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Will MPD start any enforcement on the L St. bike lanes? Cars routinely drive and park in them.

Saw a lot of folks with 4000 lumen death rays pointing straight into oncoming bike traffic on the Mt Vernon trail.

What's the best thing to yell at these guys to let them know they're blinding everyone?

I'm sure MPD really really means it this time. I thought they did in August, September, and October. By November I understood their feelings were hurt by the DMV or something, but now that the spat has been settled by the mayor I understand what a tough spot they've been in and I have high hopes.

I'm sure the three U-turns I saw this morning, including the one that paused mid-turn to allow an MPD patrol car to pass, don't count against anything.

(I'm also relieved to hear that the TWO turn-across-cycletrap incidents I know of yesterday where MPD was requested and responded slowly or not at all are also aberrations.)

re Oboe: It needs to be short, to the point, helpful, not rude.
Something like:
"you're high beaming us".

I usually manage to spit out, "LIGHTS!!" But then I imagine them riding happily away, thinking to themselves, "Yes, they are beautiful, aren't they?"

Usually a hand up shielding your eyes gets the point across. ;)

Unfortunately, I think some people will only realize their lights are too bright or too high when you run into them because you cannot see.

I think most will only learn when they hit an object on the ground they did not see because 3999 lumens were pointing forward

Honest Q: is my new head light too bright? I don't want to be that guy.


I don't see any lumens listed but that's a relatively mild light. You could probably annoy anyone with any light if you aim it at the exact mathematical center of their retina, but it's not what oboe is talking about. I didn't get a feel for how amazing lights could be till I went to a 1,000-lumen or so bike grenade. Maybe it's 1200. The kind that requires a separate battery pack. That thing halts cross-turning traffic from a block away in my not particularly bike friendly neighborhood; I swear drivers from a distance think I'm on a motorbike. I haven't used it on trails. I mean you can see this thing in broad daylight.

like this. I'd be surprised if yours is more than 250 lumens.

The LED lights are incredible. I got a 500 lumen one for $119, that is far far more powerful than whatever I bought a few years ago for about the same amount.

I cover my eyes with left arm and yell "Too bright" loudly as they pass.

Yeah, forgive me if I don't stand up and applaud the police department for stepping up enforcement AFTER I got hit by the third u-turning cab in a 3 block stretch. He didn't seem to think he'd done anything wrong, but my bike is totaled and I'm heading to the doctor later today to see why my ribs hurt.

If it's bright enough to see by, it's probably bright enough to blind people. What are you going to do?

"If it's bright enough to see by, it's probably bright enough to blind people. What are you going to do?"

Not point it at people's eyes

Just the fact that this is now a major issue illustrates how much night use of the trails has exploded in the last few years.

I agree Crikey7. It's kind of our version of the off street trail version of a Firstworldproblem

It also reflects the explosion in affordable high powered lights. Only with LEDs can you get incredible brightness and a power consumption that is small enough to be handled by a battery.

Ha, you must have passed me than Michael because someone yelled that on the MVT the other night. The irony being my light is 150 luments maximum and it wasn't on maximum strength. So it was probably more an angle thing than anything else.

@Ken, I always keep my pointed forward because that's where I want to see the object. If I'm only seeing the object when it's 5-10 feet in front of me then I'm screwed since I'm probably averaging 18mph.

@T Wasn't me on the MVT. I'm on the Custis and W&OD.

@Steve - it can be bright enough to see by without blinding people. Or at least, to be seen by. My light has three settings. (I don't know the lumens.) I use the lowest setting usually. I can easily be seen at that setting,and it doesn't blind people. It is sufficient on streets, on the Custis (which is lit), and on the part of the W&OD that is lit. To see on an unlit trail, it is sufficient if I know the trail and don't go too fast. If I must, on an unlit I use the medium setting, in which case I cover the light with my hand (can still see the path below) when people are approaching from the other direction. (Easier than dimming and then scrolling through settings again).

The auto industry figured this out a long time ago. I believe most German bike lights follow the same standard - use as much light as you want, just make sure you have a quality lens that puts it on the ground.

With respect to the U-turns, two thoughts. First, if we had a raised, planted center strip, we could have bike lanes, landscaping, and a physical barrier that would prevent U-turns. no MPD "enforcement" required.

Second, what MPD calls enforcement is a joke. I've been hit, grazed, yelled at, and had a soda thrown in my face by a driver. Each time the MPD officer said he couldn't ticket the driver "because he didn't see it."

I used to prosecute people, and seeing an offense was not required. One only need have a good faith basis for the charge. Ultimately the cops are not on our side and aren't about to go out of their way to lean on the motorists.

I don't think a raised strip is possible because NPS won't allow it. The road is the inauguration parade route, and so it can't be designed in that way. Yes, one parade, one day every four years trumps the daily use by citizens.

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