Let’s Choose delves into driver-cyclist conflict

Are bike lanes destroying DC by making it impossible for “real people” to move about? Are cars evil monsters that should be banished? If you ask the candidates for DC Council at-large on April 23, the answer is no to both.

Despite what you might assume if you listen to AAA’s Lon Anderson, Gary Imhoff’s introductions in themail, or certain Adam Tuss NBC broadcast segments, DC leaders of many ages and backgrounds just aren’t interested in more conflict concerning our roadways.

We asked the candidates,

Residents who walk and bicycle often feel our streets are not sufficiently safe for them. Others feel that projects to accommodate bicycles and pedestrians have impeded quality of life for those who must drive. Is there a way forward that can bring peace among all road users? What would you say to each of these groups?

You can vote on the candidates’ responses to this question until midnight Monday, February 18. Meanwhile, stay tuned for the results of last week’s question, on how to spend the surplus, later this week.

10 Comment

  • Bicyclists should be allowed to ride on sidewalks if they ride substantially slower than the normal pace of road traffic. As a driver, I generally have no problems with bike couriers because they move quickly through traffic and rarely impede the flow, and they also pay attention to what’s going on around them.

    I DO though have a problem with “Sunday Cruisers” those are the riders that casually ride in front of an entire line of city traffic at stop lights then leisurely peddle, once the light changes green, blocking everyone behind them. “Sunday Cruisers” should be on the sidewalk.

    Bicyclists should also be held responsible for their conduct and courteous to walkers… They should always obey cross/stop/street signs and rules. Riding a bicycle on the sidewalk around pedestrians allows a bicyclist to see the same type of experience/frustration that drivers have with some of them on city roads.

    There’s no easy solution, but DC will never be China, there simply can’t be a mix of a lot of cars and bicycles on roads without major problems. Capital Bike Share is also responsible for putting a large amount of inexperienced and dangerous riders (without helmets) into dangerous traffic situations. I think this also needs to be respectfully discussed.

    Drivers should be conscious and courteous by default of course, but in a collision with a bicyclist or pedestrian, the person who has most to lose should always be the one to relent to safety because you can’t file a lawsuit if you’re dead. Cheers.

    • Ha. Well if you do not appreciate bikers on your current roads, why not propose to the city council that certain roads should be dedicated to bikers? Complete speculation here, but I am assuming most people who bike in DC are DC residents, pay DC taxes and would love to use some of the public space dedicated for roads. Maybe even narrow the scope and just propose certain times when only bikes can use certain streets and only cars can use certain streets. Like those times when you have to drive fast through the city.

    • “in a collision with a bicyclist or pedestrian, the person who has most to lose should always be the one to relent to safety”

      Those who operate the more dangerous item are those who are most responsible for safety. That you force this responsibility onto others, rahter than accept the responsibility you ho.ld by operating a multi-ton vehicle is interesting and enlighting.

      A bus or semitruck driver should then be able to do whatever they please, as your car would be creamed in a crash.

      FYI: Cyclists are already allowed to ride on the sidewalk, except in the CBD.

      Pedestrians, cyclists and drivers can learn to share the space, when they all learn to share the space.

      • And I should be able to run red lights, go the wrong way up a one way street, and cut in and out as long as (a) I’m disobeying traffic laws in front of much more dangerous trucks and buses and (b) I have faith in how safe I’m being. Right?

    • unpersuasive / did not answer the question

    • I used to think riding a bike on the sidewalk was the solution until I decided to commute to work on bike. Riding on the sidewalk is extremely dangerous, and I’m not talking about pedestrians. Drivers making a right hand turn or crossing intersections do not expect a bike to jump in front of them from the sidewalk. Most bike/car accidents happen at intersections and if you had bikers riding on sidewalks they would be even more frequent. So, jack5, get a bike and ride it on the sidewalk on rush hour. You’ll see…

  • I am a pedestrian and I am definitely a fan of increasing bicycle use within the city. I also wished that cyclist would decide if they want to be treated as cars that need to follow the rules of the road or as pedestrians. I can’t be both ways. I have been nearly hit by bikes more than cars when crossing at a crosswalks. Certainly there are good cyclists out there, but those aren’t the ones I am concerned with.

  • keep in mind, Bikers also drive cars, and walk on the sidewalk. Not always the other way around. Bikers aren’t welcome on the road nor the sidewalk. So to say they should follow the rules of one, is very hard. A cyclist is neither so they need their own set of rules, like other cities have done.

    Riding a bike has huge advantages over most other modes of transportation around this city (my opinion but most that start to ride a bike probably agree) The ability to ride between cars, go on side walks etc. etc. most of the time makes biking the quickest way around the city which is very powerful.

    didn’t somebody once say. “with great power.. comes great responsibility.” Ride respectful, and watch out for each other

    • I drive differently around DC because I ride a bike on the same streets. I think a lot of DC’s problems are obviously caused during rush hour and the large amount of commuters that rush in from VA, MD distracted, on cell phones, speeding, etc. that are annoyed with the traffic of the small city streets. They make the roads dangerous and things like cyclist wizzing by them or waiting behind a BikeShareRider fuel the rage. Making the road at times a hostile place for a biker, who may then head to the sidewalk. Riding a bike around DC on the weekend is like being in a different city. Sorry just another thought

  • There have been many times I’ve almost been hit by a cyclist, but I do sympathize with the fact that it’s very tough for them on the roads in this city. I think if they’re going to ride on the sidewalk, they need to slow way down and yield to pedestrians instead of whizzing by at break-neck speed.

    That said, I walk to Union Station every day, and the greater danger is most definitely cars. Walking along G or F, drivers get VERY impatient with pedestrians. I have had drivers literally drive at me while I’m crossing in the crosswalk because they cannot possibly wait an extra 10 seconds at the stop sign for me to safely cross. I feel like I’m taking my life in my hands every day.

    Drivers, seriously. I drive in this city too and I know it’s rough at times. But yielding to a pedestrian for 10 seconds to allow them to safely cross the road is not going to kill you. And while you’re at it, quit driving 40mph down small neighborhood streets. That isn’t good for anyone…

Comments are closed.