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Poor Chris Core... he must have been miffed that Kornheiser got all that attention using his technique. None of these radio blowhards think before they talk.

I don't agree with Chris Core at all, and I'm not trying to comment on this accident in particular, but I feel like there's useful commentary to be made here:

Every time I ride the CCT or the Rock Creek Trail, I see behavior from other cyclists that is just asking for a head-on collision. People routinely pass on completely blind corners. People routinely pass when there isn't enough room, assuming that the person coming towards them will either move over slow down. People pass walkers, kids, joggers, other cyclists, etc. without any sort of announcement or warning that they are coming by. Every time I see this kind of behavior from my fellow riders I cringe. It's just plain dangerous and I'm surprised there aren't more serious incidents. Ride to the conditions people!

Oh, I guess I do agree with Chris on one thing. That 15MPH speed limit is little more than a suggestion. I certainly don't pay any attention to it when there's plenty of space.

As a bicyclist in DC I find it unfathomable that the author does not know what biking in an "arrogant manner" means. I have been riding my bicycle to work every day since winter ended. I love it and would not go any other way, but I see arrogance from bikers every day. I have found bikers not drivers to consistently be the obstacle to my arriving to work in a timely, safe manner.

I see bicyclists all over the road, weaving through all kinds of traffic. I see bikers consistently running through red lights or stop signs without slowing down in the slightest. At least once a day someone comes around me, cuts me off, and then bikes at half the speed I was going (this used to happen to me in cars as well).

I do agree with the speeding thing, it's almost impossible in most parts of DC simply to work up to that speed because of traffic stop signs, etc.

More importantly, I believe that biking is THE best way to commute in DC. DC is a small, warm city and therefore gives itself nicely to biking. As we are all aware, biking is great exercise, is free, and does zero damage to the environment. But if we ever want to gain the respect and support we need to really establish biking in the District, then we have to demonstrate better behavior. And that starts with admitting that a lot of us DO bike in a manner that is extremely arrogant and dangerous.

MLD, I'm sure the speed limit is routinely ignored by some. Personally I can't ignore it going uphill unless I really push it, and then, not for long. But, the majority of cyclists I see out there are riding at a reasonable speed. Maybe during commuting times it's different. But his commentary makes it sound like cyclists are out there riding 25 mph past old ladies in strollers, and that just isn't the case.

Cyclists can do more to make the trail safer, but this commentary doesn't help.

MS, so is "arrogant" the same thing as "willfully illegal?" I know the behavior you're describing, I'm just not sure why it's "arrogant." Insolent maybe. Rude perhaps. But arrogant? Do you think cyclists behave badly because they think they're more important than everyone else? That's not what I see.

Arrogance = people riding in ways of which the person using the word does not personally approve, as best I can tell.

Eh. No more "arrogant" than drivers who make right turns while pedestrians are trying to cross or who pull into the middle of congested intersections on yellow knowing that they will be blocking cross traffic when the light changes. There's plenty of arrogance, whichever direction one looks. No reason to single out cyclists.

I really do not want to get into a semantic debate, but the behavior I see and I described above seems arrogant to me. Running stop signs and red lights inconveniences others at the expense of putting you ahead. It requires an assumption that your own need to get somewhere is more important than the needs of others, including their safety. I may be misinterpreting others' intentions, but that's what I see.

MB, it's not about personal approval, it's actually exactly about arrogance. It sounds cheesy, but it's about the fact that we have a system that works on the basis of everyone respecting the rules (right of way, etc.) and assuming others do the same. When people routinely break these rules (not necessarily laws) then these expectations dissolve and the system falls apart. People now EXPECT bicyclists to run all red lights and stop signs and wait extra time for us to pass, or not. Isn't that the very definition of arrogance?

Listen, friends. Chris Core makes an excellent point. Most cyclists I encounter in the District are, frankly, menaces. Their reckless cycling--I don't want to rile you folks up by calling it "driving"--almost makes me afraid to drive within the city limits. Heaven forbid I accidentally hit one of these maniacs because we all know what a litigious bunch you cyclists are.

I'm more inclined to give reckless drivers a pass. Cars are designed to crash. They have crumple zones and seat belts and airbags. Bicycles have what exactly? That helmet you're (hopefully) wearing? Those little spandex shorts? The USPS Cycling Team jersey? Good luck with those helping you as you cruise through that red light on your bluetooth.

