MPD stopping cyclists on 14th and W


From a reader:

“Wanted to let you know I got stopped by MPD on my bike today for running the red light at W (going down 14th). Ticket was $25!! Another cyclist that was also stopped before me said she had watched a number of bike messengers fly by before he stopped me, a regular bike commuter.”

148 Comment

  • …But you probably should have stopped at the stop light like you are required to… They’re obviously doing this because many people don’t stop and some, probably much less careful than yourself about it have a track record of darting in front of cars.

    1201.15 No person shall operate a bicycle except in obedience to the instructions of
    official traffic control signals, signs, and other control devices applicable to
    vehicles, unless otherwise directed by a police officer or other person authorized
    to direct and control traffic.

  • Thank God! I hope they get them all. I’m so sick of cyclists cruising through the intersection without any regard for signs, lights or traffic. The bike messengers are the worst. Nail them.

  • Wow. That’s a highly trafficked intersection for pedestrians and especially since you were coming down that hill between W and Belmont, I am glad no one was hurt from you running that red light.

  • Good, you all should be getting tickets for your careless bike riding. God, I hate you all. Get a car!!!

  • OOOPS!

    This is probably my fault.

    I talked to MD about the bike lanes on 14th st after violent road rage incidents I witnessed from bicyclists against motorists this summer. Sorry dude, but I call 911 on physical attacks even if it’s just someone slamming their fist on a car hood.

  • Traffic signals are NOT safety devices – they are just there to facilitate traffic flow and make it easier for cars to get in/out the city. Keep running them if it is safe and clear to do so – I know I will be.

  • Mark, why don’t you stop spewing nasty fumes into the air and walk to work? Then you wouldn’t have to share the road with the bikes.

  • Tony, actually traffic lights are the law and you and all of us are required to stop and go, whether on bike or in a car, as they dictate. You are exactly the person who should be stopped and ticketed regularly.

    As for the amount, I can only suggest that $25 is way too low. I think it should be on par with what a driver would pay, the risk is the same, really. Yes, a car can do more damage, but think of the damage done by an idiotic cyclist, he could end up dead, some poor driver would go around life with that guilt forever, not to mention the family, etc.

  • Yes, I saw them ticketing today as I was out on a run. You should know in VA on the trails if you go through a stop sign it is $100 and 4 points on your license. So, $25 not so bad.

    Please be careful out there! Stopping at lights is important, especially with road rage people out there that think the bike lane is an extra car lane.

  • Cue the obnoxiously self-righteous cyclists who complain about cars not following traffic rules, but then say they don’t have to follow those very same rules, even though they are mandated by DC laws.

  • Wait were you going the wrong way and running a red light? You were going down 14th to W, down the hill or up 14th and to the hill? Either way, dude, that’s unsafe for you, pedestrians, and cars. No sympathy here. You deserved the $25 ticket.

    Plus, bikers, it’s unsafe to be going the wrong way on a one way road when there’s a bike lane (or if there isn’t one, as well), what happens when you run into someone going the right way?

  • And this is exactly why people hate cyclists. The I’m-above-the-law-attitude and the feeling that just b/c they are on a bike the have the right of way all the damn time. ugh

  • I agree with Stubs. It’s too low.

    Not only should cyclists respect all traffic signs and rules, they should GET OFF THE SIDEWALK!!! I don’t know how many times I (walking to work, not spewing toxic fumes) have nearly been run over by bicycles on the sidewalk. Get on the damn road and stop at the stop lights/signs.

    Just the other day I saw a pedestrian crossing the street with the walk sign nearly get plowed under by a cyclist running the red light.

  • I break the law all of the time. Not just that one. I am just honest about it, don’t care, and frankly think the DC Court system is too inept to ticket me for anything. Or, paper it. Besides, saying “it’s the law” just sounds funny to me. It’s common sense. If the way is clear, i’m going to go.

    A quote from an acutal traffic engineer who gets paid for this stuff, and by definition knows more than anyone on this blog.

    “It is important to remember that traffic signals are not safety devices. They are traffic control devices meant to assign right-of-way. A signal installed at a location not meeting warrants could increase the number of crashes.”

    You can read more on traffic signals at his blog, located here:

    Or, by reading the MUTCD here:

    Idaho appears to be ahead of us if you are into laws suddenly –

    “In Idaho, bicyclists have been allowed by statute since 1982 to approach stop signs and roll through, after first yielding the right of way. Bicyclists in Idaho are also allowed to turn right at red lights without stopping, so long as the bicyclist first yields to other vehicles. In 2005 the Idaho legislature further changed the law to allow bicyclists to stop, yield to other vehicles and then travel through a red light.
    The original Idaho yield law was introduced as HB 541 during a comprehensive revision of Idaho Traffic laws in 1982. The bicycle provision was discussed during committee hearings. Concerns were raised that some children on bicycles might not be as careful at stop signs if stopping were not required. The legislature added a provision amending the bill to provide options for local bicycling education for children and passed the bill.

    In 1988, Idaho undertook a

  • Great Tony, move to Idaho.

  • Lame, why doesn’t MPD spend time breaking up bumfest? Or are these tickets from traffic “police”?

  • I feel like a dork waiting for a red light when others are zipping by, but if we’re going to make this a bicycle friendly city, we have to work with everybody else on the road. DC drivers are still getting used to the bike lanes (admittedly very slowly), which requires that we as cyclists be as predictable as possible. I’m sorry you got the ticket, but on the other hand with rights come responsibilities. Be a good cycling ambassador by following traffic laws… even if you do feel like a dork sometimes.

  • @Anonymous 1036

    That’s the problem. Most bikers think they’re too cool for school.

  • I’m not defending anyone, but I don’t think it has to do with being “cool.” I mean, if I’m walking, and I get to a street with no traffic, but there’s a “don’t walk” sign, I’m not going to stand there and wait for the “walk.” I’m going to look both ways and cross.

  • Must say. Love the picture! πŸ™‚

  • DC Law States:
    Cycling on the Sidewalk is prohibited in the central business district (bounded by Massachusetts Ave. NW, 2nd St NE-SE, D St SE/SW, 14th St NW, Constitution Ave and 23rd St NW). Allowed where posted in this area, and prohibited where posted outside this area.

    If we are ticketing cyclists, we should start better enforcement of cars/delivery trucks stopped in the bike lanes.

  • Divine – *gasp*, but that would be “Breaking The Law”

  • Yeah, Tony, move to Idaho.

    I don’t think cyclists there are sharing the roads with quite as many cars, buses, pedestrians, dog walkers, baby carriages etc. Density requires self-regulation. I walk everywhere and bikers and getting just as bad as drivers.

    And thanks to @Anon 1036 for speaking up for dorkiness.

  • Right, because Idaho and DC are so similar

  • I’m co-opting the “Move To Idaho” movement for the next time someone complains about not having federal representation. Don’t like it? Move to Idaho.

