“What’s the deal with people riding their motorcycle in the bike lane?”

bike lane
Photo by PoPville flickr user Jacques Arsenault

“Dear PoPville,

What’s the deal with people riding their motorcycle in the bike lane? Riding your bicycle to work is dangerous enough as it is, even when you use the BICYCLE LANE. It’s probably one of those things that when cops see they just look the other way.

It’s fair to say that if you ride your motorcycle in the bike lane, you’re an a**hole, right?”

146 Comment

  • Hey, it’s the 2pm outrage post! But I worry they we used up all our outrage at 11am over some idiot who confused panthers with pumas.

    • +1 I really did laugh out loud. Maybe one day I’ll know what it’s like to live in “i’m right you’re wrong” ego land and get upset with things that don’t matter.

      • Prince Of Petworth

        hahaha in fairness – I’m pretty sure motorcycles aren’t allowed in the bike lanes 🙂

        • Actually I was told by the DMV that if you have a scooter, such as a Vespa, that is under 50cc, it is technically considered to be a bike versus a motorcycle. Which is why I was allowed to drive one without having a motorcycle permitted license. Additionally, you don’t have to register them and get plates like you do with bikes over 50cc.

          • Don’t know if you talked someone at DMV a few years ago, or if they are giving out incorrect information. Under current D.C. law, no motorized cycle is treated as a bike. Rather, D.C. law recognizes motorcycles and motorized bicycles, and different rules apply to both. Scooters and mopeds may fall into either category, depending on their characteristics. Either way, they are not *bikes* under D.C. law. And no scooters or mopeds (whichever category they fall under) are permitted in D.C. bike lanes. 18 DCMR §§ 1201.17 and 1209.

    • That’s very funny. And so is the URL.

  • I’ll stay out of the Bike Lanes when Cyclists: 1) Utilize bike lanes to the exclusion of the roadway and sidewalks when they are present; 2) Stay as far to the right as possible when there are no bike lanes (or use the sidewalk if outside the CBD); and 3) yield to pedestrians in the crosswalks and otherwise observe and obey other traffic control devices.

    Ponies & Unicorns,
    The Sultan of Shaw

    • “Stay as far to the right as possible when there are no bike lanes” is an unsafe way to ride a bike in the city.

      • And there are no regulations to back up your wants while there are rules limiting the types of vehicles that can use bike lanes.

        Title 18 (1201.3) says that a bicyclist riding on a highway shall not unduly or unnecessarily impede
        or obstruct traffic. However, according to Title 18 (1201.2) a bicyclist does not have to ride to the far
        right if the lane is narrow or if he/she is trying to avoid car doors, pavement hazards, or similar hazardous conditions. A narrow lane is 11 feet wide or less. Most lanes in the District are 11 feet or less.

        • Agreed. Bicyclist should not ride in the right hand lane on Georgia Avenue (nor to the far right), which impedes all traffic. Please take Sherman, 11th, or 13th. It is very dangerous for cars, buses, school buses, pedestrians and bicyclist to slow everyone down to 5-10 mph, forcing all traffic to have to go around you, the slow cyclist. Driving down Georgia Ave is dangerous enough.

          • As a bicyclist, I always try to avoid Georgia Ave. But sometimes it makes sense to be there, and you can just pass me on the left.
            For example, if I’m going from the Petworth library to the Safeway, I’m not going out of my way to 13th just for a few blocks.

          • The presence of bicycles on GA avenue is only “dangerous” if drivers think that they are entitled to go as fast as they want. They are not. Driving down Georgia Avenue is dangerous because of the drivers, not because of the cyclists. People drive up and down GA ave like it’s a freaking speedway, and I’m pretty sure the speed limit is 30mph at the most. (Having said that, if I were a cyclist I would probably avoid GA Ave.)

