« Sometimes it's hard to feel like an outsider | Main | Fenty's mid-term grades »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

People like this are the root of the problem. Do we contact the head of WTOP or the parent company Bonniville International. His statment is not inline with their mission statment which can be found here.


It says nothing about angering and pitting their audience against one another which is what he has done.

I have had cars pass me while I am riding at 26mph on my bicycle on beach drive. They were at a speed that they should have been pulled over for speeding.

It is and always will be legal to ride a bicycle on the road.

"It says nothing about angering and pitting their audience against one another which is what he has done."

This is an interesting observation. I made that final point in my e-mail to him:

"Otherwise, uninformed comments such as yours will be making life for bicyclists more dangerous because motorists feel justified in riding up to bicyclists to intimidate them, pass them too closely or do other things that can endanger life and limb of these human beings."

Very sad that this guy knows so little but gets such an outlet.


people who are angry at bicyclists legally biking on the road have psychological problems. inadequacy problems. some kind of problems. fact is, we're all just trying to get to our destinations, and for some reason, a lot of car people fixate on the one or two times that they've come across a cyclist breaking the law. but if you bring up the fact that hundreds (if not thousands) of car drivers break the law every day, they brush that fact off and try to get you to discuss their fixation exclusively.

it sounds like mr. core needs to get over his fixation. it's not an observation, it's a crutch.

Shane, it may not "seem" right, but it is perfectly legal and there are perfectly good reasons for it being that way.

If you (and now I mean "you" generally, not Shane) are trying to get somewhere in a car, perhaps you feel frustrated following behind a cyclist at a speed slower than you're capable of. This frustration is similar to that which you feel sitting in congested Beltway traffic or hitting your seventh consecutive red light: you are taking longer to get where you are headed than you thought you would, or than you theoretically could if it were just you on the road. And the answer is the same in all three situations: you aren't entitled to bike-free streets anymore than you're entitled to light traffic or green lights all the way.

A car sympathizer might argue back: "Yes, but traffic congestion is a consequence of the decisions of thousands of people, and red lights are the result of bureaucratized automation, whereas the slowpoke in front of me is a single selfish individual." This is just an attitude problem, as far as I'm concerned: why is the cyclist more selfish than the driver? If traffic's going fast enough that you can outpace the cyclist, yet you get no opportunity to pass him safely within 45 seconds, you're just on the wrong road.

Which brings us back to Chris Core: what's he doing commuting to work on Beach Drive when real commuter arteries like Connecticut Avenue and 16th St are so close?

Plus: I don't know what stretch of Beach Drive he's talking about, but north of Blagden Avenue, though there are paths, cyclists are not allowed on them.

(IMGoph just covered a lot of this ground, I see.)

It really is the same fight over and over again. It's going to take a lot of patience and persistence to get the message through. So I hope Eric will go on WTOP and the set the record straight as clearly as you have done here.

I once heard Chris Core complain about using headlights during the day. His problem seemed to be that if people did that, then people would stop noticing and it wouldn't do any good. Or something.

I think he sees his job as complaining, so he finds stuff to complain about. He's a professional whiner. It's a job.

Riding a bike on the road at 15mph does not seem right. People should follow what Chris is saying.

In my day, the Internet trolls trolled like they *meant* it, dag gummit. Nowadays?


If you intend to contact him -- and I encourage you to -- point out that the golden rule of punditry is that you are entitled to your own opinions, but not your facts. Stress that by having so many erroneous statements in his commentary he is doing a disservice to his listeners and undermining his own credibility.

My can't get my email through on WTOP's web site! Maybe to many people complaining :)

Hi freewheel,

I sent an e-mail to Core, or at least the website said it went through.

This is what I wrote:

Dear Mr. Core,

Your Bicycle Road Rage contribution is astonishingly misguided.

First, I do not know why you have a 5,000 lb automobile to move yourself around. Both cars in our four-person household weigh less than 3,500lbs and get us anywhere we want safely and in comfort.

Second, as you certainly should know before commenting on it, bicyclists have as much right to be on the roads you mention as you. This fundamental misunderstanding of the law may be why you feel road rage against cyclists (and who knows against whom else) who are trying to get to work just like you. Do you feel somehow more entitled then bicyclists? (Oh, and may I assume that, if the bicyclists goes faster than "about 15 tops", then you complain that they are all would-be racers training for the Tor de France.)

Third, what kind of road rage will a bicyclist display? Run into your 5,000 lbs vehicle with a 20 lbs bike? Judging from your otherwise unenlightened attitude, you may likely have passed a bicyclist without leaving at least three feet of passing distance which obviously will make any bicyclist being passed by a 5,000 lbs behemoth nervous.

