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kryan1035
02-18-2011, 08:16 PM
No, really, we do. I've got one coming up, scheduled for Sunday, a nice profile of a long-haul commuter you all may know. I'll flag it here if the story gets bumped (it happens). Although bikes aren't my beat, the integration of bikes on area roadways is more than just a passing story..and WTOP gets that. I also blog about the issue (and my experiences) at http://kateryanreports.blogspot.com/

It's by no means comprehensive, but my attempt at covering something that's a growing concern (and I don't mean that in a negative way) but that we all are finding as riders, pedestrians and drivers, that there's a critical need to cooperate out there. I spoke to a police official about these things just the other day, and she said "It used to be a fatal was rare...we are seeing too many of them". I don't think it's controversial for a reporter to tell you: I agree. Again, I'm all for every one of us doing what we can to keep ourselves--and the other guy--safe.

'Cause it should also be FUN.

You can catch our web stories at wtop.com and me at my newsroom email at kryan@wtopnews.com. Not a promo, just an invitation. Best,

Kate Ryan
WTOP

Chris Eatough
02-18-2011, 08:21 PM
Welcome to the bike forum, Kate!
And thanks for your continued coverage of bike issues and stories.
We look forward to reading the profile of our forum buddy, and hope that you can check in once in a while on this forum and offer your insight.
Have a good weekend and enjoy the balmy weather.

PrintError
02-18-2011, 09:06 PM
Oooh, how exciting! Can we get any more details, or do we have to wait until Sunday?

WillStewart
02-19-2011, 05:30 PM
Thanks for covering this critical area, one which will only continue to get worse as oil prices continue their erratic climb.

MackMudPig
02-20-2011, 03:51 PM
I was a little amazed that some righteous cyclist thought that pedestrians should be wearing reflective vests because they have almost hit people on the W&OD trail. Cyclists do not have the right of way on the path, often I see riders think they are the king of the trail, probably this caller was some delusional king of cycling. But per Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority who runs the W&OD, "Unless otherwise posted, pedestrians have the right of way. Travel at speeds that are safe and appropriate to trail conditions and usage." AND "The trail is open only during daylight hours." So the cyclist who called in really should think about those facts. The trail is technically closed after dark and that they must yield to pedestrians.

The W&OD really is a great resource but it amazes me how cyclists in particular abuse it. I use it as a great way to get from point A to point B riding fairly slow and respect walkers/runners. When I want to ride hard I wait until the path is vacant or I'm off on the roads. My biggest annoyance is the shear number of riders who blow thru all the stop signs, I think I'm one of the only riders who actually stops at all of them. And from what I've seen drivers are extremely polite about stopping to let you cross when you stop.

PrintError
02-20-2011, 05:15 PM
I was a little amazed that some righteous cyclist thought that pedestrians should be wearing reflective vests because they have almost hit people on the W&OD trail.

I wasn't saying it to be self-righteous, I'm saying it out of concern for the safety of the pedestrians. The ones who wear all-black are genuinely invisible. The friends that I ride with all say the same thing, and just about anyone who hits the trail at those hours has seen it before as well.

Honestly I just want everybody to be safe, no matter who they are or how they're getting around. Even if I was going 10mph instead of 15mph, invisible is invisible and the risk is still there. Even a simple $5 blinking light is sufficient, or a white shirt, or something.

Go ride at night sometime and you'll see what I mean. The "ninjas" really can sneak up on you even with good headlights and while paying full attention.

---
Brett Hack - W&OD Trail Patrol

eminva
02-20-2011, 07:27 PM
Okay, I seemed to have missed this -- I listened to WTOP as much as I could today. I thought it was going to be a feature that would be interspersed with the news items today (and repeated a few times), but it sounds like it was a call in show? Is this available on the website? Thanks.

Liz

P.S. I would also strongly urge ninja pedestrians and joggers to wear something, anything, reflective. I acknowledge that signs posted on the trail state, "Closed After Dark", and if so, I assume that means for pedestrians as well as bicyclists. So if we are all going to be scofflaws busting curfew, best we do it as safely as possible.

