After Tuesday’s earthquake, an acquaintance of mine quipped on Facebook, “If ever there’s an emergency evacuation of Washington DC, everyone will die except those riding bikes.”
Looking at the traffic that clogged area roads and the slow-going Metro soon after businesses and the government started sending their workers home, there’s certainly some truth to that. In fact, for just about every major weather or security incident or emergency in recent memory, pretty much the only people that got home normally and somewhat quickly are those that rode bikes or walked.
Generally, bicycles have been seen more as a choice — a politically divisive one at that — than as a necessity in dealing with unpredictable urban living. But yesterday again proved that in times of trouble, jumping on two wheels may well be the best alternative that exists.
Capital Bikeshare, for example, tweeted yesterday that it recorded 5,847 rides Tuesday, an increase of 1,090 from the day before. Of those rides, 1,246 came between 2 and 4 p.m., compared to the 812 during that same timeframe on Monday. If you think about it, Capital Bikeshare’s 1,121 bikes distributed at the 116 stations throughout the District and Arlington are now an integral part of any plan for mobility or evacuation in case of an emergency in the city.
[Continue reading Martin Austermuhle’s post at DCist.com.]