          • @Someone use Kansas if that’s the case, it’s hardly out of the way. (adds maybe a block)

    • I hesitate to stick my nose in here, but 1) and 2) aren’t really good examples, as they are either not required by law and/or are really bad practice (I for one would much rather cyclists stay off the sidewalks entirely).

      • Thanks DCD. You’re exactly right. I find non-cyclists to be woefully ignorant of the written regulations. It makes sense I guess though. If they don’t ride a bike why should they go out of the way to read 20 pages of bicycle operating regulations in the traffic code. Wish more bicycle related questions were on the driving license test. Be a good way to keep them from behind the wheel.

        • Can I re-plug continuing drivers education? I still think it’s kinda crazy that you can get a driver’s license in whatever State at age 16, and you are pretty much good for life. Regardless of changing laws.

      • My initial post was 83% in jest. But, to help inform the discussion: http://ddot.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/ddot/publication/attachments/bike_ped_traffic_reg_summary.pdf

        For the record, (based on my reading) you are right re: my point # 1 but are wrong re: my point #2.

        • “jest” should be funny – try again

          • Actually, jests may also be used for mockery! Humor is in the eyes/ears of the beholder. To my knowledge, there is no technical requirement for jests to be funny!

          • “jest” is defined by the manner in which something is said, not the manner in which it is received. If you’re not amused that doesn’t make it not in jest.

          • You’re just not funny, Sultan. There’s no “beholder” who would think otherwise. You’re just a another random guy saying stupid things online.

            And in your “mocking” you’re promoting illegal and/or unsafe bicycle operation.

          • Oh, you’re “that guy”. Nice.

          • A) I think you are confusing the verb form for the noun form. B) I am plenty amused.

          • Yeah, “that guy” is usually amused with himself, and lacks any awareness of how other people see him. Congrats.

          • Actually Kevin, if you bothered you read through anything I said, you would notice that I am only promoting lawful bicycle operation as all three of my initial points are places where bicycles may lawfully. Share the road, and all that rot.

            I concede that I may be promoting unlawful motorcycle operation. Meh.

          • From the link you provided:
            .
            “Ride with the flow of traffic as closely as practical to the right-hand curb or edge of roadway or left-hand curb on one-way streets. Full lane use [by a cyclist] allowed when traveling at the normal speed of traffic, passing, preparing for a turn, avoiding hazards, traveling in a lane 11 feet wide or less, avoiding a mandatory turn lane and when necessary for the bicyclist’s safety.”
            .
            These directions, especially “as closely as practical” and “when necessary for the bicyclist’s safety,” basically give a cyclist carte blanche to take the lane whenever s/he feels it appropriate. And note that it says cycling on sidewalks is allowed, not required.

    • So, you’re content to break DC laws because….other people aren’t? I’m awfully confused by your post.

      http://www.welovedc.com/2010/09/28/dc-mythbusting-bike-lanes-are-just-for-bikes/

    • Sidewalks are dangerous for alot of reasons, a) they are narrow and so hitting a pedestrian might happen and b) cars coming out of alleys or from streets or parking lots dont stop behind the white line and arent looking for fast moving objects on the sidewalks (my closest encounters have always been on the sidewalk and a car going very fast stops way after the white stop bar line).

      Also trust me cyclists dont like riding way out into the street, but riding as far to the right as possible is very dangerous. 1) People open their cars doors right into our path 2) People/jaywalkers often walk right out into our path and we dont have time to react 3) Being a little towards the center of the street and “taking the lane” puts us as cyclists in a position to better be seen by drivers coming up from behind us and drivers up ahead who may be about to turn into our path.

      • You didn’t mention my biggest reason for not riding on the sidewalk, which is that they’re very uneven, especially where there are cracks or missing bricks. The roads are usually in better shape.

    • I think it’s a matter of potential for harm. The ONLY reason I can think of for a motorcycle to be in the bike lane is to avoid traffic. And by doing so, they put cyclists in danger.

      And, according to DC’s bike laws:
      “There are no regulations in DC which state that bicyclists must use a bike lane when one is provided.”

