“Should I have called the police and is it illegal to ride bikes on the sidewalks in DC, or just certain parts?”

Photo by PoPville flickr user kevnkovl

“Dear PoPville,

Yesterday, around 6pm I was almost finished with my run (on New Jersey Ave SE a little past the Capitol when I encountered about 7-8 adults on Capital Bikeshare. We went through an intersection together and then they started riding on the narrow sidewalk. They were struggling to get going, riding slowly and wobbling. I was running at their pace, if not faster so I went to the left of them to go around and next thing I knew I was flying through the air! One of them hit me.

I ended up on the ground and crashed into dirt/tree. I got up in shock and the first thing the forty-something year old man said to me was “You have to let me through!” First of all, he was riding so slowly and almost like he didn’t know how to ride a bike. Secondly, I said to him “It’s illegal to ride bikes on the sidewalk!” He just shook his head acting like it was my fault and never even asked if I was okay. Lastly, even if they are on the sidewalk don’t they have to yield to pedestrians?

After I looked at myself I realized my knee was cut up, bleeding, and swollen. Then I looked at my iPhone and the screen was completely shattered. I thought to myself what should I do, but I was so shaken up I just went home. I ended up having to replace my iPhone for $285 because a small part of the frame was bent.

Long story short, I kind of regretted not calling the police. But then I thought they have better things to do and I am not sure if they could have even done anything. Should I have called the police and is it illegal to ride bikes on the sidewalks in DC, or just certain parts?”

117 Comment

  • It is legal to ride on sidewalks in DC in certain areas – basically outside of downtown. However, when riding on the sidewalk, cyclists are required to go at the pace of pedestrians. More than likely if you were on the Hill you were in an area where sidewalks are prohibited to cyclists, and regardless of whether you were or not, the cyclist is at fault for failing to move at a safe speed for traffic.

    • Read the OP’s comment. The OP said they cyclists were moving more SLOWLY than he was. By your logic, the runner is at fault for moving at an unsafe speed and passing at too narrow a section.

      • Reread it. It sounds like he passed them and was then struck by one from behind after they sped up.

      • If the OP was hit from behind, the cyclist was traveling faster than the pedestrian. In addition, Anon 1:36 has no logic by which one could construe the runner at fault.

    • According to WABA, the central business district is “The CBD is bounded by 2nd Street NE and SE, D Street SE and SW, 14th Street SW and NW, Constitution Ave NW, 23rd Street NW, and Massachusetts Ave NW. Within the CBD, bicycling is allowed on lands under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service including places like Lafayette Park, Farragut Square Park, the National Mall and Dupont Circle. However, if cyclists do ride on the sidewalk they must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians.”

      Based on this, I think the OP was likely in the CBD, but even if she wasn’t DC Rule 1201.10 states that a bike has to give right of way to peds: 1201.10 “Any person riding a bicycle or personal mobility device upon a sidewalk shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians, and shall travel at a speed no greater than the posted speed limit of the adjacent roadway; provided, that such speed is safe for the conditions then existing on the sidewalk.”

  • Ok, this is getting ridiculous.

    If this person is a regular popville reader, he/she should know that you just did an article about this a month or so ago. Search on popville or google it.

    bikes on sidewalks are only impermissible in the downtown area.

  • Call the police, absolutely. The reason bikers continue to behave irresponsibly is because nothing is done about it.

    • brookland_rez

      You should have called. You have injuries and a broken phone due to negligence of someone else. I would have also sued.

  • I think you could’ve called the cops, but I don’t believe it’s illegal to ride your bike on the sidewalk outside the central business district (which I don’t believe Cap Hill belongs to). I don’t know if there is a penalty for running into pedestrians, but at least you might have been able to get this guy’s contact info and hopefully get him to pay for your phone. Sorry that happened!

  • It is illegal to ride a bicycle on the sidewalk in DC within the central business district. See map at link for what exactly is included, but basically if you were on NJ North of D St SE, then it was illegal for them to be on the sidewalk. South of D St, it was perfectly legal. If they were legally on the sidewalk, and you passed them on too narrow a section, then I’d say you were at fault. If they were illegally on the sidewalk, then they were at fault.


  • YES, you should have called police – you were hit by a bicyclist.

    It is legal to ride on sidewalks in most of DC. Only the CBD is restricted (not that this is followed or enforced).

    Cyclists are required to give ROW to pedestrians on sidewalks (not that this is followed or enforced).

