View Full Version : MacArthur Blvd.

06-24-2011, 12:25 PM
Rudi Riet of Potomac Pedalers provided a summary of the MCPD community meeting this week regarding automobiles vs. bikes on MacArthur Blvd. here:


From the article and the comments on the article the problem of POed drivers and nearly side-swept cyclists seems to remain unresolved.

When I participate in the bike rack shop ride, my strategy for MacArthur is to stay to the right all of the time, unless I am passing which is rare for me there. However, as things seem to auto-organize into 2 abreast configurations I'm still in the mix to the right of another cyclist.

My gut reaction is that we should try to merge into a single line to the right when traffic backs up in the rear, but I'm not sure there's a safe way to convert 15 x 2 to 30 x 1 in any sort of organized fashion, at least not with non-professional cyclists. And I can see it being impossible to enforce.

And even then, passing cars will be straddling the center line and freak out when they come face to face with opposing traffic around a turn and try to merge back in to a line of cyclists.

Breaking up into pods of <= 8 cyclists each? Very hard to enforce, also.

Any constructive thoughts?


06-24-2011, 12:46 PM
Great topic for discussion, Brendan. Thank you for posting up.

It is not an easy problem to solve... as is obvious by the article. This sounds a lot like discussions and arguments I heard when I first moved to the DC area in 1989. It hasn't changed much.

The problem honestly is not the amount of space available for cars and bicycles. There are plenty of places that I've ridden over the years with less space and more traffic (both vehicular and bicycle). I know that I sound like a broken record... because I always say this when topics come up. The problem is the mindset... of both riders and drivers. Having everything go OUR way and not thinking of cooperation, compromise and accommodation as the FIRST means to the end makes it so that getting a positive outcome is virtually impossible.

Safe riding habits should not have to be enforced. Humans in other areas of the country do it all the time. Feeling like we are entitled to ride the way we want and that it is drivers' responsibility to deal with it precludes any positive outcome.

Drivers have a similar mindset. People drive as though they've got a Congressional mandate to be in front of cyclists at all times.

In the end, discussions boil down to a lot of finger pointing and blaming.... just like my post right here. I'm pointing my finger at pretty much everyone on this.... including myself. We could all do more than we do as riders, drivers and pedestrians. Every action we take while driving, walking or riding has consequences.... good ones or bad ones. Until we realize it and take responsibility for our own actions, there will be no resolution to things like this on MacBlvd or anywhere else.

Thanks for posting this up Brendan. It is much appreciated. Sorry for staying so long on the soap box.

07-10-2011, 03:57 PM
Great topic for discussion, Brendan. Thank you for posting up.

Got an email about an incident on macarthur during one of today's rides. I hear indirectly it was a car mirror clipping incident and that the cyclist is OK.



07-11-2011, 08:30 AM
Hmm, looks like that link goes to the reply, here's the thread starter: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!msg/bikerackdc/TVE6ynBfYEk/ZWpVFHaIAAsJ


07-11-2011, 08:57 AM
Hmm, looks like that link goes to the reply, here's the thread starter: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!msg/bikerackdc/TVE6ynBfYEk/ZWpVFHaIAAsJ


I don't see that one working either. Seem to both go to the same place.

Mark Blacknell
07-11-2011, 12:57 PM
Yeah, I think I rode past this group a little while after it had happened and they all gathered together (there may have been some other groups that stopped to help, as the mix of riders seemed odd to me).

One of the problems with group rides is that some cyclists stop taking responsibility for themselves - they just fill in the space and follow the person in front of them, regardless of other circumstances on the road. This is how you end up with 20 people at a time blowing a red light. Not cool. Further, with the big shop rides, you get a wide range of skills. This leads to incorrect assumptions (about the skills of the people around you) and a number of bad bike handlers in a big group (always bad).

I'm not down in big group rides, but I'm definitely thinking about better emphasizing the importance of being selective about them as I encourage others to check them out.

07-11-2011, 11:36 PM
I don't see that one working either. Seem to both go to the same place.

Hmm, ok, here's the text then:

Chuck (@ bike rack dc)
Jul 10 (1 day ago)
To all who participate in the Sunday shop ride..

First, I want to thank Mike, Dom, Jason, Lyle, Tony, Olwen, et al who helped McKenzie to get home. It was great to see the gang rally around her despite McKenzie's stubborness.

In response to the accident on today's shop ride, there will be some changes to the way the ride is carried out, particularly between the shop and the first stop at Starbucks in Potomac. It is essential that we slow the pace on MacArthur and keep the pace line to a single or double where conditions permit.

Changes to the shop ride will include the following:

1. Smaller groups of 15 to 20 with one to two designated leaders per group from the shop to Starbucks in Potomac. This will also give the ride leaders tthe opportunity to help newer cyclists learn to ride in a steady and safe pace line.
2. Each group must ride single file pace lines and double pace lines only where conditions permit.
3. The pace on MacArthur and Falls Rd must slow to a 16 to 18 mph average. This is considered the moderate or "warm-up" phase of the ride.
4. If you want to "hammer" MacArthur or Falls Road you must go off the front of the ride and on your own. This can no longer be done within the context of the group, its simply too dangerous on these roads.

Feel free to contact me off the group with any questions or concerns. I look forward to seeing you out on future rides.


07-12-2011, 04:11 AM
Thanks Brendan.

Does anyone know what actually happened though?