      Agreed that cyclists should stay off of the sidewalk, especially since it puts pedestrians in danger. But given that so many bike lanes run directly next to parked cars, it’s often safer for a cyclist to ride in the roadway. It’s just so easy to get doored by people carelessly opening their door. So, as a biker, I try to stay away from the right side of the road, especially when there isn’t a bike lane.

      • Honestly, I’m trying to understand why a motorcyclist in the bike lane during slow traffic would be dangerous. They would only enter the bike lane when it is clear (no one wants to be in an accident), they typically don’t go faster than a cyclist (5 to 8 mph) due to heavy traffic, and if you’re biking behind them at least you can actually see when they brake due to their brake lights.
        A motorcyclist driving full speed in a bike lane is actually dangerous….but would never happen in reality.

        • Because you’re assuming that they are yielding to cyclists in the bike lane. I’ve been passed by scooters in the bike lane several times. As in, they rode by me and passed with 6 inches. I’m going 15mph, they are going 25. One small move on either of our parts and down goes the cyclist.

        • Not true! I’ve been cut off by motorcyclists several times.

        • This does not reflect my cycling experience. I have been cut off by motorcycles and scooters on several occasions. Just like many drivers and bicyclists, they also under estimate risk and overestimate their ability. Often, they create a situation where they would *have* to cut into the bike lane even if a bike ended up being there, because they have failed to break for the stopped traffic given their intention to cut into the bike lane.
          .
          I have also been passed with very little clearance by scooters in the bike lane. These scooters seem to presume I am going to continue to peddle forward in a perfectly straight line even though I may not know I’m about to be passed. But I may not continue perfectly straight. There may be a pothole or debris in the road or I may be preparing for a turn or hell maybe I just drift a hair. Very unsafe.

        • motorcycles and mopeds who try to use bike lanes or split the lanes get stuck because they’re wider and harder to balance at low speeds than bicycles and then they block the bicycles from passing through.

    • For point 1) when someone/something is blocking the bike lane, we have no choice but to endanger our lives (further) and enter the car lanes to get around said blockage. Cyclists should never be on the sidewalk, period, never. I don’t care if it is outside or inside the CBD, if you need to be with a bike on the side – WALK YOUR BIKE!
      Point 2) I take up a full lane of travel because by law I am allowed to utilize the full lane of travel. And experience has told me a**holes (like you?) will scrape by me if I stay to the right rather than using the second lane of travel to get around me.
      Point 3) I’m actually with you on this one and I wish my fellow cyclists wouldn’t make ALL of us look like a**holes.

      • Yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.

      • Let me guess, you swear up and down that you stop at all red lights and wait for it to turn green, just like you’re supposed to?

        • I do and I have the video to prove it. My video also shows daily horrible commuting behavior by cars, bikes, and pedestrians across the board.

        • “Let me guess, you swear up and down that you stop at all red lights and wait for it to turn green, just like you’re supposed to?”

          Not relevant. If on my bike I look both ways and proceed through a red light when there are no cars coming I might be breaking the law but I’m not endangering anyone nor infringing on the right of way of anyone else.

          If in a car you come within 6 inches of me to squeeze through and pass me when you think I’m not far enough to the right you have broken the law that requires you to give me at least three feet AND have threatened my safety.

          While I usually use a bike lane when available there are reasons I might not on a given street (I’m about to turn left, bumps in the bike lane, etc.). Regardless, I am ALLOWED to use the full lane.

          • From one bicyclist to another – You may be able to avoid cars, but also pedestrians crossing legally? You have no right to take their right of way. Just wait at the red lights. It’ll take you about an extra 5 minutes to get where you’re going.

          • You’re not ALLOWED to treat red lights as if they were stop signs. By your own admission YOU have broken the law, pal. You and other bikers like yourself are hypocrites, which is why so many people hate you.

