflaw behaviors of some cyclists as a vehicle.

And those behaviors are VERY real. As a cyclist myself, I can relate and have had to suppress those behaviors. Sometimes it's not eay.

Anyone that purports to believe Millroy was genuinely advocating violence against cyclists is being intellectually dishonest.

PROTIP: When a driver does something nice, or even just behaves in the expected manner, give them a thank you wave. Politeness is the lubrication of a happy society.

by Breastaurant on Jul 11, 2014 11:07 pm • linkreport

Pretending Courtland's words were anything other than a threat is delusional.

by Crickey7 on Jul 11, 2014 11:16 pm • linkreport

You know, something to the effect of "The Trampe is so far from an actual, serious, actionable proposal that it's not worth debating"

Well, that would have certainly made it clearer for the 0.0001% of people who thought otherwise.

Milloy can point out that assholes on bikes face the risk of retaliation from assholes in cars or on foot

Yes, he could have. In fact if he had, he may not have induced people to protest. But, he didn't. If he made it clear that motorists who would hit a cyclists were, in fact, a-holes, then the column would have been less offensive. For example:

Cyclists who would swing a U-lock at a car should be aware that the only thing protecting them from being attacked by some of DC's more depraved drivers is a $500 fine. There might be a few drivers out there monstrous enough to think that's a good deal.

But instead he only calls cyclists names. They're bike ninjas and terrorists. Drivers who would hit a cyclists or pedestrians who would throw a broomstick in their wheels are just people.

Stating that Malloy's column *advocates* murder and mayhem is as silly as saying Alpert was proposing a fleet of Trampe for the Greater Greater Washington metropolitan area.

Oh good. We agree that it's silly to say (as some commenters here have done) that Alpert was proposing a fleet of Trampe for the Greater Greater Washington metropolitan area.

As it happened, as he sat down to write, David Alpert presented him with this gift:

That's now he described it. John Kelly was the catalyst.

David's dumb idea was a perfect example of fiscal bullying overreach in the crusade for improved bicyclist infrastructure.

What? Bring back Brett, at least he doesn't break out the crazy talk.

It wasn't David's idea, it came out of the comments on an earlier post (Jasper, I think). Nor is there anything bullying about the post - unless someone is using some definition of bullying with which I'm unfamiliar. If that's a dumb idea, that the above is an idiotic statement.

I think David Alpert agrees (now).

I think he simultaneously believes that a Trampe "could indeed be a great addition to the 15th Street cycletrack" and that "The Trampe is so far from an actual, serious, actionable proposal that it's not worth debating." I don't think he's reversed course and I'm 100% confident that he does not agree with Trulee_Pist.

by David C on Jul 11, 2014 11:22 pm • linkreport

I think that Trulee Pist was pretty clear in showing that that nowhere in the quote provided, nor in the rest of the piece, did Milloy actually threaten cyclists.

No he didn't. About the best one can say about Milloy's piece was that he didn't literally threaten anyone. Bravo.

But he did make the point that hitting a cyclist with a car is a bargain (one that, unlike spitting on a car, is not described as egregious). He does say that the only reason more sidewalk cyclists don't have broomsticks thrown into their wheels is luck - instead of, y'know, common human decency.

I wonder how an article like this would go over on another subject. For example:

"His column amounted to a gentleman’s request for women to not get drunk in public. They’re lucky that someone hasn’t pinned them against the wall and groped them.

The penalty for rape is prison, but some publicly drunk women are so attractive that some men might think it’s worth doing the time."

Someone who wrote that would not be threatening women, but it would be a pretty offensive and I can't imagine anyone defending them.

by David C on Jul 11, 2014 11:37 pm • linkreport

@crickey

Sorry to interfere with anyone's enjoyment of their self righteous outrage

by Breastaurant on Jul 12, 2014 12:25 am • linkreport

The Atlantic City Lab has an interesting analysis:

http://www.citylab.com/commute/2014/07/strange-as-it-seems-cycling-haters-are-a-sign-of-cycling-success/374275/

by Tina on Jul 12, 2014 12:32 am • linkreport

Excellent and spot-on link there, Tina.

by DaveG on Jul 12, 2014 7:07 am • linkreport

As I stated before, I expect cyclists to do things like Idaho Stops, ride the wrong way, etc. etc. Of course, not all do, but we should all expect this sort of behavior from cyclists. And that pedestrians may do things that are illegal. Doesn't mean they will do all this dangerously (unless you consider such law-breaking inherently and always dangerous). Just like we all drive defensively, or should.

