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Where in the DC traffic code does it say 600 people can take over a road and obstruct traffic? In fact, 1201.7 states, "Persons riding upon a roadway shall not ride more than two abreast except on paths or part of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles. Persons riding two abreast shall not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic and, on a lane roadway, shall ride within a single lane." All six hundred of the participants, not just a few "bad apples," were breaking the law.

Where in DC traffic code does it say that 600 people in cars can take over a road and obstruct traffic?

The Daily News article on CitiBikes links to this gem:

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/hasidic-group-rallies-bikes-article-1.1370557

See, there are *some* bike conflicts that we don't deal with here in DC.

So the DC bike party got lots of people irritated, and alienated people against bikers in general. Wow, who thought that might have happened?

"Where in the DC traffic code does it say 600 people can take over a road and obstruct traffic? "

You realize that happens every day on nearly every road in the District, right?

Asuka, it is likely that the DC Bike Party is illegal. Do you think that is indicative of good laws?

"It is likely." LOL There's no "likely" about it - it's illegal and obnoxious and "indicative" of selfish, silly people. Of course I'm not surprised that your rebuttal once again boils down to, "the law should never apply to cyclists, only everyone else." If you stepped out of your echo chamber every now and again, you'd realize that stuff like this is bad for cycling and the perception of cyclists.

The caption on the photo in the dcist article says "Two bikers behaving well in DC."
One is salmoning...

Asuka,

From a news story ""DC Bike Party works in conjunction with police and DDOT in trying to make their meet-up events safe for everyone." So, why would MPD work with them if they're breaking the law? Unless they've been charged and convicted likely is all I'll concede. Perhaps you lack the uncertainty that I find useful.

I forgot, the photo was taken during the inauguration when the road was closed to auto traffic.

The caption on the photo in the dcist article says "Two bikers behaving well in DC." One is salmoning...

The cyclist pictured weighs in later on the DCist thread - they were riding on a blocked-off Constitution Ave. during the Inauguration.

"this is bad for cycling and the perception of cyclists"

Dear Akusa,

Thank you for your suggestion that the most effective way to accomplish societal change in favor of bicycling is to be as obedient as possible at all times. While I am not sure Susan B. Anthony would agree with your strategy, I am confident that each and every one of my cyclist friends will give it due consideration.

Sincerely,

Jonathan

"DC Bike Party works in conjunction with police and DDOT in trying to make their meet-up events safe for everyone."

I would like to see more evidence of this. I have notified them twice of their routes being illegal regardless of how they ride it (wrong way on one-ways and illegal turns) and have a hard time believing DDOT or MPD would allow such things when they could easily just go a block over.

@wash

So what? The police do lots of things that aren't within the letter of the law; just because they choose to ignore the law in a given situation does not mean that participants aren't breaking the law. The judiciary, not the police force, is the arbiter of law.

You are quick to attack the police when they enforce the law, then hide behind them when it's convenient for you. It's intellectually dishonest and hypocritical.

So what?

So that means that the organizations tasked with enforcing the law don't see it as their job to crack down on this. Give that the weight that you see fit. I see that as worth more than nothing.

You are quick to attack the police when they enforce the law, then hide behind them when it's convenient for you. It's intellectually dishonest and hypocritical.

I don't think that's accurate at all. {Really? hide? Can you try to get through one comment thread without your assholeness coming out?]

I criticize them for not enforcing laws that are clear and that protect people from dangerous behavior. I don't think I've ever criticized them for not enforcing laws that are ambiguous or that do nothing for safety.

Let's recap, your interpretation of the law is that group riding as illegal. The MPD sees it differently. I think that makes the use of the word "likely" in my above comment overly generous to you. But if it is your position that you are 100% sure that it is illegal and that anyone that disagrees with you is crazy, then all I can say is that I suppose we only have the term "open minded" because there are times that some people are not.

Asuka:


Being obnoxious is not illegal.

As for being in a bubble, as you content, did you bother to read the previous coverage on this precise topic? Washcycle and several of us criticized this event and engaged in back and forth with the organizers and participants on this very issue.


sorry, my quotes disappeared. my bad coding...

Jonathon Krall: there is a difference between targetted disobedience and just not caring about the law.