          • +1 to Someone and annonny. -1,000 to Kevin. Just obey the law, Kevin, it won’t kill you; in fact, it might save you and/or other people.

          • FWIW, I used to ride like that when I started many years ago. Then I ran a red when I saw there were no cars coming. I almost hit a guy legally in the crosswalk. I realized it was an asshole move and now I don’t do that anymore. It added about 5 minutes to my commute total.

          • To the cyclists responding negatively to Kevin–thank you. I hope there are many like you on the roads.

          • I’m a cyclist who wishes other cyclists behaved better overall. But seriously. Drivers: Do you never drive 1 mile over the speed limit? Do you come to an absolute and complete stop at every stop sign? My experience is that you don’t. Turning any conversation into a conversation about complete compliance, “or I won’t respect you” or “or I will do X” is just silly.

        • and you swear up and down that you never jaywalk and when driving, always obey every road sign, speed limit posting, and blah blah blah. This argument is so tired.

          • This isn’t about me. My response is directed at cyclists who always yell about following the law while very few follow the law when it inconveniences them (even as it’s designed to protect others).

    • I wonder if you’re the person who’s “famous” for riding his moped in bikelane over on reddit. With this attitude, it’s only a matter of time before you cause an accident and hurt a cyclist and I sincerely hope that the cyclist is some tech person who finds this post and sues the crap out of you for knowingly putting cyclists in danger.

    • 1) What about when the bike lane is in on the right and I want to turn left? What about when one of your driving brethren parks in the bike lane (just hypothetical – not that this happens ALL THE TIME)? Should I just wait there behind them until they move?
      What about when I want to pass a slower moving bicyclist? Hint: it’s legal to move into a regular lane.
      2) You probably don’t understand “As far to the right as possible without compromising safety”. If a lane is less than 11 feet wide, then the middle of the lane is the safest place to be. Not that you would break the law by passing with less than 3 feet clearance to me AS REQUIRED BY LAW.
      3) I totally support yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks and following the law. But I refuse to give up my rights pending 100% compliance by everyone else on a bike. Unless you’re going to hang up your car keys until 100% of all drivers everywhere comply with 100% of all laws. Fair deal?

      • 1) What about when the bike lane is in on the right and I want to turn left? Answer: Pull up to the crosswalk, wait for the crosswalk to signal it’s safe to cross in the direction youre going, and then youre off. Not difficult

        • Not difficult, and not required. That method is actually my backup if I don’t feel comfortable moving left with traffic.
          How often do you make three right turns when driving instead of a left when left turns are legally allowed? It would be more convenient for the people in the left lane waiting behind you, and not difficult to do.

    • I was riding downtown on the far right in the right lane and a cop told me to take the middle of the lane or I was going to get hit. He said he is also a bike cop. I don’t mind pulling to the side to let cars or bikes in a hurry pass me, since I usually ride with a lot of heavy stuff and don’t want to feel like people behind me are being held up. I recently got doored, but I was lucky it was only a tap. Confession: I run lights, but only after stopping and looking. I give way to pedestrians. I’m not in a race and I want to be polite.

    • So you’ll start obeying the law when cyclists start breaking the laws to suit your whims. Got it.

  • Bicyclists are bigger a**holes than drivers, motorcyclists, etc. As a pedestrian/bus rider, I’ve never had any issues with the latter. But the former are always so entitled.

    • And I’ve had the exact opposite experiences. Luckily, life is about more than anecdotes.

    • Yeah, DC area drivers definitely don’t have a well-earned reputation for being a-holes. They’re only blocking the box because they’re more important than you.

      • Exactly! I understand that when someone passes me on the right at a stop sign (effectively running the stop sign themselves), it’s because they are in a hurry. Why SHOULD they stop at a stop sign just because the car in front of them is stopping? (It’s happened several times. I don’t linger at stop signs. This happens before I can even come to a complete stop.)