    He hit you, you SHOULD have reported it as he caused injury and damage. Also, you can “report” via twitter to: https://twitter.com/struckdc though I do not think they track who did the hitting (car/driver v. bicycle/rider)

    and here is DDot’s Bike site for all the information you could want:

    • “Cyclists are required to give ROW to pedestrians on sidewalks”
      This is exactly right, and since you were injured, I wish you’d called the cops. Plus, the “you have to let me through” comment would have driven me batty. Pedestrians have the right of way. More than that, it’s cyclists’ responsibiity to make sure they ride in a manner so as to not endanger pedestrians. Hope you’re healing well.
      That said, it doesn’t sound like a ROW issue – you were passing them, and they were swerving, and as you were passing the cyclist swerved into you?

      • Yes, basically. They were taking up the whole sidewalk so I went to go to the left of them (basically into the grass, but it was tight because a tree was up ahead) and he swerved into me when I was to the left of him. Him saying you have to let me through was basically saying I needed to give him the sidewalk to do whatever he wants, I guess.

        • I was kind of wondering about this, thanks for clarifying. Honestly it sounds to me like this falls into a big gray area. Bikes are supposed to yield to peds on a sidewalk, but you (the ped) were moving faster than the bike and passing from behind, so I’m not sure how much the cyclist could have realistically yielded. Plus if they were “taking up the whole sidewalk” and you still tried to pass them without alerting them to your presence, then I think it’s hard to hold them fully responsible.
          I say all this not as a legal opinion, but as my best guess as to what a cop would tell you if you called one. The police might take a report, but I suspect that they wouldn’t be able to sufficiently untangle the he-said-she-said between you and the cyclist. Perhaps they would have ticketed the cyclist, but that still leaves you with a busted iPhone and jacked-up knee.
          I also say this as a very frequent runner of sidewalks in DC: hope that everyone knows the rules but don’t assume they will follow them, and run defensively even if it means stopping for a moment. I hope your knee heals up quickly.

          • All good points and advice. When I thought about it afterward I don’t think the police would have been able to do much. Thanks, yeah next time I definitely won’t be trying to go around them.

          • Bikes do not have right of way. Period. Speed is irrelevant.

        • This guy’s mentality seems to be pretty common with tourists (not the injuring someone and not caring, but the hogging the sidewalk and getting pissed if someone tries to get around you). It’s like this is their Disneyland and they don’t get that other people live and work here and need to get about their business. Say what you will about city-folk, but at least we have a sense of mutual cooperation and sharing.

          That said, I don’t get how someone can cause bodily harm to a person and then just yell at them as if it’s their fault. Makes me so sad.

  • Yes, I would have called the cops, or asked someone nearby to, since your phone was broken.
    Either bikes are vehicles and you were involved in an accident with a moving vehicle, or they aren’t, and you were a victim of battery (legal definition). Either case is one for the police.

  • Whether it was on sidewalk or not and whether it was illegal or not, there was a collision that resulted in injury and property damage. I wish you had called the police as well. I really hope you’re feeling better. Sorry to hear that it cost so much to replace your phone… next time try the mall kiosks first, they can usually replace the screen for like $100 max and can usually bend the frame back in place enough to work.

    As a die-hard bicyclist in the District, I have a love/hate relationship with Capital Bikeshare. I love it’s there as a public transpo resource. I hate that it seems to attract the wrong type of rider. Maybe because you only have it temporarily, it seems to give a lot of its riders an emboldened sense that they do not have to engage in safe nor courteous habits.

    • I doubt most CaBi riders think this way. There are two classes of them, really. One is someone who uses CaBi daily or near-daily (like myself) and knows how what the laws and rules are. Two is someone who uses it sparingly (or tourists) who are simply ignorant of how to behave while on a bike. Inexperience isn’t the same thing as having a sense of entitlement (though oftentimes, the result is the same).

      • Right, I should have been more clear. The first kind you describe is what i meant when I said public transpo resource. Second type is definitely the infrequent user. But I see that sense of entitlement everyday from the infrequent users. Every. Day.

    • kken, I read somewhere (can’t remember where) that CaBi bikers were actually safer bikers than those of us who have our own bikes. They attributed this to the fact that the CaBi bikes themselves are clunky and not fast-moving, and some people might be more cautious when not wearing helmets (which seems to be common for the CaBi crowd). Also, CaBi users may be relatively new to city biking and thus, more cautious/slow. The article said it was actually the fancy road bike group that tends to be more confident and more reckless. A lot of generalizations, of course. I run into all kinds of bikers violating laws, like sailing right through the stop signs. Today, they just happened to be on road and hybrid bikes.