I'm sure you guys like to hate on drivers because they act like they own the road, but I assure you that the same can be said for 99% of cyclists out there, who seem to immediately forget the rules of the road the second they hop on their fixie. Use your hand signals. Stop at red lights/stop signs. Yield when you need to. You have brakes for a reason, Floyd.

Try taking the Metro one day. I think you'll find it a much more pleasant and safe experience. And also it'll clear up some of the congestion I have to deal with on a daily basis.

CJB, you're wrong. 'Nuff said.

Reality check people.
How can either side, driver or cyclist, cast any blame on the other. For the most part people drive and ride with the same attitude: "What can I get away with and who gives an eff about anyone else." Be calm. Be Safe, Share the road. Share the world.

How can either side, driver or cyclist, cast any blame on the other.

Because when drivers behave badly it more frequently results in death.

It's not a comment on cycling unless someone brings up (1) Lance Armstrong (really...I can't wait for the guy to retire...for real), (2) arrogance, and (3) lycra.
Please, a little more originality and I might read it with more than a yawn and a roll of the eyes.
Cyclists behave badly. Motorists behave badly. Let's face it....people behave badly. Until that part of the equation goes away, nothing will ever change.


Points for the Floyd reference, though.

Again. The missed point on all of this is the misuse of "Us', and "Them". The consistent classification of persons by the mode of transportation is pointless. A jerk is a jerk is a jerk.

The jerk driver steps out of his auto and can choose to become a jerk pedestrian. He can hop on a bike and become a jerk cyclist. And of course everyone has the potential to be any/all of these things on a given day, on the road, trail, or sidewalk. Or to not. I guess it all boils down to some CORE values, of civility, courtesy, patience, understanding. Those core values which fight the urge to scream out "ME ME ME!!!", and tell everyone to get out the way.

Oh, and CJB-
Try taking the Metro one day. I think you'll find it a much more pleasant and safe experience. And also it'll clear up some of the congestion many have to deal with on a daily basis.

It must have been a really slow day in the "glass enclosed news center". Core's commentary reads like something I would see in a small town newspaper next to the ad for the church bazaar.

Why does WTOP give this guy air time?

My house is in desparate need of new windows. Thompson Creek (for which Chris Core is the spokesman) won't get the job.

Fixed without further comment: Too many people who [drive automobiles] do so in a very arrogant and dangerous manner. They cut in and out of traffic and blow through stops signs. They're a menace to themselves and to others.

[Frequently] two [drivers] collided head-on on [anyroad, DC], both were badly injured. The [city street] is meant for mixed use. People walk on it, jog on it. Push strollers on it. It's not a race course

Couple of years ago the [city] imposed a [30] mph speed limit on the [street] which is routinely ignored.

Washington is a tough area to [drive] a [car]. We have way too much traffic. [Driving] on the major streets is asking for trouble. [Driving] really fast is insane. Those [drivers] who want to be the next [Tony Stewart] need to find a dedicated [Interstate] or a track to ramp up their speed and stop putting the rest of us in harm's way. [Driving a car in traffic] is [NOT] good exercise, fun [or] green, but being law-abiding and considerate is a core value.

CJB - You're more inclined to give reckless drivers a pass than cyclists?

Do you have children?

I doubt that Chris Core is really trying to say that bikers are worse than drivers. He didn't say that. Like many commentators, he picks his targets one at a time, and to add punch he does not add nuance. I bet he'll have a commentary on bad drivers in the next year, and he won't even mention cyclists. Does that mean that drivers are worse than cyclists?

We have a perception problem that is not being helped by inflamatory statements--nor is it solved by even reasoned arguments about how drivers are just as bad as us. When someone criticizes you in another sphere of your life, do you respond by pointing to someone who is worse, or defending your behavior as not so bad? Yes if you are on trial you must do that, but usually you are not on trial and deflecting criticism tends to reinforce it in the minds of the critic.

I suggest that our problem is not the monthly commentaries with which we disagree, but rather the fact that they are reflective of a viewpoint shared more widely than we wish. We need an internal dialogue on how to improve that perception. Part of the answer is to correct facts. But looking in the mirror may also be part of it. Like it or not, oppressed minorities are often most effective when they strive to a higher standard, and least effective when they become argumentative.

I take umbrage when motorists - Chris Core, "CJB," whoever - lecture cyclists. Hey motorists - get the hell off the road! Unless you're hauling cargo or tools or driving a bus or taxi, you don't need to drive in DC. We got the metro, we got the buses, we've got plenty of sidewalks and crosswalks. If you are going to drive, at least pick up some slugs. The most "arrogant" thing you can do is drive SOV to work.