      • Tsar of Truxton

        I won’t defend DC drivers (or those from other states driving around town), but some of the blocking the box issues are related to poor timing on the lights (i.e., the light in front turns red before the light behind) and by the crosswalk timers (there is one light on 6th, for example that is green with a 50+ second timer, but the light in front of it remains red for that entire time; people enter the box thinking they have a long time and then the light in front never turns green). The third issue is people turning right on red when people don’t block the box, preventing the people with the green from ever getting a chance to go without entering the intersection to block the RTOR folks from the cross street. Basically, driving in this city is a mess for a lot of reasons.

        • maxwell smart

          DC was never designed for the amount of traffic we now have… or really any traffic. In some areas of town there is a stop light every 100′

    • What do you mean by “entitled”? Entitled to get where they are going without getting killed?

    • Couldn’t agree more. Thank you for this.

      It’s hilarious how often bikers love to complain about drivers and scream for the same rights as vehicles yet don’t want to abide by the same rules of the road. I see bikers every day shooting right through the stop signs, red lights, crosswalks when pedestrians are in them.. you name it. Then as a cherry on top they like to yell back at you to “watch it!” as they go by. smh..

      • It’s nice of you to lump all bicyclists into a nice uniform stereotype.
        Do you do that with race also?

      • ST21 gets it!

        Let’s all get along and share the roads!

      • I know. It’s hilarious to hear them say one thing (“drivers must follow the rules!!!”) and then immediately explain that a bunch of rules should not apply to them when it relates to stop signs, red lights, etc.
        The cognitive dissonance is mindbending, but at this point I’ve pretty much stopped caring. We are all going to do what we want on the roads of DC, as the laws are so rarely enforced.

        • Yep- pretty much sums it up. Don’t think there will ever be peace between the bikers and motorists. As much I like to rip on bikers I get their viewpoint on some things as well. Oh well- the rivalry must go on.

        • I know. It’s hilarious to hear them say one thing (“bicyclists must follow the rules!!!”) and then immediately explain that a bunch of rules should not apply to them when it relates to stop signs, speeding, etc.
          The cognitive dissonance is mindbending, but at this point I’ve pretty much stopped caring. We are all going to do what we want on the roads of DC, as the laws are so rarely enforced.

          • I don’t think anyone in here argued that cars should not stop at lights, stop signs, yield to pedestrians, etc. Cyclists are the only ones who actively state that an entire subset of traffic rules should not apply to them, usually with some BS about how difficult it is to get back up to speed.

          • So drivers don’t routinely argue that the speed limit isn’t a hard law? That’d be news to me.
            Cyclists are not the only ones.

          • maxwell smart

            @Anonymous 5:06: If you have ever been on a bike in DC (which is not as flat as many think it is) you would know that, yes, getting back up to speed, especially on roads without a bike lane, is actually a legit concern. It takes me, a cyclist, much longer to get going, especially uphill, then you, a driver. That said, I stop at all red lights (true story) and stop signs. It’s a good lower body workout trying to get the single speed going again.

    • I take it you’ve never ridden a bike in the city. Try sometime.

    • I actually think there is a psychological factor at play where the transgressions we are personally familiar with are less grating than those of the “other”. Everyone walks at some point in their day, so we are all familiar with the actions and burdens of the pedestrian. We have all crossed mid-block if no traffic is coming or entered a crosswalk after the countdown has ended, because we know we can make it, or it’s not a big deal. Being the US, we are also almost all drivers at some point. I have gone a few MPH over the limit safely and don’t think it’s a big deal.

      I find much of the harsh criticism of bicyclists comes from those who have never ridden one in the city and tend to view those that do as some unknown and easily vilified group.

      tl;dr – we’re all jerks in our own way and your $hit likely stinks too

    • maxwell smart

      Oh really? So you always obey the crossing signal then and never walk across the street on red? Because I can’t tell you how many times I’ve always hit pedestrians on my bike when I had the green.

