Tag Archives: bike-to-work day

The Merry Month of May

3 May

Did you know May is National Bike month?  I sure didn’t.  But I have been watching for news about a new bike event since I first read about it in the March Washingtonian.  Then the Sunday before last I was at the Dupont Circle Market and saw a table set up for DCBikeRide and went by to talk with the people manning the table.  They were very nice and true cyclists.  We talked cycling for a bit and I confirmed that, of course, they would be riding in the streets for the event.  So I invited them to send me a brief message for this post and I’ve  put it below.

DC Bike Ride–Sunday, May 22

“Come celebrate National Bike Month and ride through the city completely traffic-free.  Are you looking for an exciting, new way to explore our nation’s capital with the famliy?  Our friends at DCBR have put together a perfect day for a bike ride.

“Join the inaugural DCBR on Sunday, May 22. The 17-mile recreational ride is open to riders ages 3+ and offers a scenic view of the District’s most iconic monuments.  Ride starts at 8 AM and you will be able to cruise at your own pace on a car-free course, perfect for the kiddos! After the ride, at the Finish Festival on Pennsylvania Avenue, enjoy musical performances by DC Questlove (from the Tonight show starring Jimmy Fallon!), White Ford Bronco, and more!  Additionally, the DCBR Finish Festival will have a Kids Zone with fun activities for all ages, a post-ride yoga session, the REI Village, yummy food trucks, and other awesome activities.

DON’T HAVE A BIKE?

“Families who do not have bikes, or are unable to transport bikes to D.C.should check out information about bike rentals through DCBR’s official partner, Bike and Roll DC.

“MORE INFO AT DCBIKERIDE.COM.

And now returning to me again:  Sounds like fun and the Washingtonian article said it was expected to attract about 8,000 participants.  The 17 mile course will be closed to other traffic during the ride.  So enjoy!

Bike to Work Day–Friday, May 20

Of course the annual Bike to Work day is the Friday just preceding.  So cyclists can make a weekend of it.

Once again I challenge those biking to work on that day to do it obeying all traffic laws–ride in the direction of traffic, stop at red lights and stop signs and obey all other traffic signs.  And ride in the streets both where you must (in the CBD) and elsewhere because the pedestrians navigating the sidewalks will appreciate it.  And have a great time.

Bike Month in NYC

The cyclists in NYC have already started their events.  First, on April 30, hundreds of cyclists had their bikes blessed at St. John the Divine Church in Manhattan.  Then Sunday about 32,000 cyclists took to the streets for the 39th Annual Bike New York 5 Boro Bike Tour, the largest charitable bike ride in the country.

For all of us, pedestrians(who don’t have a special month, sadly) and cyclists, enjoy the spring weather once the rain stops and remember STAY ALERT! DON’T GET HURT!

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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.

Preparing for Bike-to-Work Day (May 16)

9 May

In my last post I promised to review basic law, rules and common sense behavior for both pedestrians and bicyclists. And since Bike-to-Work Day is next Friday, I thought I’d start with bicyclists. Warning: This might be a long post, but stick with it.

INTRO

1. If you want to be a part of Bike-to-Work (BTW) officially check the WABA site, waba.org, for info, TODAY(May 9) is the last day to register.

2. Whether or not you register to get the t-shirt, special goodies, and location of “pit stops” on May 16, you might just want to commute to work. If you do, you will be joining a growing group. ABC News reported last night that biking to work has increased by 60% in the past 10 years.

3. But, regardless of why you want to bike to work, for the fun of next Friday or for a regular routine, BE PREPARED TO DO IT RIGHT. I can tell you from experience that the true commuter bicyclists during DC’s normal rush hours know the law and follow it. And they ride on the streets not the sidewalks (more about this later). I know I feel safer walking to work earlier, before 9:00 than coming out for lunch because commuter bicyclists know what they’re doing and are aware of the traffic and pedestrians around them, not just themselves.

But even if you haven’t commuted to work before, you too can ride as well as they do, whether on your own bike or a Bikeshare bike, if you use the knowledge set out below whenever you ride, even on weekends and nights.

