April 2: Well your blogger is temporarily frustrated again because, although at the suggestion of a friend, she added new categories, only one shows up on the page and it appears that until I have a consult with my friend who knows this stuff, it will remain that way. I’m also encouraging comments especially if you have incidents you’d like to report. Rest assured that, although you have to register to make comments, your e-mail address is not seen by anyone other than the administrator (me). But you might like to let others notice what neighborhood you live in and where the incident was.
Now, on to the diary entries for this week.
March 30: A beautiful Saturday for my nephew and his family and me to go down to the Mall to see the non-cherry blossoms. But there were plenty of people there and the Blossom Kite Festival. So still plenty of picture taking opps. There were also plenty of bikes, mostly Bikeshare bikes. With such crowds on the paths, you would think that they wouldn’t be even trying to ride a bike. But they did and, happily for the kids I had with me and other families, they rode very slowly as they wound between walkers. So slowly that I sometimes worried about them tipping over and hurting themselves. Some when they came upon a crowd, rode off on to the grass, which couldn’t be good for the grass. And walking a bike doesn’t seem to occur to anyone.
But, as we walked back up to 14th and Constitution on our way to the Museum on American History for a kids’ bathroom and lunch break, reality set in again. At the southeast corner the handicapped cut serves both pedestrians crossing Constitution and those crossing 14th and there was a huge crowd waiting at the corner for the light across Constitution to change. Not too huge a crowd for two bicyclists to come from the 14th street side without warning to anyone and plow into the crowd scattering a number of people. I yelled “Watch out!” and it appears that everyone separated for the rogue bikers in time. I then yelled after them “Be careful, you jerks” but they were riding fast enough to be out of earshot, or didn’t care to respond. I noticed that they were not Bikeshare bikers, as is usually the case with the real rogues I see.
Back home in Dupont Circle toward evening I picked up groceries and headed back home along Corcoran. I had started doing this because, between 17th and 16th, particularly on the South side, the sidewalk is brick with barely enough space for a single walker because of protruding steps, trees, etc. But halfway down the block, I had to step behind one of those sets of steps to avoid a guy riding his bike while at the same time not looking ahead but looking at what I assume was his girlfriend who, bless her, was riding on the street on which there was no traffic. So, at least in my neighborhood, even the sidewalks that are tough to walk on are not safe from these guys. And, again, neither of these people were Bikeshare riders.
April 1: Because my workplace was closed, I used my time to do a lot of errands and around noon, I walked to Rite Aid on Connecticut and Florida, then went down Connecticut to pick up pictures from Embassy Camera and then to order some business cards from Print Time on 20th and then home. I was out about an hour and a half and this is no April Fool’s joke, I managed to meet up with 8 sidewalk bicyclists. Some were not memorable, only one was a Bikeshare rider. The one who scared me the most was the one at S and Connecticut who came up suddenly from behind as I was starting to cross with the light. He gave no notice he was behind me; obviously used the sidewalk cut as a speed ramp because he flew by me and then made a quick cut right in front of me, which caused me to stop in the street to avoid being hit. It appears he wanted to go across Connecticut.
After that fright I had a bit of time to collect my thoughts when in the camera shop and was ready to continue my trip, after looking both ways when I exited on to the sidewalk on Connecticut. But I had taken only a few steps south when I saw another rogue bicyclist, cutting his way between the pedestrians and coming my way. I could see by his determined stare and fancy bike that he meant business, as in “get out of my way, I’m the only important person on this sidewalk.” Luckily I was out of his way, on the far right near the curb. But, perhaps because of my recent experience and how recklessly I’d just seen him ride, I called out what has become my go-to phrase now that I know that, at least for now, it’s technically legal to ride on the sidewalk . I called out: “Not man enough to ride on the street, eh?” Usually this gets a quick obscene gesture, if that. But this guy said “Read your DC Code” as he rode out of sight. Even though I knew what he meant and that he’d probably been yelled at before because his answer was so ready, I couldn’t resist thinking “DC Code, would that prove he’s manly?”
I was much closer to home when I saw a Bikeshare bicyclist on the other side of the street doing two things that are only too typical. Because he couldn’t be bothered riding even a half block out of his way to find a bike lane on a one-way street going his way, he was riding on the sidewalk of a one-way street going the opposite direction. And, instead of paying any attention to pedestrians using the sidewalk, he was talking on his cell phone while riding.
Well, that’s the diary for this week. Stay alert and stay safe!