    • on my bike commute home, a driver did a u-turn on the middle of 14th while looking at his phone, nearly hit me, then had the balls to yell at me like i was the a**hole. that’s earned me at least 5 red lights to run.

  • I haven’t seen motorcycles in the bike lanes, but I have seen scooters. 49cc scooters are classified as “motorized bicycles” in DC so I guess it’s legal? However, legal ≠ good idea.

  • This isn’t really common, though it does happen. I know someone who thinks it is OK if the engine is below 50cc, but that isn’t true.

    • Scooters aren’t considered motorized bicycles if they don’t have pedals. They must have:
      “(c) Fully operative pedals for
      human propulsion; and…”

      • Not correct.
        “DC law refers to a motorcycle as a 2 or 3 wheeled motor vehicle that has one or more
        of the following characteristics:
        • Piston displacement of more than fifty (50) cubic centimeters
        • Capable of traveling over 35 miles per hour on level ground
        • More than one and one-half (1.5) brake horsepower (S.A.E. rating)
        • Wheels under 16 inches in diameter
        • Manual transmission
        Note: If your 2 or 3 wheeled motor vehicle has none of the above 5 characteristics, it falls under the
        definition of motorized bicycle and may be operated by a person holding a provisional operator’s permit or a driver’s license (provided the vehicle passes inspection, is registered, and is insured).”
        .
        The 49cc scooters are designed to fall under the those limits and be classified as “motorized bicycles.” Some are designed with bodies and trim to look just like regular full size scooters with larger engines. No pedals are required.

  • Not about bikes, but bike lanes – what is the deal with bikers riding the wrong way down one-way streets in bike lanes? I’ve seen a lot of that over the last year, especially on R St. It’s dangerous for car drivers who are looking in their mirrors to avoid cyclists going the correct way, etc. I almost opened my door on a guy flying down the street going the wrong way because I was looking in my mirror for bikers coming down the correct way.

    • They’re uninformed or lazy. Maybe just idiots – not sure.

    • They are stupid and selfish.

      As a bicyclist I would never do this and other people doing it are making it very dangerous to others. I yell at them and say “wrong way.

      If I am riding the correct way and then another cyclist is coming towards me it puts everyone in danger so the lane is not meant to be wide enough to accommodate 2 riders and the other ride doesn’t know where to go or goes into the path I try to take to avoid hitting them.

    • Bikers, bicyclist alike seem to do whatever they want for the most part. Drivers as well

      • And pedestrians. Don’t forget us. We do whatever we want too.

        • The darting across 4 lanes of traffic to catch the bus on the other side of the street is common to all of us.

        • maxwell smart

          I’ve come to accept that being on the road in DC, in any form of transit, is like being in a 3rd world country – there are no rules or regulations, be as defensive as possible, and expect the stench of raw sewage to great you at some point on your commute.

    • +1 to this – actually happened to me driving on R street just the other day. Found it extremely dangerous for exactly the reason you’re stating – I was looking in my mirror before making a turn to make sure no bikes were coming, and a biker was on me in a second coming the wrong way.

    • This is known as salmoning and it is mostly practiced by Darwinists.

  • PoPville, what’s the deal with cyclists using the tunnel under Dupont Circle during rush hour? I’ve seen this 5 times in the last two weeks during my morning the commutes. The most egregious was a cyclist coasting through the tunnel while a full Metro bus drove behind it at 15mph blaring its horn.
    It’s dangerous and just adds to gridlock. Please stay out of the tunnel!

    • Is it a highway? No? Then it’s legal.
      Have you ever ridden a bike through DuPont circle? Try it and you’ll see why someone who’s just passing DuPont circle would want to go under it.
      As for the metro bus driver (someone who drives as their job), they were in fact breaking the law by blaring their horn (as well as being a jerk).

    • Nothing illegal about this. Just a regular road like any other.

      Ive used it before and in my experiences way safer than the circle above often times.

      Definitely doesnt add to gridlock, maybe slows a lane down but thats just called traffic and sharing.

