First Friday in a bunch of weeks where the ride home was easy and stress-free. I think that as the weather gets warmer (which is will do in approximately 2 days, after which it will never drop below 90 degrees until October, but no, we didn't totally ruin the planet with our carbon emissions), my "jump on the bike and ride home without changing clothes" is no longer going to work, since it will be uncomfortably over-warm and dirty my work clothes in a way far worse than just wearing them to work would.
Trouble at the Finnish Embassy. Two fire trucks and at least one ambulance and people standing around outside, looking generally concerned. Traffic was clogged on Mass heading north, but I arrived just as the second, southbound, fire truck had, so I was able to squeak by before inbound traffic backed up as well. I've seen no details surrounded the incident emerge on twitter, but I have learned that there are a number of feeds related to Finland and embassies. Here's the Finnish embassy in DC. And the Finish embassy in the UK. And the US Embassy in Helsinki (708 followers!). And the Finnish Embassy in Croatia (!?), which mostly seems to post in English, just in case you're some uneducated boor who doesn't read Finnish or Croatian. And the Polish Embassy in Finland. And the Finland Embassy to Hungary, of which there have only been 2 tweets, both in Finnish, which resembles Hungarian about as much as English resembles Persian.
There was significant car traffic farther down Massachusetts, all of which I think was caused by one car that wasn't moved from the variable parking lane by when it was supposed to be. I bailed to the sidewalk and I have no apologies. Of course, I have no apologies because I rode with care and caution and did my best to give ample room to pedestrians.
I skipped Dupont Circle, returning to my usual route across Q. I noticed that PETA has a new sign out front, asking/reminding me to spay or neuter my pet, which is much better than the normal sign that asks me if I would eat her if she tasted like chicken. (I mean, not her specifically- that would be some real targeted marketing-, but one's dog or cat. I guess it's supposed to make me a vegan or something.) If extremism in defense of liberty is no vice, I'm not totally sure that makes extremism in defense of animals.
I've been jaywheeling as much as usual (which is to say, a little) and I've yet to be pulled over by the police, though it seems that "citizen bicyclists" are getting stern warnings or maybe even tickets for doing as much. The extent to which this makes the streets "smarter," I'll leave for you to judge. Here's the campaign's BIKE section. Obey all regulatory signs! Bicyclists failing to obey all regulatory signs was a pretty big factor in the subprime meltdown, I'm pretty sure. The Specialized CDO was their preferred ride. Anyway, here's the section on DRIVE. Apparently, regulatory issues aren't as important for motorists. There's also pie chart that shows the breakdown of traffic fatalities in the Washington region since 1998 and it sure likes the drivers are the biggest chunk of fatalities, which seems to be a weird thing to highlight in a pedestrian safety campaign. It might make one think that by comparison pedestrians are pretty safe, which I'm not really sure is the message you'd want to project when you're trying to really get people to take pedestrian safety more seriously. Oh well.
On 11th, I was stopped behind a car waiting at a red light and a woman driving a Lexus SUV began to pull out of the parking garage to my right. I saw that she was there, but I didn't make any eye contact or acknowledgement that she could or should pull in front of me, which she did anyway even if there wasn't very much room to do so. Her license plate was KP GOING. I guess so.
On Penn, I rode briefly behind a gentleman who was riding rather slowly, but his slow riding didn't preclude him from stopping past the crosswalk at Penn and 7th, thereby inconveniencing any left-turning drivers. When the turn light went green, the driver didn't move. I glanced over, but the woman on the bike behind me said to the driver "You can go" and the driver went, narrowly edging his way around the bicyclist who rode out too far. I see bicyclist block the left turn all the time. It's both unsafe and a little selfish. AND THINK OF THE REGULATORY ISSUES!
About a half a block later, a superbiker type passed all of us and I decided that I would ride along behind him, which we did until Third Street, where he nudged out into the street a little before the light on Penn turned green which was still a little after the light on Third turned red. That red light didn't stop a driver from barreling around the corner, but thankfully he saw her and stopped himself from nudging out farther. He looked back at me and I sort of grinned. He looked again and I said "I don't know, man" as if to suggest that the driver's move was questionable (not my overall skepticism of everything) and he said "Well, we run red lights all the time, so I guess it's all right" or something to that effect, which I appreciated for it's general aptness. No harm, no foul.
I followed superbiker up the crowded Capitol hill path and he weaved through the walking tourists in a way that didn't totally make sense to me, but seemed mostly inoffensive. I don't know how some bicyclists "pick their line" or whatever that's called. My goal is normally to do as little weaving as possible, but maybe I'm doing it wrong. And then it was down East Capitol, where he really started pedaling and was soon many blocks ahead.
Be really careful if you're biking past Lincoln Park and don't plan on turning down Massachusetts (towards the river) and plan to continue on East Capitol towards RFK. There's a sign there that suggests (mandates?) drivers yield to bicyclists who are riding straight, but I've had many an occasion when had I not been turning down Mass, I would have been decidedly crushed by someone turning. My other piece of advice would be to look back over your shoulder or maybe even signal with your hand that you're moving leftwards. Or you could even leave the bike lane earlier, maybe around 12th or Kentucky, just to avoid any confusion entirely. It's only a little tricky.
Have a great remainder of your weekend. I'll be over at LUMEN8 valeting bicycles until 5. Tips welcome. Say hello if you come by. If you're planning on riding Rhode Island Avenue today, be at Logan Circle around 1. If you weren't planning on doing either of those things today because you didn't know about them, now you do!