PREPARE TO RIDE

Don’t assume that, because you learned to ride a bike as a kid, you know it all. Learning to mount a bike and ride it is not enough to ride safely and lawfully.

Much of what I say below is taken from the Washington Area Bicyclists Association (WABA) booklet “Safe Bicycling in the Washington Area”(WABA SB). While only part of this info is on the WABA Website, and I’ll note when it is, you can and should get a free copy of WABA SB from WABA because it covers every area of bicycling well and is an easy read.

So here we go:

1.Ride Predictably: On a bike you are riding a vehicle. So YOU ARE TRAFFIC on the streets and roads just as autos are. While you might think of maneuvering around the autos and running red lights, DON’T. “This is how most bicyclists get into crashes…Being predictable (i.e., following the same rules the autos do)is the key to safe bicycling in traffic.” (WABA SB, p. 11, with italicized portion added for clarification).

2. Follow Traffic Rules for Cyclists

Here WABA has on its website
http://waba.org/resources/laws.php
a link to DC regs and laws as well as a section called “Selected Bicycle Guidelines”, which features a grid noting the laws in DC, MD and VA most essential for bicyclists to know. I am just going to highlight a couple below.

a. “Bicyclists traveling on roadways have all the general rights and duties of drivers of vehicles.” You are a vehicle–go with, not against, the flow of traffic (even on one-way streets); stop at red lights, and stop signs; stop behind the pedestrian crosswalk, etc.

b. Cycling on Sidewalks: You may think a good way to avoid being considered a vehicle is to ride on the sidewalk. But know this:

1. In DC you are prohibited from riding on the sidewalks downtown. Biking on the sidewalk is “Prohibited in the central business district (bounded by Massachusetts Ave., NW, 2nd St. NE-SE, D St. SE/SW, 14th St., NW, Constitution Ave. and 23rd St., NW)” As Dr. Gridlock mentioned (see last week’s post) signs should be posted. BUT TO BE A RESPONSIBLE AND SAFE BICYCLIST, WITH OR WITHOUT SIGNS, YOU MUST KNOW AND OBEY THE LAW.
2. Beyond the Central Business District, at present, bicyclists can ride on the sidewalks BUT–
EVERYWHERE: CYCLISTS MUST YIELD TO PEDESTRIANS. You aren’t yielding if you ride without concern and just barely miss pedestrains. You’re just lucky. A pedestrian, thinking himself safe on the sidewalk and not seeing you coming from behind, might stop suddenly to pick something up, or move to the left to get a newspaper.
DC RULES (which you can also access on the WABA link provided above, ALSO PROVIDE that, in addition to yielding the right of way to pedestrians, a cyclist:
a. Shall not travel at a speed greater than the posted limit of the adjacent roadway; provided that such speed is safe for the conditions then existing on the sidewalk (DC Reg. 18 1201.10) [Ask yourself if you’re riding at 20 mph can you stop in time if a mother with a child in a stroller suddenly turns a sidewalk corner or comes out of an apartment building?]

b. When propelling a bicycle upon and along a sidewalk or while crossing a roadway in a crosswalk, [a cyclist] shall have all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances, except that the bicyclist must yield to pedestrians on the sidewalk or in the crosswalk (DC Reg 18 1201.12) [Ask yourself if you are zipping down one handicapped cut into the crosswalk and a group of pre-schoolers is bunched at the other side, what are you going to do?]

I have just mentioned a couple of the rules that are more commonly broken when biking on sidewalk. There are more rules. Know them.

And if you don’t want to ride on a sidewalk anywhere–good for you. The best bicyclists don’t, not just because they’re riding responsibly, but because they know it’s safer for them. Here’s a passage from WABA SB, p 12:

“Sidewalks & 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 them 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.”(Italicized emphasis added)

TOO MUCH INFORMATION? Think of when you learned to drive a car. Riding a bicycle responsibly requires knowledge. But it is fun; it’s good exercise and a cheap environmentally friendly way to get to work. And once you know what you’re doing and why, it’s like any other good habit–easy and second nature.

So enjoy Bike to Work Day and every other day. BUT remember, as I tell pedestrians STAY ALERT AND STAY SAFE