      • So slowing down a bus with 40 commuters is “sharing” the road just because you want to save yourself the hassle of getting around ? Nevemind the cascading effects up Connecticut Avenue as cars are slowed down and backed up because they can’t get into the tunnel.
        Your attitude is pretty much the reason 98% of DC Metro commuters absolutely hate cyclists. And I say that myself as a recreational cyclist.

        • By that logic, anyone other than you that is in front of you is “slowing you down”. Cars included.
          Please advocate for a separated bus only lane. Oh yeah, cars drive in those all the time.

        • Cars are not backed up and slowed down because of cyclists in the road. They’re backed up because of other vehicles.

          • Causation isn’t really your strong suit, is it?

          • @CPR: Huh? I don’t get your point. Are you suggesting that backups *are* caused by cyclists? (I realize I shouldn’t have included “slowed down” since obviously most bicycles do go slower than vehicle traffic.)

          • i think what Anonymous wants to say is that traffic is always caused by cars. bikes can cause a slowdown here and there, but the reason traffic sucks in DC is bc of car drivers.

        • Why didn’t the bus use the other traffic lane to pass the cyclist? I’d be annoyed at the bus driver, not the cyclist legally riding on 16th.

        • I dont take pleasure in slowing others down, but cyclists have a right to use the same road as buses and cars. Im not going to take the much longer, more indirect way around someplace (which often is more dangerous imho) just because it might slow down someone else.

          Im sorry but thats just how it is to be in a city, sometimes other things are going to slow you down.

    • Nothing illegal about it. You’re just highlighting the unwarranted impatience of vehicle drivers. Also, this does not add to gridlock, since you’re describing a scenario where traffic is still moving freely, just a bit more slowly. Worst case, it adds a minute to your commute, so you may have to shave a minute off your lunch or bathroom break during the day. Sorry for the inconvenience?

    • Totally legal, though it may not be the smartest place to be from a self-preservation perspective.

  • Solution: Drivers, Cyclists, and Pedestrians meet at Dupont Circle after work this Friday to fight it out Warriors style. The streets belong to the survivors.

  • Can’t we all just get along?

  • ah

    So, other than arguing about cyclist misdeeds . . .

    Does anyone have a reasonable argument for why motorcycles in bike lanes are okay? And “because they can get where they’re going faster” really doesn’t work, any more than it works to justify driving on the sidewalk, running a red light, or lane splitting.

    • ….”because they can” is a good enough reason on the un-policed roads of DC.
      No one follows the rules in DC – I can guarantee that every driver, pedestrian, cyclist, scooterist, or motorcyclist breaks at least one rule on their daily commute. Hell, the MPD has worse driving etiquette than the typical DC driver.
      At this point, I’ve given up on arguing. DC is the only place I’ve lived where the rules and laws are merely suggestions. I’m going to get where I need to go in the manner that maximizes both my personal safety and efficiency. This is the culture of this town and none of us are going to change that. So we may as well embrace it and be vigilant.

    • As a motorcyclist, I don’t ride in the bike lane…mostly. The one thing I am guilty of is sometimes using the bike lane at a stop light to get to the front of the line, which I know a lot of people will think is an a-hole move. Yes, it gets me to my destination faster, but my real goal is to get ahead of a pack of cars who often are not aware that I’m there. I can’t count how many times cars have merged into a lane and nearly crashed into me because they didn’t see me. Safe motorcycle riders don’t like being near or surrounded by other cars because we know it’s tough for drivers to see us. So, better to accelerate ahead of the crowd and get out of the way.

      • Everything you just said applies to my experiences with motorcyles not seeing me when using the bike lane. Think about it. If you’re too afraid to ride on the street with cars then stop riding your motorcycle and get a bicycle. I wouldn’t ride a motorcycle here either.