      • Yeah, people of all walks/rides of life bend/break the rules of the road. I do not argue that. And Freds really annoy me as well. But I am often going through the tourist-heavy areas like the Mall and downtown every day on my bike, and the stuff I see every day from CaBi riders there is pretty appalling.

        Flip side is, most commuter CaBis are pretty responsible and are often decked out in a lot of safety gear that most bike owners don’t.

  • Sorry that happened to you. The Cap Hill Neighborhood is not in the Central Business District, so cycling is allowed on the sidewalk, but the dummy on the bike should have dismounted and walked the bike if he could not get around you safely.

    • Large parts of New Jersey avenue ARE in the CBD, including the area around Capitol South metro. Please stop spreading wrong information that no part of Capitol Hill is in the CBD.

    • According to WABA: “The CBD is bounded by 2nd Street NE and SE, D Street SE and SW, 14th Street SW and NW, Constitution Ave NW, 23rd Street NW, and Massachusetts Ave NW. Within the CBD, bicycling is allowed on lands under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service including places like Lafayette Park, Farragut Square Park, the National Mall and Dupont Circle. However, if cyclists do ride on the sidewalk they must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians.” This would include a fair amount of NJ Ave.

  • We need less bikers and more brunch places.

    • how would we get to the brunch places?

    • DC brunch is overhyped. The food is not often special, nor is the atmosphere, and the prices are as ridiculous as how the people look – moseying around drunk at noon in bright shirts with giant hats while yelling nonsense… Why not just meet up at a friends house and have everybody pitch in? Call mom for a recipe if you’re having problems figuring this all out…

  • In my runs around the Mall and Tidal Basin I have encountered an epidemic of tourists teetering on Capital Bikeshare bikes, taking up the entire sidewalk, completely oblivious to pedestrian traffic, and only barely in control. Even when I run off the path to go around the bikers, they are often so unsteady that I’m still concerned about getting hit. This story could have been me a dozen times over.

    Even if the bikers were legally on sidewalks, “if cyclists do ride on the sidewalk they
    must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians.” http://ddot.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/ddot/publication/attachments/pocket_guide_dc_bike_laws_revised_2012.pdf

    • Mug of Glop

      I run around these places all the time, too. The only thing that gets me more scared than a pod of lumbering CaBi tourists all over the sidewalk is a shame of Segways coming at me, or overtaking me from behind. I’ve had a lot more close calls with these guys than with car traffic, actually (albeit with far lower potential stakes). The worst are the side-by-side CaBikers coming up 15th along the White House complex, especially weaving through all the bollards, since it’s up hill and they’re always slow, wobbly, talking to each other, and completely oblivious to everyone around them.

      • Thank you for referencing “a shame of Segways.” The amusement will help me endure yet another late afternoon of bureaucratic pointlessness!

      • “A shame of Segways”—oh my gawd, that is the BEST collective noun I’ve heard in a long time! Thanks for the laugh-out-loud!

      • My friend and I say when we step on the other’s heels that they’ve been “segwayed” because it’s our biggest fear when walking near her place in Penn Quarter.

  • Honestly, unless you were able to detain the guy yourself, I’m not sure what good calling the police would have done. It sounds like the guy was a tourist, so perhaps asking for his contact information and threatening to call the police would have scared him into giving you a better response and perhaps paying for your broken phone.

  • Typical biker reaction, they are never at fault.

  • I run that stretch of NJ Ave SE at least twice a week. Legal or illegal, that is a WIDE road for only having two car lanes, and as such, it has plenty of room for cyclists to be in the road. I bike-commute, and I’d never consider biking on the sidewalk in an area like that. Ridiculous.

  • 🙁 As a bike rider, I’m really sorry that this happened to you and I want to apologize on behalf of bicyclists for that guy’s awful behavior.
    Did they look local? I’ve been noticing more and more tourists on bike share, which, I guess is good for them but they don’t understand the rules or the traffic flows and cause a lot of issues. Of course I work in Chinatown where tourists are more prevalent so maybe it’s not as common in other areas of the city.