It's important, but probably too late, to point out that there's a difference between what individual people on bikes do and what we need to expect of an organized group social good clean fun ride.

And on that level, a good model might be WABA's 50 States ride, which limits registration, requires a participation agreement, requires helmets, requires following the law, provides sufficient and effective staff to supervise the course, provides on-course and rest stop support, and has an ongoing operation governing it.

DCBP has a playlist.

DaveS, that's true. It's worth asking if a less formal ride like this has a place in DC and if so, how do we accommodate it.

Do lets recap. It's not my, "interpretation," it is clearly stated in the code. Just because the police don't enforce it does not mean it isn't law. There are lots of things the police choose to not enforce that are never-the-less law as passed by a democratically elected legislature tasked to express society's opinions in the form of law. If the police choose to violate that process, well that's between them and their elected superiors.

The moment you called me an asshole is the moment you lost the debate. Your pathetic attempts to rationalize irrational behavior are laughable. Kind of like when you advocate against helmet laws because helmets "only" prevent 40% of potential head injuries as opposed to 100%, then make a false equivalency argument that pedestrians don't wear helmets, so cyclists shouldn't either (pedestrians aren't moving at 12+ mph between cars while perched on two thin pieces of rubber). Just admit it: You think there are no laws cyclists should be expected to follow. While I would disagree with that statement, at least I could respect the honesty.

@SJE

"Washcycle and several of us criticized this event and engaged in back and forth with the organizers and participants on this very issue."

Really? Then why is he defending them in this instance? An immature reaction to someone he doesn't like (me)?

Do you really think intentionally annoying the public at large with these sorts of events are good for bike advocacy? Do you think it helps to combat the scofflaw stereotype?

@ Wash

"All I can say is that I suppose we only have the term "open minded" because there are times that some people are not."

Is it being open minded to defend behavior you apparently don't really support (according to SJE) just because you perceive ANY critique of ANY cyclist as some sort of attack on cycling in general? That's an odd definition of "open minded."

"there is a difference between targeted disobedience and just not caring about the law."

True, but I was instead reacting more to the myth that cyclists can somehow gain the respect of other road users by being extra obedient at all times.

As to "just not caring about the law" that is a total myth. Evidence suggests that most cyclists react to the perceived (and widely and misleadingly reported) danger of cycling by being cautious rather than reckless.
http://alextimes.com/2013/06/the-bicyclist-as-a-scofflaw-is-a-common-misperception/

Sadly, anti-cyclist attitudes are pervasive in our society. Like other prejudices, they are generally held by anyone who isn't making an effort to avoid them. In this case that includes the cyclists themselves (for example, I often read things like "my attitude can't be sexist because I know women who think that way", which is a statement that fails to account for the pervasiveness of sexism).

A part of me is a little envious at the carefree aspect of Bike Party, the very parts of it that makes rule-following antithetical to what it's all about. It's not even really about sticking it to the Man as kind of a joyful anarchy.

Sadly, we live in a society where we do have rules, and for good reasons. It's the point at which the joyful exuberance of Bike Party begins to be dangerous and rude to other people who are just trying to live their lives that we have to tell the Bike Party folks that they are out of hand and need to rein it in.

Of course, since Washcycle posters represent the Man, or so they imply, they are quite unlikely listen to us.

@Crickey7

I don't represent "The Man," I represent an average cyclist who is sick of seeing a small, militant portion of this community do all it can to further negative stereotypes. And yes, "militant" is a totally appropriate adjective to describe someone who is so totally committed to their ideology that they no longer think or act rationally.

Cars need to follow rules, pedestrians need to follow rules, and cyclists need to follow rules, and no amount of ad hominem tu quoque, "well-they-do-it-too" fallacies will alter this prerequisite to a civilized society.

Asuka:
I don't see where @Wash is defending them. I do see him trying to counter some of your factual innacuracies and hyperbole.

For example, I do not think these events help the PR for biking, and @wash has raised similar concerns here and elsewhere. I also agree with your that militant scofflaws are a PR problem.

However, YOU say, "Do you really think intentionally annoying the public at large" Where do you see that? I saw no evidence that the organizers or the majority of participants had this intent.

