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This is the kind of cycling "advocacy" that just drives me batty.

Arguing that blocking a bike lane is more hazardous than just double parking in a vehicle lane -- which is the thrust behind this law -- is just plain bad advocacy. Double parking endangers no one, it just inconveniences people. Saying it is dangerous uses the same line of reasoning as the old canard that bicyclists endanger other road users by traveling slowly and "forcing" them to pass unsafely. Cyclists should respond to double-parkers the same we want motorists to respond to us -- slow down, and wait to pass until it's safe to do so. If you choose to respond to an inconvenience by taking on risk, that's your fault.

It's also bad advocacy to suggest that leaving bike lanes imperils cyclists. First, it's not true. There is absolutely no evidence -- nada, nil, zip -- that bike lanes are any safer than any other spot on the pavement. What it does reinforce, however, is the notion that cyclists should be kept off the roadway, "for their own good."

This law is unnecessary anyway. The Council seems to have bought the MPD's nonsense that there's no law against parking in bike lanes, when the reality is there is a law, the MPD just doesn't care to enforce it. DCMR 2405.3(c) is the relevant law, and it says "No person shall park a vehicle... On the roadway side of any vehicle stopped or parked at the edge or curb of a street." That clearly covers double-parking in a bike lane. DCMR 2400.2 requires you to park within twelve inches of the curb, which would also cover bike lane double parking (and puts the lie to MPD's ridiculous claim that you can't have two possible infractions for the same offense.) If MPD doesn't care to enforce the current law, why should we believe they'll treat the new law any differently?

I've also heard the argument that this bill closes a loophole, in situations where there is no parking area along a bike lane, but parking is not prohibited. But we don't need a new law to fix this situation (if it actually exists anywhere in DC; I've never seen it.) Just put up no-parking signs. That's what DDOT's design standards call for.

What's missing from the discussion is any thought about how deliveries are supposed to be made. I would be all in favor of mandating loading zones on every block and getting rid of some curb parking -- I think it would the city more livable. But the reality is that the city has made a different decision, that double-parking is the way that deliveries should be made. (I suspect that this decision lies at the root of why the MPD is reluctant to enforce double-parking everywhere, not just in bike lanes.)

So given that vehicles are going to double-park anyway, where is the best place for them to do it? As close to the curb as possible -- and if that's a bike lane, so be it. If a double parker uses the first non-bike lane rather than the bike lane, cyclists using the bike lane will go between two parked vehicles, one of them likely a large delivery truck that blocks their view. There is also a large likelihood of the driver stepping out from behind the truck as he makes the delivery, likely wheeling a dolly of merchandise. Cyclists who fail to foresee the hazard of this situation and react will be endangered, and all cyclists will be inconvenienced -- far more than they would if the double-parker had used the bike lane and the cyclists simply went around him.

To top things off, the debate of this law gave Carol Schwartz an opening to bad-mouth cyclists.

Just bad advocacy all around.

No one says it's more dangerous, but it may be a fair assumption that that's what they think. I think it should have a higher fine because it's more inconvenient than double parking - in that it takes up the whole lane. Also there's a signaling aspect.

I agree that DC needs to figure out some better way to deal with deliveries. In the interim, I'm not sure the status quo is defensible. UPS, Fed-ex etc... could find a way to do business without screwing everyone else over. But why would they? If DC started ticketing the bejezus out of them they might move some delivery hours, move deliveries to bikes, purchase parking spaces etc...The way things are is unacceptable though.

But many of your points are well taken. The MPD's argument that they could not ticket before this is weak.

From the linked article: "Since not all bike lanes parallel parking lanes, Wells pointed out, we need a fine for parking in the bike lane especially for those instances when the officer couldn't write a double parking ticket, but also to make clear that blocking a bike lane is more hazardous than just double parking in a vehicle lane."

The article is paraphrasing, but it seems clear that Tommy Wells was claiming that "blocking a bike lane is more hazardous than just double parking in a vehicle lane."

Hazardous, not inconvenient.

My bad, skimmed it too quickly.

Blocking a bike lane is indeed more hazardous than simply double parking.

When a bike is traveling in a regular traffic lane overtaking motorists have to either safely pass within that lane or use an adjacent lane. When the cyclist overtakes a double parked vehicle they are most often able to do so without leaving the travel lane they are currently in (nyc triple parked cars or Logan/Shaw on Sunday's being the exception) and do not create a potential conflict point with having to share the adjacent open lane with faster moving passing motorists.

When cars park or stop in the bike lane they often leave enough room for motorists to still safely pass within the lane adjacent to the bike lane. When the cyclist leaves the bike lane to maneuver around this or any other obstacle they enter a lane motorists do not expect them to be in, and if passing the stopped car at the same time will likely not have enough room to share creating a potential conflict point.

And yeah, its also inconvenient. Its frustrating and it kills your momentum to have to stop and wait for the adjacent lane to be clear. In communities that actively encourage bicycling, and recognize its benefit to all its citizens why not tack on an extra fine for motorists who's behavior serves as a direct impediment to cycling?

Sorry you consider this 'bad advocacy.' Given previous statements regarding your hostility to any and all things bike lane related its not surprising. Luckily I think you are in a very small minority, and the rest of us see the benefits of such facilities.

And who really listens to Carol Schwartz anyways? She's not exactly been the most pro-bike member of the council.

You say "hostility," I say "cold-eyed realism."

OK, consider this cold-eyed bit: before this bill was passed, it was illegal to double-park in a bike lane, and the fine was $100. Now, it's still illegal to double-park in a bike lane, and the fine is $65.

This bill created an incentive for double-parking in bike lanes over other lanes.

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