  • The tourist ride in packs and they absolutely don’t care and some don’t even know how to ride a bike. I almost ran into one (from India) past year on the Mount Vernon trail. She was wobbly and just fell with her bikeshare bike right in front of me. Thank God I was anticipating her demise and slowed down. Another time, a pedestrian (not in downtown DC) was txting on her phone and I almost crashed into her, because she was not paying attention. I was biking super slow, but she still paid 0 attention until I yelled at her. You should have called the cops though, because you were injured and your phone is gone. Safety really goes both ways….you’re not in the wrong, but I would have ran around them on the street and said something to them.

    • you are suggesting the OP put herself in danger by running in the street? So it was a lose-lose for her, she was in danger on the sidewalk and danger in the street. She said she tried to go around and the people were still completely ignorant. By the way, as a runner who does try to avoid people and bikes – – whenever I say something to a biker, the harassment is awful.

      • She is not in the wrong by any means, but she could have crossed the street and avoided the whole situation…just not worth getting hurt and losing your phone in the process. Just sayin!

  • Hi guys, thanks for the responses. Yes, I was mostly wondering if I should call the police. However, I too went back and forth on whether they could have done anything. Also, my fiance doubted the capital bikeshare rider would have stayed judging by his lack of concern for me. I think I was right on the line for where it’s legal/illegal to ride on sidewalks because I had run up to the Capitol and back. I did tweet at Capital Bikeshare, but they haven’t responded.

    • Although they may have been riding in a place where it was illegal, I wouldn’t dwell on that too much. When I travel, I don’t usually study the entire legal code of the place to which I am traveling, just in case parts of it differ from the laws I’ve known all my life. Do you? (Reasonable people can disagree about whether it is appropriate to ride on the sidewalk, but I can’t bring myself to blame somebody from another part of the country or world for not knowing that it is illegal to ride a bike on the sidewalk in the place known to DC locals as the Central Business District, whose boundaries I virtually guarantee not more than 10% of DC residents could correctly identify.

      • have to disagree. if i were going to ride a bike or drive a car in an unfamiliar city, yes, i would read up on the rules of the road in that locality instead of just barging in and – as happened here – causing an accident. being from somewhere else is no excuse at all.

        • In a place where there aren’t any laws prohibiting bikes from certain places (other than places where all non-motorized modes are prohibited, like Interstate highways), there is no reason why it would even occur to residents of such a place that somewhere else, cycling might actually be regulated. And did you really, seriously, study the Florida driver’s manual before you rented a car there?

  • Before people go on a tirade against bicyclists, it sounds like from the story, these people were tourists. Since they were old and in a group, this sounds like a group of tourists with little experience riding through DC, using bikeshare, and maybe even biking. On the same note regarding bikeshare, as a regular bike commuter I have noticed this about Capital Bikeshare Bikes:

    – They are extremely slow.

    – The people riding them tend to be inexperienced about biking and ignorant of the law (in that they basically do exactly what is stereotyped about bad bikers, its like they get on the bike and seem to do exactly what everyone seems to complain about bikers. Yet they are inexperienced so its even worse ).

    – More likely to be ridden in groups or side by side, be it in bike lanes, or sidewalks downtown.

    – Don’t follow bike etiquette or road etiquette

    Everyone can jump on bikers in this thread, but I do believe the Capital Bikeshare biker is a whole other breed of biker with its own problems associated with it.

    • I think your explanation is right on point. That is the classic description of Capital Bikeshare riders, aside from the ones who use it daily to commute. I have nothing against cyclists in general as I own a bike and ride it every now and then.

    • “Since they were old and in a group”
      So…. being in your forties is “old”? The ageism on this board is really annoying.

      • I should have said “older” but I didn’t mean senior citizens by saying old. I don’t think forties is old. I just meant to clarify that it wasn’t a bunch of teenagers because a couple people assumed they were kids.

      • You’re being far too sensitive. There’s no ageism, maybe its personal experience, but I would say the majority of people I see on bikes in this town are under 40. So relatively speaking, 40 is old within the cyclist population. I’m not out to offend 40 year olds. I would expect large groups of young people to travel in groups, but the older people get, the more likely it is tourist groups because I don’t often see large groups of 40 year olds on bike shares that aren’t tourists. Sorry for offending you.

      • As someone swuarely in his 40s, I have no idea what “ageism on this board” you’re talking about. Examples?

