Good Morning! I’m labeling this post “Potpourri I” because over the weeks to come there might be more such posts in which I provide various bits of useful info I’ve received from reputable sources in addition to my own commentary. Please feel free to comment with your own helpful info and links to same. So long as it is reputable and verifiable, I’ll approve the comment (more about this later in “Stray Notes.”)
Philadelphia Bike Laws and Culture
First, a bit more info I gathered about another major city that prohibits bicycling on sidewalks for those over 12. The convention I attended last week was in Philadelphia. Between the convention events and time spent with a cousin who lives there, I saw a good bit of the city.
Of course, I’ve been there many times before and years ago spent an entire night bicycling around the city with my NYC Bike group and the host Philly group. Great fun. If you’ve been to Paris in recent years and seen their weekend night mass bike rides, it was kind of like that only starting at midnight and ending at dawn with breakfast at Rittenhouse Square. But this time, since everywhere I went, I saw plenty of bicyclists, all riding in the streets, including cobbled ones and ones with trolley rails, I thought when I got back I’d check on their laws. And, yes, Virginia, the city does prohibit sidewalk bicycling for those over 12. Yet none of the bicyclists seemed to see that as a problem. Here is the link to their bike coalition site:
NOTE: As you read the above they mention that state law is somewhat different. This is not unusual. Most states’ laws, although considering bicyclists(or “pedalcyclists” as PA law refers to them)as traffic, are broader and less restrictive than individual cities’ laws. Obviously a state law must cover the entire state from rural through villages to cities. But state law also provides “home rule” for cities and therefore cities set their own traffic regulations among other laws. So don’t be misled into thinking a state law supersedes cities’ regs. Within the city limits the city regs rule.
More things of interest in alpha order:
Tips for Bicyclists
Before I left I asked Shane Farthing of WABA whether there were any bike apps that would be helpful to bicyclists here finding the most bike friendly streets to a particular destination. He recommended the following link and, since my smartphone is not an I-phone I’d appreciate your help on this one to see how well it works:
Plus WABA also has an app with DC bike laws, safety tips, and a guide for what to do if you’re in a crash:
And if you’re not yet associated with WABA(the Washington Area Bicyclists Association), give them a try. They do a lot of education and provide a lot of good info for bicyclists.
I heard from another friend that at last month’s ANC6a meeting they voted unanimously to support bike lanes on G and Eye Streets NE contra flow. But they also were sending a letter to Mayor Gray asking that the city ban bike riding on the sidewalk on H St., NE. I have not been able to confirm this info on the ANC6a site, which is not unusual since it often takes a month or two for meeting actions to be recorded on the site. But in the meantime the popville blog held a conversation of the question of banning sidewalk bicycling there, which I think you’ll find interesting. Obviously, as the Dupont business people who wrote the Mayor in January said, this is a city-wide problem. Here’s the link to the popville site:
Info for Pedestrians
Another friend sent me an article from Atlantic Cities, which is pretty scary in itself. The article name is A Pedestrian is Killed in a Traffic Crash in the US Every 2 Hours but if you also click on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics embedded within the article, you can also get a brief report from the NHTSA at the very end of which are safety tips for pedestrians. Within this article are a couple of other embedded links included that are worth a look. Here’s the link(if you get the Atlantic Cities site, but it says “page not found as it just did for me, just click on their “commute” button and then scroll down to the article, which was published August 5):
The safety tips for pedestrians are mostly ones you already know from reading this blog, but one I did not include is to avoid alcohol and drugs as they impair your ability to stay alert as you need to be. Since in some news items this week there were references to at least one third of the pedestrian deaths in this area being the result of the pedestrian being drunk, it’s good to add that to the list.
if you want to get more deeply into what the NHTSA is doing and hopes to do, here’s a link for that:
I understand there was a press conference early this week on pedestrian initiatives but I haven’t had time to get further into it. As I do, if there are worthwhile ideas, I’ll try to bring them forth here. I understand the NHTSA’s approach is “holistic” and country-wide so I’m a bit doubtful as to positive impact in specific city situations. But I never close my mind to anything and I urge you to not to either. If we are to make DC the truly walkable city it can be, we need to be open minded and creative.
I learned this category from a political blogger I read and it’s pretty useful sometimes. And it may be useful for those of you thinking of starting your own blogs. One thing I’ve learned is that, if you have a public service blog like this one, you may occasionally find that some people really hate what you are doing and are not civil about it. Since I started getting more comments after the Post article, I’ve approved every comment in toto because I believe in free discussion of these issues and am not afraid of legitimate criticism. But, about a week after the Post article, I got my first “pingback” from another blog, which had published an article about the Logan ANC action and my blog. Before approving I looked at the blog and found their article fair and their other articles, all on different traffic issues ok as well, so I approved.
The blog was not a problem. But one of their readers was because the next morning I woke up to 22 new comments to approve, all from the same person, all seemingly written in the middle of the night, and all hurling personal invective at your blogger. Your blogger, being who she is, tried to see if she could edit some to be useful. But after the third obvious factual error, I gave up on that as well and “trashed” them all. I DO HAVE THAT POWER, but try not to use it. And if you’re stating a fact that is not your own personal observation, please try to give the source.
I thought you’d appreciate a brief summary of one or two more printable “points” this person tried to make. First, the person told me that my mores were not “modern” then turned right around and said that sidewalk bicycling had always been part of the “culture” of DC. So who’s not “modern” here? If we never changed cultures for the better, we’d all still be living in caves and cooking our meals over open fires. But some mores, like civility, consideration of others and understanding what is important in life, are timeless.
The second point the person made gave me a real laugh–it suggested in at least 3 comments that if I didn’t like the “culture” I could leave town. I laughed because I remember about 30 years ago, when I was in school here, there used to be a bumper sticker on a lot of cars: “The Redskins: Love ‘Em or Leave Town.” I wondered if this person owned that bumper sticker as well as that attitude. And I hope I will not insult any of you when I say that, once I saw that bumper sticker, I never rooted for the ‘Skins–until last year when a couple of young guys with all the good timeless mores became their stars–RGIII and Alfred Morris.
HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND. AND STAY ALERT AND STAY SAFE.