From Washington Post coverage of the final mayoral debate.
The polite crowd reacted most strongly not to a candidate, but to a topic: bikes. An audience-generated question about what the candidates would do to encourage bicycle use in the city prompted cheers and a few sharp answers. Wells criticized the Gray administration for altering plans for a separated bike lane on M Street NW, changing the design in the 1500 block at the behest of Metropolitan AME Church. That comment incensed Orange — who left unspoken that he is a Metropolitan congregant — accusing Wells of divisive rhetoric: “Last time I checked, I don’t believe I saw a bike lane in front of National Cathedral over on Wisconsin Avenue,” he said. “You can’t be on both sides of the equation depending on what audience you talk to.” Shallal, meanwhile, won cheers and applause for questioning the city government’s push to install bike lanes. “Just painting a bike on the road doesn’t make it safe,” he said, adding, “I stopped biking in the city because it’s too damn dangerous. … We have to come up with a real understanding of what safety is before we start just painting lanes.”