  • Flying through the air from getting hit by a biker who was barely moving? Maybe you need to turn the hyperbole a few degrees? Sorry you got a boo-boo (and I do mean that despite the sarcastic tone) but it sounds like you could have also stopped running, waited an unbearable 2 or 3 seconds for the dipshits on the bikes to finishes up their Stooges routine and then you’d have extra cash and and bandaids.

    • I guess you missed the part where I said I was running! When you have two moving people or objects collide yes I am going to fly. Furthermore, I am 115 pounds and how much does a Cap Bikeshare weigh? Plus the guy on it? Thanks for your concern, but you can take it elsewhere. And yes, that is something I thought about: next time I will be more patient.

  • I honestly doubt I personally would have called the police in this case, but I wouldn’t have considered it to have been an unreasonable response. I think the questions of the cyclists failing to yield to the runner are off the mark, though, as the runner was passing the cyclist and it is quite possible that the cyclist wasn’t even aware of that until he clipped or bumped the runner — this is a fundamentally different scenario than a cyclist whizzing down the sidewalk and demanding that the pedestrians move. Finally, and I say this as a lifelong runner who doesn’t even know how to ride a bike, I probably would have settled for a simple apology, but if the biker not only didn’t apologize but proceeded to yell at me, I probably would have done something considerably less adult than call the police.

  • WTF? It’s illegal to HIT people, regardless of whether you’re on a bike or not. If someone knocked you over and said “you have to let me through,” they assaulted you. And, yes, you should call the police for that. Even if they were riding in a part of the city where sidewalk riding is illegal, it seems riding bikes on the sidewalk is the least of what they did wrong here (if one even considers riding bikes on the sidewalk to be wrong, some people find that law unjust). Hitting is unacceptable, period.

    • Hmmm. Misread your story. I thought you meant the biker reached out and struck you with his hand, but your follow up replies through this thread make it clear that his *bicycle* hit you. In this case, I’d say you have just stepped into the street to job safely around them or slowed down. If they’re already on the sidewalk, why risk passing closely by someone who is barely in control of their forward motion? If you saw a crowd of drunk people ambling about, the same logic would apply. Avoid harm, if you can.

  • why would you run up on a pack of capitol bike share cyclist? if i saw a cluster of them i would avoid them! no sympathy here my friend, you put yourself in that position

  • I saw this group as I was riding my bike (legally on the street) to the Nationals game and shook my head in disbelief as they caravaned on a very narrow sidewalk with complete disregard for pedestrians. The only thought I had was that they were tourists/suburbanites and completely oblivious. Regardless of whether or not it’s legal to ride on some city sidewalks, it isn’t safe for pedestrians or cyclists. Either way, I’m sorry this happened to you and it gives those of us who bike according to the laws a bad name.

  • This won’t affect those with their own bikes, but I wonder if they shouldn’t post the no sidewalks map at all CABI stations or at least those within that boundary with a one line “and you need to move over for pedestrians” note.

    Tourists can’t be expected to know all the rules/regs that are specific to DC but there is no attempt to tell them otherwise.

    • This would be a great service. I don’t know whether it would work, but it would be a great service nonetheless. The current state of affairs is roughly analogous to not having any signs posted to inform drivers of when and were parking is prohibited, but instead just publishing it on dcregs.dc.gov, and expecting all visitors to know to search on dcregs.dc.gov to find out where they can’t park.

    • I love this idea. Simple and elegant. In fact, I think the city should do a lot more to educate -all- DC cyclists about the CBD’s no biking on the sidewalks rule. Even DC residents don’t seem to know about it, or think that it doesn’t apply to them.

    • The “it’s safer for everyone if cyclists ride on the streets” signs sponsored by WABA and DDOT are great OUTSIDE of the CBD, but what about putting signs inside, where it’s actually illegal to do it?

      I’m also for expanding the prohibition of bikes on sidewalks much further out than it already is. Our city is exploding – the number of pedestrians is growing, but the sidewalks aren’t getting any bigger.

    • I agree with the pedestrian signs, since a lot of tourists seem to think they own the sidewalk, but I don’t know if I’d want riders like this on the street. If you can hardly stay up on the sidewalk, what’s gonna happen when cars are whizzing by you? I once saw to girls on bikeshare riding down Pennsylvania Avenue near the Reagan center squeezing by tour buses, getting honked at, and still totally oblivious. They were not on the sidewalks, not in the super awesome, well-marked bikelanes, but on the street, riding really slowly. Do we want people with this kind of common sense mingling with traffice? Maybe a sign saying this is where it is illegal to bike on the sidewalk, if you do not feel safe riding on the street, please don’t bike in these areas?