Jim, this is a common argument - cyclists can help themselves by following the law more. That will improve the perception of cyclists. But if you look at what he listed as bad behavior, one item isn't illegal, one item is something WABA and cyclists opposed, and one item is something 90% of all cyclists do and would like to see become legal.

Even if cyclists followed the law to the letter, it wouldn't change perception because legal behavior would still be seen as making us a menace.

Some cyclists behave badly, but bad behavior is the exception not the rule. When Chris Core does his "drivers are a menace" story you let me know, until then I feel singled out. And since cyclists follow the law more often than drivers, and ride safer than drivers drive, I feel that's unfair.

The problem - in large part - is not with cyclists. It is with those who wish to ignorantly label them as scofflaws. I'd rather push back then explain to other cyclists why they should come to a complete stop at every stop sign because if everyone does it we all win (but if even one person doesn't it's all for nothing, and oh, by the way, we probably still won't win).

Titus you are correct in many respects, however we are not a minority of cyclists, but of people who are riding bikes at any given moment. Dedicated cyclists, count for only a small fraction of people on bikes, and yet are left with the impossible task of showing the other road and trail users that there is a good apple or two in the bunch. It is an unwinable battle.

The situation is much like what all in the area experience with visitors, aka tourists. Visiting pedestrians exacerbate daily peds. Visiting drivers do the same to local road users. As a "visitor" they feel a bit detached from the reality; above the law somehow.

The "visiting" cyclists can take any form you can imagine. Expensive racing outfits, fashionable hipsters, or just somebody who is learning how to ride to work. And then there are some riders who just learned wrong. That, combined with the frustrations of the roads, lead them, just as some motorists, to disregard the law.

Sorry, I need to clarify something in the "visiting" cyclist reference. The cyclist I am referring to are locals, but "visitors" to the world of cycling where rules/ safety apply. That rider on the expensive racing setup might be strong and fast, but not have any understanding of road or trail rules/etiquette. They know the road rules as a driver, but they somehow don't see it applying when they are on the bike.

With permission from Mr. Core, his response to my message:

"Aaron...I cross the CCT every single day at least twice. I used to jog it, but the speeding bikers made it too dangerous. Not all, of course, but those who seemed to be training. They need to use places like Beach Drive, closed for them on the weekends, or go out to the countryside. I find it hard to believe the two bikes would have hit head-on if neither of them was riding too fast for conditions. We need more dedicated bike paths. But the mix of cars and careless bikes on the road is very dangerous.

Thanks for the note... "

and my reply:

"I appreciate the reply. I assume by "cross" the CCT you're referring to the section between Friendship Heights and Bethesda? That section is tricky, I'd agree, because drivers have started to stop for passing pedestrians/cyclists even though they have the right of way - it is really difficult to tell if a vehicle is slowing down for you unless they give a signal so it just creates confusion that slows that intersection down. Not that I don't appreciate cars stopping for me.

I cannot deny your personal feeling of being endangered on the trail - I'm sorry you feel that way. I would hope that things have improved in that respect. I am on the trail probably a number times a week commuting to and from work and have only rarely seen problematic behavior like you describe. Most cyclists do try to be careful around pedestrians (although we're in a weird situation ourselves - too often I've said "passing on the left" only to have the pedestrian hear "move left" and step into my path).

When I don't take the CCT I bike down Wisconsin and Massachusetts to Dupont. 99.99% of the time the problem is not "careless bikes" - I and other cyclists take great care because we have a lot to lose if we're not careful - but rather careless drivers. Granted, if a cyclist without lights is speeding through an intersection against the red, the blame in that situation is clear. But I've been struck by a car rolling through a stop sign without looking, and almost run off the road by someone passing within inches of me to save himself a couple of seconds.

What I'm trying to get at is this attitude that there are "places for them [cyclists]". Normally, I have no problems commuting to work on city streets. Most drivers are courteous and I get more waves than anything. What I do get, occasionally, is people yelling at me to "get off the road" or "get on the sidewalk". Bikes, like cars, are designed to go on the road. We are legally allowed on the road - we are not legally allowed on the sidewalks in most of downtown. I would love more bike lanes - Netherlands style, where all roads have a separated portion with dedicated lights for cyclists. But as it stands, telling bikes to use Beach dr. (which is only available on weekends) or going out to the countryside (requires us to go hours out of our way to enjoy the roads we've all paid for) is simply impractical. If you look at the accident statistics for DC, you will find that it isn't the mix of cars and bikes that's dangerous - it's the mix of cars and cars. While cyclists can do more to be responsible road users, we need people to encourage safe sharing and not try to relegate bikes off into the countryside. Recent "code red" and "code orange" air alert days should drive home the point that the cyclists are just trying to help.