        • Reading comp fail. He/she’s not afraid to ride in the street with the cars. It’s been studied that being in front of the cars is safer if you are on ANY two-wheeled vehicle that cars are oblivious to. Having commuted for 1+ year each by motorcycle and bicycle, the motorcycle feels much safer than a bicycle. I will never commute by bicycle again.

          • No, I understood perfectly. This rider feels safer (i.e., less afraid) by jumping to the front using the bike lane. Unfortunately, that’s illegal and puts cyclists at risk so the motorcyclist can feel safer. Whether or not the motorcyclist is safer is debatable b/c cars aren’t expecting a motorcycle to dart out in front of them from the right at a green light. They are expecting a bicycle to continue straight into the bike lane.

    • Lane slitting is not illegal in DC. The only backstop is reckless driving is illegal. Passing stopped cars at 10mph is not reckless.

  • What’s the deal with bikes not riding in the bike lane? I know it’s not technically required, but with all the bellyaching over getting them installed, why don’t more bikers use them when available?

    • -crap in the bike lane (that you may or may not be able to see)
      -cars parked in the bike lane
      -passing slower bikes
      -getting ready to turn left, from the left lane

    • +Getting doored, one of the most common incidents, is a risk in the bike lane but generally not in the traffic lane
      +Riding in the middle of the lane decreases your chances of being right or left hooked (struck by cars turning right (your lane) or left (opposing traffic))

      Bikes don’t have to use the bike lanes. It is their right to be there and use the roads, too. Signed, a non-bicyclist.

    • Some of them are in horrible condition, too. 14th St southbound at the intersection of Rhode Island has 10 feet of potholes in the bike lane that are really dangerous for bike tires. 15th St southbound at the intersection of K is a cluster with cars turning right across the cycle track so it can be safer to ride that block in the traffic lane. Also, DC doesn’t regularly plow the bike lanes in the winter.

      • maxwell smart

        THIS – Most of the bike lanes were located in the area of the road that used to be parking. Years of parked cars leaking oil, antifreeze, etc. degraded the road and DC never repaved the road when they painted the bike lanes. As a result, some of the bike lanes are in really awful shape and essentially useless, unless you are biking with mountain bike tires.

  • Is it also fair to say that you’re a rude SOB if you don’t stop for people in crosswalks while you’re riding your bike downhill in the bike lane? As a moderately handicapped (I use a cane) pedestrian, I am so tired of being hit (twice) and almost hit (many times) by bikers riding on sidewalks, through red lights, or lately, down the 1st street bike lane hill as people cross IN THE CROSSWALK to/from the metro. Just like cars have to stop, so do bikes.

    Sorry, just had to let it out.

    • Fair. I recommend stopping for anyone legally crossing in crosswalks. I’d also recommend stopping for all disabled / elderly people crossing even when the light is against them – it just seems like basic decency.
      Now, idiots who can’t be bothered to look up from their phone when crossing against the light right in front of me… I will almost hit you.

    • Yes, that’s fair. As a bike commuter, I really don’t understand why both bike and car operators feel they need to park in the crosswalk. Very annoying.

    • Feel your pain. Walking in front of a stop sign and narrowly missing being hit by the biker who blew through the sign. Then he yelled at me.
      I’ll add to this: when a car is turning from a stop sign, the cyclist should stop at that stop sign rather than trying to play chicken when the car has the right of way.

  • My wife rides a 50cc Vespa scooter to work everyday from the Fort Totten area.

    She uses the bike lane sometimes and regularly gets yelled at by self-righteous douche bag bicyclists that don’t know the law.

    One woman recently yelled at her and tried to physically block her with her ten speed from continuing in th lane.

    My wife informed her of the law, and she did not listen – instead she warned my wife that she was taping the interaction with some sort of camera device.

    The woman then proceeded to blow through a red light on her ten speed.

    This sort of thing happens often to her.

    It gives bicyclist a bad name and makes my wife and I more irritated everyone we see bicyclists running red lights and stop sings – things that did not bug us before.

    If they want to be the guardian of the law they should start abiding by it.

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