Elsehwere,you engage in name calling and then complain that others said bad words about you.

If you toned it down a notch then you might get a better response.

So, why would MPD work with them if they're breaking the law?

Cops individually and police departments institutionally work with people and groups who are breaking the law all the time. One-on-one examples are too banal to itemize. Group examples include the Occupy Whatever initiative, which led to plenty of settlements that violated all kinds of laws. In some cases these were tolerated out of simple expediency--local forces saw no effective way to shut them down quickly without making things worse. In other cases, the lefty city administrations agreed with Occupy's goals and took a l o n g time to do anything about it.

I hope WABA makes progress on this front. Biking is fun. This is just an example of a fun little phenomenon that is outgrowing its success. A few dozen people doing this is briefly annoying for others. 600+ and it starts to become menacing, and you just need more organization and yes, more rules, to make it work without causing a totally normal and predictable backlash.

I'm watching a Red Sox game right now. I guarantee that in the dawn of time when something like baseball was being played, it was a cozy neighborhood afterthought where everyone knew everyone and the rules were more like... guidelines. Then it became popular, the damn umpires came in to settle disputes the players couldn't agree upon on their own, and The Man has been dragging it all downhill since the National League was founded in 1875.

Christopher: a great analogy. Its like wanting to ban baseball because a kid threw a ball through my window.

It's not my, "interpretation," it is clearly stated in the code.

It's your interpretation of the code. If the law just "was" without the need to be interpreted we wouldn't have lawyers and judges.

The moment you called me an asshole is the moment you lost the debate.

Says you. But I think it's possible that you can be an asshole And that I can identify that, call you out as such and still be right. Those facts are not exclusive. In fact, in my experience there is a strong correlation between being an asshole and being wrong.

Kind of like when you advocate against helmet laws because helmets "only" prevent 40% of potential head injuries as opposed to 100%

Wow. You really have a hard on for helmets don't you? What does this have to do with helmets? What does an activity that is not required by law, and that most cyclists do anyway, have to do with an activity that is prohibited by law and that most cyclists don't do?

As for why I oppose helmet laws, you have failed to understand my position despite my explaining it to you many many times. Clearly you will believe about me what it is you want to believe. But I'll point out that it's lying about what I say that makes you an asshole.

then make a false equivalency argument that pedestrians don't wear helmets, so cyclists shouldn't either

Jeezes. I've never made such an argument. Do you even read what I write? Here's why I bring that up. If the standard is: You should wear a helmet when biking because it could save your life and is only a small inconvenience (as some argue) then why wouldn't that apply to wearing a pedestrian helmet?

I think anyone can understand that the answer to that question is that it would. So, the problem is in the framing of the standard. It is not nuanced enough. But most people don't get this and get hung up complaining that they aren't the same thing (guez is an exception in that he does get this).

So that's what it is. Not a false equivalency, just pushing people to make the more nuanced argument.

Just admit it: You think there are no laws cyclists should be expected to follow.

I won't admit that, because I think there are many laws cyclists should be expected to follow. Laws requiring lights and reflectors at night for example. I've actually pushed for a law requiring cyclists to have rear tail lights - not just reflectors.

why is he defending them in this instance?

I'm defending the ride. Most of the cyclists seem to ride safely and politely. I like the idea of the ride. I think it's good for bike advocacy for biking to be seen as fun and for new people to get on bikes and ride in the city (which riding in a group facilitates). I'm not defending being rude or reckless. I'd like to see this ride succeed and keep the focus on where it could do better.

I can simultaneous defend the organizers and most participants AND condemn the bad behavior of others just as I can support our troops even though some of them are bad apples.

Do you really think intentionally annoying the public at large with these sorts of events are good for bike advocacy? Do you think it helps to combat the scofflaw stereotype?

I don't think people are intentionally annoying anyone. Maybe a few do it intentionally and others do it as a byproduct. I do think the ride can be good for bicycling advocacy, but it can also foster the scofflaw stereotype. The two are not mutually exclusive.

Is it being open minded to defend behavior you apparently don't really support (according to SJE) just because you perceive ANY critique of ANY cyclist as some sort of attack on cycling in general?