  • I ride that route, and there is not much cross traffic at W Street. If you stopped and made certain, you could safely cross against the red light without inconveniencing anyone. Traffic only comes from the East so it’s easy to check.

    Of course, if you were running against the light across 14th Street, then you’re an idiot. That’s dangerous.

    But, why bother with the specifics when it is so much easier to villify all cyclists and everything that they do. And, of course, we know MPD will in this and in most things go for the easy offenders, rather than the harder to deal with issues. They do know how to shoot fish in a barrel.

  • Shocked to see so much venom aimed at cyclists.
    Anyway, to add another dimension to this argument, shouldn’t jaywalkers be ticketed in the same proportion?
    How many of you out there feel the need to wait for the light to turn green to cross the road when there is not a car in sight?

  • If I stopped at every stop sign and waited for every traffic light to turn green on my way to work, it’d take no less time to get to work than the bus. My philosophy is: Go when it’s safe; stop when it’s not. If you don’t need a sign or light to tell the difference, you should be commuting by bike.

  • What is this site GreaterGreaterWashington all of the sudden? πŸ˜‰

    @U St Girl, there are situations where biking the opposite direction on a one-way street is allowed – for example Gallatin Street’s “do not enter” signs near my house have an extra panel that reads “except bicycles.” I’m not sure if this is a general DC rule, or if it is only allowed where signed. Does anyone know the city code on that?

  • WOW, I thought I was the only person on here who hates driving with all the cyclists who run the red lights and stop signs!

    I totally agree, I think the ticket is way too low, but it is nice to see the cops finally stopping and ticketing these people.

    KUDOS to the cyclists who are getting on their fellow cyclists for breaking these laws!!!!

  • The thing is that most cyclists I’ve seen don’t “just go when it’s clear.” They treat the roads like they were just built for them. It sounds like this person was ticketed during morning rush hour. As someone who lives near 14th and W, I highly doubt the roads were completely clear and that it was safe to go. The difference between cyclists running lights and pedestrians doing so is that pedestrians are going slower and have more control of their movements. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been driving or jogging and almost been hit by a cyclist plowing through a stop sign or light and not paying attention. On the other hand, I’ve never been close to colliding with a pedestrian.

  • How many of you out there feel the need to wait for the light to turn green to cross the road when there is not a car in sight?

    once I walked with kids I stopped doing that. It’s a pain, but I don’t jaywalk anymore. of course I don’t drink anymore and I shovel my elderly neighbor’s snow, look I get it “Neener, you used to be cool and now you changed man” I get it.

  • I break the law all of the time. Not just that one. I am just honest about it, don

  • The cops that are being lauded for standing at an intersection writing tickets to cyclists are the same cops that are excoriated for not going after all the “real criminals” in the same neighborhood.

    But I guess snarking doesn’t require any logical thinking. PoP is officially now a whine-fest.

  • Can’t we all just get along? We’ve got bigger fish to fry in the District than the bicyclists vs. motorists debate.

    And to the commenter who said “Get a car!”, shame on you. You should get a bike.

  • i’d love to actually see cars get tickets for running red lights and stop signs.
    when a cyclist runs a light in front of me when i’m driving i dont really mind. i think they’re an ass and i’d feel really bad if i hit them, but i wouldnt physically be injured. as a pedestrian i want to kill every bike that narrowly misses me on the crosswalk. in the city, you ALWAYS yield to a pedestrian.

    just stop at the lights and stop signs. both bikers and drivers!

  • Thank you for the live with it advice. It’s worked well for me so far.

  • Thank God MPD is finally starting to enforce the law. Cyclists aren’t exempt from following the law, as they’re required to obey all traffic laws just like other vehicles.

  • @dcdc don’t forget crosswalks!

  • Wow, I’m surprised to see how generally hostile people are towards bikers. If you tried it, you would realize that it’s not at all like driving a car and thus should be regulated differently. You have much better visibility and are able to stop and turn much much quicker. Because of this biking is inherently much safer both to yourself and to others. Not to mention your carbon footprint being substantially smaller and your health being improved by the exercise.

    I am just as frustrated as anyone else when a biker rides on the sidewalk through a group of pedestrians waiting for the bus at the bus stop or runs a red light and causes a car to slam on their brakes. But I’ve been given a ticket on my bike for rolling slowly through a stop sign when there were NO other cars around at all. That’s just excessive.

    Even though they may be the majority for now, it could be said that the people who are driving and walking are the ones creating the problem. If everyone who was close enough to bike did so and everyone else took public transportation, then we wouldn’t have this debate because everyone would be on the same page. Walking takes too long and cars are bad for the environment. Get with the program people and get a bike!

  • @anon 11:12 really? this is all it takes for you to praise MPD? what about the violent crime rate?

  • Good someone got ticketed. Please come to Penn Quarter and get the dumba$$es who play chicken with the busses going the wrong way, or the jackholes who speed through that space between the bus and the sidewalk when the bus riders disembark.
    I bike and stop at lights and try to ride in a way that doesn’t freak out little old ladies on sidewalks or in cars.
    And sometimes the city tickets jaywalkers. I realize I may get ticketed for jaywalking, but I’m not going to claim that it not be illegal because I’m such a nice person and point out the effiency of not walking aaaaaallllllllll the way down to the corner.

  • This Idaho thing blows me away.

    I get upset when people try to compare DC to Boston, NY or San Francisco because we’re more southern. I get upset when they compare us to LA or Seattle because we’re more east coast oriented without the ability to spread out the same way. I believe that you can accurately compare DC to Newark, Cleveland, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Atlanta and potentially one or two more cities like Detroit or Pittsburgh.

    But compare DC to Idaho? That is like trying to compare DC to Amsterdam! “Oh, why can’t our bike laws be like Beijing’s you know?” “When I visited Thailand it was so cool, everyone was on bikes and they really didn’t have a good ambulance system you know?”

    I carpool every morning. Four people ride in my car to work and school. My car, though not perfect, gets reasonable gas mileage. I have never hit a bicyclist or pedestrian but since moving to DC my car has been smacked by cyclists and pedestrians four times for imagined crimes like blocking a bike lane while pulling into a parking space or entering an intersection when a pedestrian “was just about to enter the crosswalk” but hadn’t.

    I used to bike around town but I didn’t enjoy it. It cost me time and hassle. Driving is much more comfortable and I can carpool.

  • >> Even though they may be the majority for now, it could be said that the people who are driving and walking are the ones creating the problem.

    Walkers are the problem? Please take a long bike ride off a short pier.

  • I’ve seen the results of a bike running a red light. Wasn’t pretty.
    Felt bad for the person in the car. He seemed pretty distraught after seeing the biker on the ground in pain. I guess physically the motorist might be fine, but the emotional scar that you possibly [unintentionally] killed someone is quite lasting.
    everyone (bikers, pedestrians, motorist) should respect traffic signals.