Fourth, are you just angry that the occasional bicyclists may roll through a stop sign or red light when they can and you have to sit in traffic in your automobile? Seems to me that you are picking on the wrong group.

I highly recommend you do some research next time you are going on one of your silly tirades.

There are two good ways to gain more knowledge on this issue:
1. Get in the saddle and drive to work; see how much fun it is despite all the people in 5000 lb vehicles passing you too closely. You would be surprised how many drivers are actually unlike you and display courteousness and civility.

2. Go to the website of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association at http://www.waba.org/ . Call them up or visit them in person; I am sure they will be able to explain your questions to you in detail.

Otherwise, uninformed comments such as yours will be making life for bicyclists more dangerous because motorists feel justified in riding up to bicyclists to intimidate them, pass them too closely or do other things that can endanger life and limb of these human beings.

Best regards,

I hate the spelling errors that made it through... "Tor de France" arrgghh

The comment from Shane that read "Riding a bike on the road at 15mph does not seem right.People should follow what Chris is saying." was deleted because it was linkspam.

15mph? That's gentle coasting speed. Comfortable cruising speed on my 3-speed folding bike with 16" wheels is 18mph, 23-25 when I've got somewhere to go.

Cyclists go much faster than people think.

New WTOP article on this issue !!!!


I'm glad Core picked Beach Drive for his example since it displays his ignorance so perfectly. Beach Drive is in a park for heaven's sake. It's more a bike route than a car route, with the western end made purposely difficult to access by car. The route is featured as a prominent bike connection in all county master plans. Meanwhile the sidepath is one of the worst around for bike transportation. To say cyclists should get off Beach Drive and use the path is like telling truck drivers they should get off I-270 and use residential streets.

Of course cyclists' use of ANY road is perfectly acceptable (except where explicitly prohibited). Core's "speedism" is pretty much old hat. If drivers find themselves going slower than they'd like because of cyclists, let them advocate for more roads or more lanes or good bike lanes. Criticizing law-abiding users of the transportation system for meeting their own legitimate needs is pure arrogance. What's next, criticizing people who have lots of items in the grocery store line?

Let's also tell this commentator that bicycling is the ultimate example of self-reliance that conservatives like to talk about. We don’t need major infrastructure, don't need oil, and don't need a motor to propel us around. We have to work hard to get anywhere. I know conservatives who are proud to be bicyclists.

Hey Washcycle,

I think the NPR commentary you are thinking of is from the WAMU program Metro Connection. I know when I first heard Kalb’s commentary my blood boiled! I emailed the program that day regarding my feelings and the program’s producer, David Furst, got back to me that day with the promise to broadcast a response from WABA.

Here are the links to Kalb’s (“King of the road”) commentary and WABA’s response.

See ‘Commentary by Marvin Kalb - bikes & cars’

See ‘Why Bikes Belong’

The thing that's bugged me the most about bicyclists (and drivers too, for that matter) is those who do run red lights and stop signs. It's one thing to slow down but not stop for a stop sign on a bike when there's no other cars around. But it's another thing (and no better than the cars who do it) to run lights and stop signs when there ARE other vehicles around, especially vehicles who have the right-of-way.

No myth. Just an observation. From a frustrated driver AND cyclist.

Who listens to WTOP during the day? Mostly people in their cars.

How do WTOP reporters spend their days? Going to news events. How do they get there? Almost exclusively by car.

It should come as no surprise that the station is auto-centric.

Froggie, that's what bothers you most? I find the following more bothersome.

Cyclists who pass too closely.
Cyclists who ride in a pelaton on a narrow trail.
Cyclists who ride at night without lights.

Cyclists who run lights and stop lights don't actually bother me that much since 98% of the time they aren't being dangerous or discourteous. [But when they are that bothers me]

Thanks JeffB. That's exactly it.

"Two-way courtesy"? How scandalous! And god forbid that a cyclist like Froggie actually say that *sometimes* running a stop sign is unsafe and discourteous! These people need to be reeducated!

Wash: the passing closely thing doesn't bother me too much. Maybe because I run the gauntlet that's the Wilson Bridge construction 5 days a week. And it's the bikers at night who DON'T have lights that are more concerning than those that do.

And it's not so much the cyclists who run the lights and stop signs as it is those that do so when other vehicles are around (especially other vehicles who have the right-of-way). It's that 2% of the time that you hit upon that bugs me...though in my experience it's more than just 2%.

Yes guez. The thing that we're upset about is the call for two-way courtesy. We won't have any of it. I should not have to give courtesy, only receive. I'm a selfish, inconsiderate ass.

You think a lot of cyclists are jerks. That everyone should be a foot dropper. I get that. But this guy isn't really complaining about scofflaws. His complaint is about law-abiding cyclists, and the scofflawary is just his excuse for his rant. But it has nothing to do with it. It's like hating all Muslims for 9/11.

