Reader Alleges being attacked by Driver after asking him to move Parked Car from Bike Lane

bike_noma_attack

@kebursaw tweets us yesterday:

“Driver got out w/ stool & tried to attack me twice after I took pic & asked him to move.

I knocked on window & asked him to please not block lane. His answer: “I’ll beat you. White boy”

136 Comment

  • What did MPD do when you called 911? That’s at least a misdemeanor threat.

    • My phone died after I took the pic. I wish it wasn’t dead… The driver was very aggressive, and quite scary when he came at me. If his wife hadn’t come out of the building and screamed at home, I don’t know what would have happened. Filing a report after work tonight at the First District Station. I doubt anything will come from it, but I want it on the books so that MPD is aware of the issue.

  • why is the license plate blotted out?

  • THERE’S A WAR COMING, PICK YOUR SIDE

    • yea, that’s awkward dude ..

    • I choose the side of civility. Fight fire with water.

      • I tend to agree with the civility focused approach – but when the police are refusing to enforce the law, against threats of violence, one can easily see the temptation to anger and even vigilantism. I’m not sure what the civil cyclist response is here. I mean will civil disobedience work, when even cyclists remaining within the law is met with threats of violence?

        • There are some police officers who don’t understand / enforce the law, but many do – MPD has been making big pushes for education re: bike laws / rights. Videotaping is a great way to fight back – either by supplying info to the police, or publicly shaming them if they won’t take action.
          Videotaping also has an effect on how stupid people will be. I’ve deescalated situations by pointing to my camera light (looks like it could be a camera) and saying something like “don’t be stupid – recording.”

        • It is sometimes hard to discern” the civil response”. It’s often easy, though, to determine what the civil response is not. Taking a stranger’s picture without permission, and putting your hands on his/her property while attempting to change his/her behavior and then shaming said stranger on a public blog is likely not the most civil of responses. It’s also likely not the best way to get people to conform to relatively new and/or unfamiliar street markings and transportation patterns.

          It’s interesting how many people confuse “legal” with appropriate. Knocking on someone’s window is likely to be perceived as a confrontational act. If you initiate a confrontation, don’t be surprised when the response is also confrontational.

          • Serious question, what is it about knocking on a window that is so confrontational?

          • Leaving aside legal ideas of reasonable expectations of privacy, in a world where we photographed walking into stores, on metro platforms, and of course at intersections, I don’t know that taking a picture is confrontational (not like shouting and cursing.) And knocking on a window seems like a necessary way to get to communicate – like knocking on a front door.

            And the response from the driver did not sound like someone who simply was confused – he could have said (with or without anger) I DIDN”T KNOW. But he did not. I here one person breaking the law, a second person reacting, and the first person dramatically over reacting. Could the second person have been more Gandhian and just said “oh well, the track is new, lets just wait a few months” – I suppose, but I do not think that what the cyclist did here justified the response they got.

          • ACyclist….I think what’s missing here is nuance. It’s possible that the cyclist caught the driver’s eye, gently knocked on the window, and politely asked him to “please not block the lane” in a courteous and respectful tone of voice. It’s also possible that the cyclist, P.Oed at the driver being in the bike lane, abruptly knocked on the car window and demanded that the driver MOVE. It’s hard to know — since the only report we have is from the point of view of the cyclist. I will go out on a limb though, and say that if the OP were emulating Ghandi, it’s not likely that someone minding his own business prior to the encounter would leap out of a car in attack mode — with a stool. Which makes me wonder what the other side of this story would sound like. I’ll add too, that knowing that we’re constantly under surveillance, and have someone deliberately taking a picture of you while demanding that you change your behavior is not quite the same thing.
            I’d love it if we were all more Gandihian. (love this word, BTW). Imagine if the cyclist had simply cycled around the car, and given the driver the benefit of the doubt re: dealing with an unfamiliar traffic pattern? Namaste!

          • I think we have a falsiability problem – you beleive a priori that drivers are not unreasonable, ergo an example of an unreasonable reaction from a driver leads you to posit that the cyclist acted in such a way that the driver reaction WAS reasonable. I am glad for you that your interactions have led you to that world view. My own interaction, as driver, cyclist, and pedestrian with drivers, tells me that there ARE a few drivers who would respond unreasonably to a direct (neither over the top nor submissive) indication from a cyclist that they are violating the law, and that someone who IS in fact blocking the bike lane is particularly likely to be in that group.

