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I attended a meeting at the EPA building (12th and Penn) this morning. After riding across Capitol Hill and cutting down the Senate side of the Capitol building, I was able to take the new bike lanes the entire way. (I think they run from 3rd St NW all the way to Freedom Plaza.)

There were orange cones flanking the sides of the lane as well as positioned across the lanes at each intersection. However, there were several cyclists using the lanes as I rode westbound early this morning, so I followed them and dodged the cones across our path.

I had no issues taking the lanes eastbound after my meeting ended at noon. Due to several dedicated left turn lanes for cars along the way, cyclists should be very, very wary of running or jumping the red lights.

The more bike lanes we get, the more I get yelled at by aggressive drivers to get in the bike lane. This problem will increase, not shrink.

Brendan is right: everything and everyone MUST be in their pre-assigned place.

I'm wondering when they're going to be finished and how to define finished. Back when they put in the bike lanes on Thomas Circle and I wrote in and complained about how poorly-designed they are, I was assured that DDOT wasn't done with them and that they intend to put some kind of special paint down to make them more obvious to motorists.

That was in 2006, I believe.

I rode on them this morning - I like! I was nettled to find a number of FBI type SUVs parking in them; I didn't realize they were not open. The cones seemed like a way to keep the cyclists safe from cars who don't comprehend the lines and signs. Those security SUV folks must be irritated - Pennsylvania Ave. was their personal fiefdom.

>>>
A police officer, not MPD, but some other federal police force, pulled him over
<<<

I don't know what, if any, the jurisdictional constraints may be - but isn't odd that it was a non-MPD officer? Seems to me like it was a bit of law enforcement bullying!

Too bad the cyclist didn't note their agency or badge. I bet they'd like to know if an officer of theirs is attempting to enforce laws outside their bounds - and incorrectly to boot.

I can't think of a police officer down there that does not have jurisdiction. They are all federal.

Yes - but their job is to protect the federal facility to which they are assigned. Going off the "reservation" just to harass someone probably is not what their supervisor assigned them to.

I bet it was an FBI officer PO'ed about losing the parking. Oh well - they still have the bike lane on E St!

When the lanes *are* done, why are cyclists not required to use them?

Because there is no law requiring it. And even the ride right law isn't applicable (another advantage of center bike lanes).

so why isn't there a law?

Why should there be one?

Why should we build a bike lane if it's not going to be used?

We have sidewalks to separate pedestrians from cars, and laws that generally restrict pedestrians from walking in the road.

Look at it more broadly--if cyclists don't use bike lanes then how do you justify more bike lanes? It costs money, and motorists aren't going to be supportive of reducing road width for an empty, unused bike lane.

Many cyclists will use bike lanes, but not all. We build public mailboxes even though some people don't use them. Same thing.

We build HOV lanes and HOV's aren't required to use them. We build bus lanes and buses aren't required to use them.

More broadly, if we're building bike facilities, and large numbers of cyclists choose not to use them, that's a problem with the facility, not with the cyclists.

None of those things are useful analogies.

The justification for the bike lane is to make traffic flow better and more safely by separating two modes of transportation that sometimes are in conflict. That's not true of HOV, buses, or mailboxes.

I agree if cyclists don't want to use them, there's a design problem. But that doesn't mean that cyclists shouldn't be required to use well-designed lanes.

Traffic does flow better of HOV lanes are fully utilized - same with bus lanes.

Will you dictate which lanes are well-designed? The original designers thought they were just fine.

The justification for the bike lane is to make traffic flow better and more safely by separating two modes of transportation that sometimes are in conflict.

Funny, the most common justification I hear for bike lanes is to encourage cycling by making cyclists feel more comfortable. Kind of like how HOV lanes encourage ride-sharing and bus lanes encourage bus usage.

I agree if cyclists don't want to use them, there's a design problem. But that doesn't mean that cyclists shouldn't be required to use well-designed lanes.
The problem is deciding what "well-designed" means. There's not a whole lot of agreement on that. If you apply the empirical test -- a well-designed bike lane is one that cyclists prefer to use -- why do you need a requirement? In fact, having the bike lane be optional serves a useful purpose in signaling how well designed the bike lane is.

In any case, the Pennsylvania Avenue lanes are something of an anomoly because they are on the left side of the road. In all three local jurisdictions cyclists are required to use bike lanes that are on the right side, unless they have a good reason not to. In theory poor design can be a reason but I think that would be a tough argument to win.

So when will the bike lanes be open?

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