« MoCo bike projects delayed to pay for roads | Main | Eminent domain possible for Apex building »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Finally? I'm a daily bicyclist in the city and glad to actually see some enforcement. I've been next to people who run lights in front of MPD cars before with no consequences. A sprinkling of tickets could help with compliance.

Count me in as well. Too much of this going on, and it's not cool.

I will note that the lack of a bicycle license and registration system here in DC had approximately zero effect on the ability of the police to enforce traffic laws here.

I don't have a problem with police officers pulling over cyclists they happen to see do this on their patrol. They’re out enforcing the law. Whether or not this should be the law is a different discussion… But the description of events makes this sound like this could have been targeted enforcement, which would be complete BS. There are more important things these officers should be dedicating their time to.

I wish all road users would act more predictably, safely, etc…, but this officer may have been going about enforcing such things it in a way that does more harm than good. Motor vehicles doing illegal U-Turns and parking right at the intersection, which is designated a no-parking zone for safety reasons associated with visibility, are both way more dangerous than bicyclists jumping lights.

Not sure what's accomplished by this. New Hampshire at that intersection gets essentially zero traffic. Was there even another vehicle in sight when the cyclist went through? Did the cyclist slow down, look around, and venture through only when it was obviously safe? If so, then why bother with a ticket?

From the description, sounds like the patrol car officers picked an intersection where they thought they could bag an easy ticket. Does that do anything to increase safety? Does it change motorists' and cyclists' expectations about each other's behavior? Is it an efficient and sustainable use of MPD resources?

Basically, why bother?

There are more important things these officers should be dedicating their time to.

This. While many cyclists do dumb things,it's a fact that we have a much lower fatality rate than either peds or drivers. In fact,we made it through '12 without a single cyclist death. Also of note is the fact that no-one has been killed by a cyclist since 2009.

If the officer had been going about his business,and the cyclist blew a light in front of him,then he's fair game. But setting up a sting isn't going to be much help.

If they have time to do something like this,then what they need to do is have an officer sit at the 7th/9th bike/bus lanes with a video camera and pop all the violators. I've almost been hit twice by drivers in the bike lane there during morning rush hour who were going well above the posted limit.

Also,pretty weak to get pulled over by the Popo on a bike. Even on a CaBI I could'a lost 'em. ;-)

Meh. I do run lights, carefully and when I'm not taking anyone's right of way, but if you run a light right in front of a cop, you're sort of asking for it, even daring him to ticket you. So many cops have chips on their shoulders that it's just not smart. (I confess that I did it once and got a bit of a chewing out, which I count myself lucky for.)

Double meh. In 20 years of cycling and safely Idaho stopping reds, I've been pulled over a grand total of twice; no fines, no points. Totally worth it.

I once got a very stern verbal and ID request for going straight from a right turn lane in Rockville and was one "pulled over" by a federal cop for jaywalking. I was late for a meeting and ran away. My father used to wait for greens at cross streets in Manhattan back in the 60s, just to make his little political point. A cop once told him, "You're not going to get very far like that".

What everyone said about the circumstances.

Yeah, I have two sort of fantasy protests. One is drive to work day, where we get everyone who bikes to work to drive to see how much worse traffic and parking gets. [Problem is, it could be a total dud, and not every cyclist CAN drive to work]. The other is bike the law day, where every cyclist does full on vehicular cycling - stop at every stop sign and light, cue up behind cars without filtering forward, never ride two abreast in the same lane and instead line up, etc...to see how annoying drivers would actually find that. But it has some of the same problems.

I love the idea of a "bike the law" protest, but they wouldn't understand. Like when I'm stopped at a light waiting for traffic and the car behind me blows his horn because he wants to turn right--any form of protest based on assuming intelligence in someone like that is doomed.

Your first "protest" would accomplish nothing, because the number of people who commute by bike is so negligible it would make absolutely no discernible difference in auto traffic. Your second "protest" would achieve the same thing for the same reason.

On another note, why would you protest laws that are designed to keep people from getting killed? Oh right - because while I think you're very smart and handsome, I am also under the false impression that you are someone who thinks laws shouldn't apply to cyclists.

Filtering is usually legal.

I attended a DC bicycle advisory committee meeting a few years back where an advocate came and presented data about the Idaho Rule. The advisory committee, composed mostly of cyclists, opposed recommending the Idaho Rule to cyclists.

Their reason: it would increase hostility toward bikes.

Given the number of cyclists who blow lights and stop signs, I can't possibly imagine it would get worse. Cyclists would still be required to yield right of way to vehicles who got to the intersection first.

Complete lack of creativity in this town. Change seems impossible.

I was at that meeting. I think that since then the BAC has changed both in membership and the opinions of its members such that if a vote were held today, I think a majority will support it. But, for now, WABA doesn't, and so I can't see it going forward without that.


1. That the protest might not have a discernible impact is exactly what I said. So, thanks for telling me what I already knew and packaging as a revelation.

2. But, a negligible impact might be all that is needed. Paraphrasing VTPI:

"traffic congestion is a non-linear function, meaning that a small increase in urban-peak traffic volume can cause a proportionally larger increase in delay. For example, a 5% increase in traffic volumes on a congested highway (for example, from 2,000 to 2,100 vehicles per hour) may cause a 10-30% decrease in average vehicle speeds (for example, decreasing traffic speeds from 45 to 35 miles per hour). As a result, even relatively small changes in traffic volume or capacity on congested roads can provide relatively large increases in traffic delay."

3. I'm not sure that these laws were designed to keep people from being killed. Do you have any information on the design process, the intent or the goals? Do you know who even designed the laws you're talking about?

4. I do think that laws should apply to cyclists. Which is why I try to change the dumb ones.


Those are excelent points. I see now that I was repeeting what you had already wrote. I apolegize. I was also unaware of the non-linear aspexs of traffic congestion. Thanks for enlightenang me. I do not know how or why these laws were written, I was shoting from the hip and may have been drunk when I wrote that comment. I apolegize. I also apolegize for assuming that you believe that no laws should apply to cyclists. I will read what you've written more carefuly and with an open mind.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Banner design by creativecouchdesigns.com

City Paper's Best Local Bike Blog 2009


 Subscribe in a reader