Bicyclist Injured on 11th Street Wed. Morning

Be careful if you are biking down 11th Street even if you are in the designated bike lane.  From a reader:

8:10 this morning I came upon a bicyclist sprawled on the street, unconscious on the block South of Florida.  About 6 people were around him directing traffic away.  A white Aspire car was in the street, probably involved in the accident.  I was told an ambulance had been called. The bicyclist was not bleeding from the mouth.

It is my thought that the car forced the bike into a parked car.  That corner is quite dangerous (11th at the block South of Florida) because bikes are forced into parked cars as the lanes squeeze down, losing the bike lane that is present on the blocks North of Florida.  Also if the light is green, bikes enjoy quite a fast run down that stretch and cars are irritated by the bikes’ presence as the lanes constrict.”

15 Comment

  • Here is a different thought

    BIKE LANES ARE Dangerous, for two big reasons

    – They create a false sense of security for both the cyclist and motorist, so everyone drops their guard

    – Accidents do not typically happen between blocks, they happen at intersections. A bike lane will not do anything for you at an intersection. In fact it is quite the opposite! I puts you to the right of a car (where the motorist either forgets about your, or can not see you). When the motorist turns right, BAM! Cyclist struck. This is exactly what happen to that poor girl in DuPont.

    I am starting to think that Cyclist should just ride in the middle of the street forcing motorist to acknowledge them.

    Also, when bike lanes end it confuses cyclist and motorist.

    I am also reluctantly starting to believe that there should a much more comprehensive cyclist education program (perhaps required). Riding your bike with cars is something that takes practice, skills, and some education.

    DC, needs to figure out how to make the City more bike friendly

  • @mjbrox I agree with your assessment of bike lanes, but they are still useful, it’s just important that the cyclist realize when they are at risk and deal appropriately. The problem, which may have been responsible for the recent fatal accident in Dupont, is that when a vehicle turns right, most drivers don’t know that you are allowed (and actually should) enter and block the bike lane before turning. Basically, it should be treated like a real lane, meaning you’d have to look to your right, use your side mirror, and change into the lane before turning. In the absence of doing this, you can easily cut off a biker while making a right turn. It’s hard to blame a driver for not understanding this since the bike lane isn’t wide enough to accomodate a car. Bike lanes are a new thing in DC and for most drivers, and most people are not programmed to look in their right side-view mirror before making a right turn.

    We need better driver education, to be sure, but in the end you have to look out for your own life given the current situation. Cyclists have to be very aware of the right-turn problem when approaching an intersection in the bike lane. My own solution while biking is, if there is a car next to or ahead of me at the intersection, I put my radar on full and will usually slow way down before entering the intersection to allow the car to go ahead of me — and be prepared to stop if they turn.

    Riding in the street as you say is also an option but I think when a bike lane is available it’s not any safer. Drivers will get pissed off and pass you unsafely. I think it’s easier just to stay at defcon 5 if there’s a car next to you or right ahead of you when going through an intersection. Once you get used to paying attention in these situations, it’s not hard to make this a natural habit and also be aware of when cars appear to be slowing for a turn.

  • mjbrox — I, frankly, disagree with almost every point in your comment, except the last (that DC needs to be more bike friendly).

    – Though you are correct that many motorists get a false sense of security from a bike lane and drop their guard, this is not the only possible outcome. Drivers SHOULD see the bike lane as a big neon sign screaming “bikes could be anywhere!” and keep their eyes open. That drivers don’t think this way is not a failure of the bike lane model, but rather a failure of the education of drivers and our “cars first” culture.

    – If a cyclist gets a sense of security being in a bike lane, they’re either inexperienced or stupid… I ride constantly, and never feel “secure” when there’s a vehicle within 30 feet of me, bike lane or not. Cars swerve into bike lanes all the time to pass, make reckless right turns, pull out of parking spots, etc etc etc.

    – I can’t generalize from my own experience, but I’ve been in two vehicle-related accidents in DC on my bike… and in both cases it was in the middle of the block, when a car entered the bike lane. I’d also say that the vast majority of my near misses have occurred the same way. While my own “false sense of security” may be a small part of the issue here, the real problem is motorists’ complete disregard for MY white line.

    – While it’s a quaint idea to suggest that bikes would be better off in the middle of the road, its simply not realistic. Downhill, maybe — and I typically slip into the flow of traffic when a hill allows it, but on uphill and flat stretches, only the strongest riders can stay with the flow of traffic even when traffic is a bit slow. They don’t have a chance when traffic is really moving… and cars are not particularly forgiving when a biker slows them down. The bike lane is not just there for safety, but also so that bikers can slow down a little and focus on the road in front of them, instead of obsessing about the pressure of traffic behind them.

    – I’m not completely opposed to some sort of cycling education policy, except that it seems like a tremendous waste of resources for a relatively small problem. All cyclists get in accidents — that will never change, any more than it will for vehicles — but they are still rare, often are not the cyclists fault, and are typically pretty minor. We’ve got much bigger issues in transportation policy.