PrintError
02-20-2011, 08:02 PM
Here you go Liz:
http://www.wtop.com/?nid=120&sid=2278903

MackMudPig
02-20-2011, 09:13 PM
I acknowledge that signs posted on the trail state, "Closed After Dark", and if so, I assume that means for pedestrians as well as bicyclists. So if we are all going to be scofflaws busting curfew, best we do it as safely as possible.

Having be a cyclist now for 30 years I can quickly acknowledge that cyclist tend to ride way to fast on the W&OD trail. The reality is that pedestrians and cyclists are on the trail after dark, perhaps that's a sign for cyclists to just slow down. I saw one of Brett's post from last week, "Sorry if I ran anyone over on the W&OD this week... :-) [a story]" Sounds like a common tale on the W&OD trail by people like Brett, too fast and probably little regard for others. I can't take someone serious about telling pedestrians to be more careful when they aren't careful.

eminva
02-21-2011, 05:40 AM
Brett, great article! Congrats and I hope you keep the streak alive even through parenthood (hopefully you won't fall asleep on the bike).

I can't speak for Brett, but I am a near daily commuter and I do think that bicyclists are cognizant of pedestrians, for the most part. When I am on the trail during the week the pedestrians are usually limited to joggers, dog walkers and commuters on foot (especially near Dunn Loring and EFC, and Ballston on the Custis). My average speed for the Vienna to L Street round trip is 12 or 13 miles per hour, however, even going that slowly I am sometimes startled by ninja joggers or walkers. You can't see them no matter how fast or slowly you are going.

On the weekend when the trail is full of families, my personal opinion is that it would be best for speedy cyclists testing out their new time trail bikes to go elsewhere -- the back roads of Loudon County, or what have you. So I would agree that the W&OD cannot be all things to all people. However, I think we can and do coexist fairly well.

Liz

PrintError
02-21-2011, 07:00 AM
Having be a cyclist now for 30 years I can quickly acknowledge that cyclist tend to ride way to fast on the W&OD trail. The reality is that pedestrians and cyclists are on the trail after dark, perhaps that's a sign for cyclists to just slow down. I saw one of Brett's post from last week, "Sorry if I ran anyone over on the W&OD this week... :-) [a story]" Sounds like a common tale on the W&OD trail by people like Brett, too fast and probably little regard for others. I can't take someone serious about telling pedestrians to be more careful when they aren't careful.

I'll agree that some cyclists go way, way too fast. I'm often overtaken by racers in training or genuine speed demons who rarely, if ever, give me a passing signal or any warning. Those are the ones who give us a bad name.

My normal pace is only 15-17 mph out there, and that post title was meant to be humorous. Everyone else seems to have found it that way. Even at 20 mph, I still pay full attention to the peds and yell a passing signal each and every time - even to the ninjas. In fact, one of the "rules" I was given when I joined the Trail Patrol was to always signal for passing, and to encourage others to be more safe. Whenever I see the all-black joggers, I yell out "All black, can't see you!" Please stop trying to find negatives in everything, I'm just trying to encourage joggers to be safe out there.

I happen to be a very careful rider, which is why I encourage others to be more careful as well.

--

Thanks Liz! I didn't realize you pedaled so far, awesome! Seems as though no matter how positive we try to be, the naysayers will show up. Don't ever let them discourage you though, ride on!

Dirt
02-21-2011, 10:21 AM
Thanks Kate for posting up and for your coverage.


On the issue of invisible pedestrians... This topic probably should be a discussion of its own. Safety is the responsibility of EVERYONE who uses the trails... not just the cyclists. There are sections of the W&OD closer in to town that are lighted and make it possible to see. In those areas, pedestrians and runners are generally visible.

Once you're west of East Falls Church, the trail has some very long stretches that are not lit. I ride that stretch of trail twice per day in the dark. For the first three months of this winter, I carried a pocket full of reflective leg bands with me ever day and handed them out to people who were invisible. (Thanks Bike Arlington for supporting my reflective quest!!!) I also purchased and distributed reflective dog leashes for those who walk invisible dogs. In all, I've given out 70 or 80 reflective bands and at least a dozen leashes. On my daily ride, I encounter one lady who regularly wears her Bike Arlington reflective band and two people who use the reflective leashes. As the winter gets more serious, the people on the trail are generally people who take responsibility for their safety and have flashy lights and reflective clothing. Early and Late winter trail users appear to be much less concerned or aware of the issue.

