Ride In 2/28: Leap Day Eve Morning

For whatever reason, and I think it's the pictures of the mangled bike, this really got to me. A commenter claims to have seen the incident (but other commenters elsewhere tell a different story) and I hope there's a full investigation as to what happened. I also hope for a speedy and full recovery for the bicyclist, whom I believe is still in serious condition. I can't write dispassionately about stuff like this and I can barely write coherently in the first place. I certainly don't like to dwell on bad things, such as the potential for grievous injury when just trying to get to work (that's why, amongst other reasons, the blog isn't title Tales from OH MY GOD WE'RE ALL DOOMED!) and I like to keep this blog light-hearted and I at least try to be amusing, so reading something like this, and it happens far too frequently, is upsetting. That's not to say that I would recommend that we all ignore it, that we look the other way at the potential for danger as we munch our corn chips and make our merry way, blissfully ignorant to what happens around us and with little regard or care to our fellow travelers, on foot, on bikes, in public transit or in cars. In fact, I don't think we should do that at all. But we can't dwell either, focusing only on the potential for terribleness. If we did that, no one would ever get out of bed, unless of course they're focused on the terribleness of bed bugs, at which point they'd never get in bed, which would be a perfectly good waste of a bed and much of the floor space of a bedroom, floor space that could be used otherwise for a ping-pong table. Do what you can to stay safe out there and do your best to minimize risk. No one's invincible, except for Superman, but he commutes by flying (probably) and is fictional.
One last thing on recklessness: please don't be reckless. Riding a bike is easy and fun and fast and generally wonderful, but being inconsiderate to those around you is fairly inexcusable. I will not excuse you. Not even if you ask me really nicely. Ok, maybe if you make a nice greeting card and write in calligraphy. I watch people do things every day (no matter what their mode of transportation) that really makes me wonder what's waiting at their workplace that's so freaking awesome that they're in such a rush to get there. Free beer and puppies? Because if it's anything less than that, it's not worth pissing off everyone around you by acting like a jerk. Even if it is that, the puppies won't want to play with you if you're an selfish asshole, so don't be. So please keep that in mind, even if you don't have beer and puppies at your workplace.
I detoured from the normal route this morning to take some mostly crappy pictures of some new bikey stuff. Here's the new Bikeshare station by Stanton Park:

It's right on C D Street, meaning every westbound cyclist is going to salmon in that bike lane, at least for a block. I rode Maryland Avenue over from 8th street (where I thought the station was for some reason) and it wasn't especially terrible, but I think I rode it during a lull in car traffic. It would benefit from a road diet and some bike lanes, but I'm biased.
Anyone out there live and work within DC and drive to work every day? I want to interview you about your commute for the blog. You'll become instantly famous (to 9 people). Please email talesfromthesharrows@gmail.com. I'd prefer people who both live and work within the Federal No Representation Zone (my catchy new nickname! Tourist Board, you're welcome!), but any other daily driver is welcome to email me as well. I'm just curious about some stuff, most of which isn't related to bicycling.
The other thing I went in search of today was the new contraflow bike lane and sharrows network in Eckington. To get there, I rode up 6th (behind a guy on a CaBi) and then over K (where there seem to be a lot of families with young kids) to 2nd NE and then to the Met Branch Trail. I love the MBT, but it always seems so dour. A little like NoMa, which I find to be too antiseptic for my tastes, but my tastes are weird, so what do I know.
Here's what's on the ground, as of this morning:
Bike lane starts at 3rd NE. Nothing between MBT and there, so far.  

That sign says move your car on 3/1, so they can finish striping. 

R Street NE between 3rd and 2nd. 
That's the contraflow part. Then, if I remember correctly, the bike lane goes for another block with the flow of traffic and then it turns into sharrows. The sharrows cross North Capitol and extend to Florida, where the bike lane starts again on the other side. I would really like it if the bike lane was striped across Florida, kind of  like a parallel bike crosswalk, but I don't think that's in the cards.
R Street seems far too narrow for the number of cyclists who tried to pass me while riding on it. Rhode Island seems like far too wide a street to roll through the red light without stopping. A CaBi seems far less than ideal for trackstanding. And turning left from a right-hand bike lane is, as always, inadvisable. That's just a sample of my crosstown commute. March came early.
I didn't notice any bad traffic issues related to Dupont, but they hadn't turned the traffic lights off yet. Ride up and down Mass was uneventful. I think I even made it to work faster than I had planned. Guess I did something wrong.


  1. My workplace does actually have free beer (a tap installed) and puppies (teh puppehs) but I try not to act like too much of a jerk, whether I'm driving, metroing, walking, biking, swimming, hang-gliding... It's getting a bit ridiculous out there lately, or maybe I'm just getting a more active view of it since I've started seeking out those in the #bikedc world, which has opened up a world of general transportation woes. Sigh.

  2. Not to be all nitpicky, but the new Bikeshare station is on D street, not C.

    Also, I can't wait for the "you didn't engage the neighborhood" ridiculousness when they install the contraflow on R.

  3. @Laura, I think there is a real echo chamber effect going on in #bikedc, for better or worse. I also notice it with the #wmata commuters on twitter. I generally don't have problems on Metro, but you'd think it was Thunderdome based on the tweets. But I guess change starts with the rowdy few...

    1. Agreed. I think most people are oblivious of other's problems until you seek them out, intentionally or not.

  4. Nitpickiness appreciated. It's been corrected. And also, it's already started: https://twitter.com/#!/TimClarkANC5C05/status/174239149140885504

  5. If there is another round of sharrows button sales, there needs to be a "Puppies Hate Selfish Assholes" t-shirt involved.