Archive | May, 2015

Summertime Blues

26 May

Well, now that the Memorial Day holiday is over, the unofficial start of summer is here.  If you’re going anywhere out of town for the summer, you have no worries, except the expense.  But if you’re staying here, it’s already shaping up to be another summer of dodging those rogue bikers on the sidewalk!

First, Bike-to-Work Day started out pleasantly enough for me.  From my door and during my walk to to work over the first couple of blocks, not a single sidewalk biker.  And, as I crossed 17th and Q, every cyclist was stopped at the red light behind the pedestrian crosswalk, just like the rest of the traffic.  But it couldn’t last forever–As I turned from 17th on to little side street Corcoran, I had to flatten myself against Cairo Liquor’s side wall to avoid being hit by a rogue biker speeding on the narrow sidewalk.  In case I haven’t made it clear before, Corcoran is a one-way street between Q and R that virtually no through auto traffic uses.  And, on this morning, as usual, there was zero auto traffic on the much broader street.  So what was this guy’s excuse?  Only his entitlement mentality.  He’d probably been riding the sidewalk on New Hampshire where there are bike lanes going both ways but some auto traffic and didn’t want to switch off the sidewalk to the unused street.  He’d rather rattle the pedestrians.

As you know, one of my biggest concerns is the number of these rogue bikers on the sidewalks on the weekends, when they have even less auto traffic to deal with.  Every day this weekend I had to wait for a sidewalk biker to speed by before stepping from my apartment sidewalk to the main sidewalk.  It kind of ruins your day when that’s the first thing you have to contend with.  But I got even more upset on Sunday evening when, after a concert and  and really enjoyable dinner with friends and the concert’s soloist, we were saying our goodbye’s outside the restaurant on P Street.  There were many other people out enjoying the evening strolling along and others, like us, gathered in groups, like sociable people tend to do.  Right after I excused myself from the group and started toward Dupont Circle, I encountered a speeding sidewalk biker, weaving in an out of the crowds.  I turned back toward my group and yelled “Watch out for the sidewalk biker” I was probably a bit too far for them to hear among the general din.  But I thought to myself as I saw the biker brush one person close enough that he was knocked off balance, what if he hits the talented pianist?  A person’s career can be ruined by just one seemingly small injury to the hand.

Well, that’s all for now.  STAY ALERT.  DON’T GET HURT!  And enjoy the summer.

A Challenge for Bike to Work Day–This Friday May 15

13 May

Well, I was out of town the last few days and the coming of Bike to Work Day snuck up on me this year. For those of you interested in participating, you can get full info at
biketoworkmetrodc.org

As in past years if you register you are entered into a bicycle raffle and can visit any of the over 70 “pit stops: for food, drink and free T-shirts. The weather’s supposed to be fine for a ride, so if you can bike to work, try it out.

Last year I did an extensive post on Preparing for Bike-to-Work Day, and I urge you to read it, or re-read it if you read it last year, as a short primer on things to know before you go.

I don’t have prizes or free T-shirts to give you, but this year I’d like to challenge all the bicyclists riding on Friday, whether you register formally or not, to obey all the rules all during their rides, especially three we so often talk about in this blog:

1. Stop at all red lights and stop signs.

2. Remember you are traffic and dont ride the wrong way on oneway streets.

3. Dont ride on the sidewalks. Remember it is illegal to ride on sidewalks in the Central Business District (see my prior post for the boundaries) and, while you can ride on sidewalks elsewhere, you must yield to pedestrians. And it is always a bad idea. This is what the WABA booklet on Safe Bicycling in the Washington Area says:

Sidewalks and Pedestrians: Sidewalks are not suitable places to ride bicycles; sidewalks are designed for the slower speeds of pedestrians, not the faster speeds of bicyclists. In fact, sidewalk riding is illegal in many areas–so check local laws. If you ride on a sidewalk, yield to pedestrians; where there are lots of people, walk your bike. Pedestrians don’t like to be surprised by bicyclists passing from behind, so you should warn them of your approach. For example, call out “Passing on your left.” When approaching corners, alleys, and driveways, slow down and make noise.

Post a comment here after Friday and tell me how you did.

Let’s make this a safe Bike to Work day for everyone, bicyclists, pedestrians and motorists. And remember STAY ALERT; DON’T GET HURT.