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I have not seen much scattering by those super-human bicyclists either but maybe my old eyes cannot follow their speed.

In any event, it's probably hard to see what is going on on the MVT from a car moving 10 or miles per hour over the speed limit (Don't the Park Police ever enforce these rules?).

The writer more than likely has not spent much time on the MVT in any form (walking, running, biking, rollerblading...) so he just uses this blatant exaggeration to incite more hate and ill-will against bicyclists.

Pretty obvious and we'll see how effective it really is.

*sarcasm on* The one thing I don't understand is the complaint about those pesky bicyclists on the GWPW during rush hour. Shouldn't a good cyclist be able to keep up with traffic at that time anyway? Maybe there should be a minimum speed for bicyclsits on the GWPW? 25mph or at least a showing of a Category 3 or better ranking. *sarcasm off*

Speaking as an occasional walker & runner on the MVT, I have been run off the trail and cursed at by cyclists. I'm very considerate about keeping as far to the right as I can but there's just not that much room. It's narrow and with all the twists it is hard to see who is ahead of you. Please slow down.


Some time ago, I posted my experience as a runner on the trail. I noted that the (vast) majority of bicylcists do not announce themselves before passing and that continues to be the case. I went for a nice ride with my wife towards Mount Vernon on Saturday morning and we rarely heard a warning by bell or call-out.

So, I am not saying at all that bicyclists are doing everythig right but that there is not the mayhem on the trail that the letter writer apparently wants to inflict on us.

I teach my children how to announce themselves via bell or call-out and they are doing a good job while also noticing when others do not do it. It is a fact, however, that many people on the trail just do not pay attention (and I specifically exclude all children) to their environment. I cannot compete with their earphones or conversations on their cell phones or whatever else they are doing.

It is always an experience to see runners turn around right in front of me without a hint of a notice (of course they most likely did not hear my bell b/o their earphones). That careless behavior is probably no different from what they would exhibit if they were in their car or on their bike.

+1 on the earphones. I ring my bell as I approach and before I pass runners, pedestrians and other cyclists. Occasionally I'll get a startled look as I ride by. I usually think to myself, if your iPod wasn't on so loud that even I can name the tune you're listening to, then you would have know I was approaching since I politely rang my bell a few times as I approached and before I passed.

As for the question to and comments by Dr. G, I do think that faster riders are in a bit of a quandary south of Old Town. But I will give a big +1 to Eric W's comment:
In any event, it's probably hard to see what is going on on the MVT from a car moving 10 or miles per hour over the speed limit (Don't the Park Police ever enforce these rules?).

I can bring an extra bell or two for WAGBRAD III should it happen, but then we'd have the group-bell-tuning problem.

Last WAGBRAD, I had a nigh identical bell to another rider. Whenever we rang our bells together, they clashed with such teeth-clenching dissonance that they acted more as sonic weapons than warning devices.

WAGBRAD III is happening, with or without me (depending on the Washcyclette). I plan to bring an actual sonic weapon, if that helps.

Which reminds me, there was a movie I saw once, maybe 15 years ago, about a guy who keeps jumping back in time to WWI where he helps prevent the Germans from developing some crazy sonic weapon. It was not bad as I recall. But I have no idea what it was called or who was in it. Anyone?

Yeah, I think part of the perception problem is people running and walking on the trail with earphones on and being completely startled by a passing cyclist. I say this as both a frequent cyclist and runner on the trails. I'd say about 30-50% of runners wearing earphones get completely surprised when I pass them even though I shout out "Passing on your left" very loudly before I near them. I know I'm shouting loudly enough because every person without earphones can hear me. They either take a half step to the right (which is completely unnecessary) or they just raise a hand in acknowledgement.

I know some of these startled people will perceive that I nearly ran them down when I always get into the left lane and leave plenty of room between me and the runner/walker while passing. Then I look back to make sure I don't cut them off when I get back into the right lane.

When I run, there are some cyclists who don't shout out a passing warning or ring a bell. It may be somewhere around 20-35% of cyclists so there is room for improvement there.

As an aside, I think far more cyclists need to use headlights while riding at night. Most cyclists do but there are still too many who don't.

(As another aside, that didn't help me one night on the 14th St. Bridge bike lane/sidewalk. I had my headlight on when I entered the straightaway. I saw a cyclist a couple hundred feet ahead. He clearly saw me and immediately switched over to the left side of the lane, directly in my path. I've never heard of moving to the left like that. I kept going, expecting him to move but he didn't. Finally he came within 20 feet of me at standard speed and still he didn't turn. He turned sharply just as he was about 2 or 3 feet from me! He seemed to be an older guy but it was hard to tell at night. I shouted at him as he passed though I didn't swear at him.

This happened last summer. At the time I thought it was just odd. But looking back on it, I'm wondering if that was some strange guy who was playing a game of chicken. Has anyone ever experienced something like this? It couldn't have been anything personal since he had no way to see who I was.)

I don't remember if I posted this before but did you know that it's legal to bicycle on some of the interstates in Arizona and California? Sounds crazy and I would never do it but apparently there aren't many alternative routes. Maybe this is one of those odd facts that could be in one of the "bicycle items that have little or nothing to do with DC."

When I was in AZ I saw parts of I-10 where biking was allowed on the shoulder.

There is/was an old guy on the trail wears really dark shades. I have not seen him in a while. He used to begin his ride from georgetown. I thought he was playing chicken too but he's just old and can't see at night with the shades.

On the MVT I am very surprised how many people do use lights. My last count before it snowed was twenty people with lights in a row.