      • Signs would be great. But when you can’t even post a stand right, walk left sign without getting sued, DC isn’t going to post them.

  • I almost got hit this morning walking West on Van Ness toward Nebraska Avenue from Wisconsin. The rider was wearing full riding gear and barreling downhill. By the biker gear I assume he was seasoned enough on two wheels to ride in the street unscathed. He came so quickly I only noticed he was heading right for me when he screamed at me to move out of the way. I know we want DC to be bike friendly but sheesh! They’re not pedestrians they’re conducting vehicles and should observe the rules of the road and proper safety precautions.

  • The victim blaming on this post is shameful. Sidewalks are for pedestrians. I am a cyclist, and I resort to the sidewalk ONLY if 1) there’s no bike lane or sharrow 2) the road is blocked/closed or 3) I’d have to bike on New York Ave and/or Florida Ave (those roads scare me as a cyclist.) Cyclists on sidewalks outside of the CBD should ALWAYS give right of way to pedestrians AND when they eff up, they shouldn’t claim right of way like the 40 year old turd did to the OP. In addition, CaBi riders, esp tourists, can be the worst offenders. There should be a way for CaBi to fine users who break the law or cause an accident (suspended membership? extra fines?). To the OP, you were injured and had damages. Bikes are supposed to be treated like motorists (stop at red lights, people!), so when they cause an accident, cyclists should expect to pay up.

  • I would be more inclined to write this off as an unfortunate incident. Sidewalks were not designed to accommodate packs of wobbly cyclists or runners — but walkers. A runner swooping past some clearly wobbling, struggling cyclists is an accident waiting to happen — an one did, indeed, happen. While cyclists are supposed to yield to pedestrians, does this apply equally to runners? I genuinely don’t know. I do think that as long as cyclists and runners are sharing the sidewalks with pedestrians, they should be mandated to bike / run at pedestrian- friendly speeds. Sadly, It’s hard to mandate civility and kindness, or good judgement.

  • Once I was walking to work along with a big crowd of people in Noma, right beside the Five Guys and a guy comes up behind me and screams, “MOVE! YOU GOTTA LISTEN!” … He was riding a bike through a large crowd of people. Long story short, I ride my bike in the street and so should everyone else. Stop yelling at pedestrians for being in your way when you should be in the street.

  • How do you yield to someone who is approaching you from behind? You don’t.
    You didn’t write that you alerted them audibly to your passing. So the guy didn’t know you were coming up the side of him, and then he accidentally hit you – and you want to call the police? Are we blaming people for not having eyes in the backs of their heads now?

    It sucks that he was rude afterwords, AND potentially breaking the law. But it would have been easy to kindly mention the law to them while stopped at the intersection. I think we need to cut some people some slack here, he wasn’t trying to hit you, didn’t know you were sneaking off the sidewalk to try to get by him, and probably wasn’t aware he was breaking the law.

    Why do we always jump to the most nefarious conclusions?

    • We were in the intersection (crosswalk) together so they had seen me. The intersection was huge, but then the sidewalk was narrow so that’s when they went up in front of me. I didn’t say he hit me on purpose, but he could have said “Oh no are you okay? I didn’t see you there, you need to watch out!” rather than shout at me that I needed to let HIM through! I didn’t know they were going to continue onto the sidewalk or I would have told them at the intersection. It all happened really fast.

      • I agree that he shouldn’t have been rude, no matter the fault-the kindest thing to do is help someone up and ensure they are OK. But unfortunately, people are rude. 1,000s of people are rude in DC every day. Drivers, pedestrians, bike riders. I am sorry you were injured and damaged your phone, that really sucks! (I mean this sincerely)

        My point is, even if he saw you at the intersection, you mention he was in front of you on the sidewalk. I am saying he cannot be responsible for hitting you when he did not know that you were approaching to pass. I think this is unfair to build this into a big argument about rude bicyclists, when the issue was mistake or swerve on a bike, that happened to hit a pedestrian – whom bike rider was not aware was directly approaching his space! And then a separate issue of people in general being scum bags. BUT not an issue where the police need to be called because you were hit on accident, where the person that hit you couldn’t see you approaching.