Maybe you're not an asshole. Maybe you just can't process information properly. Have you suffered some sort of brain trauma? OMG, that's why you love helmets so much. It's all making sense now.

@Wash

"It's your interpretation of the code."

1201.7 states, "Persons riding upon a roadway SHALL NOT RIDE MORE THAN TWO ABREAST except on paths or part of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles. Persons riding two abreast SHALL NOT IMPEDE THE NORMAL AND REASONABLE MOVEMENT OF TRAFFIC and, on a lane roadway, shall ride within a single lane."

How is that law interpreted to allow 600 take over a road and ride as they do during DC Bike parties? Unlike you, I'm not going to insult and suggest you have a reading comprehension deficiency; I'm certain that your comprehension is just fine. It's your intellectual honesty that such statements bring into question.

"Says you."

Nope - anyone who resorts to insults has obviously lost the debate. Why else would one choose to insult when one could better make a point by rebutting the opposing view?

"I've never made such an argument."

You make it all the time, both here and at GGW.

"I think anyone can understand that the answer to that question is that it would."

They would? Or would they understand that the two activities carry significantly different levels of risk, so much so that any attempt to compare them is a classic false equivalency? What were you saying about a "nuanced argument?"

"Have you suffered some sort of brain trauma? OMG, that's why you love helmets so much. It's all making sense now."

Right - more insults. I can see you have great faith in your arguments. If you haven't realized it yet, you're losing this argument, as evidenced by the fact that, despite this being your playground and me being the heel, people aren't really jumping to your defense. But by all means, keep calling me names - it makes your arguments seem so well reasoned and you so rational.

@SJE

"I don't see where @Wash is defending them."

You don't? What's he doing then?

"I do see him trying to counter some of your factual innacuracies and hyperbole."

Such as? Is my statement of the law "factually inaccurate?"

"Elsehwere,you engage in name calling and then complain that others said bad words about you."

Where? Saying that someone is being intellectually dishonest or hypocritical is not "name calling," it's describing their position, not them personally. Calling me an "asshole" and suggesting that I've suffered head trauma (making light of people with severe brain injuries is so funny, isn't it?) is another animal all together.

I think the fact that this ride attracted several hundred people, that other rides (Tweed, BikeSpace, etc.) are also drawing almost unmanageably large crowds, that WABA's rides (like 50 States) regularly sell out months in advance indicates that there's a huge and unmet demand for people to ride together and enjoy public space together. It's no more reasonable or realistic to demand that every single group of 2+ bicyclists must arrange a parade permit and $1000s in paid security -- which Bike DC, Tour de Fat, etc. are unable to get anyways -- than to dictate that every single park picnic shall be permitted and registered a year in advance.

WABA posted a response on its site that acknowledges that this isn't realistic: "Community events are either cancelled or left to operate on their own. But we do look forward to an open conversation with police about how we can better work together to find a balance that helps ensure the safety of group bike rides."

How is that law interpreted to allow 600 take over a road and ride as they do during DC Bike parties?

Because the law has nothing to do with the number of cyclists on the road at any time. It has to do with cyclists not riding more than two abreast. Sometimes that happens on this ride, but that doesn't make the ride illegal.

Furthermore the term "NORMAL AND REASONABLE MOVEMENT OF TRAFFIC" is not defined. I think going at the speed of a normal and reasonable cyclists is totally normal and reasonable. Do you disagree?

Do you think the intent of this law is that cyclists must ride in a line of 600 cyclists end to end? I don't think the people who wrote this law had DC Bike Party in mind at all. I don't know what a judge would do if someone were ever ticketed for this. And neither do you. So I stand by my claim - likely illegal.

I really can not believe that you can't just accept that and move on.

And now, to go back to the original question if the DC Bike Party is illegal, do you think that is indicative of good laws?

Why else would one choose to insult when one could better make a point by rebutting the opposing view?

I didn't realize it was either/or. I wanted to insult you AND rebut your awful position. Is that not allowed? You realize that if I call you a bad word it doesn't actually change who is right or wrong, don't you? It's totally irrelevant to the debate.

You make it all the time, both here and at GGW.

I'll bet you a pizza you can't show me where.

They would? Or would they understand that the two activities carry significantly different levels of risk, so much so that any attempt to compare them is a classic false equivalency?