          • Actually, it’s not about my a priori beliefs about drivers. Or my a priori beliefs about cyclists. It’s about my assumptions re: the likelihood that someone who would take to a neighborhood blog in an attempt to publicly shame someone else would be inclined to describe his own behavior objectively and accurately. Despite my general sunny optimism, I’m gauging this one at “way low”. The combination of eagerness to confront a stranger; eagerness to “correct” a stranger’s behavior, and eagerness to publicly shame a stranger makes me less inclined to assume “reasonable” behavior on the part of the OP. But that’s just me. And my own particular set of experiences, biases and assumptions.

          • Anonymous @ 4:28 said: “I’d love it if we were all more Gandihian. (love this word, BTW). Imagine if the cyclist had simply cycled around the car, and given the driver the benefit of the doubt re: dealing with an unfamiliar traffic pattern? Namaste!”

            I’m not sure if this is sarcastic or not, but let’s be clear that Gandhism is a real word and that Gandhi sure as heck did *not* say, “Let’s give the British imperialists the benefit of the doubt re: dealing with colonial rule of our country. Namaste!”

            I’m more curious about the question as to *why* simply knocking on a window can be perceived as a confrontational act. I agree that it often is seen as confrontational, but that’s on the driver. Cars are not designed to allow communication, but without communication there can be no cooperation.

          • skwirl – encroaching upon someone else’s property or personal space is pretty commonly viewed as “confrontational”. That’s why we usually apologize when we do so, if we mean no harm, particularly if it involves people we don’t know. It’s not “on the driver” — but on the encroacher to mitigate his behavior if he wants to avoid being viewed — and responded to — as someone who is actively being confrontational. You point out that “cars are not designed to allow communication”. So the onus would then be on the person who is actively breaking this barrier to ensure that his behavior is not viewed initiating a confrontation. And when someone actively initiates a confrontation, they should not be surprised when someone responds to them as though they had, in fact, actively initiated a confrontation.

    • clevelanddave

      Do you really want to get into a war with 2000 pounds of metal when the metal monsters outnumber you and the police are also driving metal monsters? Seems like a bad idea to me even if you are swifter and smaller.

  • I’ve had the same thing happen on the L st cycletrack (read: parking lane). I took a photo and the guy got out and threatened me with violence. He got out of his car and walked slowly towards me saying something like “you better get out of here or i’ll beat you”. I didn’t have my phone with me so I got out of there. Now I always carry my phone and use a helmet camera.

    • I had someone threaten me once. I grabbed my U-lock, jumped off my bike, and dared him to try it. Dude cursed me out like a motherfucker then got back in his car. Most people are just bluster.

      • Holy crap, are you me? I still ride with a heavy padlock on a chain over my shoulder for such situations. Civli? No. Effective? Generally.

  • Was the driver’s pic snapped before asking or after the threats? If it was before I’d be pissed someone randomly snapping my pic.

    • What difference does it make? You can’t threaten to beaet someone for taking your picture in public.

      • Did I suggest the threats were valid? I said I would be pissed and would probably have few choice of words and or a nice finger gesture to the person snapping my pic.

      • But but but……DISRESPECT!
        .
        You know the Uniform Code of Street Justice allows you to bash someone in the head if they feel like they were disrespected, right? So many feels.

        • There are a lot of people out there with volatile tempers who are quick to anger when they feel disrespected — this is the reason I pretty much keep my mouth shut rather than confront a stranger.

        • Yep, the same age old honor culture that felled founding father Alexander Hamilton via Vice President Aaron Burr’s pistol.

          • That was a little different — more time involved between the offense and the duel.
            .
            But yeah, a lot of people think that if they feel disrespected, it’s OK to up the ante to threats of violence or actual violence. And unfortunately the racial dynamic often amplifies the feeling of being disrespected.
            .
            I was at the AFI once and a woman in front of me brought out her iPhone and was messing with the screen for several minutes. I guess I should have tapped her on the shoulder and politely asked her to put it away, but I was so dumbfounded by her behavior that my reaction was to kick the back of her seat. (I know, I know… it was rude and I shouldn’t have done it, even if the woman’s total disregard of everyone else in the theater was also rude.)
            .
            A moment later her boyfriend came into my row and told me that if I said anything to his girlfriend or kicked the seat again, he’d beat the sh*t out of me. I was freaked out and left the theater about 10 minutes later.

