Learning more about a pressing transportation issue in one of the country’s most congested cities was — literally — just like riding a bike.
After writing about a collision at 11th and U streets NW involving a Bikeshare rider (he ended up being wrongly ticketed, as DCist notes), I strapped on a borrowed helmet and went out for a ride with Washington Bicyclist Association bike ambassador Daniel Hoagland and his colleague Greg Billing. It was my first time on a Bikeshare bike.
Many things didn’t make it into this story on D.C.’s booming bicyclist population. But here’s some of what should have been in:
• Those little red Capital Bikeshare bikes are surprisingly sturdy. Hoagland speculates that their clunkiness, in fact, might be what keeps collisions down and riders relatively safe.
“They’re not anything outlandish or crazy,” Hoagland said. “The simplicity of them encourages riders to be more cautious.”
• In an hour-long ride, there were more swinging car doors, double-parked motorists and U-turning drivers on the road than I could count. There were street signs I didn’t understand and plenty unspoken rules of the road that I was clearly unfamiliar with.
For that reason, WABA hosts a variety of instructional classes.
• Bikeshare’s collision rates are relatively minuscule compared with the number of total trips taken — 20 have been reported by users since September 2010. Here’s where they occurred, according to data from the District Department of Transportation:
View Bikeshare accidents in a larger map
• Here’s what @washingtonpost followers on Twitter had to say about bikes in D.C.: