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Very true and well said - cycling is becoming even more convenient and that strikes some drivers stuck in traffic as unfair. I feel sorry for the motorists stuck in traffic in video - what horrible loss of time. But it should be obvious that taking away the bike lane would be a big step backwards.

No one's making them drive cars. If they think they are getting screwed and riding a bike is a great deal then they can join in.

There is a very low barrier to entry.

I suppose what he really means is that, by and large, pedestrians are nice and drivers are rude and that cyclists need to be nice, but all those suggestions are actually more car-like behavior than people-like behavior. "Riding with traffic"--like keeping to the right, staying in a lane, overtaking on the left--is what vehicles do. People--pedestrians--can wander all over a sidewalk, walk on either side, stop and peer into a shop window, and so forth. This is what Forester has been going on about for decades; someone should give Sullivan a copy.

As for cyclists on sidewalks: I think a sensible rule would be something like: cyclists *always* yield to pedestrians, and cyclists do not exceed the prevailing speed. If you're the only one on a sidewalk, you are at the prevailing speed by definition. If it's a crowded sidewalk, don't go faster than the pedestrians, at least those, say, within 25 feet in front of you.

I'm not sure if California Motorcycle Handbook 2008 was referring to people grabbing you when stating that lane splitting was dangerous. "Cars and motorcycles each need a full lane to operate safely. Lane sharing is not safe. Riding between rows of stopped or moving cars in the same lane can leave you vulnerable. A car could turn suddenly or change lanes, a door could open, or a hand could come out of a window. Discourage lane sharing by others."

why are the tour groups allowed to ride sedgways in the donwtown BID and cycling is not permitted?
I do not ride any kind of racing bike, and go fairly slow when compared to the street kamikazes- and yet it is ilegal for me to cycle downtown- an effective ban on cycling is in place- and we will never get ordinary people to bicycle unless DCs super wide sidewalk space is partially set aside for safe grade separated cycling tracks. I am not a car nor is my bicycle a motor vehicle- and yet they will ticket me and let the motorized sedgways get off scot free.I also use a bell, and the sedgway groups come up on you fast w/o any warning. The rules should be changed- they were put into place by people who drove cars. Sedgways should ride on the painted bike paths in the streets, with the bike racers, and separated bike tracks should be painted on all of the downtown sidewalks. No bicyclist should ever have to feel threatened by auto traffic.


John Forester is a total jerk and no parent in their right mind would ever allow their children to cycle in roads with cars. Pucher is the man everyone should be reading- not Forester- he is an obsolete car-oriented idiot- I cannot think up enough bad words to describe this arrogant ba$tard.

I think you have hit on something important with the idea that some motorists resent seeing bikes moving through traffic more quickly than cars. Some people just can't seem to stand the thought of anyone getting "ahead" of them -- you can see the same dynamic at work when a motorist speeds up to prevent another car from merging into their lane. I see this happen quite a bit when I am driving.


I thought you left town. The sidewalk is no place to ride. It is unsafe and you might as well walk your bike if you are scared.

Forrester is an old man. He has been riding his bike on the road regularly for decades. If it was so unsafe, as you intimate, he would be dead by now.

Also, I think you owe my parents and all the parents in my neighborhood an apology. They are sane rational people and don't need some irrational scaredy cat calling them names.

Now go back to Crawford and ride around your ranch.

I don't always do #6 "even if they're jaywalking". You're right I probably should, but otherwise end up stuck in the intersection sometimes... hmm. Will think about that one.

Whatever your views on fairness may be, think about liability first. Maryland law treats cyclists as drivers. If you and a driver both do something stupid resulting in accident, injury or death, the concept of shared negligence applies--even if said driver winds up with a spidered windshield, and you wind up in a wheelchair for life.


your comments are so typical of isolationist Americans who have absolutely a zero concept of what real cycling infrastructure is all about. If you took a week or two and checked out Germany, Denmark, and Holland, you would be surpised at how bicycles are totally separated from traffic- and this might wake you up. BTW- Iam not political- and I was BORN IN DC- so I have no reason to leave home. I have avoided this blog because of the outright hostility that so many of the blogging regulars seem to have towards sane cycling for folks other than racers or mountain bikers. It looked like an uphill battle- but I have seen that Washcycle has actually started to come around to some of the ideas that he was skeptical of before- and he is now a voice of reason and progressiveness. You should get out of your car, get rid of your racing/mountain bike- and join the vast majority of cyclists who ride every day for necessity and not just for sports. The downtown BID happens to have a very very restrictive set of rules against cycling on sidewalks- and experts- none other than Anne Rusk- of the Harvard School of Public Health- endorse the idea of having separated bikeways on sidewalks or separate areas away from cars and vehicular traffic. It is a sad predicament in thsi country that the very people who cycle are actually some of the ones holding back real progress for those of us not interested in dressing up in combat outfits and skinny tires acting like maniac daredevils. I hope that your children do not get hurt ridng with the car traffic- - for their sakes.

It was indeed I who commented on the issue of perceived fairness in an earlier thread. The more that I think about it, the less the stop sign issue is about safety and the more it has to do with perceptions and politics, which nonetheless matter a great, great deal. If we could muster the political support to change the stop sign law for cyclists, that would be fine with me (because that would mean that the majority was on our side), but the good will of motorists and pedestrians is sorely lacking, and that is where we should start.

At the end of the day, I think, the important thing is for cyclists, as a group, to develop an civic ethos (civicus=belonging to the city) that incorporates basic principles of fairness, consideration for others, and collective safety. This means:

1) following the rules that make sense for all vehicles sharing the road, even when we "don't want to," to quote Sullivan;

2) developing a code of conduct for cyclist-specific issues (sidewalk interaction with pedestrians, disputes about locking bikes with business owners);

3) seeking pragmatic changes to laws that endanger cyclists and discourage cycling;

4) avoiding (within reason) flaunting existing laws, even if we don't like them;

AND 5) acknowledging the diversity of needs and interests within the cycling community itself; just a thriving city accommodates work and play (often on the part of the same individuals), we should seek dialogue between "transportation"/commuter cyclists, families, fitness cyclist, racers-in-training—none of whom have a claim to be the "real cyclists."

What this comes down to (and here I agree with Sullivan) is viewing ourselves not as rebels, or even as private persons just going about our business, but as *citizens*. This means foregrounding the notions of responsibility, civility, dialogue, and common benefit and abandoning the culture of victimhood and entitlement (often couched in anarchistic or libertarian language).

This attitudinal shift will not "fix the problem" any more than creating (or abolishing) laws, or treating cyclists like motorists, or building infrastructure, or whatever. But it's a start.

Personally, I would be a lot happier knowing that the bicycle bloggers were aware of the great works being done by the likes of Anne Rusk & John Pucher.
The vision that they have spelt out for the future of cycling in this country is very progressive and does not exclude everyday, practical cycling- as do the present day rules and mindsets- that are very much geared towards the racing/athletic establishment . This needs to change- radically.

#6 I can accept...IF they're in the crosswalk. If they're jaywalking...fuggedabutit...

I drive, walk, or take Metro in D.C., but I'm not hostile at all to bikers. In fact, I think it's great that people bike and I'd do it myself if it were safer. That's the problem. When I'm driving and there's a biker in front of me, I think of how disastrous it would be if I or someone else in a car hit him or her. Even at 30 mph, they could easily die. It's a stressful situation for driver and biker alike.

We really need some separate bike lanes -- separated by more than just a stripe in the road. That would lead to more people using them, and the greater number of bicyclists would mean that everyone is safer because bikes and cars would be more aware of each other.

W, It is Anne Lusk...Lusk, wth an L. If you're going to cite her try and get her name right. While both she and Pucher both call for seperated bikeways to increase bike mode share and safety, neither are as vehemently opposed to vehicular cycling as you are. Pucher is speaking at the German embassy soon, and the co-author to much of his work, Ralph Bueler, teaches at VA Tech in Alexandria. I'm sure either of them would be happy to discuss the merits of having an integrated bicycle network that includes on-road and seperated facilities. In the meantime your 50lb Dutch bike you herald would mean I'd walk half my commute home, so I'll keep my road bike. k? thnx!

