Friday, October 22, 2010

Chain Bridge open, incl. weekends.

DDOT announces that Chain Bridge is now open (as of Oct 15), w/ all previous closure announcements for Oct. weekends canceled.  See their announcement here.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Chain Bridge weekend closures Sept.-Oct.

DDOT announces weekend closures of the Chain Bridge into Oct. to finish up the structural work.

The closure includes the bike/pedestrian sidewalk/trail.
  • 8pm on Friday, September 17 thru 5 am on Monday, September 20
  • 8pm on Friday, October 1 thru 5 am on Monday, October 4
  • 8pm on Friday, October 8 thru 5 am on Monday, October 11
  • 8pm on Friday, October 15 thru 5 am on Sunday, October 17
And maybe also:
  • 8 pm on Friday, October 22 thru 5 am on Sunday, October 24.

Bike thefts at GW

This just in from GW Police:
CRIME ALERT: Bicycle Thefts

The George Washington Police Department (GWPD) is investigating an increase in
the number of bicycle thefts on campus. Bicycles that have been locked also are
being reported as stolen. Thefts are occurring during the afternoon and evening
even with pedestrians in the area. 

GWPD encourages all bicycle owners to use heavy U-Lock devices securely fastened
to the frame of the bike and the rack that typically deter thieves.  

If you observe suspicious persons or activities near bike racks, for example
someone carrying bolt cutters or hack saws, please report information to GWPD at
202-994-6111 or anonymously at 202-994-TIPS. 

For more safety tips, visit 

This information is provided by:
The George Washington University Police Department
Emergency 994-6111
Non-Emergency 994-6110  

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Cyclists' rights in crosswalks (Falls Church News Press story)

The Falls Church News-Press published my letter to the editor regarding cyclists' legal rights at crosswalks

This was in response to prior responses to their story about the theft of five recently-installed W&OD crosswalk signs warning cars to stop for pedestrians/cyclists.

Virginia law is pretty clear:  Cyclists may ride in crosswalks (unless signed otherwise) and cars must yield to cyclists in crosswalks just as they must yield to pedestrians.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Bikeshare comes to GW

The GW Hatchet reports on Foggy Bottom locations identified for the extension of DC's Bikeshare program: 

"A SmartBike station already exists outside GW Hospital, but other locations include 1959 E St.- the residence hall near the Elliott School of International Affairs – and 982 21st St., which is near the corner of 21st Street and Pennsylvania Avenue."

None are near the Mount Vernon campus or anywhere in Maryland or in Fairfax Co., Va.  But  a dozen or so are in Arlington.

Check out proposed locations on the DC Bikeshare Map.

WO&D I-66 bridge (no closings expected)

This from the Friends of the WO&D:

"As part of the Capital Beltway HOT Lanes project, a new W&OD Trail bridge -- to the north of the old one -- is currently under construction. The existing bridge and the Trail itself will remain open, but bridge abutment walls are being put in place on both sides of the Beltway, so that users are advised to exercise special caution in this work zone. The beams of the new bridge are scheduled to be installed in October, and the deck in November. Once this new bridge is completed and opened to users, the old one will be removed."

construction updates

Construction updates:

Chain Bridge work is completed, with all lanes & the sidewalk to C&O Towpath back open full time.

Mount Vernon trail has construction near the 14th St. Bridge, but there is a short & protected detour along the GW parkway.  Biked it w/ the kids last week and it is fine.

The Idylwood Rd. bridge over I-66 is closed for 6 months at least.  The WO&D trail bridge remains open.  Looks like they might be rebuilding it (there is a new pier next to the current bridge), so at some point it might have closures.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Ride the City now for DC--find bike paths throughout the metro area

NEW Ride the City for Metro Washington DC.  Check out these maps.  They're looking for ways to improve the routes, so give them yours under "rate this route."

DDOT cancels Chain Bridge work due to rain -

DDOT cancels Chain Bridge work due to rain -

So Chain Bridge was open after all this past weekend. But it will be closed the next two weekends from 8 pm Friday to 5 am Monday. All traffic is prohibited, including cyclists & pedestrians.

I'm hoping this means they're almost done....

Saturday, March 6, 2010

VA fails to pass "3 feet to pass" law

The Virginia legislature recently failed to pass a "3 feet to pass" law (which Maryland passed last year), along with a couple of other sensible laws, i.e., not following too closely (this is illegal to do to a motor vehicle, but not to a bike). See the Virginia Bicycling Federation's valiant effort.

On the up side, looking up current VA code, I found the following:

§ 46.2-904
Bikes (and other things like rollerblades, etc.) MAY be prohibited from using certain sidewalks, crosswalks, paved trails, etc., either by local codes (if posted) or by control devices (like signs).

But otherwise bikes can ride in crosswalks AND have the same rights and responsibilities as pedestrians when doing so: “A person riding a bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, or an electric power-assisted bicycle on a sidewalk, shared-use path, or across a roadway on a crosswalk, shall have all the rights and duties of a pedestrian under the same circumstances.”

This includes, say, crosswalks on the WO&D trail, Custis trail, etc.:  you have the right to ride your bike in the crosswalk unless it is marked otherwise.

§ 46.2-925 says that if there are traffic controls (Walk/Don’t Walk), pedestrians [and therefore cyclists] must obey those.

But I was told by a police officer that the cars-must-yield-at-crosswalks law overrides the peds-must-obey-signals law. This was in Arlington, in the Custis Trail crossing at Lynn Street, next to Key Bridge. I was riding my bike in the crosswalk (obeying the pedestrian crossing light) and a car turned across the crosswalk & struck me. He was found at fault. Interestingly, the sign there says for cars to yielld to all “persons” in crosswalk, making explicit on the sign what the law actually says: that cyclists are to be treated like pedestrians when in a crosswalk unless posted otherwise.

§ 46.2-924:
Drivers must yield to pedestrians (and therefore also cyclists) “at” crosswalks. Interestingly, the law here repeatedly says “at” and does not say “in” crosswalks, though perhaps local practice & enforcement interprets this as “in.”  Also, this applies to any crosswalk anywhere, whether mid-block or end of block, including those single-stripe walks that are frankly hard to see.  It also applies to any intersection where the speed limit is 35 or less, even if there is no marked crosswalk.

The one pedestrian (and therefore cyclist) restriction at crosswalks is this: “No pedestrian shall enter or cross an intersection in disregard of approaching traffic.” So you can’t just jump out in front of cars. Still, once you are “at” the crosswalk, cars are supposed to yield to you.