On those sections of trail where there are no lights, I slow significantly. Even rolling along at 10-12 mph with a light that is adequate for me to light the trail and be seen is not enough. I've switched to using a much more powerful headlight so that I can see other trail users. Unfortunately this is blinding to people who are coming toward me. I shield them from it as much as I can (slowing way down and covering the light when I can). It isn't an ideal solution though.

This is a serious problem. Good-natured and cheerful suggestions that people are invisible with offers of free reflective gear are more often than not either completely ignored, or responded to with anger and profanity. I know some of that is the result of being approached by a stranger in the dark, but it still never ceases to surprise and depress me.

Spending time handing out reflective gear with Bike Arlington one night last fall was definitely a great way to help the problem. I guess I need to figure out a way that I can do that from 5-6am in Falls Church a few times every fall and spring. I will try to make that happen later this year.

Sorry to vent. I'll crawl back under my rock now. :D

Love,

Pete

CCrew
02-21-2011, 11:42 AM
Sounds like a common tale on the W&OD trail by people like Brett, too fast and probably little regard for others. I can't take someone serious about telling pedestrians to be more careful when they aren't careful.

I don't see nor did I take Brett's post regarding his time trial ride home as the fact that he was running over pedestrians during the ride, nor did he describe near misses. I think you're taking a thread title that was meant a bit tongue in cheek as a dissertation on his cycling style. I never got that.

Sorry, but on the best of days there's also always some jogger or walker that's wandering down the W&OD earbuds firmly implanted thinking because they're a pedestrian the trail is theirs. It is a MUP... In the truest sense of the acronym - Multi Use Path. While they may be at the top of the pecking order for right of way I think asking them to exert a modicum of common sense is not a reach which is what Brett did.

I'm not saying that there aren't some cyclists as you describe that treat the W&OD as if it's their personal training track.. there are. They give us all a bad name. But I think singling out Brett because of the title of a thread is a bit of a reach, don't you think?

CCrew
02-21-2011, 11:47 AM
I've switched to using a much more powerful headlight so that I can see other trail users. Unfortunately this is blinding to people who are coming toward me. I shield them from it as much as I can (slowing way down and covering the light when I can). It isn't an ideal solution though.

But you have to do exactly that due to the ninja joggers, and even the occasional ninja cyclist. Big thanks for doing what you've done, but I'll opt for my 1200+ lumens to incinerate them in my path as needed. Rarely a ride goes by that I don't encounter at least one.

Before that gets misconstrued though, I'll add that I palm my lights for oncoming traffic..

CCrew
02-21-2011, 11:50 AM
My average speed for the Vienna to L Street round trip is 12 or 13 miles per hour,

Out of curiosity, L and what? I'm thinking we're covering much of the same ground.

-R

Dirt
02-21-2011, 12:34 PM
But you have to do exactly that due to the ninja joggers, and even the occasional ninja cyclist. Big thanks for doing what you've done, but I'll opt for my 1200+ lumens to incinerate them in my path as needed. Rarely a ride goes by that I don't encounter at least one.

Before that gets misconstrued though, I'll add that I palm my lights for oncoming traffic..

My light has settings for 900, 250 and 150 lumen. I have the beam centered about 10' in front of my wheel. At 900 lumen I have cars that flash their brights at me. At 150 lumen, I have some runners/pedestrians yelling at me if I don't palm my light.

Riding fixie it is not always possible to cover the light. If I'm out of the saddle going up a hill, I don't have a free hand to cover the light. I've been working on evolving a third arm... I was hoping it would grow out of my back. I might have to rethink this.

You're welcome CCrew. I had an attitude change a few years ago after years of being angry about what gets perpetrated against cyclists. I either needed to ditch the sport or change my attitude. Luckily it was the latter.