        • I hate to side with a biker, but OP is at least contributorily negligent. When passing (I’m using the street as an example), it’s your job as a passer to look and avoid a collision. You saw immediately that they appeared to be inexperienced, and there were 7-8 bikes; why didn’t you yell out? Many a well-timed yell has alerted me to a coming runner. He should have checked on you for sure as the cause of the injury, but I don’t know what the issue is here beyond him not seeming to care. Your alternate scenario had him saying are you ok and watch out I didn’t see you, so it seems you accept the fact that they might not have seen you initially or known which way you went. You might have collided even if you yelled out, but yelling at least gives you the chance to avoid the whole thing.

  • It is difficult to judge without knowing the exact specifics of what went down, but from this info you should not have called the cops. It sounds like he unintentionally struck you and part of this is due to his minor negligence (riding on the sidewalk, not being aware, etc.). But maybe you compounded it by passing too closely, potentially startling the person, which easily could have caused them to shift accidentally and have the bike in your way. While bikes on sidewalks can be really annoying and unsafe, runners on sidewalks can be pretty jarring too if they’re moving quick and passing right by. If I was walking, heard a noise behind me and turned or shifted to look, and then had a runner clip me as they went by I’d be pretty pissed and probably have the same reaction as this guy had at first. It sounds like in this case he was probably more on the wrong side than you, but from his perspective he probably viewed it as you clipping his bike as you rushed by.

  • sorry this happened to you! i’m a regular cyclist, and it sounds like the riders were, if nothing else, incredibly rude. in regards to calling the police, there’s a difference between whether you have the right to call the police, and whether or not they will do something. since you got hit, i think you would have been well within your rights to call the police. unfortunately, i also doubt they would have done anything. i was recently hit by a car riding my bike (i was minding my own business in the bike lane when car swerved into the bike lane and hit me from behind — pretty clear cut case of the driver being in the wrong). i was knocked to the ground and had pretty substantial bruising and road rash. i called 911. the police came, and then basically brushed me off when they realized i was riding a bike. they asked me all sorts of questions about where i was riding, if i was following too closely (obviously not, since i was hit from behind) and whether i was riding illegally and knew the rules of the road. they had ZERO interest in pursuing the car that hit me and drove off. so, i think in your case when it’s a cyclist vs pedestrian you would have gotten even more of a blow off. i’m not saying that this is the way things should be, but based on my experience and interaction with MPD, i just doubt it would have been worth your time to call the police.

  • My understanding is that bikes are not allowed on sidewalks downtown / Golden Triangle, and maybe other areas downtown too. Yes, bikes should yield to peds. I think calling the police wouldn’t solve anything. There are so many other problems going on that are unfortunately more serious than this. Sorry to hear about your scrape and phone. Those folks should not have been on the sidewalk.

  • This is such obvious trolling

    • If u observed that they are out of town then u can assume they dont jnow the law. Esp if they come from parts of us where there isnt much biking. I would have yielded to them and there would have not been any isses.

      Doesnt marter when the laws are. Use common sense people and cops wont solve lack of common sense.

  • Frankly, it is absurd that bikes are allowed on the sidewalks anywhere in the city. In some parts of town the sidewalks are a bike free-for-all and there appears to be zero enforcement of the regulations governing riding on sidewalks. In Columbia Heights walking on the street is becoming increasingly unpleasant or even dangerous, especially where there is little clearance.

    My proposal is that at a minimum bikes should be banned on all sidewalks where the clearance between utility poles, trees, or other obstructions and the property line is below a certain width.

    • +1,000,000
      The WABA/DDOT signs need to be posted all over Columbia Heights, in English and Spanish. While the stretch of 14th Street between Columbia and Monroe is exempt from the CBD, no one has any business riding their bike on the sidewalk in an area overwhelmingly congested by foot traffic when there are clearly marked bike lanes on 14th. I’ve lost count of the number of times someone has whizzed past me on my block (Kenyon between 13th and 14th) with less than 6 inches of clearance, at a speed much faster than walking or running (~15-20 mph), from behind with no warning whatsoever.
      Not to make a sweeping generalization, but in my experience, many times the offender does not appear to speak English as their first language. I’m lucky I’ve never been clipped or hit, but in many instances, all it would have taken was a small step to either side and I would have ended up on the ground. Even more disturbing are the cyclists who do this while wearing earbuds or distractedly using a handheld device.

  • you get up, swing on that old man once or twice for giving you grief and get out of thier before the cops come for you.

  • The DC Police ride their motorcycles on the sidewalks, and park there to get a coffee, why should they care if anyone rides a bicycle on the sidewalk?

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