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WTOP does it again. First bicycles getting in the way on beach drive now this. Of course they will hide behind the idea that miss use of tax funds is the main story but then then why state so strongly that he and his team are clogging the roads not obeying the law?

As for the law, why is it ok for motor vehicles to contantly egnore the law. A stop sign is a stop sign not a yield. A right turn on red is a stop not a yield. The speed limit is a max. not a min. 70mph the norm. in a 55mph on 495? Cyclists are no worse at disobeying the law than anyone else.

These stories just set up more bias against cyclists. When I first moved here I was shocked at how much cyclists disobey the laws, now I understand it's just the norm here, what ever the mode of movement.

Yes, the WTOP story (especially the video, and the way it is being reported on TV news), and AAA give a typical car-focus. They misrepresent what is even on the video, and they act like cars have a right to go as fast as they want whenever they want (It's not stalling traffic when you bike at the speed limit, which Fenty was likely doing ont hat section of Rock Creek Pkway, and MacArthur).

It's not just WTOP that sets up more bias against cyclists. It's the mayor himself, not just by misusing public funds and creating animus among drivers (Clara Barton Parkway?!), but by failing to call for better biking laws & facilities, or for stricter enforcement of speeding and other violations by drivers.

Great that he's a competitive cyclist. Too bad he doesnt seem to care very much about the rest of us.

If you look, Fenty didn't go through redlights the cop did and they're allowed through reds. It's their job to protect Fenty. If this were a cavalcade of SUVs with the governors of VA or MD, there'd not be a peep about this.

Fenty has the authority to instruct his police escort not to run red lights. He chose not to. While I agree that this sets up more bias (and takes advantage of existing bias) towards cyclists, I think the story should be taken in the larger context - there's been a lot of scrutiny in the media of Adrian Fenty's somewhat imperial style and use of public resources in a somewhat questionable (though perhaps not illegal) way. In other words, I think people shouldn't immediately jump to the notion that this is mostly about anti-cycling bias. I, for one, don't want to be put in a position as a cyclist in defending Fenty's questionable use of public resources.

OK, so where's the video that shows the shocking scandal? I watched the one linked on this page and I really wonder what the big deal is. I mean, I saw lots of cyclists on roads that had little car traffic, or cyclists on multi-lane roads where the motor traffic volume was light enough so that all the motor vehicles could easily use the other lane.

One thing missing was any mention of what the speed limits were or how fast the cyclists were going. I wouldn't be surprised if the answers to both are 25mph--I wouldn't be surprised if the real objection is that cars can't speed. Of course when such a large fraction of the vehicles are bicycles then their speed determines the prevailing speed, really.

My concern is that the imperious behavior of Mayor Fenty reflects poorly on all cyclists.

Regarding SJE's point, this is what concerns me, although not his behavior vis-a-vis bicyclists as much as his behavior re bicycling and citizens. Like Pres. Bush, who mountain biked, I wonder if his commitment to bicycling and promotion of walking and bicycling extends beyond his own personal interest.

IMO, this story has just as much (if not more) to do with Fenty's apparent abuse of power as it does about bicycling...

Why does Fenty need security at a triathlon? I don't think the other self-absorbed athletes are going to know or even care who he is.

I just watched the video. What bothers me most is cameraman seemed to be filming the peloton while driving a car.

To clarify my earlier point: while I agree that Fenty's behavior re biking and citizens is a bit imperious, my concern is the connection that is implied by the WTOP story.

They start by pointing to Fenty as someone who misuses his office and resources, and provide examples, and then continue to talk about his bike riding as if this is exactly part of the same problem. i.e. bike riders who take the lane and hold up traffic are just as arrogant and inconsiderate as the Mayor.

There is the ever-burgenoning meme within DC media that Mayor Fenty is arrogant and out of touch.

This, I believe, is a stretch. The Mayor needs to be protected and he should have a police escort, no matter what type of vehicle he is using. I think traffic is pretty bad in this town, no matter what type of travel mode you are using.

Go for it Mayor, go to as many races as you can and bring home some hardware. (Although, you should pay for your own bike transport).

Like many poorly-reported stories, this tries to conflate and muddle three distinct storylines:

1. Abuse of security detail/mayoral travel. Every DC mayor I've ever known has had travel and security detail scandals. When Marion Barry was mayor they seemed a weekly occurence, but they also touched Williams and Kelly. I seem to remember Anthony Williams getting heat for having his detail run sirens when he was late for a tennis match. Now it's Fenty's turn.

2. The scofflaw cyclist. It's a recurring theme: a camera crew goes out to get footage of the mayhem caused by cyclists on the streets, and finds that actually it's harder than they thought to find cyclists breaking actual laws and causing actual problems. So rather than change the story to fit the facts, they change the facts to fit the story.

3. Peloton riding. People who ride in a group like that are problematic from an advocacy standpoint. I have nothing against a group that want to ride to the same destination at the same time -- people in cars do that all the time. But putting your desire to keep the group together above others' desire to use the road is something I can't get behind.

Thanks for pointing out this "report".

I second the observation made earlier that there might be some sanctions in order for the filming driver. That must be worse than being on a cell phone or texting.

Otherwise, the US has a love affair with giving officials security details whether they need it or not (most clearly do not). That the police union guy is complaining about down time for officers is hilarious since most of the DC police I ever see is on downtime, idling their cars.

Oh, and a bicyclist rolls through a stop sign? Wow! Stop the presses!