  • superdude.
    as a driver i let bikes and peds do whatever they want. it doesnt hurt me at all and maybe slows me by a minute. its just not a big deal.

    but when i walk, fuck that. i punch cars that cut too close to me in the crosswalk, if i have my keys out, i’ll key them. soon i’ll clock a biker too.

    as i biker, i steer clear of peds, and in fear, i dont push my rights with drivers.

    everyone should bike? walkers are the problem? its moronic bullshit like that that makes shit worse for bikers.

  • Ok Paul, I agree, that’s taking it too far. My real beef is with the cars. But I will maintain that biking beats walking because it is so much quicker and more fun.

  • @Neener I think what you meant to say was, “Get off my lawn!!”

  • I’m a pedestrian communter. Walk to work. Bikes scare me more than cars.

    Finally!! Woohoo! Go DCPD.

    Now, if bikes would just stick to the road, stay off the sidewalks, and not try to run my baby and I over when we are out walking . . .

  • Jesus Christ, how many times have we been through this debate? Just copy-and-paste all the comments from the last bicycles-vs.-cars screaming match.

  • I moved to DC 11 years ago and I saw very few bikers. I guess the silver lining to all of these anti-biker vitriolic responses is that there are more people biking and less people driving.

    I bike and drive. In my opinion the drivers in this city break traffic rules more often and are ***far*** more dangerous to others than bikers. I also almost never see MPD pull over drivers for moving violations.

    Also, it is legal for bikers to bike on the sidewalk if not within the DC “Business District.” That said, bikers should be courteous to pedestrians.

  • PS: The level of snark and anger in this commentary is truly discouraging. I am all for dialogue, but I thought this blog was meant to promote positive and open-minded commentary (beautiful life anyone?).

  • @dcdc wow, you key the cars? that’s badass! I usually yell and make them feel stupid and then walk as slowly as possible across the street. bicyclists usually whiz by me too fast through crosswalks to feel my wrath. one day, one day…

  • Note to Cyclists: Please lose the self-righteousness indignation and perhaps you may get some more supporters and less vitriol in these forums. Assuming you are a “better” human being because you bicycle will get you nowhere in this debate. Some people have to drive to work. It’s a fact. Get over it and stop telling people how awesome you are because you bike to work.

  • haha ditto anon 11:29.
    But really, drivers and cyclists in this city could both stand to be held to the law a little more, with a few more tickets for both. Don’t break the law and then go around complaining about the 1! time! you were held to it.
    I think its good, though, when people get tickets and tell other people about it — maybe that’ll make others think twice before running red lights/talking on the phone while driving/etc.
    Deez roads are dangerous — treat ’em that way.

  • You have much better visibility and are able to stop and turn much much quicker.

    I have biked to work in the past- 1999- and the one thing I would never say is that I had better visibility than a car. My car has three large mirrors telling me what’s behind me and on the sides. No solution I found replicated that ability to have “360 vision” that one has in a car.

  • I drive a lot, and I bike some. I know that as a driver, what I hate most about bicycle riders is unpredictability in movement. So yeah, i stop for lights and stop signs, even when other riders are blowing through, and I stay off the sidewalks even though I know it’s legal to do so in the neighborhoods (and not in the downtown business district.) I don’t ride the wrong way down streets. I just act like I’m in a vehicle, just a different kind of vehicle.

    I know that some drivers are absolute jackholes to bicycle riders, though. I feel like by acting more like a car, I’m eliminating at least a little bit of that.

    But I have mixed feelings about bike lanes. Sometimes drivers think that bike lanes are the only place a bike is *supposed* to be, and that’s not true. If the bike lane is filled with glass or rocks, or I’m afraid of getting slammed with a car door, that means I and other bike riders are going to take a “car lane” sometimes. The only other option is to take the sidewalk, and judging by some of the comments here that’s clearly not preferred.

  • i do the same thing on a bike i would do on foot… if/when its clear i go. but just like i don’t sprint across the street at a light without looking around first, neither do i ride full speed through a light without first slowing significantly and yeilding to oncoming traffic/pedestrians.

    what i can’t stand is cars honking or disregarding me when i’m in the bike lane and they don’t want to wait for me to pass to make a turn.

  • This is crazy.

    MPD is clearly wasting their time giving tickets to bikers and not people committing crimes, or even the cars that never signal, double park when there is a spot available, and generally are careless and don’t look over their shoulder or anything helpful. What about the many driver who sexually harass female bikers?

    I apologize for the bikers that give the rest of us bad names, but on a whole bikers are safe for our own good! W is a one-way street, very easy to see cars coming, especially heading south, even down the hill. Clearly it was safe for those ticketed, otherwise they would have created an accident or been hit, not waved over by MPD.

    Laws are being copied and pasted, but no one even agrees with these laws! Bikers don’t want to follow traffic signs, though that is the law, and bike haters want bikers off of the sidewalk, though that is legal in the majority of the District.

    In the end I feel it is a waste of DC resources to have a cop stationed in one spot to target bikers. If a cop on duty sees a biker make an unsafe move, stop them. But don’t sit and cite bikers for, well, BIKING.

  • As an avid cyclist I’m familiar with the frustration caused by DC traffic patterns centered entirely upon motorized traffic and negligent to the needs of pedestrian traffic in such a metropolitan setting. That said, I have personally faced the dangerous repercussions of rude, malicious, and generally self entitled drivers AND cyclists; none of the experiences were positive. (Hit by a drunk driver while cycling / Wrecked off the road by a morning commuter while cycling / Struck by a reckless and largely unrepentant cyclist while driving).

    The fact of the matter is: It doesn’t matter who is disregarding the traffic laws/signs or what they are piloting; the lives of those sharing the street are called into question when people act irresponsible on the road! Dude deserved a ticket, plain and simple. Drivers need to recognize the rights of cyclists and openly share the road. Cyclists need to uphold the laws of the road like any other vehicle. DC needs to improve pedestrian transportation infrastructure. End of story.

  • @ anon 12:29 expect this debate to continue until bikers stop flouting laws made to keep our streets and sidewalks safe.

  • Note to okienoodler: Are you responding to my comment? If so you are the one making assumptions and would then be another example of why the commentary on this blog has went from a decent, open discussion to just a bunch of angry, paranoid people pointing fingers.

    I do think more bikers means less cars and congestion . . . does that make me smugly superior? As a driver (for commuting ) I appreciate less cars. I use my bike for errands because it is faster; I certainly don’t feel smug or superior when I am covered in sweat, getting rained on, or getting run off the road by a pickup truck on RI Ave. And I follow the rules.