When I'm driving and there's a biker in front of me, I think of how disastrous it would be if I or someone else in a car hit him or her. Even at 30 mph, they could easily die. It's a stressful situation for driver and biker alike.

Not calling you out necessarily Greg, but try slowing down. The speed limit on most DC streets is 25mph. That's the maximum you are supposed to go. Driving slower is ok and legal. If more folks drove at or below the speed limit, I think the roads would be less stressful for all users, and would definitely be safer.

Getting back to the blog post, I'm with WashCycle and thm regarding sidewalks. Pedestrians have the right of way, but there are urban neighborhoods that have wide sidewalks and very few pedestrians. And riding on the sidewalk is a way to legally go "against traffic" on one-way streets. I put that in quotes because often one-way streets are used to funnel cars out of residential neighborhoods and onto main roads, leaving the residential streets with almost no traffic to go against. If there's a legal way for me to bike on the empty streets, sidewalks, and alleys, rather than acting like a car on the congested main roads, that's what I prefer to do.

enough with the newspaper speak - it's not acting like a car, it's acting like the driver of a car.

The actions are determined by the driver of the car, not the car itself.

You wouldn't say acting like a bicycle would you? You wouldn't say that because the cyclist is more visible, but like a car the actions of the bicyle are determined by the operator, not the bicycle itself.

Newspaper speak always treats the car as if it has a mind of it's own and the driver is it's babysitter.

Lee, I'm with you and have recently made a concerted effort to refer to "cyclists" and "drivers" though it is harder than I thought (referring to "cars" is very much a part of the lexicon, like "accidents" and to less extent "vehicular lanes"), but in this case I was quoting Sullivan.

Second, I think there needs to be two tiers of bicycles. Those that are certified as road-worthy, and those that are certified as toys only. The reason there are bikes on the road with no lights is that they are sold that way and do not need to be certified as road worthy. THis contributes to the view that all bikes are toys.

A bicycle with no lights, no storage capacity, no fenders, no chainguards, no brakes, off-road tires etc. is not any more road worthy than a car that has no lights, no storage, off-road tires without finders, no hood or bumper, etc. On a motor vehicle this would get you a ticket and not pass inspection. A bike that does not qualify as road worthy should not be certified and unqualified bikes should be ticketed on the road.

This would result in cyclists using real road-worthy bikes on the road like they do in Europe. Mountain bikes can stay on mountain trails. Fixies without brakes can stick to the track races. Road bikes with no fenders or lights can stick to the bike trails in the daytime. Leave the roads to the real road-worthy bikes.

Lambasting people for driving 5 mph over the limit on roads that some people go 50 on? Sigh. So much for compromise.

I agree with Lee about road-worthy bikes. They should be required to have engines. If a car didn't have an engine, it wouldn't be allowed on the road. (April fool.)


Thats w not W right? I think you need to improve your self esteem. You should take pride in your name and use a capital letter.

As a matter of fact I have cycled in Germany and in the Netherlands.

Germany was a long time ago but I do remember a German driver going out of his way to teach my 14 year old friend a lesson. He chased him into a farmers field with his car because the kid was riding on the wrong side of the road. It was truly amazing. The guy had all four wheels of the Mercedes in the dirt. We had never seen anything like that back in Jersey. I sure thats why they built all the bike paths. Other than that I never had any problems with German drivers in the two weeks I was there.

Amsterdam was lovely. Again, most of the riding that I did was on city streets. Except for the main streets, there was no need for paths.

To one of your other points, if Dean Rusk endorses bike paths, who am I to argue.

Lee said:
Road bikes with no fenders or lights can stick to the bike trails in the daytime. Leave the roads to the real road-worthy bikes.

You had me, you had me, you had me...then you veered off into East Crazyland...
Greg said:
Lambasting people for driving 5 mph over the limit on roads that some people go 50 on? Sigh. So much for compromise.

And there, ladies & gentlemen, you have the source of 90% of the problem. One more time: There is a speed limit. The law says quite clearly that you are not to exceed it.

Just absolutely amazing the amount of over-the-top vitriol that gets thrown at cyclists for slow-rolling stop signs/lights, whereas requests that the most dangerous vehicles actually adhere to the most fundamentally laws of the road elicits nothing but uncomprehending stares.

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