Category Archives: Commuting

Roosevelt Island in the #DMV

For all you who ride the Mt Vernon Trail as a commuter, or as recreational cyclists – what do you think about the mulch and repaving scenario going on the Roosevelt Island parking lot?

If the mulch is dry, the route is doable. But in the spring, as it is now, the mulch gets VERY wet, basically unsafe and thus requires the cyclist to walk his or her bicycle through that section sometimes. I find this a bit troublesome because nobody ever asks drivers to push their cars around construction zones. This act is only demanded of cyclists.

But, in the flip-side, there are some decent, albeit more challenging in terms of hills and climbing, routes that are perfectly fine to ride to get around this section. Either up or down Wilson Blvd and around the cemetery ; or up or down the road by the Arlington courthouse and around the cemetery. This second route involves a very serious climb if moving away from the cemetery toward Clarendon.

Are there any cyclists out there who use these routes to get around the mulchy section at Roosevelt Island? Oh, I must add that this whole section is getting repaved – both the parking lot AND the bike trail segments. So it will be nice after the work is done.

Let me know your thoughts.

Thank you.

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#Cycling in Traffic (#bikedc, #bikeva)

Who enjoys riding in traffic as much as I?

Not only is it my right to do so, but if I ride safely, I can enjoy a lot of terrain that soooo many drivers would rather have me avoid.

But MORE cyclists need to get out there on the streets. If we can do so, it will become even safer to ride our bikes on the roads funded by our taxes.

Cheers (be safe, have fun on your bike).

J.

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Filed under bicycle safety, Commuting, cycling

Fixed Gear on the Roads

Yes, I ride a fixed gear in the DMV.

But I ride it with a break.

I do not blast through intersections with a feeling of self-entitlement.

But I do believe that I am entitled to ride on every road (except for those few that are set aside as high-speed transportation zones for motorized vehicles.

Don’t speed by me exhibiting your own entitlement because this is reckless, illegal, unethical and scary.

Don’t role down your window and scream at me because I have the right to use the same roads (except where otherwise noted) as you to go to the exact same destinations.

If you, drivers want to be left alone, we cyclists want to be left alone at least as much.

In all situations, the pedestrian is given the highest safety priority, the bicyclist comes next (who is really just as vulnerable as peds) – the car comes last. Sorry, But drivers are just not as vulnerable as pedestrians and cyclists. Fender benders are a hassle and expensive. But any bump to a pedestrian can easily become harmful or fatal to this vulnerable population.

Respect that.

I am sure we can work it out on the roads together in a truly civil fashion.

Thank you for reading.

Jesse L.

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Filed under Bicycles, Commuting

Bicycles go with Traffic

Aggressive driver today.

So I realized after he drove around me aggressively, forcing me to slow down and brake in order not to be hit by the rear of his flat bed truck, he had to slam on his brakes to avoid hitting another car that was ahead taking a left.

But right after that, he pulled into a parking lot to park his truck.

So I went right up to him and asked, “hey, what are you doing, driving so aggressively around a cyclist?”

His response, he said I was supposed to be on the other side of the road, riding INTO traffic (wha?doubletake).

I couldn’t believe it. He said he knew the laws and that I should look it up.

In other words, not only was he wrong, he thought that since I “was wrong,” he could thus justify his nearly hitting me on purpose.

I made a report to the trucking company today with the caveat that if it happened again, I would call the cops (I thought it would be the politic thing to do). Everyone deserves a chance. I am not going to do any disservice to this chance by naming the trucking company involved. But if it happens again…

The lesson, bicycles go WITH traffic, are to be given 3 feet of minimum passing distance and are to given the same rights of all road users.

Indiana rules here.

Ft Wayne propositions.

And a good article at the News-Sentinel about safety for bicyclists in Ft Wayne.

Be safe.

Thanks for reading.

Jesse L.

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No Honking Please!

This is just a short note to the world, those who spend their transportation energies and time driving, specifically those who have ever seen a person bicycling in the road.

These cyclists, myself included, just want to get safely and quickly from A to B – the same as the driver.

Please refrain from honking behind cyclists. Just pass the cyclist like one would pass any other vehicle on the road. Give enough space (in Ft Wayne, IN, this means 3 feet of passing space). Most drivers don’t go around honking at cars. Please show the same respect for cyclists because we are already on edge in traffic, vulnerable and honking increases one’s stress instead of decreasing it.

Please read this article about safety goals for bicyclists and bicycle riding in Ft Wayne, Indiana and this one from BicycleIndiana.org.

Thank you for reading.

Jesse L.

 

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Clarity of Vision

The Winter of 2013-2014 has been cold and snowy in the DC Metro Area. As a result, visibility has been reduced due to shortened days (less actual daylight) and due to rain & snow. That is obvious. And of course, drivers should know they can not speed around bicyclists at the same speed as “normal” – which is probably already too fast – during the season when the roads are wetter and more slippery.

But I also want to draw attention to another small point about winter-specific safety for all road users, but one which could really adverse affect the safety of cyclists in traffic. I am referring to dirty windshields that inherently reduce visibility of the world outside the vehicle.

hazy windshield5342360304_c5c6c3e34e_o

(Image, “Dirty Windshield Reflection,” Copyright Grant Montgomery at Flickr <accessed 15 Feb 2014>)

I know everyone who reads this will understand exactly what I’m talking about. We have all been there when we realize that we can’t see traffic well, the light change up ahead or the like. Of course, unfortunately, the habit is to continue even though we are in fact blind to our surroundings. But imagine, there is a cyclist there on his or her bicycle riding in traffic that does not get noticed and the driver rams into that person. “I couldn’t see” is not a good excuse because we knew it and continues nonetheless. The truth is that even as a consistent bicycle commuter (year round), I have noted to myself that my visibility through bicycle glasses is greatly reduced when they get fogged up. The effect is the same. And this is even with clear lenses or those amber lenses which greatly magnify light in overcast and wet circumstances.

          I just ask that we each try to pay attention to this and act accordingly for the safety of everyone.

          Thank you for reading.

          Jesse L.

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Filed under bicycle safety, Commuting

Following Bike Laws for Safety

Check out @BikeArlington’s Tweet: https://twitter.com/BikeArlington/status/398887843000365056

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Filed under bicycle safety, Bicycles, Commuting