    As someone who bikes and drives, I see both sides of the issue (and agree with Christina’s comment, bikers and drivers can both be obnoxious, everyone should follow the rules), but in my experience the the MPD does a very bad job at cracking down on vehicle moving violations, which is dangerous to other drivers, bikers, and pedestrians.

  • of course, i meant anon 11:29

  • okienoodler,

    That some people “have” to drive is a temporary side effect of cheap oil. Soon we may not have that option.

    As far as the air of superiority, try biking and then see if you don’t feel the same way. While you are on a bike zipping along effortlessly while others are wasting time walking slowly or stuck in traffic, you can’t help but feel like you’ve discovered something special that all these other people are just missing out on. I’m sure if more people would just try it…

  • @okienoodler well, we *are* better than you. why do you need to drive? I can’t think of a single reason why someone would “need” to drive rather than take public transportation, bike, or walk. Trains go all the way to Fredericksburg!

  • Glad to see we’re all keeping this in perspective, the bikes and all.

  • This whole back and forth is completely ridiculous.

    Motorists break just as many, if not more laws, than the cyclists the spew their hate at. Talking on cell phones, speeding, running red lights, rolling through stop signs, driving/parking in bike lanes, double parking illegally (just cause your hazards are on doesn’t make it legal), etc., etc. And rarely does MPD ever actually ticket these motorists. Motorists, however, aren’t immediately up in arms that all cars should be banned from the streets because a number of a**holes don’t follow the laws.

    Cyclists also, clearly break laws – rolling through stop signs, riding through red light, riding the wrong way on one way streets. While it is true that rolling slowly through a stop sign or red light increases safety for a cyclist by allowing for maneuverability, etc., motorists who don’t ride will never understand that and it is, in fact, against the law. The other argument I’ve heard for rolling through, and this mostly applies only to a four way stop sign, is that motorists refuse to cede the right of way to a cyclist that arrived at the stop first, even though the bicycle is a vehicle that is afforded the right of way the same as a car in that situation.

    So, to the cyclists that break laws by rolling through stop signs and red lights, get tickets and whine about it – shut the f*** up. You broke a law, you got a ticket, pay it and be quiet. If you don’t like it, don’t break the law.

    To the motorists who constantly complain about the cyclists, get off your high horse and back in your glass house. You break just as many laws and rarely get ticketed for it. So don’t pretend that’s not the case. And keep in mind that if you’re going to complain about how cyclists should follow the laws – you should also follow the laws and learn to share the roads. They weren’t built only for cars either.

    A summary of a few pertinent laws pertaining to bikes/cars in DC:

    And a good viewpoint on the rights and responsibilities of a cyclist:

  • @Boo What?

    I see that you are being sarcastic, but it’s not clear what you mean.

  • Leave your cars in the burbs, friends. I thought we were in the northeast, not alabama. Cars aren’t king here.

  • So last year on Labor day I stopped at the light, there was not a car in sight so I cross the intersection. Then a police car w/ its lights on stops me, and the cop proceeds to give me a talk and then says I am letting you off w/ a warning, next time you get a ticket. Really…how you gonna identify me?!

  • Good. I fully support the Police Department and hope they do this more often. And I’m sure the police at that intersection would have ticketed anyone (cyclist, motorist, pedestrian), so the fact that a cyclist got caught is sort of irrelevant.

    But really. Rules of the road = If you’re on the road, obey the rules. Whether traffic lights are for traffic flow or safety, is irrelevant as well. An injured cyclist on the ground because the cyclist ran a “traffic flow” device causes a huge “traffic flow” problem by backing up the intersection. Enforcing “traffic flow” rules or “safety” rules are all the same thing. Obey the rules or face ticketing / fines, etc.

  • Why is this a big deal? Follow the law. If you don’t like the law, work to change it.

  • That some people

  • If I had a Powerbar for every time I saw a driver’s jaw drop when I actually stopped my bike at a stop sign or red light, I’d be fueled up for a ride to Tasmania.

    Last summer I was pedaling from a four-way stop near Sherman Circle. A cyclist coming from my right ran through his stop sign and had to swerve to avoid hitting me. As he cut back in front of me, he screamed at me, “You’re a goddamn accident waiting to happen.”

    I love that story.

  • Anon 12:10pm – Are you so sure the cop would have ticketed a motorist? He was standing on the corner, his motorcycle parked on the sidewalk, targeting bikers. many have said it already, but cops hardly ticket dc drivers, and cabs who drive like there are no lanes, no signals, no nothing.

  • @Monroehaus:

    Not everyone can live close enough to where they work to bike. It’s just not feasible with the way cities and such are built now. And there are many other reasons to want to drive — maybe you carpool. Maybe you have to pick up kids after school, or you’re attending classes after work, or whatever.

    I don’t think that all bicycle riders are superior. But I do think it can possibly be SEEN as a superiority complex when a few bicycle riders don’t acknowledge that there are many legitimate reasons to make the choice to drive.

    I think that bicycle ridership should be promoted as much as possible among the people for whom it is feasible. There are many people (like me, frankly) who drive when we could be riding our bikes. But don’t look at bicycle riding like it’s this magical thing that people are willfully “missing out on.”

  • Yes, I am positive that the cop would have ticketed a motorist.

  • superdude:

    Agreed. Cars costs at least 10,000 dollars and many thousands of dollars more in gas, maintenance, and insurance. How dare you call me out for being an elitist because me and my 300 dollar bike got in the way of you? How dare you accuse me of flaunting the rules that were built so people in multi ton steel traps could quickly move around from A to B?

    What motorists would understand if they got out of their cars is that cycling is not driving. If every cyclist followed the rules, you people (yes, I said ‘you people’) would be bitching and moaning about how slow they are to start and how they wobble and how you can’t get anywhere because they are always puttering through the intersection. Cyclists run red lights because it is terrifying to not run them.

  • Anon 12:19pm – Are you so sure the cop was “targeting bikers”? The whine that PoP posted from the biker that got ticketed said that many other bikers went through that intersection and did not get ticketed, so it seems like DC cops hardly ever ticket bikers.

  • If you follow the law you have nothing to worry about! I for one am happy the biker got a ticket. I have seen too many bikers these days will one hand holding up a cell phone and talking while biking down a busy road. Or biking with head phones in and I would assume listening to music. I have a bike and like to ride it but do follow the laws and stop and stop signs, etc when I am supposed to.

  • I wasn’t planning on writing anymore, but getting sworn at by “dccyclist” made me decide some more clarity to the email I wrote this morning to PoP was needed. First- I ran a light on my bike, that’s illegal, I got a ticket, I’ll pay, fair enough. I knew that writing the email would elicit the usual bike/car angst/vitriol, etc and get me called some names, but I was hoping to do two things: 1) save some other cyclists 25 bucks and 2) draw attention to the fact that the MPD officer appeared to be pulling over cyclists based on the ease of doing so (e.g. a slow gal like me) rather than some of the folks that were actually flying through the light who may have been harder to stop, since he was standing in the street (his motorcycle nearby).