Yes to the first question. No to the second. The nuanced argument is that the two activities carry different risks, and that there is some threshold of risk for which wearing a helmet makes sense and where it does not. That's what I mean by more nuanced standard. It's not just that your brain is important and helmets can protect your brain, so you should wear a helmet. But that you should wear a helmet when the risk is above some threshold.

If people ever get to that point - and like you, they don't. Then I ask them to define the threshold and prove that biking is above it and walking is not. And that showering is not. And that motoring is not. Etc... but no one has ever done that so far.

I can see you have great faith in your arguments.

I have great faith in my arguments, and I enjoy insulting you. Again, not mutually exclusive.

Asuka: your statement of the code is accurate. Your interpretation of the code is inaccurate, IMO, because it fails to account for other sections of code and for the practice of how the code is applied.

In the same vein, I find that you pick isolated facts from things people say, and do not consider their totality of statements.

people aren't really jumping to your defense

I didn't realize that was how you measure winning. I thought you were losing because you kept saying things that were untrue or wrong and easily proven to be so. Cases in point:


1. 'your rebuttal once again boils down to, "the law should never apply to cyclists, only everyone else."' - My rebutal was nothing like that. I said this law was likely illegal and then asked you what you thought about the law. Not at all how you characterized it. But you didn't answer me and instead responded to my legitimate interest in your position by accusing me of being in an echo chamber and of making unreasonable statements.

2. When I went with the term likely illegal, you acted as though it was a foregone conclusion that it was. But later said that "The judiciary... is the arbiter of law." So which is it? Does the judiciary decide these things or don't they? And have they decided this case.

3. You wrote "You are quick to attack the police when they enforce the law, then hide behind them when it's convenient for you." Would you care to back this up? I often call on the police to enforce the law I'll note.

4. You wrote "Kind of like when you advocate against helmet laws because helmets "only" prevent 40% of potential head injuries as opposed to 100%" Except that I never did any such thing. And you won't be able to find any evidence that I did.

5. You wrote that I "make a false equivalency argument that pedestrians don't wear helmets, so cyclists shouldn't either." Except that I never did any such thing. And you won't be able to find any evidence that I did.

6. You wrote " You think there are no laws cyclists should be expected to follow" But I clearly stated that I don't think that at all. And there are other examples on the blog where I've said so.

7. You wrote " I represent an average cyclist who is sick of seeing a small, militant portion of this community do all it can to further negative stereotypes." Do you have a name for any such person? Who is doing all they can to further negative sterotypes? I don't think you can name any one.

As you put it "It's your intellectual honesty that such statements bring into question."

And I don't see anything honest about any of these numbered statements.

Asuka,

As a thought exercise, what if all 600 cyclists rode single file, obeyed *every* light and sign, and generally maintained a speed of 10 mph. This, I think you would agree, would be perfectly legal and within their rights.

The difficulty comes from the presumed fact that most drivers would still be angry about cyclists on the roads, esp if they are forming 600 bike long peletons. I think you would agree that drivers would be quite upset about this.

What is really getting under the skin of drivers isn't the bad behavior of a few scofflaws; rather, that cyclists are getting in their way on the roads which they feel they own and control.

Cyclists fall into the category of "other" whereas drivers see themselves in other drivers; that is why you don't see the same level of vitriol directed against people who cause accidents on the roads and the resultant massive backups. The driver says to himself, "gee, that could be me next time."

At the end of the day, most of society simply hasn't accepted the idea of "sharing the road." It's more like, "I'll share the road so long as you don't get in my way."

I don't support cyclists breaking the laws but also do not accept the premise that all cyclists magically becoming law abiding will suddenly change the opinions of most drivers. Similarly, the extraordinary depths to which drivers disobey the laws every day will not dim the fervor of the pro-car crowd.

"I can see you have great faith in your arguments. If you haven't realized it yet, you're losing this argument, as evidenced by the fact that, despite this being your playground and me being the heel, people aren't really jumping to your defense. But by all means, keep calling me names - it makes your arguments seem so well reasoned and you so rational."