And I'm not criticizing Froggie's claim that sometimes cyclists running red lights is dangerous or rude. I seconded that. It's more a question about priorities.

"And it's the bikers at night who DON'T have lights that are more concerning than those that do."

Yeah, I wrote that backwards. I've fixed it.

Had a hunch that's what you meant, but just wanted to make sure. That'd be a very close #3 in my list.

Beach Drive is in a park for heaven's sake. It's more a bike route than a car route, with the western end made purposely difficult to access by car. The route is featured as a prominent bike connection in all county master plans. Meanwhile the sidepath is one of the worst around for bike transportation.

argument fail.

provide some evidence to back up the statement that beach drive is more a bike route than a car route, please, and the fact of the two-lane road being in the park doesn't cut it. i've lived in the dc area (md, dc and va) since the early 70s, and beach drive - and its associated tributaries - have always been car-centric. there even used to be a car ford in the park before one of the bridges was built. (the ford's still there.)

not sure what the "western end" of a predominantly north-south road could be. are you talking about where it dogs west and goes into MD? otherwise, there's plenty of western access along its run: tilden, broadbranch, joyce, bingham and wise roads all feed into beach drive.

the fact that beach is a "prominent bike connection" doesn't argue for bike-over-car preeminence, either. it just recognizes the utility of the road as a low-hazard (provided there aren't irritated drivers around) feeder to a considerable stretch of the city.

and as to the condition of the side path? deplorable. but again, not an argument against car use of the road.

Washcycle: Perhaps I went a little overboard, but the shrillness of this blog drives me crazy. And you know what? A lot of cyclists *are* jerks. So are a lot of drivers. And probably Chris Core.

You seem reasonable, however. And that is why I don't understand why you post commentaries such as the "Myth of Scofflaw Cyclist." Much of what you say in that posting (and this one) is actually quite reasonable. But the idea that the scofflaw cyclist is hardly a "myth." To see that, all you have to do is stand on a corner in downtown DC or read some of the libertarian/anarchist rants on this blog. Does this mean that *all* cyclists are scofflaws? No. Does this justify dismissing cyclist's rights? No. All I'm suggesting is that cyclists need to learn to *listen* to motorists' legitimate complaints. I'm not sure why this idea is so unpopular on this blog.

Core's commentary is profoundly misguided, but it's not entirely false...

from the NPS

"Sections of Beach Drive from Broad Branch Road to Military Road and from picnic grove 10 to Wise Road and from West Beach Drive to the DC line are closed on Saturdays, Sundays (7:00 AM Saturday-7:00 PM Sunday), and holidays for bikers, roller bladers, hikers and joggers. In addition, Bingham Drive and Sherill Drive are also closed weekends and federal holidays."

So the road is open for cyclists 100% of the time and cars only 79% of the time. That makes it more of a bike route in my mind.

Guez, I guess it depends on your definition of "scofflaw cyclist". If you mean it technically as in a cyclist who breaks the law, I will agree that that is not a myth. Such cyclists certainly exist.

But when I hear "scofflaw cyclists", such as in this commentary from Chris Core, what I hear is the idea that cyclists as a class are more dangerous, more reckless and less law-abiding than drivers. That I would say is at least unproven, and in my opinion a myth.

My wife was hit (but not injured or knocked down) by a wrong-way cyclist, who then yelled at her, recently so I know that some cyclists are jerks. And I'm willing to listen to the complaints of drivers and pedestrians. But so often they're filled with "get out of my" car-centric wrong ideas.

When pedestrians say cyclists shouldn't be on a busy sidewalk, I agree. And when drivers say cyclists shouldn't dart out into a busy intersection, or ride without lights, or ride against traffic, or ride on the shoulder of I-95 I agree.

If Chris Core's point is that some cyclists break the law and that they should stop because it's often dangerous - a point I would not be angry with, except for him singling out one class - then he did a poor job of making it.

I hope I am not too late to the "link-party"

Bicycle Road Rage, Part II


About a month ago, I was riding southwest on Kansas Ave. when the driver of a car going northeast -- two lanes across from me -- screamed at me being a white motherfucker. I flipped him off. He drove after me (I happened to turn around) and we faced off. As far as the guy was concerned, I provoked him. How? (He was much bigger than me, but I didn't back down.)

I have never participated in Critical Mass although I read about some instances it appears of bicyclist rage.

Mostly, I get into (verbal) altercations that are initiated by the driver. As one yelled at me "you're not a car, man."

Chris Core likely has a very narrow frame of reference.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Banner design by creativecouchdesigns.com

City Paper's Best Local Bike Blog 2009


 Subscribe in a reader