A Metro board committee recommend yesterday day that bicyclists be permitted to bring their two-wheelers on board the last car only of Metro's weekend subway trains for a six-month demonstration period which will probably begin June 6.
The committee recommendation, almost certain to receive board approval, includes a number of restrictions on the cyclists plus requirements that they attend a training session, pass a test and get a permit complete with their photograph before they and their bicycles can use the subway together.
David Strom, chairman of the Citizens Coalition for Bicycles on Metrorail, a group that has worked hard to win this program, called the proposed regulations restrictive, but said he understood the concerns that brought them.
Metro board members have rejected earlier proposals for bicycles, worrying that cyclists and their vehicles would block the entrances to the cars, create problems during emergencies and run roughshod over regular passengers. Strom and his group insisted that they were not seeking bicycle privileges for a weekday rush-hour, when the trains are packed, but only for weekends and some holidays.
The 4th of July, a day when the subway traditionally carries thousands of people to the Mall for the fireworks display, was specifically excluded from the bicycle demonstration. The board will decide whether to continue permission for cyclists after the six-month period.
Bicycle programs similar to the one planned for Metro have been successful on San Francisco's Bay Area Rapid Trasit (BART) and on a Philadelphia commuter transit line.