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Is there a high minimum speed limit? Do they have a public reason for prohibiting bicycles?

Looks safe to me.

I'm so glad they put these signs up. Although I'm a cyclist, I drive the Parkway regularly from Old Town to Mt Vernon on Sunday Mornings. There's a lot of cyclists and I don't think they realize that even though traffic is light, it's still dangerous for them on the parkway.

Never ridden there, so I'm not going to get into why or why not bikes are allowed...

But as a cyclist/bike commuter I'm pretty happy to see signs like this. I think the more bike-oriented signage the better, kinda reinforces our place at the table. Plus, this carries the implication that bikes actually belong on roads absent a sign specifically saying otherwise.

@longley might be on to something here. We've been advocating for conversion from the vague "share the road" signage to "bikes may use full lane" in Maryland. But ultimately you'd like to get to where drivers automatically expect bikes unless prohibited or restricted.

There might be cases where instead of a prohibition, you could set limits to prevent recreational wobblers from riding on some higher-speed roads, but allow faster riders, such as "bikes minimum speed 15mph" on certain roadways where cycling not dangerous for experienced riders, but not safe for Grandma and the Grandkids.

Angelo, there is no minimum speed and NPS did not give any reason for the rule - nor did they allow for any public comment.

Sherpa, if there are a lot of cyclist on the Parkway and it's dangerous surely there have been some crashes right? I don't know of any, do you?

Greenbelt, +1

It seems that a national park would find some way to accommodate bikes. If we can't bike on the road, surely there's a bike trail...?

There is a trail, as you know, but the speed limit is something like 15 mph. So there is nowhere to ride fast.

There is no trail between the Key Bridge and American Legion Bridge.

if cars were going the SPEED LIMIT on the roads... things would be more safe for the cyclists...


if the car driver can bend the rules... I question why the cyclist must live by the letter of the law...

the car driver bends the rules to suit their personal needs... why can't the cyclist

the multi-use bicycle path is no place for the sport cyclist...
and the parkway is no place for a race car

Too bad they don't have a lycra-only sign to make things clear.

There is a trail between the Key Bridge and American Legion Bridge -- the Potomac Heritage trail -- but it has a "no bikes" sign. (It starts at the north end of the Roosevelt Island parking lot.) How many people actually hike it? Maybe it could become a mountain biking trail?

FYI to all


All the info you need is in there, except the fine amount if you are caught riding on the GW Parkway road, which I believe is $90.

It sounds like the NPS is finally getting around to dotting its I's and crossing its T's on closing these parkways. I wonder if they read this blog.

Most of the cyclists who ride on the Parkway south of Alexandria do so on Saturdays and Sundays when vehicular traffic is exceptionally light. There is no safety reason to exclude riding on the Parkway at these times. Rush hour is a different story.

BTW, has there been an increase in the number of cyclists injured in crashes involving vehicles on the Parkway?

Even on Saturdays, it can get pretty busy, especially with folks trying to avoid the cluster**** along Route 1.

@555 - I don't think most of that trail is passable by mountain bike. It's very rugged with lots of rocks and turns - sort of like a bit of the Appalachian Trail transplanted to Arlington. I tried running on it once and discovered it was a hopeless endeavor, at least for the sort of trail running I enjoy. I don't know how much use it gets, but I know the volunteers for the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club hold regular work trips to maintain the trail.

A while back there was a proposal to extend the MVT north to the Key Bridge - as a multi-user trail running roughly parallel to the parkway (ie at higher elevation, not down by the hiking trail which is very close to the water line). Anyone know if there's been any movement on that proposal?

I saw the aftermath of an accident on the parkway about three weeks ago. That may have been the reason the signs have been posted.

If the Parkway had a wide enough shoulder to permit cyclists, then I would say go for it, but it doesn't. The speed limit is 45 and even if cars go 45, cyclists tend to ride in the right lane and a car going around one of the corners on the Parkway doesn't have much time to react to a cyclist in their lane. Plus, light going through the trees in the morning casts shadows on the road making it sometimes a little more difficult to see cyclists.

Sherpa, with that logic, half the roads in the country should ban bikes.


If traveling at 45 mph doesn't leave enough time to see and react to a cyclist, then it certainly doesn't allow for a stopped car, downed branch, pedestrian, deer, etc. and is an unsafe travel speed regardless of the presence of cyclists (or official sanction as the "posted speed limit"). Even more so if visibility is reduced due to glare/shadows/rain.

Too dangerous for all parties. Glad the law is being enforced. The paved multiple-use trail that parallels the Parkway for 18.5 is the perfect alternative. Well done, NPS!

Actually Mikey, the law is not being enforced. The law requires the NPS to follow a rule-making process before closing an area of a national park to public use, and they haven't done that.

The real question is safety. What is less likely for human fatality? Bike on designated paved bike/pedestrian path or bike on roadway. Be honest. Which will cause less incidents for human fatality?

Ah, when you think the law supports your position, you're all in favor of the law. But learn the opposite and the law suddenly doesn't matter.

GW Parkway has a pretty dismal safety record on "designated" facilities. Cyclists have been killed on the sidepath, both by drivers and other cyclists. I've never heard of a fatality on the roadway.

The section of the roadway in Alexandria is no more dangerous than many local roads that accomodate cyclists with no safety issues.

I know of at least one cyclist killed on the MVT and zero on the GW Parkway and Clara Barton Parkway combined. So for now I'd say the Parkways cause less incidence for human fatality.

I am a cyclist and I would prefer the bike trail if there were hours when pedestrians and runners were restricted.

Okay, so it is safer for everyone if bikers share the road then use the paved trail. Let's contact the NPS so they can inform bikers not to use the dangerous path. They'll need to put no-cycling signs on the trail before anyone else gets hurt.

No Mikey you still don't get it. Why does it have to be either or?

you realize the death you reference on the the mvt was a homicide, don't you>?

Yes. It's the only fatality I know of. It still speaks to safety.

Agree that violent criems is facilitated by trail design. Rock Creek Park is a classic example. Lots of violent crime occurs on the path because of the slow speed, narrowness, poor sight lines, blind curves, etc. Criminals don't generally attack riders at speed on roads.

yeah, pedestrians and joggers are more at risk on the mvt especially after dark. don't know of any serious crimes on cbarton trail. do you?

There was a fatal bike-on-bike crash near Roosevelt Island a few years back. Strangely, the only detail I remember is that the victim had red hair.

CCT has been pretty safe. I suspect it has to do with the limited number of access points until you get into Bethesda. Many trails have safety issues in part because peopel can commit the crime and then take off in any direction into a neighborhood.

Cbarton trail? You mean the C&O? There was a cyclist killed there this year by a falling tree branch, but that's all I kind think of.

Contrarian, that crash must've predated my keeping track of such things (2005)

saw that someone posted this on tbd.com...

"I have ridden on many roads, locally and all across the U.S. Some are safe for biking (nice large lanes, straight line of sight, large shoulders to utilize) and some are just not worth risking your life. Whenever I was biking, whether it be in D.C., VA, CO, or anywhere across the country, if I came across a bike trail, I used it. Whether you bike slow or if you consider yourself a "fitness cyclist," be smart, take advantage of a bike path when one is available, that is why they exist. Remember, in the end, vehicles win."— Matt


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