Get a bell. The ring carries farther and is more pleasant. Any walker is bound to be startled by a sudden human voice behind them. And when someone is startled they likely will turn and maybe even step into your path.

Besides - don't you get tired of saying "on your left" over and over?

It's also legal to ride on the new "corridor H" (US 48) highway in West Virginia - which will eventually connect the I-81 corridor to Canaan Valley. It's technically not built to interstate standards but it's mostly limited access divided highway.

I don't have any room on the handlebar for a bell. It's getting crowded with the headlight, the Garmin bike mount and the aerobar extensions. I don't mind shouting out the passing warning as long as people aren't zoned out on their MP3 players. I've got the timing down to a science. I don't want to shout out too early or else the people may not hear me. But I don't want to wait too long or else I'll be too close when they hear.

When I was running last year on the trails, it took a while for me to get used to hearing the bell sound behind me. The "on your left" warning never startled me. (I don't wear earphones.)

If you are riding your bike safely and in control, you don't need to shout or ring or announce your presence to other trail users.

If I am walking, riding or running on the right side of the path, I assume that a bike ringing a bell or shouting at me is doing so because I have to do something to avoid a collision. If you are going to pass me safely, then I do not have to know about your intentions.

Tom, you're technically right. But many trails (I'm not sure about the MVT) have rules requiring cyclists to announce passing. And many pedestrians like the warning - though others do not. I would love to see a poll of people to find out if they think it is rude to pass without warning.

[I should note that I will go to my grave believing that the majority, who think that it is rude to sit directly in front of someone else in a less than full movie theater, are wrong. You get your seat, but not the one in front of it. I recognize that I'm in the minority. And I still argue with my wife about whether it is rude to recline your seat all the way (she thinks it is) on an airplane. My point being, I may have outlier opinions on courtesy.]

@ tom:

If you are riding your bike safely and in control, you don't need to shout or ring or announce your presence to other trail users.

Um, yeah, you do.

Of course, you're not supposed to go faster than 15 mph either. And I would never even think of exceeding 15 mph, especially coming off the last overpass by the airport in either direction. ;) :innocent whistle:

Washcycle, I will kick your seat until you learn your lesson :)


Didn't we recently have a change of GW Parkway/NPS superintendents? It's my understanding that it's only illegal to ride the GW b/c of a superintendents' order, so perhaps there would be some value in a well-coordinated effort to address it? I'd be particularly motivated to make the case for rescinding it wrt the GW south of Alexandria (which I've ridden many times, and is far preferable to the trail).

Right. It's a Park Rule from 2007. I think the superintendent can change it.


It would be great to see the Alexandria, Arlington & Fairfax bicycle advisory and advocacy orgs ask them to change this - at least to the south.

I am a high speed path cyclist. I apologize. I can't ride slow. I just can't. I do announce my presence, loudly and clearly and always. I get real ticked when I see other cyclists giving the silent buzz.

another note, what about all those dangerous joggers and walkers wearing headphones? Do they want to be destroyed by a 20mph cyclist?

Yes, cyclists are required to announce a warning when they pass, either shouting out or ringing a bell, on some trails, including the CCT. There are several signs posted on the trail that state this requirement. I believe there are more general rules about this but I don't remember the details and in which local jurisdictions.

Biking the MVT today to/from the GGW gathering. With one exception, none of the cyclists passing me announced their intention to pass.

Regarding allowing bicycling on the GWP south of Old Town...this got brought up on WashCycle before. While I can empathize with those wishing to use the road for speed training, I'd be very concerned about allowing bicycling, especially during rush hour, considreing that even during rush hour traffic travels at or above speed and the lanes (especially the left lanes) are very narrow. I think allowing bicycling along that road would cause more problems than it solves.

Well gosh, Froggie, then lets have a wholesale review of all roads where we might impede traffic. Wouldn't want to inconvenience drivers.

In reality, most cyclists on GW parkway ride midday or on weekends. I can't recall a single time that I've seen a situation where a bike would actually be impeding traffic.

I have seen bikes on the GWP at rush hour on rare occasion. Of course, at rush hour during the week the MVT is usually not very crowded so I wonder why anyone would choose the GWP.

For all of you frustrated by the traffic on the MVT you need to try to get somewhere on the MVT when there is a walkathon going on. Now that's frustrating!

1) You can ride faster on the GWP because the speed limit is higher.
2) The GWP is straighter and thus shorter than the MVT from A to B.
3) Time=Money

From 1 and 2 we know that using the GWP uses less time. From 3 we can now say that using the GWP is cheaper.

Therefore, if you like money you have a reason to use the GWP.

But, if we're worried about impeding traffic, isn't it more of an issue on the one lane RCP than the two lane GWP? Do you think bikes should be banned from the RCP?

I take the trail most days. I don't mind being passed, with or without the bell/call. Its the ones who insist on passing around blind curves, especially when the trail comes right next to the parkway. Come on, show some patience, you're going to get us killed.

While we're talking about the trail - are there any plans to divert the MVT over the one remaining airport/parkway on-ramp? Drivers are looking for a place to merge, not at trail users, and that large evergreen blocks sight lines while traveling south.

David, I've never heard talk of it. Not even in this article.

I'd be happy if they would rework it around the closed entrance ramp south of the Metro Bridge. Dig that up. Plant some grass and straighten out the trail.

@David and @washcycle

Both of the last two suggestions would be incredibly helpul if implemented, particularly washcycle's. I hate that unnecessary little S or W or whatever it is.

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