From Mathew Harkins. Email him at mharkins[AT]borderstan.com.
Watch your toes, pedestrians! Not only are we in the middle of National Bike Month, we are in Bike to Work Week — and tomorrow, May 17, is Bike to Work Day.
So not only will you need to be on the lookout for the usual drivers and bikers looking to run you over, you’ll also be contending with an few extra thousand bicyclists.
Borderstan Bike Culture
Bike to Work Day began in 2001 with just a few hundred riders and has grown so much since then that in 2012, there were an estimated 12,700 bicyclists taking part. That makes for a lot of people unfamiliar with where they’re biking and how to operate around others.
Here in Borderstan, we love bicyclists because so many of us are bicyclists. We have numerous Capital Bikeshare locations, a nice collection of old and new bike lanes, and some great bike shops in The Bike Rack and Rollin Cycles.
That said, we all still need to look out for one another. So a few recommendations for our biking friends:
- Remember to stop at all red lights and stop signs you come across. I know you’re not in a car and the rules don’t always seem to apply to you, but it’s in everyone’s best interest.
- Be mindful of the vehicles around you. You may be a new rider and expect that cars will joyfully get out of your way. They won’t. There’s a good chance they won’t even notice you’re there (like the flies that buzz around elephants). And when those cars do come a little too close, you probably don’t need to slap the hood, the trunk, the door, etc. Probably.
- Be patient and cautious with pedestrians. There are many of us that, if there’s no car approaching, won’t hesitate to cross against the light. It’s a habit we should all work on but it won’t magically disappear by tomorrow. So be mindful of your neighbors still beating feet to work. And use your bell — we’ll all try to hear them through our headphones.
Bike to Work Day is pretty exciting. It’s great for exercise and as a way to do something nice for our environment. Just remember that we all still need to get along come rush hour on Monday.
For more information on Bike to Work Day, check out the official website.
From Alden Leonard. Contact him at alden[AT]borderstan.com and follow him @aldenleonard on Twitter.
If you noticed more bikers out and about last Friday morning, the cause may have been more than just the beautiful spring weather.
The Washington Examiner notes that Friday marked annual Bike to Work Day, and DC officials estimate that 12,700 people participated. This number sets a new record for the event, with twice as many riders as it had five years ago.
“The dramatic growth of this event is an indicator that area commuters view bicycling as a viable commute alternative that can fit into their daily routine,” said Nicholas Ramfos, of sponsor Commuter Connections (do you think he actually talks like that?).
The popularity of biking in the District should come as no surprise to our readers, who have seen use of Capital Bikeshare surge in the two years since its launch. According to TBD.com, Capital Bikeshare has logged a grand total of two million total trips to date.
As long as they stay off the sidewalks, bike away!