    • That is because you are John Q Reader standing on the corner minding your business, you should be pissed if somebody randomly snaps your pic. This guy is clearly blocking the entire bike lane, and doing so knowingly, he is out to get his and screw the rest of you, he lost his right to get pissed when he infringed on the rights of everybody else.

      • What if the guy was having car troubles?

      • You have no expectation of privacy in public. It might seem odd if random person snaps your pic but being ‘pissed’ is not a rational response. Do you realize how many cameras are recording you every day? Every store you walk into, street you walk down, bank, grocery…cameras in all of them. Does that piss you off?

    • I snapped the pic, and knocked on his window. He ignored me for a moment, then started screaming at me for hitting his car (??). I pointed out all the available parking on the other side of the street, and asked if he’d consider moving his car into one of the spots while he waited. I explained that the bike lane is a safe place for us to ride, and asked how he’d feel if a biker stopped in a traffic lane and blocked his car.

      • Logic and reason doesn’t help with these stupids. They’re all just doing what’s in their best interests, even at the expense of others. He would obviously be really pissed if his car were blocked by a bicycle (he’d be pissed if it were blocked by anyone, I imagine – a pedestrian, another car, a flock of baby geese, etc).

  • Threats to bodily harm. Call the police, easy and done.

    • Spoken like someone who has never tried it. I had someone try to hit me with their car when I was on my bike–twice over the course of a block. I had his license plate number a full description of his appearance and attire, the make and model of the car and an eyewitness. The police wouldn’t even take a report because it would be “my word against his.”

      And then they told me that bicycles have to follow the rules of the road which in their words meant “yield the right of way to cars.” No. That’s not what the DC traffic code says. And moreover I was in the bicycle lane when the guy tried to ram his car into me.

  • Is OP Donald Sterling?

  • seems like an effort is needed to educate drivers about these bike lanes. if these were just installed, i would expect drivers to park/drive in them for awhile at first – not excusable but to be expected. rather than blasting them online, we should all (bikers, pedestrians, drivers) be reporting them (via 911). let the cops handle it. maybe ddot will add more barriers/posts so cars cannot get it in there – they are enabling drivers by leaving it open.

    • Is DDOT also enabling drivers to ride on the wrong side of the road by not putting barriers or posts between opposite facing traffic lanes? What exactly is it about a very visible bike lane with clear bollards and painted pavement showing a giant icon of a bicycle that confuses people? If these folks need to be educated about what a bike lane is, maybe they shouldn’t be privileged to drive.

      • clevelanddave

        Try driving down M St between Logan Circle and 16th Street. Imagine you don’t drive downtown all the time. Those lane switches and the bike track and the turn lanes are sure confusing and probably not compliant with any standard I’ve ever seen.

  • Don’t cover this clown’s license plate. He deserves it.

  • This fits in well with the basketball team owner situation. I really wish we had true equality in America, but the sad fact is black on white racism is overlooked as acceptable. I see this kind of thing blatant out in the open every day here in DC but nobody cares about it. Nobody tried to make Barry drop out of office when he was speaking about “Dirty Asians”. Until we all fight for equality, we won’t ever have it. It can’t be racism is ok for one group but not for another, that ain’t equality.

    • -“Nobody tried to make Barry drop out of office when he was speaking about “Dirty Asians””
      -“black on white racism is overlooked as acceptable”

      those are preposterous statements.
      of course people tried to make barry drop out. and of course people are concerned about bigotry.

      no, not everyone. but your statements are akin to saying “no one is bothered by white supremacists”.
      while i admire the fact that you’ve clearly never read the washington post comment section on racially oriented articles, you do need to have a better sense of where things sit.

      • I have been called “white lady,” “cracker,” and “white bitch” more times than I can count. If it were the opposite (which I find repulsive and would never do), I’d get jumped.