    For the record, whether “right” or “wrong” (and obviously illegal)- I turned onto 14th from Florida, stopped at the light at W prior to the crosswalk, looked for pedestrians (none), moved into the crosswalk, looked for cars (none), and moved forward across the street.

  • $300 bike?!? Effing rich elitist. I bet you paid cash or used a credit card (that you then paid when the bill came).

    I would like to point out that whenever a cyclist is injured or hit by a motorist, everyone always assumes that the motorist was at fault. And unless you are at the scene, its tough to think otherwise. And it seems like in the he said / she said of an accident investigation, the cyclist would say “I did nothing wrong”–and in the warped mind of the cyclist, the cylist wouldn’t be lying b/c “Speeding through red lights / Not stopping at Stop signs / Otherwise not obeying rules that would slow me down” is what cyclists think they are entitled to do.

  • @14thStCyclist: All this while in front of a cop?!? You deserve the ticket for being an idiot.

  • Is the reader that emailed this in really mad because he got caught and ticketed for breaking a law? Or because he is feeling as if he was unfairly stopped as MPD didn’t stop the bike messengers?

  • And that, my friends, is the mindset of an entitled biker: “I stopped at the red light. Saw a cop standing in the street. And I proceeded to bike directly through the red light because laws do not apply to me.”

  • people on bikes who break laws like this don’t deserve tickets – they deserve jail time. these are the same fools who drive IN THE SAME LANES AS TRAFFIC and make me go 25 mph or less behind them!!! It drives me crazy having to squeeze by some biker doing 15-20 MPH in the right lane – I’m always afraid I’m going to knock them over into a parked car!!

    they are putting their lives and the lives of people around them at risk by blatantly disregarding the law. three cheers for the police! lock ’em up and get ’em out of my way!!

  • $300 bike?!? Effing rich elitist. I bet you paid cash or used a credit card (that you then paid when the bill came).

    ummm… is $300 expensive for a bike these days? I dropped over $400 for my bike 10 years ago. It was hardly elitist at the time. I wanted a bike that could hold up and not need to get fixed a bazillion times.

  • Just a reminder that MPD has a ‘no pursuit’ policy for traffic offenses and possibly a blanket ‘no chase’ policy for 2-wheeled vehicles. Just sayin’.

  • Please oh please tell me that you’re is just trolling, Anon 12:40. Pretty much everything you just said is incorrect.

  • anon@ 12:40

    I’m sorry if I’ve ever ridden my bicycle in the same lanes as traffic and gotten in your way.

    For my anniversary, I’ve asked my wife to get me one of those new anti-gravity bikes that hover ten feet off the ground.

  • re: Neener. That was kind of a joke b/c somebody was trying to use the inherent price differences between a car and a bike to argue that cyclists are inherently un-elitist. That, of course, is preposterous, and I had to point that out. I have no clue what bikes cost, but cost is irrelevant to whether a cyclist feels superior to motorists and therefore entitled to preferential treatment on the road.

  • Neener,

    When gas is $20/galon you will strap the 6 mo old to your back and ride a bike. 80 yr olds who can’t get out by themselves will not go to church. The business world will adapt and people will not be expected to attend meetings in Herndon, Warrenton, etc. There will probably more shut-ins. I think you and I agree about all of these things. What exactly are you arguing?

  • @14thStCyclist: I swear a lot. Don’t take it too personally. Yeah, you got a ticket while other people were also breaking the law. I’m sure that feels crappy. You were, however, breaking the law. The cop is always going to get the easiest target, and why shouldn’t he? The ticket was for running the light, so you were all breaking the law equally, regardless of the speed of the other lawbreakers. Whether he stops you or the fast folks, the effect is the same, so he’s taking the path of least resistance. That’s not hard to understand, nor would I fault him for it. The main idea I had behind telling you (and others who send emails/posts complaining about their tickets) was that by sending an email complaining about the ticket you got for breaking the law, you merely lend credence to the argument that cyclists think the law doesn’t apply to them. It doesn’t help much.

    To the anonymous poster that thinks the officer wasn’t targeting cyclists, you’re deluding yourself. It’s no different than any of the other various traps the police set for speeders, etc. It just happened to be cyclists this time.

    I wish they’d do one in my neighborhood just to see if they’d ticket the bicycle cops who ride through red lights consistently. Hypocrites.

  • Cabs are the absolute worst. They have no regard for bikers, bike lanes, turn signals, or traffic laws in general. They scare the crap out of me.

  • I have no clue what bikes cost, but cost is irrelevant to whether a cyclist feels superior to motorists and therefore entitled to preferential treatment on the road.

    I admit I bought a cannondale to meet me some ladies back in, gulp, 1995. I just knew someone who dropped $1300 on a really nice bike, so I got me all confused. I wouldn’t respond to your comment other than we have a chance of topping 100 comments here.

  • Again, you people would be complaining even more if cyclists followed the laws. Anon 12:40, whom I hope was just kidding, illustrates that point perfectly. Goddamn cyclists won’t let me accelerate when the light turns green.

    Seriously, think about it, until DC gets dedicated bike infrastructure that separates bikes from cars as adequately as possible, drivers are going to be mixed with cyclists, many of whom know that running red lights is the safest (and most polite) thing to do, as it means cars won’t swerve to overtake them or get stuck behind them as they speed up.

  • Jesus you people are uptight.

    Stopping cyclists for running red lights is lame, and it’s not what police are for. Some people should probably move back to the suburbs. I’m just sayin.

  • Monroehaus…

    ok, fine, you and I may agree on most of this except:

    1. gas won’t be $20 per gallon any time in the next 20 years and if you think so, now’s the time to buy futures on the commodities market
    2. I think you’re speculating on the future and I was trying to focus on right now

    I studied Econ in college. If the car companies release a car that gets 200 MPG then gas will creep up in price and people will Cash-for-clunker at the price point that matters to them. $5 gas? No more SUVs. $10 gas? everyone has a smart car. But in no situations do I see more than 15% reduction in suburban living in the long term.

  • i dont consider myself a driver, biker, walker, bus taker, though i do all of those things. i’m just a resident of this city, but i have less respect for bikers every time they post their rants.
    you guys really dont represent yourselves well.

    what i do know is that we need to create separate protected bike lanes that arent IN traffic.

    AND we need to make some crosstown streets bike only, at least for through traffic. maybe a numbered street as well.

    but when bikers feel so entitled , fuck em. i can see why people hit ya’ll.
    when drivers are so self entitled, fuck them too. i can see why people yell and key their cars.

    self entitled is self entitled. respect diversity. if someone wants to drive, thats their business, not yours. if someone wants to bike, thats their business not yours.

