Back to Work Week

5 Sep

Hello again! Did you miss me? Judging from the resounding non-response to the question in my last post, I’m guessing not. But we soldier on in our efforts to help keep pedestrians, and bicyclists too, safe.

My August, like yours I’m guessing, included vacation. But mine was hard fought for as I had several work projects that suddenly reared their ugly heads as I was trying to get ready to go. Nonetheless I made it out close by to mini-vacations with family and friends in Maryland, first at Frederick and then Westminster. Then last weekend in Annapolis. And I saw hundreds of bicyclists and, in the cities’ downtowns even more pedestrians. Every one obeying the law, which in Maryland, does not allow sidewalk bicycling in general. I was struck by the large number of bicyclists, particularly in Annapolis, the downtown of which has no bike lanes and narrow streets and circles crowded with auto traffic. But there they were, men, women and even children, happily biking in the streets, with helmets on, following all the rules of traffic, stopping at read lights, signaling. That made this vacation by the Bay particularly fun. I even borrowed a friend’s bike and helmet and went for a spin, mostly on one of the bike trails that intersect at Annapolis. Even on the bike trails, I noticed the different and welcome culture. Everyone was riding to the right in the direction they were going, which made it easy for cyclists coming the other way.

When I got back, I googled Annapolis in particular because of the huge number of good bicyclists I’d seen. I discovered this on their website:

As the only municipal hub in the United States where two national trails (the East Coast Greenway Trail and the American Discovery Trail) converge, and as the finish line for the Race Across America, and as a key link to international destinations via the B&O Trail, the BWI Trail, the BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, AMTRAK and Greyhound/Trailways, Annapolis seeks to be a world-renowned bicycle destination where safe bicycling is an accepted form of transportation.

As I read further, I checked the bike laws and indeed Annapolis follows MD state law on not permitting bicycling on sidewalks. I then checked the Mayor’s plans to make Annapolis a world-renowned bicycle destination. Again I happily noted that in a quick skim I saw nothing that indicated any plan to allow bicycling on sidewalks. Ah, but there’s a reason! Annapolis wants to become a world-renowned destination for “safe bicycling” not the capital of Bikes Rule, Screw You entitlement bicycling we have here in DC.

A Small Step Forward

I’ll close by announcing a small victory. There are now a few signs in Dupont Circle along Q and R that carry the message of the Logan Circle signs that all safer when cyclists ride on the street not the sidewalk. Since we had no organizational funding like Logan, it was up to people to buy their own signs. And a few stalwart citizens did so. And a couple more people have asked for them. If you are one of those in Dupont who have seen the signs and want one, let me know. The signs cost less if we buy them in groups, and I’d like to put together another group if possible. You can’t keep good people down when their quality of life is at stake.

More next week about future plans in this area and other ways to put pressure on the powers that be.



2 Responses to “Back to Work Week”

  1. Steve August 18, 2015 at 10:05 pm #

    As an Annapolitan and avid and respectful bicyclist I know first hand that the city is very unsafe for bicyclists. Despite obeying the laws I was hit by a car that wasn’t following the laws. I routinely witness motorist disrespect of bicyclists. My wife and I stopped riding our bicycles on the Annaplis streets for safety reasons. We wish we could take to the sidewalks in some cuts to get to other safer areas. I see no harm in cyclists taking to the sidewalks.

    • jeannemallett2013 August 19, 2015 at 8:13 pm #

      Thanks, Steve, for your comment. I must admit when I was in your city, I wasn’t sure how safe it was, particularly downtown around the circle near that historic church, for bicyclists. But then as a pedestrian I would have felt unsafe if I had a bicyclist bearing down on me from behind on those narrow sidewalks, which were crowded with people. If you read my other posts you’ll find that even bike associations warn against riding bikes on sidewalks because there are dangers to the cyclists too. I advise that, if the street is too dangerous in some parts, get on the sidewalk. But WALK your bike when on the sidewalk. That’s how to be truly respectful. And I do envy you having those great trails so easily accessible. I enjoyed my time in Annapolis.

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