        • so because you’ve been called slurs, but you yourself wouldn’t utter a slur, somehow black people get a pass for their bigotry?

          • What do you think would happen if a white person went around calling black people slurs? I don’t think it would be pretty.
            .
            But then again, we live in a bubble in DC. In many other parts of the country it is still the other way around, so we do need to remember that.

  • Not surprisingly, @kebursaw loves to bike according to twitter and instragram

    Color me shocked.

    • “Media life in DC. Personal profile for random thoughts, publishing Instagram photos, and sharing DC’isms.”
      .
      I feel like this guy and Justinbc would be best friends. Bike polo, food trucks, beards, sunglasses, restaurants check-ins, foodie pics….

      • justinbc

        Seems like a nice enough guy. We do have the same snow shovel.

        • Now I really want you two to become BFF’s. I’m sure he has good ideas about your house paint job, too.
          .
          PS – there’s a small two-story black/white row house on W Street between 12th and 13th NW. I rode by it on Saturday and thought of you.

      • I forgot to mention the books I like reading!

  • Maryland driver not following the traffic laws? Color me shocked.

  • Not surprised about the MD license plate.

    Whats the best way to handle this? In my experience, drivers typically become angry and defensive when asked to move from a bike lane. Call 311 and send them picture of car license plate in bike lane?

    • Call 911. Yes, I mean it. Even though it’s not an emergency (until he threatens / attacks you).

    • Call 911 (its also used for police non-emergencies.)

      • No – don’t use 911 for non-emergencies

        You can call local precincts directly if you have a non-police emergency.

        • incorrect. if you want police dispatched to the scene, you have to call 911. here’s the list of non-emergency numbers for other stuff. note that if you want to file a police report, it tells you to call 911.

          if you want other police services (like to call and complain or commend someone, etc), here’s the listing:
          http://mpdc.dc.gov/node/308602

          if you want to file a report for something like a property theft, you can do that online…but this incident seems like it was requesting a near-real time response. here’s what you can do online (http://mpdc.dc.gov/node/164362):
          Lost property
          Lost vehicle tags
          Theft/theft from auto*
          Destruction of property
          Damage to property

        • Please stop spreading false info. Ask MPD if you don’t believe me. You call 911 for all police related issues. They will determine how to respond.

        • Or you can call 911 if you don’t want to pre-program all of those precinct numbers into your phone or figure out what precinct you’re calling about. “One City One Call.” Call 911 for anything involving police, fire, or medical services, not just emergencies.
          311 is for things like trash pickup, potholes, DMV, or any city department other than fire, police, ems.

        • False. 911 is now the number for ALL police matters.

        • Wrong, you’re supposed to call 911. If you call 311 or precinct directly, they’ll tell you to call 911.

    • My phone died, or else I’d have been on 911 right away. Stopping by the First District Station after work today to file a report. Do I expect anything to come from it? Not really. Am I out for justice? No. But I want this on the books so that the police know it’s a real issue in DC.

  • He was still in his car so it was probably a temporary situation, it isn’t like he was just parked there all day. It is better that he blocked a bike lane than actual traffic. Bicyclist weave in and out of traffic all the time and they might have to go around one stationary car and now the war on bikes is on…give me a brake just go around and move on with your day.

    • What would be even safer is for the drive to just park on the sidewalk. It’s just a temporary situation it’s not like he’s parked there all day. People walk slower than bikes so it would be better and safer to block the sidewalk than actual traffic. Pedestrians cross illegally all the time and weave and bob on the sidewalk.

      give me a brake.

    • justinbc

      “Bicyclist weave in and out of traffic all the time”, well, that’s legal, so…

    • Not all cyclists enjoy weaving through traffic but when a lane that is designed for cyclists’ safety and to keep them out of vehicular traffic is impeded by a vehicle, there is little choice. Not an ideal situation for anyone, so how about we just don’t park in bike lanes?

    • Bike lanes are not service lanes for broken down cars, nor are they temporary waiting areas for cars.

      Bike Lanes are for bicyclists use only.

      It is not better that this car driver blocked bicycle traffic lanes. He should not be in these bike lanes at all.
      If he had blocked car traffic, drivers would have been honking their asses off at him and the cops would have forced him along. Car drivers do not get to choose to screw over other modes of transportation, no matter how “temporary” their needs may be.