Again, I do appreciate the reply, and hope that you will consider inviting cyclists to discuss with you - or even putting in some publicity for WABA, which encourages safe and responsible cycling in the district."

Try taking the Metro one day. I think you'll find it a much more pleasant and safe experience.

This guy has clearly never taken the Metro during rush hour. Cycling is a much more pleasant experience.

Part of the perception problem is that the cyclists that DO follow the law and such are often "invisible" because it is unremarkable. How many people didn't cut you off today? People only remember the ones that violate the expected behavior (legal or not, safe or not). Unfortunately this leads to exaggeration that all or most cyclists (or drivers) behave in the same bad manner.

Above Chris Core calls for MORE dedicated bike paths. LOL! I didn't know we had any to start with. All I see are multi-use (hiker/biker) trails. I have never seen a path that said "No Motorized Vehicles and NO Pedestrians". He obviously does not perceive the CCT to be a dedicated bike path. Rock creek definitely is not.

@ Max
RE: "That rider on the expensive racing setup might be strong and fast, but not have any understanding of road or trail rules/etiquette."

Why is there a consistent impression - even on this blog - that bicyclists on expensive road bikes are ignorant posers? I know plenty of strong and fast cyclists wearing team kits who put aside their racing bikes on Sunday afternoon, and pull out their commuter bikes to ride to work come Monday morning. They are hardly "visitors" to the world of cycling - be it utility cycling, racing, or just cruising around.

No, 7, I do not think that anyone/everyone with a racing kit is automatically a "poser". In fact, I find your word choice interesting. I didn't say "ignorant" either. I wasn't really trying to bring that into it. Sorry if it came across that way.

The cyclist in the kit was just used as an example, as it is a sad fact that the "racer-type" is probably the most common visual (mis)representation of cycling collectively, as most non-cyclists/drivers/talk show hosts equate the appearance, investment, and fitness level of a road racing type as the indices of a truly dedicated "cyclist". After all, Lance...

And so, IMO, cycling is routinely misrepresented, often by dedicated drivers out for their athletic moment. They might be great people, lost in the moment, I don't know. What I do know is that people on training rides often bend or flat out ignore the rules of the road. Plenty of exceptions abound I'm sure. And I agree, there are "plenty of strong/fast cyclists" who race/train weekends and commute on the week, but commuting really doesn't necessarily equate to following the rules any more or less than anyone else, does it?

The fact is that the "cycling community" can't represent itself properly. We have WABA doing awesome work, we have niche groups, some supporting, and some harming the image of cycling, but what we're lacking is the attention of the largest group of the cycling community, the POBs (People On Bikes). Most of them don't even know they are members. Some of them might even think they are car drivers.

Well okay, I suppose in different words I did say and equivalent to "ignorant". But I meant it in the nicest way.

Some folks really don't see the rules applying to cycling.

We need more education for everyone.

Like Aaron, I emailed Mr Core, and he replied. His reply to me was polite, acknowledging my points, but he noted that he lives in or near Rock Creek and that cyclists who disregard the rules pose a danger to him and others who use the park. Kind of like the message he sent Aaron to effect he no longer jogs on the CCT because of "speeding bikers." Clearly he has been spooked by cyclists riding fast or unsafely on the trails, and nothing we say is going to change that. His issue seems to be not just safe cycling, but fast cycling, even if done in a safe manner. All of us who use the trails know that some (in my view, a minority) cyclists ride unsafely, but I think Mr Core's problem is in large part with "speeding", and his thought that people who ride fast (meaning, to him, anything over the 15 mph speed limit on the CCT) don't belong on the trails - obvious from his reply to Aaron. We are just not going to change Mr Core. At one level, his responses demonstrate a NIMBY attitude. Note his post to Aaron that cyclists who are "training" should ride on Rock Creek on weekends when it is closed to traffic, or in the "countryside" - far away from his house. (If he lived in the countryside, I bet I know what his position would be to cyclists "training" there.) I'd like to think that Mr Core's position is a minority one - after all, there are many joggers, walkers etc. on the trails notwithstanding the cyclists. It's unfortunate that Mr Core has a soapbox which he uses to expound his views.

Core quit running on the trail because of "speeding bikers" and he thinks it's wrong that he should be forced off and that cyclists should accommodate runners.