Maybe we should call it defensive road use to cover whatever transport mode we are using at the moment.

by DaveG on Jul 12, 2014 7:15 am • linkreport

The article helps explain why so many drivers over-generalize and say things like "all bicyclists are scofflaws" even when not every bicycle they see does those things.

by DaveG on Jul 12, 2014 8:07 am • linkreport

@David C

"But he did make the point that hitting a cyclist with a car is a bargain"

Not really. It's a big difference between saying that and saying "some behaviors are so egregious that some drivers might think it’s worth paying the fine."

"The penalty for rape is prison, but some publicly drunk women are so attractive that some men might think it’s worth doing the time."

Drifting off topic again, I see. And no, that's not analogous to anything Milloy said.

by Brett on Jul 14, 2014 3:17 pm • linkreport

It's a big difference between ...

And what is that difference?

Drifting off topic again, I see. And no, that's not analogous to anything Milloy said.

It's an analogy (whether it's seen that way or not). So it's not off-topic. And if it's not analogous, in what way is it not? If contradiction is the game, then I'll just say yes it is analogous and knock it back over the net.

by David C on Jul 14, 2014 3:29 pm • linkreport

"I think that Trulee Pist was pretty clear in showing that that nowhere in the quote provided, nor in the rest of the piece, did Milloy actually threaten cyclists."

Courtland Milloy seems to have studied in the George Will Schol of "insinuating things while maintaining deniability"

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 14, 2014 3:37 pm • linkreport

@ David C

"And what is that difference?"

Milloy's quote neither expresses nor implies that "hitting a cyclist with a car is a bargain." He did not say he either condoned or would hit a biker. He said in reaction to "SOME...egregious behavior" by bikers, "SOME drivers might..." take the ticket, which very well could be true.

"It's an analogy "

I don't doubt it's an analogy to some irrelevant statement made by someone else, but it's not not analogous to anything Milloy said in his column.

by Brett on Jul 14, 2014 4:13 pm • linkreport

He said in reaction to "SOME...egregious behavior" by bikers, "SOME drivers might..." take the ticket, which very well could be true.

Which then MANY people took as a threat, if veiled. Then it's up to Milloy to either apologize or stand by what he said. So far it looks like he's going with the latter.

by drumz on Jul 14, 2014 4:28 pm • linkreport

Milloy's quote neither expresses nor implies that "hitting a cyclist with a car is a bargain."

Sure he does. He says it costs $500 and that to some drivers it might be "worth it." Worth it = bargain. [I'll note here that he significantly understates the actual cost].

He said in reaction to "SOME...egregious behavior" by bikers, "SOME drivers might..." take the ticket, which very well could be true.

Right. It's worth the price, making it a bargain.

but it's not not analogous to anything Milloy said in his column.

Thunk! Over the net it goes..... Yes it is.

by David C on Jul 14, 2014 4:28 pm • linkreport

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.

Oh I see, so Milloy didn't say that HE HIMSELF thought that hitting a cyclist was worth it for $500. He just SOMEONE out there might think hitting a cyclist was worth it for $500. But certainly not the writer who put those thoughts down on paper for all to read. He never thought of it as something that could happen?

Who are these theoretical people? Someone he talked to? Is it his own opinion?

Why even bother saying it if it's not at all a serious concern?

by MLD on Jul 14, 2014 4:32 pm • linkreport

@David C

"Worth it = bargain."

Sorry, but it doesn't. Just because someone considers something "worth it" does not mean they consider it a "bargain." The two are not synonymous.

@drumz

"Which then MANY people took as a threat, if veiled."

Milloy never said he thought hitting a biker was acceptable or that he would do it. Not once. It's just a matter of reading comprehension, and Malloy doesn't need to apologize for any reader's poor reading skills.

@MLD

"He never thought of it as something that could happen?"