  • cyclists, many of whom know that running red lights is the safest (and most polite) thing to do

    ARGH! read the above. We have all had situations where we came upon an intersection (mine is 16th and U and to a lesser extent 15th and U) where a bicyclist enters the intersection while I have time left on my green light and I’m forced to stop because they ran a red. It’s neither safe nor polite to cars traveling on the other road. get real. Bicyclists do not, in general always look or always make sure it’s safe.

    One day a few years back I sat in a traffic jam and counted 13 bikes run the red at 16th and Florida(?) and 16th and U. 13 bikes in under 5 minutes. This is the number of issues we’re talking about

  • monroehaus,

    you in college? stay in school.

    but right or wrong, in the real world of people working for a living, we think differently than you.

  • OK, so I understand that some cyclists like to go through red lights for various reasons. My question is when everyone is on a bike b/c gas is $20 a gallon and cyclists are going through red lights, what is going to happen? Will cyclists decide to start following the traffic laws or will it be one mass cluster-f*ck?

  • Neener,

    Well put. You may be right. I hope you are. But I also wish that we would consume less fossil fuels now in order to stave off the inevitable (although perhaps longterm) reduction in supply. This orgy of consumption we are having now is just screwing over our future. The examples of car use you mentioned are exceptions that I am probably willing to make at this time. But what about someone who lives in town and drives 2 miles to work every single day when they could easily bike? My assumption is that this person is just complacent and apathetic about it and has never tried biking or has forgotten how great it is. I have very little sympathy for this particular type of commuter and yes I feel smugly superior, even when sweaty. They need a painful reminder (like expensive gas) that they should give biking a try. I am sure they would love it and love their nicely toned buttock as well.

  • Lights don’t change for cyclists like they do for cars, because the bikes aren’t heavy enough or dont have enough metal or something. So, a lot of times the options are to run a red light, or to wait forever for the light to never change.

  • Whenever I nearly run into a jaywalking pedestrian (multiple times per week) on my bike, I don’t blame all pedestrians, just the assh*le lawbreaker I almost hit.

    Whenever I’m nearly run off the road by speed limit-exceeding drivers, I don’t blame all drivers, just the d-bag with MD plates who almost killed me.

    So the next time you see someone on a bicycle run a light, please don’t blame all cyclists, just the idiot who ran the light.

    Also, if you’ve got road rage while sitting at a computer, maybe you shouldn’t be operating a motor vehicle at all…oh wait, I should’ve listened to my own advice…

  • as I member of the equestrian community, I feel that cyclists and drivers ignore my needs! Where are the hitching posts? The water tubs? Why no hay at 15th and P? WHY ARE YOU SO ARROGANT?!?!?!?!?!?

  • All equestrians are jerks. They combine the wrecklessness of bike riders with the no-picking-up-poopedness of dog walkers. Move to Idaho.

  • I’m also a proponent of the “Idaho Stop” law for various reasons, and don’t think it’s an efficient use of police time & resources to give tickets to cyclists while there is serious crime and thuggery all around that needs addressing.

  • Ha SuperDude’s comments are about the most entertaining thing on here. You people, yes, YOU PEOPLE, are lameeeeeeeeeeeee.

  • I disagree and think that it is an efficient use of police time & resources. Disobeying the traffic laws poses a serious threat of death to the cyclist (and possibly to the driver of the car that needs to swerve to avoid the cyclist, or the pedisterian that is hit while said car swerves to avoid the cyclist). Not preventing this kind of reckless behavior is the same as not enforcing the rules against drunk drivers, and to a lesser extent motorcycle helmet laws.

    And, in any event, a cop stationed anywhere in the city helps to deter “serious crime and thuggery” in the area near that cop. Its a police presence that should be encouraged, no discouraged b/c some cyclists are inconvenienced by laws that, ultimately, help keep them alive.

  • @Monroehaus:

    “But what about someone who lives in town and drives 2 miles to work every single day when they could easily bike? My assumption is that this person is just complacent and apathetic about it and has never tried biking or has forgotten how great it is.”

    Or maybe they simply don’t have access to a shower or place to change when they get to work. Or maybe they don’t have a safe place to keep a bike once they get to work.

    Encouraging bike riding means thinking about what are some real barriers for some people and working on removing those barriers — not just assuming that everyone who doesn’t ride a bike works a 9 to 5 office job and is complacent or apathetic.

  • How is this PoP-worthy news? PoP should be ashamed for posting this nonsense and then letting all this commenters go at each other, smug bikers vs smug drivers vs smug pedestrians who think they are better than everyone else. And what about the poor lone equestrian who can’t find any hay? Why no hate for him/her and all of that nasty poo dropping every where.

  • I don’t have a shower at work, I just wash my face and neck and pits in the bathroom and reapply deodorant, and change my clothes in my office, takes about 10 minutes total. If I didn’t have a safe place in the garage to lock up, I’d bring my bike up into the office. Where there is a will, there is a way, no?

  • You’re absolutely right, VOR. But some people don’t have that will. I’m not saying that’s right, it is what it is. Personally, I wouldn’t feel comfortable with that level of washing up, but I’m a dainty lady and I drink tea out of porcelain cups with my pinky out and all that πŸ™‚

    And, you and I both have office jobs, but a lot of people don’t work in offices.

    I have actually biked to work before, being fortunate enough to have shower facilities at the office. This conversation is making me think about why I don’t do that regularly. I can’t bike directly to the office because that would involve me traveling some roads that I don’t feel comfortable on because they’re too busy and the traffic moves too quickly. So to get to work, I have taken the bus to the Silver Spring Metro and I travel on a trail from there.

    Also, riding my bike takes me longer, and driving means I can sleep in. Driving also means I can run errands after work, and I don’t have to worry about the weather or darkness.

    Soo…I guess I’m one of those lazy apathetic bastards that Monroehaus is talking about. But not every driver like that! πŸ™‚

  • At least for me riding is an option. When I lived in A-M and worked in Manassas, there was no way, no how, that I could possibly bike that. But at least on the weekends I didn’t drive, mostly.

    And, equestrians rule! I’ve always wanted to take riding lessons at that facility in Rock Creek Park, but I’ve never gotten my act together.

  • I always have dreamed of riding a horse to work, while carrying a battle axe, swinging left and right, to and fro, hither and yon.

  • Monroehaus, don’t be a Luddite, eventually cars won’t be running on gasoline anymore and you self righteous bikers will just look like stoned age hippies.

  • Clearly none of the naysayers here ever jaywalk either.

    As a cyclist myself, this area is not black-and-white. I see plenty of cyclists running lights dangerously (i.e. flying through at full speed with just a glance in either direction). This is most certainly dangerous and I think way too many people do it – it is far too easy to miss seeing a car coming towards you if you are going fast. Cyclists probably should have some different traffic rules to follow, but we should also use good judgment – slow down when you come to an intersection so you can clearly see whether traffic is coming or not. It’s like Divine said above: if I get to a crosswalk while walking and there’s no traffic coming, I’m not going to wait for the “walk” signal – I’m going to make sure I can cross safely and then do so.