      • How do you feel about joggers in the bike line? Specifically joggers w/strollers?

      • PDMtP

        “If he had blocked car traffic, drivers would have been honking their asses off at him and the cops would have forced him along.”

        You don’t drive, do you? Sure, nobody ever stops a car in a traffic lane in DC, and if they do the cops are all over it. Except on Sundays, or in rush hour, or near stores or restaurants, or by someone’s house or apartment, or if they’re cabs….

        Now, would it be a good idea for a driver to get out of a car and go confront the people?

        • One might note that in that instance they are allowed to DRIVE in that lane, if stopping is illegal. In this case the driver had no right to even be in the lane.

        • Been driving in DC for 20+ years, thanks anyway.

          Car drivers are annoying. Let them annoy people in the lanes that are appropriate for them to be in. And yes, if he had stopped in that one lane and just stood there, every car behind him would have been honking like mad.

          Bicycle lanes are not for cars.

        • Thank you!
          It happens all the time in car lanes. I get angry, toot my horn, yell something from behind the protection of a locked door, and keep driving.
          .
          Yet, when it is in a bike lane, it is a vicious attack on the bike community and something that needs to be dealt with immediately. There are loads of traffic transgressions that affect drivers, bikers, and the guy on a hoveround who I saw waiting at a red light the other day. I don’t see why (unless its related to the naivete that someone complimented me on in another recent comment section) “traffic enforcement” should be impacted by the means of transportation for those who are impeded. If you want to see the police targeting illegal parking that affects the flow of traffic, great! Knock on my door and I’ll sign the petition. Say that the police need to switch gears (like that pun?) and focus only on people parked IN BIKE LANES? Sorry, no one home.

          I personally would like to see the police enforcing red light runners (bikes, cars, pedestrians, and mobility scooters). I can drive around someone parked illegally, I can’t drive around getting t-boned and killed.

          • A. there is a lot less bike lane real estate out there

            B. Swerving into another lane can be particulalry dangerous

            C. There are many cyclists out there who WILL NOT bike in a regular lane on anything other than a quiet street, and it is largely for their benefit that we build bike lanes and tracks. Forcing them into the general travel lane defeats the entire purpose of the investment in the cycle track

            D. If cars can park in the cycle track, then they can drive in it. And since the benefit of the track is to give a place to bike where cyclists can be SEPERATED from drivers, it really defeats the purpose.

            Really, the analogy here IS a car parked illegally on the sidewalk (not at a driveway). Sure, pedestrians can easily walk around it, but do you really think pedestrians would not knock on the window and take pictures? And call police? Cmon.

          • No, the analogy is a car blocking a lane of traffic. Cars and bikes are closer in law than bikes and pedestrians.
            .
            It is just as dangerous for a car to have to change lanes at the last minute when they come up to a car that is parked illegally (in the flow of traffic, not in front of a driveway or fire hydrant).
            .
            There are also drivers who are afraid to drive in a lane other than the farthest right. That doesn’t change the fact that they may have to temporarily do so if the lane is blocked temporarily. Should they have to? No. Might they have to? Yes.
            .
            By being a little bit more patient and understanding in our day to day lives, we are (ideally) earning the karma to be treated with patience and understanding if we, some day, might have to temporarily impede someone. You never know what the situation is, and getting confrontational is unnecessary, dangerous, and ultimately just stresses YOU out.
            .
            I think it’s absurd that the guy in the car got out (who carries a stool with them, honestly?), but it doesn’t look like having to go around him was that dangerous or time consuming for the OP.

          • “There are also drivers who are afraid to drive in a lane other than the farthest right”

            What do they do when they need to turn to turn left, dismount and walk the car? Sheesh, I have NEVER in my life heard of drivers who will only ride on the farthest right – whereas cyclists who will not ride without protected infra is a widely known issue.

            And no, its much more dangerous for cyclists to swerve, for reasons related to their lesser degree of protection, and issues with balance.

            And I don’t need kharma on this, as I will never park in a bike lane – someplace where I cannot even legally drive. Which in fact is why the proper analogy is to parking on a sidewalk and NOT to double parking in a travel lane.