I'm sure you, Liz and I will bump into each other... if we haven't already. We travel the same route many times per week.

Happy trails!

Pete

eminva
02-21-2011, 12:51 PM
Hello --

I work at 18th & L. I cross Key Bridge, right on M Street to Pennsylvania, then left on L Street. If anyone has a great idea for negotiating (or avoiding) that difficult turn, I'm all ears.

I think some of you hit the trail significantly earlier than I do. If you ever do a late shift, maybe we do cross paths.

Liz

Dirt
02-21-2011, 02:50 PM
I think some of you hit the trail significantly earlier than I do. If you ever do a late shift, maybe we do cross paths.
I been doing both lately. In by 6, out by 5. Blek.

Going home early tonight. Rah!

PrintError
02-21-2011, 02:56 PM
I been doing both lately. In by 6, out by 5. Blek.

Going home early tonight. Rah!

Yeah, same... on the trail around 0600, then again around 1800... At least the evening ride is in daylight now! :)

CCrew
02-21-2011, 06:20 PM
Hello --

I work at 18th & L. I cross Key Bridge, right on M Street to Pennsylvania, then left on L Street. If anyone has a great idea for negotiating (or avoiding) that difficult turn, I'm all ears.

I think some of you hit the trail significantly earlier than I do. If you ever do a late shift, maybe we do cross paths.

Liz

Hmm. 15th between L&M here, so we're covering a lot of the same ground. Agreed though, I'm in early and out early most days. "Most" being the operative word here, as my job pretty much has me by an electronic leash 24x7 with no hesitation yanking it.. :(

And same route too... Haven't successfully found a better one. I particularly hate M on the return trip.

DismalScientist
02-21-2011, 08:31 PM
I'm at 18th and M. I avoid it by taking the Roosevelt bridge and New Hampshire across Washington Circle.

Coming back, I always take M and the Key bridge just to pass all the stopped traffic in Georgetown.:p

PrintError
02-22-2011, 03:23 AM
Coming back, I always take M and the Key bridge just to pass all the stopped traffic in Georgetown.:p

Isn't that the best feeling sometimes? :)

eminva
02-22-2011, 08:47 AM
Dismal Scientist, where do you ride on M Street to pass all the traffic? Do you swing into oncoming traffic eastbound? It's so thick there I can't figure out any other way around it.

From westbound M Street, I turn right on 28th Street, left on N Street and another left on 34th Street to avoid all that in the evening. It does add a couple of blocks to the distance but it seems to move a bit faster. 34th Southbound is a parking lot too, but there is more space to the left and right of the cars to get by.

Liz

DismalScientist
02-22-2011, 10:34 AM
I generally ride on the left side of the curb lane and squeeze between cars in the curb and next right lane. Generally it is too congested for drivers to switch lanes quickly. You have to keep a look out for eastbound traffic turning left between the stopped westbound traffic. This routine may not be for everybody.:cool:

brendan
02-22-2011, 05:06 PM
Longer, perhaps more useful reply lost via "click reply, type in long reply and then click the + Reply to Thread button instead of Post Quick Reply button". Doh.

I've graduated from door zone riding to lane splitting on M Street to get through the traffic. It's legal for cyclists in DC, as long as it is done safely. Granted, depending on how much madness is happening around you in Georgetown, in certain situations lane splitting may become unsafe and hence may not be legal (temporarily). Either way, don't lane split yourself into a trap, and watch out for frustrated drivers, unsignaled lane changes, inebriated drivers and the ubiquitous unsigaled taxi U-turns, often from the right lane. Usually see at least two of those every late night I pass through there...

Brendan

RESTONTODC
02-22-2011, 11:24 PM
I commute from Chinatown to Reston very late shift. I took the M Street, Georgetown, and key bridge a few times at night but I hate it. It's too congested, dangers, and too many bars along the route (more drunk drivers). I refer the long safe route, 14th bridge and Mt Vernon Trail.

I will try Liz's suggested route "From westbound M Street, I turn right on 28th Street, left on N Street and another left on 34th Street"

Rick

PrintError
02-23-2011, 03:31 AM
Wow Rick, that's a long hike. Hats off to you!