In his earlier commentary he said cyclists should get off the road to make room for speeding drivers and that drivers need not accommodate cyclists.

He sees no inconsistency in these statements.

In my emails with him he continuously complained about cyclists running stop lights.

Making a full stop at a sign IS the law. Bikers in my neighborhood, at least, are scofflaws.. and they obey only the laws they chose to. For the record...so do I...when I bike on vacation in Cape May...but I don't preach about my moral high ground...I know what I am doing is not right...but I am careful.

If he doesn't preach the moral high ground on a radio segment called Core values, what does he do? It's OK, he says, because he's careful (Idaho stop).

I know that Chris Core is a blowhard, but the irony is that the first four paragraphs quoted above are all factually accurate, and not particularly incendiary.

Nor am I clear on what this sort of battle of words accomplishes. It seems to be based on the presumption that the greatest challenge facing cyclists is not safety or infrastructure, but defamation (and that a blog can win a shouting match with talk radio blowhards).

The reality, of course, is that this kind of discussion simply confirms the perception on the part of many motorists that cyclists can't be bothered to change their behavior.

Guez, do peds and drivers obey the laws? Or is it only cyclists that break them?

....and by the way Guez, I do stop at stop lights and wait in lines and stop sign and stop lights. I use to stop at stop signs all the time but now treat many as yields because I got sick of the drivers treating them like yields (if lowing at all) and realized I was at serious risk of being rear ended.

So yea, cyclists can change their behaviors and start breaking the rules like all the drivers and peds.

Guez, the whole fourth paragraph is wrong, or do you really think that cyclists who want to train for races should stay off the roads? And there are some nasty implications elsewhere - like that the cyclists involved in the crash were speeding.

And I think it would be quite reasonable to say that the greatest challenge facing cyclists is the negative perception so many have of us. Bob Mionske calls it toxic in the courtroom, and it often comes up as a roadblock to legislation, enforcement etc...

It is, without a crystal ball, unclear what the battle of words accomplishes. It's also unclear what doing nothing accomplishes. But I'm not really a sit back and take it kind of person. So I'd rather push back, in the hope that something changes.

@washcycle- It's OK, he says, because he's careful

No, it's OK, in his mind, because he's just visiting-both Cape May, and the mode of transport. And he is representing cycling at the same time. Yaay.

Cyclists need to change behavior. Drivers need to change behavior. Peda need to change behavior. Radio guys need to change behavior. Wow, so much work to be done.

Disclaimer: I was one of the cyclists involved in this accident.

Shortly after this accident, I spoke with Kate Ryan of WTOP. In both my discussion with her and her subsequent article, I thought she was very professional and strictly adhered to journalistic ethics.

Given what I know of the accident, which concurs with the Park Police statement, Chris Core's inclusion of this accident in his piece struck me as a non sequitur.

The most serious error is that he insists that excessive speed and/or stereotypical recklessness was in play because of the nature of the injuries. However, gross injuries result from things like bathtub falls where there is no speed involved whatsoever. So the logic (and physics) is far from airtight as well as unsupported by anything in the police report or the news item produced by his own organization on the incident.

The Park Police also informed me that it had been at least 2 years since a similar accident had occurred. This is on a path that gets a million visitors annually. Thus regardless of whatever cyclist behaviors are on daily display, an accident of this nature is typical and representative of essentially nothing except the fact that getting into a serious head on collision with another cyclist on the CCT is a very rare and extremely unlikely event.

This being a free country and all, I tend to give the guy a pass on journalistic rigor because his commentaries are essentially entertainment, man in the street opinions. However, what is more disturbing to me than Mr. Core's individual opinion of cyclists is that, judging from commentary I've seen, it is hardly unique or even rare amongst local motorists.

I found the volume and vehemence of this hostility both surprising and appalling. I've practiced urban cycling at least sporadically in a variety of U.S. cities since the 1980's. Since moving here in 1997, I've always considered the DC area to be notably above average in motorist courtesy and cooperation with cyclists. It isn't perfect or even the best, but is far better than some places where abuse and intimidation from motorists rains down on cyclists on a daily basis.

So I still take the optimistic stance that probably haters are much more likely to pipe up with their commentary. I also don't think that commentary like Mr. Core's is likely to create cyclophobes out of neutral or sympathetic motorists.

My personal action is to not feed the troll - I know nothing of Mr. Core and am not likely to engage in a debate with someone who opens with such wildly baseless allegations. This is not intended as a recommendation to others, rather just my own reaction.

I do appreciate, though, that there is such an active and engaged cyclist community in DC.

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