            I am not sure why you do not feel patience and understanding do not work well with cars parked on sidewalks – surely in such a situation getting confrontational will also just stress you out.

            This is not about kharma and stress – its about, yes, hostility to biking. Were it not you would realize how cycle tracks and bike lanes reduce the stress of bking in traffic, and why drivers violating them is so much more stressful than confrontation is.

          • Hi Anonymous 4:02, you seem to be having some trouble understanding some basic concepts.
            – the reason people are comparing this to parking on a sidewalk is because cars are not supposed to be on sidewalks whereas they are supposed to be in driving lanes.
            -but really you are right, this is not the same, actually it is far more dangerous. Bikers have a real risk of running into the parked car or getting hit when going around it, pedestrians not so much
            -this is made extra dangerous by the fact that it is a two way bike lane so that bikers going both ways have to swerve into traffic to avoid hitting the car. To use your preferred car analogy its like a car parked across a double yellow, blocking traffic going both ways and only leaving one way for all cars going both ways to get around the parked car.
            – it is a vicious attack on the bike community because it shows a lack of any concern at all for the safety of bikers (who are very vulnerable) by the people doing these things. The people doing these things are not bikers and do not understand how dangerous it is for bikers. When drivers block car lanes, they know how it is impacting those behind them. Both people are acting selfish but there is a distinction.
            – i could go on, but if you can’t figure it out, I think its useless.

    • Better for who? Your attitude reflects the selfishness that drivers don’t realize they have and think bikers are full of.

    • Cyclists “just go around and move on with” our days all the time, and blocking a bike lane is blocking “actual traffic.” Cycling is how i get to work and back. Cops are hardly our advocates so sometimes cyclists so sometimes we take matters into our own hands and chew out someone blatantly breaking the law at our expense.

    • “It is better that he blocked a bike lane than actual traffic.”
      If you won’t acknowledge bikes as “real traffic” then we have no common ground to speak of.

    • “just go around and move on with your day”

      how you got there was asinine, but at least your conclusion was pragmatic.

    • car drivers pay plenty in taxes to build those bike lanes. if a car driver has a temporary need to park in a bike lane, what’s the big deal? it’s not like bicyclists pay the gas taxes and other taxes that pay for the roads!!

      • hahaha. wow.

      • All tax payers pay for roads. Gas taxes come nowhere close to paying for the infrastructure needed to support cars.

      • Right – bicyclists never pay things like sales tax, property tax, inheritance tax, etc. You’re smart!
        If you ever get tired one day, you should just pop into someone’s section 8 house for a nap because “you paid for it”.
        Also, you should drive on the sidewalk too.

        • I do both of those things all the time. What makes them great is that so few other people know about it. I rarely have to wait for couch space, and the pedestrians always have this really funny surprised look on their faces when they dive out of the way.

      • Lolz. This guy just won the internets today.

      • Here in Va roads are now paid for by sales taxes, not gas taxes. I paid sales tax on my bike, that means I DID pay for the bike lane (aside from the fact that I also drive) Ah, but of course as a commuter I freeload on the District streets when I bike, unlike this driver, who lives in DC – oh wait, I mean in Maryland. His Maryland gas tax is paying for the District streets. Except it isn’t. Oh but he is paying federal gas tax – except that is not used for local street such as this one.

      • You all are wrong. Studies show that gas taxes and other taxes borne by drivers pay for the cost of maintaining roads and bike lanes. The least you bikers can do to show your gratitude is to just take a chill pill and drive around when one of your driving benefactors needs to use a tiny bit of your space. How much of that bike lane is the car taking up, anyway? Like 1% if you measure end to end. Really, it’s the least you bikers can do.

  • You should’ve pepper sprayed the shit out of this ignorant bama after he threatened you. Then maybe he’d get out of the car and wander into traffic.

  • Was this really worth all of this? This guy obviously doesn’t care he’s in the bike lane. Good lord, use some common sense.

  • Out of curiosity: where is this? I can’t think of any two-way cycle tracks that are on the side of a two-way street. Except for 15th St. between H and Mass Ave., and this is clearly not that.

    • I believe this is First Street NE that runs along the west side of Union Station. They’ve been doing road work on that road and other surrounding roads for a few months and now it’s starting to open up. I guess a new cycle track was part of that work!

