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Re: [columbia_heights] U-Turns Across Bicycle Lanes Illegal

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  • Joel Harder
    All: DC is bigger than Amsterdam which has a mature biking culture. To continue to move in this direction, I suspect that most (if not all) bikes are going to
    Message 1 of 8 , Nov 30, 2012

      DC is bigger than Amsterdam which has a mature biking culture. To continue to move in this direction, I suspect that most (if not all) bikes are going to have to install a bell on their bike - which is common in Netherlands. It's the most polite way to tell motorists, people and others to get out of the way. 

      There are some sidewalks that are wide enough to have a bike lane - removing it from the road. There should be a pilot for these opportunities. I wonder what people thinks about that.

      My dutch friends indicate that the dutch just run right into people to reinforce the bike lane parameters (just saying).


      On Nov 29, 2012, at 8:00 PM, Rickey Williams <celine_belts@...> wrote:


      My thing is that cars blocking the bike lanes cause danger for the cyclist because they swerve into on coming traffic. As a bus rider, I have seen many a day how the cyclist swerves into the path of a bus to avoid the standing car. Also, the standing cars cause traffic delays.

      Unfortunately, we have elected to live in this very tiny city called Washington, DC. Furthermore, we have also elected to live in Columbia Heights or points north. Therefore it is imperative that we all follow the rules laid out by our elected leadership and corresponding agencies that we have an orderly society and interaction with one another. Cyclists swerving into traffic is not orderly. Usually, I simply take pictures of the plate and car during the infarction and send off to parking enforcement with the time and date that a ticket may be issued (or at least warning). If this displeases, ppl have all rights to petition the legislature (namely CM Graham) to change the traffic laws. Or simply they can simply stop blocking either the bike or traffic lanes altogether.


      Rickey Williams, Jr.

      From: Richard Layman <rlaymandc@...>;
      To: columbia_heights@yahoogroups.com <columbia_heights@yahoogroups.com>;
      Subject: Re: [columbia_heights] U-Turns Across Bicycle Lanes Illegal
      Sent: Fri, Nov 30, 2012 12:14:45 AM


      The basic issue is that a motor vehicle isn't supposed to be blocking a lane of traffic to double park.  A lane can either be a bike lane or a traditional traffic lane (open to both cars and bikes and other traffic).  Neither is supposed to be blocked by standing or parked vehicles.

      What bugs the s*** out of bicyclists is that typically motor vehicle operators don't consider bicycle lanes "a real" lane of traffic and have no problem "blocking the lane" whereas they are not likely to act similarly with regard to traditional traffic lanes.

      Personally, as a bicyclist, I am less inclined to be bothered by occasional blockage of bike lanes (but likely I am in the minority) because I think it's a small price to pay in return for having the lane to begin with, and we have to accept that multiple modes need to be accommodated.  (Although I also argue that the most optimal modes need to get the most support, and that means less privilege for traditional motor vehicles, or at least, single occupant vehicles.)

      But it does get frustrating.  Multiply your single event with your grandma across the universe of motor vehicle operators and many many many times per day, bicyclists experience lane blockages, are forced out into traffic lanes, with limited accommodations being provided by through drivers--e.g., I was ahead of a car behind me on 14th Street northbound a few hours ago, I had to move left because of a car blocking the bike lane because it was trying to park.  The car behind me didn't let me in, just angrily blew the horn.  I had the right of way and the time to take the lane.  I didn't because I prefer to defer to drivers who appear angry.

      The finger gesture the grandma driving person received is likely the result of accumulated violations and incursions of space that the bicyclist experienced that day, that week, etc.

      WRT my own experiences, personally in the last couple years I've experienced many fewer verbal assaults from motor vehicle operators.  Typically when they occur the license plate is out-of-state.  They tend to be generated in space-conflict situations such as the one I described, where I get pissed because I have the right of way, and the car endangers me.  OTOH, I also have many many more experiences in the last couple years where more drivers at more intersections defer to the bicyclist, even when the bicyclist doesn't have the right of way.  (I go then, just to speed up traffic.)

      Richard Layman

      From: Joel <dc_gay_man@...>
      To: "columbia_heights@yahoogroups.com" <columbia_heights@yahoogroups.com>
      Cc: "columbia_heights@yahoogroups.com" <columbia_heights@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Thursday, November 29, 2012 2:17 PM
      Subject: Re: [columbia_heights] U-Turns Across Bicycle Lanes Illegal

      Great question. I wonder if you should elect to use handicap parking spaces.

      Sent from my iPad

      On Nov 29, 2012, at 1:02 PM, Mike Henry <mikehenry01@...> wrote:

      Just playing Devil's advocate here, but let's say I'm waiting for my passenger to use the ATM or helping my Grandmother (who walks very slowly with a walker) get to the front of her building — and am idling for several minutes. Where am I supposed to pull over? If I pull over the way I'm supposed to, I block the bike lane and get yelled at by the bikers (and apparently get reported to the police and my Council member, and open myself up to getting a ticket).

      If I don't pull over, I'd just be basically stopped in the traffic lane, blocking traffic — and getting yelled at by everyone else, and most definitely attracting the attention of any police in the area, who would most assuredly tell me to move along, and possibly write me a ticket.

      Going around the block is one answer, but is not always practical or possible, depending on one way streets, amount of traffic, time of day, etc. — and in the case of my grandmother, would leave her standing alone in the bike lane or half way to her door on the busy sidewalk where many bikers zip in and out of pedestrian traffic anyway, despite having dedicated lanes!

      I can hear it already: "Use your best judgement." Well, that is what I do from time to time, out of necessity, and I get the finger from a guy on a bike for my trouble.

      - mike.

      From: Rickey Williams <celine_belts@...>
      To: "columbia_heights@yahoogroups.com" <columbia_heights@yahoogroups.com>; "dc_gay_man@..." <dc_gay_man@...>
      Sent: Thursday, November 29, 2012 12:37 PM
      Subject: Re: [columbia_heights] U-Turns Across Bicycle Lanes Illegal

      You can all for parking enforcement when you see cars idling in the bike lane.  They can be ticketed.  I contacted CM Graham about the problem and he forwarded it off to parking enforcement to handle. The section of 14th street, nw right below the Target is NOTORIOUS for this problem! It is really dangerous as it causes cyclists to swerve into traffic. Totally not cool.
      Rickey Williams, Jr.

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