    Too many of my fellow cyclists miss the first part of that equation. I have seen too many close calls between bikes and cars, caused by both parties.

  • Man alive this thread is ridiculous. I’m a driver. I live in the district and work out in the middle of nowhere Maryland. There’s no way I could bike 15 miles to work or take mass trans (it doesn’t go even close to my office). That means I have to drive. I’ve started to get my road rage against bikers out of my system because I have been coming across more and more polite cyclists – that I enjoy. Still hate the dicks who act like they don’t have to follow the law – cyclists and drivers alike. Everyone who got a ticket this morning deserves it. You don’t see PoP posting every motor vehicle speed trap. Sure, drivers whine about it, but come on – we know we broke a law, deal with it! I was crossing a one way street *with* the walk signal, and a cyclist coming the wrong way down the street nearly mowed me down – missed by a couple inches.

    That entire paragraph was extremely disjointed. Sorry πŸ˜›

    @Christina – I always enjoy your comments on here – you have a very sane point of view and are able to voice your opinions well πŸ™‚ props!

  • As bad as drivers in DC are I have never almost been run over on the sidewalk by one. Bikers don’t seem to think very clearly about how they might be negatively effecting the urban experience. I guess they are all too busy patting themselves on the back.

  • The enforcement is less about tickets, more about safety!

    Clearly, there are plenty of “near misses” between bikes and vehicle. The police are just trying to do their jobs…by trying to make the streets a bit safer and bring attention to the situation at hand and discuss the issue on this blog. I am glad the police are out on the street and trying to prevent an accident.

    The whole fun of riding your bike in a safe manner the city and breaking the rules from time to time.

    Lets try and share the roads and be considerate to others.

  • Lots of attacking cyclists for being smug….

    Guess what? Biking is the balls people! Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. We will gladly welcome you into our non-exclusive equal-opportunity club of kool kids, promise! All you need is wheelz man! Get out there and roll, you’ll never go back.

  • Off topic, I know, but have you EVER seen a motorist get a ticket for talking on his/her cell?

  • As a pedestrian, I am not better, just slower. Please slow down on sidewalks. And yes, jaywalkers should be ticketed as well.

    PoP, this is really newsworthy because its the first I’ve ever heard of someone getting a ticket. Also, sounds like this particular ticket worked extremely well considering the awareness it has raised.


  • All you haters suck my balls.

  • Not sure how to post a link (I know, I’m a technological moron), but Greater Greater Washington had a link this morning to an Aug 7th Boston Globe article on this very topic. It basically summed up this entire thread. Someone with more ability than myself should post the link.

  • Thank you, Christina.

  • Guess what? Biking is the balls people! Don

  • Messengers? At 14th and W? Maybe if they live in CH or Petworth or something and were on their way to work, but somehow I doubt it. These were probably just garden-variety hipsters, not sure why the cops weren’t stopping them but don’t go accusing messengers of every crime you see someone under 40 with a shoulder bag commit on a bike.

    For the person who can’t stand being “stuck” behind a biker who is going 15 or 20 mph, come ride a bike for a while and you’ll find out what it’s like to be “stuck” in a city that is locked down by gridlock for 2 hours twice a day by people who insist on driving no matter what.

    Also, for the person who says they have a better view around them in a car than I do on a bike, thanks for the laughs. I can see 360 degrees unobstructed from the saddle, and my eyes are higher than they would be even in an SUV. I can also hear everything around me, without the noise of my own vehicle drowning things out. Unless you’re driving around town in a lifted jeep with no top and a drivetrain ripped out of a Prius, I can see better than you can.

  • In the name of efficiency, I typically slow down as I roll up to an intersection (look both ways a few times) and if it’s clear I do not stop so that I don’t have to waste that kinetic energy. It’s very scientific.

  • Oy! Interesting reading as I digest my snack before a bike ride…

    I drive and I bike. I enjoy both. I try to be respectful and courteous as I do both. I occasionally break laws when I do both. I try to do so only when I feel it is safe for me and those around me- pedestrians, bikes, cars. I’ve been cited for some of the times I break the law. I’m cool with that.

    The real sense of entitlement seems to be from everyone: the road is never yours. It is OURS and we have to work together while we use it together. Thanks to the majority of drivers out there who are awesome! Thanks for DC for more bike lanes. Thanks for venting rage on the internet instead of trying to run people off the road or screaming at cars, etc.

  • JL’s mellow vibe can only be attributed to bike riding. It makes me want to get back in the saddle.

  • If we were to strictly follow traffic laws with respect to bicyclists, then bicycles should be treated like cars IN EVERY SINGLE WAY. Bicyclists should travel in the middle of the lane (not on the far right), stop at all stop lights and signs, signal left turns and right, and obey the posted speed limit. First of all there are practically no cars in DC that obey all of those traffic rules. Even you holy rollers who think you do obey every law you’re telling me you’ve never gone over the posted speed limit, you always wait 3 seconds at a stop sign, never talk on your phone while driving, and always signal 90 feet or more before your turn? Furthermore, if I as a bicyclist were to travel in the middle of the lane like every other car and not on the far right hand side, I would either get run over or would endure a chorus of honking horns until I was scared off my bicycle. The car commuters can’t have things both ways. If they want cyclists to obey ALL traffic laws just like the cars then the cars should obey ALL traffic laws. Do you know how frustrating it is to get caught behind a bicyclist on Rock Creek Park? Imagine that all over the city. HAH! Bicyclists rule! And the city should start a commuter tax.

  • It’s just a matter of perspective. If I was in charge I’d make bicycle riding mandatory for ten days before you could get a DC driver’s license/plate. Just so everyone on the road knew what the everyone else’s experience feels like. I bet that there’d be a lot more understanding for why bikers run red lights. Believe me, it is very much a safety issue sometimes.

  • psst….fellow bikers…. I’m going to let you in on a little secret.

    There is no advantage to running red lights on major roads.

    DC’s 25 MPH speed limit is slower than most cars try to drive, but it’s a speed that a reasonably fit bike commuter should be able to maintain, at least in the bike lanes. The traffic lights are timed for this speed. When you get out of sync with the light cycles by, say, running red lights, it causes you to hit every red light going down the road, which you must then run. If you’re patient, and actually wait for your turn, you’ll hit all the green lights, with only a few exceptions.

    For example, let’s look at the southbound 14th street bike lane. If you are patient and wait for the green light at 14th and U, you can bike all the way down to Eye St. and only stop at R and maybe Rhode Island. If you’re running lights, it’s going to take a lot more than 3 to get you to your destination.

