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Thread: Petition to WMATA to change their policy regarding bikes during rush hour

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    Default Petition to WMATA to change their policy regarding bikes during rush hour

    Hi. I am a first time poster on this forum and recent cycling convert. I took my bike to DC for the first time today and had a blast exploring the downtown area and the tidal basin. When I attempted to come back on the Metro, I was stopped by the lady at the gate because it was a few minutes after 4:00 PM. I had no idea this was the rule and had to wait 3 hours before being allowed to pass the gate. At one point, she threatened to call the Metro Transit on me because I tried to pass the gates 9 minutes before 7 PM (I needed to be a meeting by 8PM, and I was really far from home). While I was waiting, a guy with a mountain bike came up to the gate from the trains. She just let him exit. I was really angry because not only did I had to waste three hours waiting for rush hour to pass, but the rule was inconsistently reinforced based on different stations. She said my bike was a "safety hazard", but aren't we adults? If it was such a safety hazard, bicycles should be outlawed from park paths because they pose a safety hazard to walkers and runners. Why are bikes allowed on the Metro at all if they pose a such a threat?

    I am not the only one who feels this way about this:
    http://www.thewashcycle.com/2010/05/...s-that-is.html

    I made a petition on change.org, and I hope you guys can help me spread this along. Please feel free to give me advice or help out. If you strongly believe in this issue, take the time, and we can make a difference.

    http://www.change.org/petitions/wash...ring-rush-hour

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    Not to be a downer for your initiative, but I'm pretty OK with that rule. Have you ever ridden the metro at rush hour? It's crammed to the brim in most instances, and it's tough enough trying to squeeze on with just a briefcase. I'd feel like an ass taking up all that space with a bike I could be riding toward my destination anyway. It'd also be literally impossible to get off when you need to, no joke. and to put yourself near the door wouldn't help the matter as you'd clog things up more. That's when the safety issue comes into play, there's a couple pretty sharp things on a bike, trying to squeeze around one on a swaying train is indeed dangerous; the wheels are at just the right height for someone to fall backward over them as well.

    And there's a good chance with the tight quarters you'll ruin someone's clothing with stray bike grease.

    Unfortunately it's inconsistently forced, but that's the human error factor that makes any rule breakable. I bet if you tried a couple other stations you probably could have slipped on. But that's beyond the point I guess.

    Good luck to you, but I can't offer my support.
    Last edited by SpokeGrenadeSR; 03-15-2012 at 10:23 PM.

  3. #3
    KLizotte's Avatar
    KLizotte is offline I really need to log off the internet and go for a ride.
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    I agree with SpokeGrenade on this. It's quite possible station managers in outlying stations see few people during the tail end of the restricted hours and thus let cyclists on.

    I do think a good petition would be for WMATA to post the policy in plain sight (on great big signs) in every station so there are no surprises (and post it more prominently on their website).

    FYI: All metro buses accept bikes at any time on the racks located on the front of the bus. Not sure if that would have helped you out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KLizotte View Post
    I agree with SpokeGrenade on this. It's quite possible station managers in outlying stations see few people during the tail end of the restricted hours and thus let cyclists on.
    I think it also has to be kept in mind that you simply have to be inside the turnstiles by 4p, it can take some time to traverse the metro system from its far flung corners and it's quite possible to be coming out easily an hour or so later. While I can understand the frustration of seeing another cyclist leaving the system while you're waiting to get on, it's entirely possible that they did so well within its existing restrictions.

    Orange Line train at 5:30 with a bike? I'd rather crawl on bloodied knees

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    I've managed to get in to the system with a bike just before the cutoff, and when I exited, I was questioned as to where I got on, and when! I think the rule is good, particularly because I ride the orange line when I don't ride. There simply isn't room for a bike on those trains, Particularly with tourist season coming up as well, it would just be a mess. I'm sorry you had a bad experience, but the rules are posted in all the elevators I've been in.

    I think the most effective way to get what you want (The ability to bring a bike on metro at any time) is to buy a folding bike and a carrying bag. That way, you can always take your bike on the metro! You can find a pretty nice Dahon for under $500.

    from http://www.wmata.com/getting_around/...guidelines.cfm
    Folded bicycles are allowed on Metrorail during all operational hours, but must remain folded and inside a carrying case or bag during weekday peak hours: 7-10 a.m. and 4-7 p.m.

    Folding bicycles and non-collapsible bicycles of all types that are folded or disassembled and enclosed in carrying bags, cases or boxes are deemed "luggage" items and are permitted inside railcars at all times. The carrying bags or cases must be made of a sturdy material such as canvas, nylon or leather-type materials.

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    Apparently this person has never ridden on the metro at rush hour. This petition is actually a terrible idea. There is no room for the people let alone the bikes. There is no room on the platform. There is no room on the trains. There is no room in the elevators. The station manger was right to stop you. The story quoted is about a totally different transit system with different trains that have room for them.

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    I actually agree with Metro's rule on it for the reasons state above. There simply isn't room on most of the lines. I'm not even sure 4pm is a good cutoff. I would probably make the cutoff 3pm if I were running the show. However, they should also apply this to people carrying other objects onto the train that aren't luggage from or to an airport or from or to a train. I watched a woman get on with a five foot Christmas Tree during rush hour and it took up a ridiculous amount of space.

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    I wouldn't have a problem with this if you limited to travel against the flow . . . e.g., if you wanted to go from Foggy Bottom to Vienna in the morning rush.

    For my own part, I don't find it pleasant to take a bike on metro at any time. I took metro home after the 50 States Ride last fall. I had to wait through four cycles of the elevator to even enter the system at Woodley Park (lots of strollers coming from the zoo) and at Metro Center I just carried the bike down the granite stairs because the line was so long for the elevator. The trains were packed due to track work on multiple lines, events on the mall, etc. I had to wait for several trains both on the red and orange lines. There were people with grocery carts, etc. I was within the letter of the law, but I really felt like I didn't belong there and should have just ridden home to Vienna after the event.

    Unfortunately, our metro system seems to be operating at peak capacity, if not exceeding it, during key times. I doubt it will get better any time soon (Silver Line, anyone?). I like the idea in theory, but in practice, not so much.

    Excellent reminder that you can always put you bike on the rack on a metro bus, Klizotte.

    Liz

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    As a daily cyclist and occasional Metro rider, I would prefer to keep the prohibition against bikes on Metro during rush hours in place so will decline to sign the petition.

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    I think Metro should allow bikes on trains during rush hour only in the first (front) car and only at the operator's discretion. That is, when he or she opens the little window, you ask if you can board with your bike. Most of the time the front car is less crowded, especially on suburban or off-direction runs, and this would allow many cyclists to use Metro as needed. The cyclist would take the risk if trains were too crowded and boarding was denied by the operator -- you'd just have to wait for an uncrowded train.

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