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Friday, August 20, 2010

Discovering D.C. - Beware the Biker

You might think I'm talking about steering clear (literally) of anyone in the Hell's Angels gang. But no, I'm talking about bicycles. Of the non-motorized variety.

Understandably with the scarcity of easily-available parking around D.C. it makes sense to go from four wheels to two. You don't deal with parking, parking meters, being wedged in your parallel spot, and you can usually get around traffic jams pretty easily.

That being said, as a driver of the four-wheel variety, I'm learning to beware the bikers around this town. Supposedly, they are subject to traffic laws just like I am. Someone seems to have forgotten to let them know this evidently. I understand that they are working very hard, want to keep up their momentum and that most likely not all of them have an inborn death wish.

But, for some reason they all seem to treat intersections as their right-of-way at all times. I can't tell you how many times I've been sitting at a light, ready to turn right, blinker is on, and when I get the green light some flash of movement in my right blind spot causes me to stomp on my brakes at the last second right before I would have flattened some spandex-clad cyclist.

When I've been faithfully waiting at one of Georgetown's many four-way stops and then it's my turn to go and they come blowing through the intersection without pausing, or even looking either direction and not seeming to possess any care that a 2-ton vehicle could flatten them, it makes me shake my head in amazement.

I am all for being active and getting to work in alternative ways. But when you and your comrades come in wave after way down by the Georgetown waterfront and team up with the inevitable straggling pedestrian, I get a little itchy for you to obey the rules of the road like you are supposed to.

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