@Asuka: If you really think people are reading what you wrote and thinking that it's insightful, you're delusional. I assume you're actually trolling, but if not, let me assure you that your logic is tenuous at best and your arguments unconvincing. If you aren't trolling, calm down and try to reframe your argument in a more reasoned and reasonable manner.

@Was

"Sometimes that happens on this ride, but that doesn't make the ride illegal."

"Sometimes?" "Sometimes" 600 people ride more than two a breast during a bike party? LOL - you live in an alternate reality. There's no point in arguing with someone who is either so completely blinded by their ideology that it alters reality, or they are so intellectually dishonest that they can't admit when they're wrong.

"Do you disagree?"

That bringing traffic to a complete standstill while 600 people overtake several blocks of road doesn't make for "normal" flow of traffic? Yeah, I don't think that's what the authors hand in mind when they used the word "normal and reasonable." But since that clause is prefaced by the assumption that no more than two are riding abreast to begin with, it's irrelevant . The fact that you chose to ignore the operative clause and first part of that sentence ("Persons riding two abreast...), but still tried to use the second, dependent clause to make a point speaks to your intellectual dishonesty.


PS. If I wanted to waste the time, I'd go dig up all the posts you made on the article at GGW about helmet laws. If I wanted to waste the time, I could dig up posts you've made here attacking the police for enforcing stop sign laws. However, while though those posts show you doing both of those things, you'd still deny doing them. Pizza or no pizza (and I'm SURE you'd renege on that offer, as you've shown yourself to be completely dishonest), that's a sucker's folly.

Good things were accomplished in this back and forth, but none as important as exposing you for what you are for all to see: A dishonest ideologue.

"Sometimes?"

Yes. Sometimes. As opposed to all of the time or none of the time. Sometimes.

"That bringing traffic to a complete standstill while 600 people overtake several blocks of road doesn't make for "normal" flow of traffic?"

That wasn't the question. Don't you think restating a question in a way that completely changes it is "intellectually dishonest"? The question was is slowing traffic to the speed of a normal and reasonable cyclists normal and reasonable.

The fact that you chose to ignore the operative clause

I addressed that. At times cyclists are travelling at more than two abreast at others they are not. When they are they are breaking the law. But the police don't feel the need to enforce that law (possibly because they recognize that doing so would make things worse). I'm not sure the courts would uphold it if they did. But, do you think this is a good law? You keep dodging that question.

I'd go dig up all the posts you made on the article at GGW about helmet laws.

But you haven't. Because you can't. Because you know you know you've misstated my positions. I asked you to bet, because betting is a tax on BS. And it's time to put up or shut up Asuka. Which will it be?

Wow! That there is some kick-a-- trolling! Excellent response! Congrats!

Now that I've got that bit of snark out of the way, I think this discussion raises a mildly interesting point about what it means to "impede traffic."

I visualize impeding traffic as, for example, a case of a slow-moving tractor on an isolated road with an increasing number of vehicles "stuck" behind it. In that case, the other drivers have no convenient parallel routes (it's a rural road, not a street grid) and the driver of the tractor needs to look for a place to pull over so as to let others pass. Otherwise, she might be subject to a ticket. My guess is that the police generally see this law in a similar way.

In the case of the DC Bike Party, there are plenty of other routes, so people who are "stuck" behind the Party can wait a few extra seconds for an opportunity to move over to a parallel street. That the Party is talking up a lot of space on the road is not illegal (cyclists have the right to create and enjoy rush-hour congestion, just like drivers). The relevant laws in this case would be those governing stopping at red lights or, if the cyclists decided to stop in an intersection, those governing "blocking the box."

As Wash and others point out, cops pick and choose which laws to enforce all the time, depending on the circumstances. Yes, they could have a field day enforcing the two-abreast law in this case, but they would not improve much of anything by doing so. Effective policing depends to a large degree on the good will of the public, so it makes sense to pick and choose when to aggravate the public (in the case of crackdowns by Loudoun police, they seem to be assuming the cyclists are not Loudoun residents).

If I were the chief of police, I'd want the Party to stay close together (take up less space), stay to one lane (mitigate effect on other traffic), and obey red lights unless directed by traffic cops (again, mitigate affect on other traffic). In effect, I'd be encouraging them to violate the two-abreast rule early and often, so as to gain the other benefits.

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