  • I constantly see MPD parking in bike lanes, this weekend I was biking on 15th street and on 2 separate occasions saw MPD blocking the bike lane. Perhaps we should be asking MPD to lead by example…I know, unlikely, but worth a shot.

  • Well, sadly, DDOT didn’t put a very high priority on cyclist safety when they installed most of the bike lanes. They have no physical separation from the street aside from dinky bollards anybody can weave around, so it becomes too easy for drivers to get into the lanes, which is a safety issue, and that also leads to bike/car confrontations like this one, which is also apparently a safety issue. Proper bike lanes (found all over Europe) are actually a different grade that is halfway between the height of the roadbed and the sidewalk. Cars cannot get to them because they would have to jump the curb between the car area and the bike area, and because they have more permanent obstacles to cars. As long as we half-ass bike lanes the way we do in DC, this problem will never, ever go away.

  • Do drivers not realize that the bike lanes are in their own best interest? Every cyclist means fewer vehicles on the road, which helps the vehicles that are there move around better. Yet drivers complain when cyclists are in main traffic lanes, but then also complain when there are bike lanes that they can’t drive or park in. I don’t get it.

    • You do get it. Far too many car drivers just want bicyclists to disappear (or be limited to cycling on sidewalks). A large percentage of car drivers want streets to be for cars only.

      Much like pedestrians complain about cyclists cycling on sidewalks in the CBD and many cyclists always respond they need to do so for their “safety” or because it is a 1 way street and they don’t want to bike “out of their way” to get where they need to go.

      It’s selfish special snowflake syndrome.

    • My guess is that they half-ass the protected bike lanes in DC on purpose so emergency vehicles can access them (whether it’s for a real emergency – like access to a hydrant – or MPD needing a parking spot for lunch). Which, of course, sets a bad example for regular civilian drivers who think they can also use the bike lane as a place to wait, load their car, or skip a line of traffic.

  • I can’t believe there are over 90 some posts about bike lanes vs. drivers and laws and picture taking bla bla bla when what this boils down to is you are dealing with a Maryland driver. It doesn’t matter if it is a bike line, bus lane, sidewalk, parking spot, national park or if you are black, white, purple or green.

    Maryland drivers park WhereverTF they want to, wheneverTF they want to. Period.

  • What was the point in knocking on the window of his car, and asking him to move? Are you a parking enforcement agent? And why take his picture? I’m not condoning the “threat”, but why did you feel the need to confront this person over something this trivial?
    Would you knock on the window of a double-parked car to tell the driver that he should move his car?
    If you are going to engage in this kind of private policing, you should not be surprised when – not if – it goes bad.
    And good luck getting the police to accept a report on this. You knock on his car and confront him about something you have no legal right to enforce, and you think the police are going to arrest this guy because he got mad at you?

    • mad? no. the threat of violence is a crime though.

      • Right. And he will claim that he was just defending himself after a random stranger he didn’t know from a hole in the wall walked up to his car, pounded on the window, and demanded that he move his car from the bike lane.

      • Threat with no proof? The guy in car can simply claim the biker attacked him or threatened him for being parked in a bike lane. There was NO reason for the biker to photo the driver as the initial contact. You guys can sit here and say there are cameras everywhere blah blah blah…but it would irk you if you are minding your own business and you see someone snapping a pic of you.

        • there are at least two things true in this story: it is illegal to park in a bike lane. it is also illegal to threaten bodily harm. beyond that, i think most of us are award that there are more than just two opinions that can be had here.

    • +100000 thanks for summing it up perfectly!

  • A knock on my car window would startle the heck out of me. I’ll assume this Nissan driving individual was reacting to that bit of hostile aggression and the OP’s self righteous sense of entitlement to “be the law”.

    • I agree I would be annoyed if some random started knocking on my window, I wouldn’t respond with the alleged racism though.

    • It would probably startle me too. But I would not respond with threats and violence.

  • Somebody will probably call me out for “fear-mongering” and “exaggerating”. However it is really stupid to hassle somebody on the street in this city. A lot of these guys carry guns and knives and have very short fuses. It is better to be safe than be right.

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