For me, the controversy of the story is the fact it seems it's inappropriate for Fenty to use the security detail in such a flaunting way.

For instance, is it appropriate to use the security detail as an escort on roads where cyclists (like it or not) are specifically not allowed?

More to the point, is it a smart idea as a public official who is under public scrutiny to do so? The total lack of judgment on Fenty's part is remarkable to me.

Also, when I look at the video, it seems as though they come to a stop at the intersection leaving West Potomac Park to head unto Rock Creek Parkway, and then continue when the police escort lets them through a red light. That seems unnecessary and out-of-line, and doesn't really look good. He has the power to instruct his police escort not to do this; and he chose not to. It makes him look arrogant and, once again, fits neatly into the narrative that the media has been developing.

Contrarian,

Really? It's hard to find cyclists breaking "actual" laws?!? Please. We can debate whether stop sign laws are a good idea, but surely you would not dispute that they are "actual laws" that many cyclists routinely break.

As for "creating actual problems," that's a rather more complex issue... Though all a film crew would really have to do is show up at Critical Mass, now that I think of it...

@Chris. While they only show Fenty running one light (early, with the police escort) they mention that they see him do it every day, which I don't doubt.

@Many. I too worry that this makes cyclists look bad, even though this is only one, rather unique group of cyclists. Not many cyclists have police escorts - not even John Kerry - so this isn't exactly indicative of how we all behave

@Tom. I thought of the same thing last night after I went to bed. Him driving and filming is more dangerous than running lights with a police escort.

@Contarian, I struggle with the Peloton issue. What is the alternative, that a group of cyclists ride single file in the center of the lane? I think that leaves drivers worse off. But I do think they should remain in one lane, unless they are changing lanes for some reason.

I do think that the Mayor and the Police should be held to a higher standard, so this isn't just a "cyclist ran a stop sign" story. It's "the chief law maker/enforcer broke the law" story. Call that a double standard if you'd like, but the people who make and enforce the law have a greater duty to follow it, IMO. Just last night I saw five bicycle mounted officers riding down my street after dark and none of them had lights on. And they were riding on the left hand side of a two-way street. I mean, they do have training right? They were not, I will note, responding to an emergency, or if so it was the slowest response I've ever seen.

@guez, does Critical Mass still cause trouble in DC? I haven't heard or seen anything like that in a while.

Tom, you said what I was thinking. It is far more dangerous for a driver of a 3,000 lb vehicle to be operating a camera while driving than anything the mayor did while biking.

Watching the video, I saw no outrageous cyclist behavior, and certainly no traffic jams. All the news reports about this have been severely biased against cyclists being on the roads at all. Local Fox 5 news even had the gall to say there were perfectly good trails, like the Mount Vernon Trail [!] to ride on, so why do bikers need to use the road? A reporter on another channel asked why Fenty didn't ride on the path in Rock Creek Park instead of the road. Fenty just sidestepped the question and didn't say, "well, basically, the path is a piece of crap."

Also, the Clara Barton Parkway does NOT have signs saying bikes are not allowed, so it is hard to know that bikes are not allowed. I don't blame the mayor or anyone else for biking there.

@Contarian, I struggle with the Peloton issue. What is the alternative, that a group of cyclists ride single file in the center of the lane? I think that leaves drivers worse off. But I do think they should remain in one lane, unless they are changing lanes for some reason.
I have no problem with people riding in large groups, I think I said that. The problem is when they violoate other road users' right of way to keep the group together. In the video the narrator says that Fenty's group is running a red light. They weren't really, but they were turning left when opposing traffic was present and had right of way.


I do think that the Mayor and the Police should be held to a higher standard, so this isn't just a "cyclist ran a stop sign" story. It's "the chief law maker/enforcer broke the law" story.

By the standard of people traveling with police escort everything I saw in the video was pretty tame. Much worse stuff goes on everyday in motorcades in DC. By the standards of cyclists, again, pretty tame. Even by the standards of motorists there wasn't much there. Funny how the narrator didn't mention that the Clara Barton is also closed to commercial vehicles, like the white van with ladder racks riding alongside the cyclists -- or the WTOP van!

What annoyed me about the video was the unspoken assumption that riding a bike on a road was some kind of crime against civilization and we should all be aghast that our taxpayers' dollars are going to support it.

OK, I understand now. I agree, if the group gets split up by a light and you want to stay together, you should not then run the light. You should safely pull over and wait for the ones who missed the light. That's how we do it on WAGBRAD.

I can't comment on the mayor's training rides but I've raced in two events with the mayor this fall, the Nation's Triathlon and the Bike for the Heart time trial race. I didn't see an overwhelming security detail at either event. I don't see how the security people could even follow him. I saw him right after he finished the swim. No security there.

At the bike time trial, he gladly posed for pictures with spectators even though he was preparing to race in the time trial. (Each of us started separately at one-minute intervals.)

I'd say the only item about the WTOP "expose" that surprises me is riding on the Clara Barton Parkway. Other than that, I'd much rather have a fit mayor who promotes health and fitness than a crack-smoking race-baiter like Marion Barry in the mayor's office. Mayor Fenty is involved with many of the triathlon, bike and running races in the area. Thousands of people participate and charities receive hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars a year from those races.

Just a note -- the poster here calling themselves "Contrarian" is not the same as the one posting to the City Paper site. Someone hijacked my nom de plume.

Dude what are you thinking...

I've been contrarian my whole life...

Whew. I saw Contrarian had posted there and I almost considered calling him out for cheating on me.

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