His actual words did not insinuate as much. Unlike some, I don't feign to know what goes on in someone else's mind or put words in their mouths.

by Brett on Jul 14, 2014 4:50 pm • linkreport

"Sorry, but it doesn't. Just because someone considers something "worth it" does not mean they consider it a "bargain." The two are not synonymous"

At $500 bucks some people would see it as worth it, but maybe no one would see it as a bargain. So at $400 bucks, the people who see it as worth it at 500, WOULD see it as a bargain, right? I mean something worth 500 is a bargain when you can get it for 20% less, huh?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 14, 2014 4:59 pm • linkreport

Just because someone considers something "worth it" does not mean they consider it a "bargain."

For crissake, so this is a semantics complaint? I'm not going to argue about whether something that is worth the price is or is not a bargain. Take that to some grammar website please.

How about I amend it to say "But he did make the point that the price for hitting a cyclist with a car is low enough that it may be worthwhile"?

Now explain to me how that is less offensive.

by David C on Jul 14, 2014 4:59 pm • linkreport

"Unlike some, I don't feign to know what goes on in someone else's mind "

IE when you see someone biking a certain way, you dont assume they feel entitled, or want to delay you, or are reckless, or consider themselves above the law. good for you. In that that way you are unlike some - in particular you are unlike Courtland Milloy.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 14, 2014 5:02 pm • linkreport

Subtext doesn't exist, people don't read between the lines, people never hedge their words by being willfully obtuse.

If you think that Milloy is totally innocent f any suggestion of violence then you need to ask him to rephrase his argument. So far though, he's standing by what he sad even though he knows that many took it as a threat.

Why bother defending what he himself isn't interested in defending?

by drumz on Jul 14, 2014 5:24 pm • linkreport

@David C

"I'm not going to argue about whether something that is worth the price is or is not a bargain."

Too late. But nice try putting words in Milloy's mouth.

"But he did make the point that the price for hitting a cyclist with a car is low enough that it may be worthwhile"

Nope, not that either. Suggesting what someone else "might" do in response to "egregious" behavior is not the same.

@AWalkerInTheCity

"IE when you see someone biking a certain way, you dont assume they feel entitled..."

That's funny, I couldn't find where Milloy used "entitled" "reckless" or "above the law" or anything of that nature.

I guess there must be another article he wrote that I missed. Either that or words are being but in his mouth yet again.

by Brett on Jul 14, 2014 5:46 pm • linkreport

@drumz

"Why bother defending what he himself isn't interested in defending?"

And, why bother arguing against something he himself didn't say?

by Brett on Jul 14, 2014 5:53 pm • linkreport

And, why bother arguing against something he himself didn't say?

Because I think his meaning is clear. Even if he allowed himself (and his defenders) room to weasel out of things by not making certain things explicit. I think that sort of thing should be called out for what it is.

So "he didn't say it" but I think the meaning is clear. Others should be aware as well.

by drumz on Jul 14, 2014 6:05 pm • linkreport

@drumz

"So 'he didn't say it' but I think the meaning is clear."

So we've finally established he didn't say "it." Whatever misinterpretation you may have is just that.

by Brett on Jul 14, 2014 9:40 pm • linkreport

He threatened cyclists no matter how much he or others may wish to obfuscate things by ignoring the obvious subtext.

by drumz on Jul 14, 2014 10:00 pm • linkreport

...or how others may wish to imagine things and put words in his mouth...

by Brett on Jul 14, 2014 10:07 pm • linkreport

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

by Breastaurant on Jul 14, 2014 10:34 pm • linkreport

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

by David C on Jul 14, 2014 11:38 pm • linkreport

I was Courtland Milloyed this morning. The driver just blatantly rear ended me. Luckily I was not hurt, but he did damage my bike. I called the cops on him and he was cited for reckless driving/following to closely.

by sk on Jul 16, 2014 10:16 am • linkreport

behavior is not the same.

@AWalkerInTheCity

"IE when you see someone biking a certain way, you dont assume they feel entitled..."

"That's funny, I couldn't find where Milloy used "entitled" "reckless" or "above the law" or anything of that nature."

On reexamination, its true, almost everything Milloy complains about cyclists doing are things that are 100% legal, and which he does not complain are illegal - other than banging on motorists cars and stuff, for which he provides no evidence, not even an anecdote.

Its mostly his defenders complaining cyclists hold themselves above the law. They, at least, realize how absurd it is to complain about cyclists doing things that are legal and safe.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 16, 2014 10:23 am • linkreport

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