  • f this happened on 11th St. in the block just south of Florida there is no bike lane there. The southbound lane of 11th is extremely narrow due to the construction taking place next to the Fl. Ave. Grill.

    11th stays very narrow until south of U, I’ve started taking a right on Florida and cutting over to 14th for the remainder of my downhill commute because I was getting sick and tired of being harassed by drivers on 11th between Florida and Vermont who don’t like being behind a cyclist, but cannot pass due to the traffic and narrow lane.

    I’m ambivalent on bike lanes. Half the time people are double-parked in them anyways so its not as though they do much good, but I do appreciate them on uphills (when there are none of the aforementioned double parkers).

  • hey mjbrox- you suck! way to be a completely obtuse prick

  • Hey Anonymous 11:36, I love you too

    Maybe I was a bit harsh about bike lanes, I am not completely against them, but I am also not convinced that they are as great of a solution that people make them out to be.

    All I am trying to do is to make people think about what bike lanes really do.

    For the record, I pretty much ride like Brad described.

    Oh, one more point, inexperienced and/or stupid cyclist or motorist is probably the single biggest issue

  • BTW, check out this article about bike lanes

    I will be the first to admit that the writer has some extreme views that I do not agree with, but he also raises some excellent points

  • I have been riding in this city for 14 years. I ride up and down 11th street everyday to get to work. The intersection at 11th and Florida is dangerous for cyclists. Going downhill, combined with the amount of cars that turn right on Florida, combined with the construction next to Florida Avenue Grill, makes this a bad situation for cyclists. My theory is that there are times when a cyclist needs to make their presence known and needs to take their space in the car lane. I do it every morning. I’ve never had a problem. For cyclists, you have to ride with confidence and the utmost awareness in this city. That does not mean breaking the laws of the road – it means watching out for yourself and doing what you need to do to keep yourself safe. It all comes with experience, but you have to have confidence to gain the experience. Further, wear a helmet for the times when things just get out of your control.

  • I don’t understand why cyclists don’t stop at red lights. When I’m a pedestrian, I always have to wonder why they are so disrespectful.

  • I think that the bike lanes are generally good, but do agree that they’re not a panacea for biker woes. And agree with ds’ point that half the time someone is double parked there anyways. For example, I was biking on the 11th street bike lane about a week ago, and someone who was parked next to the bike lane decided to start their car and pull out into the road while I was next to him- I was very lucky to see this out of the corner of my eye, and come to a screaming (literally screaming) stop . The thing that really ticked me off though- the guy didn’t even say sorry, he said, “I see you!”. ??? I wasn’t sure if that meant he saw me and didn’t care that I was there, or saw me and thought he wasn’t going to hit me? Either way it was a very scary experience and really has made me much more cautious about the entire bike lane situation.

    Does anyone heard anything recently about the girl who was struck and killed in Dupont? Is the driver going to be arrested?

  • bogfrog- I don’t get that either (or why not at stop signs half the time). I always make sure to do that when I’m on a bike- it seems like you are asking for an accident otherwise.

  • In parts of europe the bike lanes are now between the parking and the curbs, which seems the best way to do it. It’s sort of like the extra lanes on K Street, but instead of buses and parked cars, the lanes are reserved for bikes.

    i’ve been bike commuting to my job downtown for over 10 years, and i’ve had plenty of close calls. the bike lanes really don’t work–lately, i’ve started taking 14th down the hill rather than 11th because i find it easier to navigate the double parked cars and the buses when i’ve got a full traffic lane rather than the bike lane.

    on top of that, the bike lanes are filled with broken glass–i’ve gotten 3 or 4 flats within the last year, while i didn’t get any flats for years when i was commuting from adams morgan where there were no bike lanes.

    i think there are some good alternatives out there, and with the price of gas how it is, it’s probably time to start looking at them more seriously.

  • Jae, my next set of road wheels are going to be Stans, so that I can run sealant insted of tubes

    I run these on my mtbike and I have not flatted since. You can run over nails with this stuff.

  • hey, i think this was me (the sprawled cyclist) – the time/location are right on the money, but i don’t remember anything about the crash or after – until waking up at WHC a little later on. I just knew I was on 11th somewhere south of Kenyon and before U st and most likely by Florida Ave. Thanks for aiding my memory and to those who helped out by calling the ambulance and/or directing traffic.

    I’ll be taking metro for awhile, i think. At least until i get my bike back from the cops!

    and for those who are curious and/or interested to know… i always stop at red lights when cycling – ESPECIALLY this one at 11th and florida — because of the angles AND the construction, you cannot see if cars are coming unless you stop. I’m not sure where exactly this crash occured, but I can tell you that if the intersection was involved at all, I definitely stopped at the red light (if i had one, and continued cautoiusly if the light was green), just as i have done every time I have every time i have ridden my bike to work this way.

  • WOW Jami!

    you sound like you may be lucky to be alive.

    I would get back on the bike ASAP, so that you do not scared.

    Alos, no offense, but maybe you should check out some of the classes offered by WABA

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