    So, next time you’re out on the road, try a little experiment. Instead of running that red light that you always speed through, stop and wait for the green light. Take note of all the people who blow past you. As you make your way down the road, you will catch up to 95% of them. I promise. You’ll add maaaaaybe 5-10% to your total commuting time, and you’ll be less sweaty to boot, because you won’t be stopping and starting as much. Try it – you might be pleasantly surprised.

    And for those of you who ride fixies with no brakes, well, you need to get a bike that isn’t (rightfully) illegal in several countries.

  • First, some helpful facts for both sides:

    The most common scenario for bike-car collisions is that the car failed to stop or yield to the bike at a stop sign. An additional 7 of the top 10 scenarios occur when the bike is either stopped or moving in a straight line. Cyclists running lights or riding on the sidewalk are both in the top ten, but are a lower percentage than many expect.

    Second, a (reasonably) calm cyclists perspective:

    As a cyclist, I’ll admit that I’ve run stop signs and stop lights in DC thousands of times, and will continue to do so, but I have never had anything anywhere near an accident occur. I also ride aggressively and have certainly had a half-dozen near misses with cars that were at least arguably my fault, and I’ve probably had a half-dozen more near misses with pedestrians.

    Those mistakes of mine, however, are nothing compared to the several near misses I have every week due to mistakes from drivers. I’ve been hit twice by cars drifting or turning into a bike lane, and “squeezed” many more times — forced to brake, slap the car’s window, or otherwise take evasive action. I’ve had close calls due to cars running lights and stop signs, changing lanes without looking, or just getting impatient and passing so close I can feel them. It sucks, but I try not to get upset at drivers because it doesn’t do any good. Instead I focus on educating them and learning from each incident so I’ll be a better rider.

    A tip for cyclists: don’t get pissed at drivers. They have a really hard time seeing you and don’t quite know how to drive around you, and they make a lot of little mistakes that seem enormous to you because you’re on a bike and you feel vulnerable. They are also often receptive to calm discussion of both the law and etiquette, but getting angry at them just shuts down that possibility.


    A tip for drivers: don’t get pissed at cyclists. They aren’t flaunting the law – they are striking a difficult three way balance between the law, their safety, and efficiency. They are terrified that they’ll be run over, and sometimes they break the law just to get home a little faster and get out of your way.

  • Brad makes an excellent point. Often, when cyclists run stop signs and red lights, it is purely to get out of a driver’s way, so as to avoid being the target of road rage. I’ve learned the light cycles on my route well enough now that I don’t have to run lights, but when I have in the past, it’s been because I get stuck in front of an aggressive driver who I fear will honk and scream at me or even deliberately try to hit me if I am not COMPLETELY out of the way by the time that light turns green. Any biker will tell you that it’s fucking terrifying to have someone try to run over you, and sometimes you just want to get as far away from that person as possible. It’s a twisted method of self-preservation that wouldn’t have to happen if the road rage here were not so intense.

  • Waderite, if you can maintain 25mph at all times around the city day in and day out on a commuter bike, there are some semi-pro racing teams that would like to talk to you. I’m sure you can do it coming down 14th, and I’ve raced on and off for a few years and can solo at 25 for a fair pull on my race bike, but thinking that people are going to ride 25 all the time is insane.

    The advantage to running lights when there is nobody coming is open road. Cars that aren’t near you can’t hit you, and if you get through a light with 20 seconds on the clock you can be pretty much gone by the time they catch up to you unless you’re doing a long pull on one street, which is rare in DC. Think about going northbound on 16th at Florida – You can go with traffic, and have the MD commuter moron horn chorus not only riding your butt, but also actively trying to hit you as they swerve around people turning left. Or you can blow the light and be on top of the hill and maybe past the next light before the herd is released. That’s an extreme example, but most of us exploit the same principle all over the city — don’t wait with the caged animals when you can get out in front of them.

  • Just got back from an hour and a bit by bike through Petworth and 16th Street Heights and Rock Creek. Enjoyed bike lanes on 14th and Kansas. In my 20ish miles, nothing but courteous drivers, even several waves to let me go ahead at 4 way stops and the like.

    Excellent points by Brad and Warderite. There are few things more terrifying than a car’side mirror speeding 6 inches past your left hip… Your two tons of steel could totally destroy my 200 pounds of flesh and twenty pounds of bicycle.

    Again, though, I remain thankful for all the great drivers out there who go out of their way to keep me feeling safe- I’m doing my best to return the favor.

  • JL – I love your attitude, and you’re right on. Most cyclist and drivers alike are good people, doing their best to share the road and get along. Even those of us who have had bad experiences, or ugly accidents or confrontations, should strive to remain members of that positive but silent majority, and to view bike/car tensions as understandable artifacts of two VERY different modes of transportation trying to share the same road. Pointing fingers does no good and only increases the tension.

  • I once received a ticket in Ottawa for 110 bucks for being on my bike on a crosswalk – and I was going slowly at the time. Did not realize that it was against the law. Although I was initially pissed, I learned a lot from it and now wish that everyone treated their bikes like cars…as they should!!

  • Also, for the person who says they have a better view around them in a car than I do on a bike, thanks for the laughs. I can see 360 degrees unobstructed from the saddle,

    that was me and I call bull on your comments. If you are telling the truth, tell me how your mirrors are set up because I want to know. I had two mirrors on my handle bars and no way do I have 360 vision. no way. You tell me how your mirrors are set up.

    and turning your head to look one way, but not look the other way at the same time obviously doesn’t count since that’s not 360.

    I want to see this set up you claim to have. really.

  • yaay! hope they start ticketing all of the bikes that zoom through red lights and stop signs. also, $25 is way too low.

  • So that we might garner better, more thoughtful and contributory comments, kindly consider PoP awarding a best commentary on a regular or weekly basis, or devise some other incentive to bring better writing to a thread that more aptly contributes “to the beautiful life” in Petworth.

    Your posts are wonderful and neighborly. Your advertisers, your content, and collaborative hard work and resources deserve better. Much better than some of the above. Let’s try to raise the bar a bit, perhaps folks?

  • I think a perfect example of what cops do and don’t enforce is a situation that happened to me on 11th Street last week. I bike to work every day and I will admit that when I’m stopped at a light and I can see that it won’t turn for 30 seconds and there are no cars, I’ll hop on and ride through. However the other morning I pull up to a red, stop and see that there is a cop car stopped at the same light but coming the other way. Because it is technically illegal to run the light and I don’t like giving bikers a bad image I waited for the light to turn. As I stood patiently waiting a car comes speeding toward the light behind the cop car, passes it on the right in the bike lane and turns left right in front of me through the red light.

    The cop did nothing.

    He sat there, and when the light turned green he went forward like nothing had happened. 2 blocks down I hear sirens and then a cop car goes flying by likely in pursuit of the earlier driver. All I can say is that the cars I have been nearly hit by while on my bike tend to be taxi drivers and cops who don’t give a sh*t.

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