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County Rolling Out Shared Bike Lanes

by ARLnow.com August 6, 2010 at 10:50 am 6,121 66 Comments

Walter Reed Drive has some new road markings and signs that may seem foreign to most drivers.

The markings, found in the middle of the right-hand travel lanes between South Glebe Road and Columbia Pike, are called “sharrows,” or “shared lane markings.” Together with “Bikes May Use Full Lane” signs, they signal to cyclists and drivers that bicycles have the right to travel down the middle of the lane.

Sharrows are already in use in the District and Alexandria. They’re also in use in the bike-friendly cities of Portland, Seattle, San Fancisco and New York City.

Arlington plans to create sharrows in locations that are “popular with bicyclists and where streets form part of the bicycle network promoted on the County’s official bike map.” More sharrows are being created this year in conjunction with the county’s paving projects. The need for the shared lanes will be evaluated by Arlington’s Traffic Engineering and Operations Bureau.

Sharrows were adopted by the federal government after research from the U.S. Department of Transportation showed that the lanes significantly improved the passing space between cars and bikes while also cutting down on bad bike behavior, such as riding on the sidewalk.

Virginia is expected to officially adopt sharrows later this year.

Update at 3:50 p.m. — Arlington County spokesperson Shannon Whalen McDaniel says the the next spots for shallows will be:

  • 2nd St S between Court House Rd and S Highland St
  • N Sycamore St between 24th St N and 26th St N

Photos courtesy Arlington County.

  • Laima

    Cutting down on bad bike behaviour such as riding on the sidewalk? Arlington County allows bicyclists to ride on the sidewalks encouraging this behaviour! Isn’t that why Arlington is mandating new/replacement sidewalks be 5 feet wide now?

    • Agreed. That a B*S* comment. The Custis trail is ON a sidewalk. Many of the bike paths on the county bike map are ON sidewalks.

      As an avid biker, going down Lee hwy, biking in Lee Hwy is a form of russian roulette. I bike on the sidewalk and connect to the bike path. I do it because I dont want to die. You want to cut down on some misbehavior, how about a police office to stand a N Lynn Street and Lee Hwy, an intersection so dangerous it is marked as dangerous on the bike map – and have the police officer do something about the car drivers that fail to yield right of way.

      • TGEoA

        And I bet YOU come to a stop at every light and stop sign, right?

      • Allen Muchnick

        Bicycling on the Lee Hwy roadway anywhere in Arlington is hardly “dangerous”, much less suicidal, whereas sidewalk bicycling is statistically much more hazardous than bicycling on the adjacent roadway. The reason that the Lee Hwy & N Lynn St intersection is a bicycling crash “hot spot” is precisely because of the sidewalk bikeways.

    • Allen Muchnick

      Arlington’s general requirement for 5-foot sidewalks is primarily to encourage walking (i.e., to allow two-way walking and two-abreast walking), not to promote sidewalk bicycling. For bicycling, a sidewalk should generally be at least 10-feet wide and have at least a 5-foot buffer from the roadway curb.

  • Steph

    I’d rather they do this then take away travel lanes for absurdly wide bike lanes like they did on N Quincy Street.

  • MB

    Steph, exactly where are these absurdly wide bike lanes? I looked at them after your last claim that we had 8 foot wide bikes lanes in Arlington (which would be news to me, and I tend to pay attention to these things). Thanks.


    Laima, I prefer to ride exclusively on the street, but lots of people are simply more comfortable on the sidewalks. Kids, older people, and those who simply aren’t comfortable putting their lives in the hands of automobile drivers. People who ride on the sidewalk are encouraged to take care with respect to pedestrians, and be especially careful in crossing intersections. I occasionally find myself annoyed with a someone riding a bike on a sidewalk in a careless way, but overall I’d have to say that they’re among the least of my traffic/pedestrian concerns in Arlington. Finally, the wider sidewalks have little to nothing to do with people on bikes. It simply makes for a safer, more accessible, and (to my view) more pleasant sidewalk. For example, the new wider sidewalks along the south side of Wilson near Gold’s Gym make it far more enjoyable to walk on that side of the street than when the barely-two-person-wide-and-up-against-traffic sidewalk was there.

  • Courthouse Resident

    I’d like to see these added on 10th Street from Rt 50 up to where it meets up with Fairfax Drive’s bike lane. At least in the westbound direction since it’s a decent uphill until you reach Washington Blvd.

    • Thes

      A nice wish. Write to VDOT: they control that particular road.

      • Allen Muchnick

        This should be feasible in a few months, once VDOT adopts its version of the 2009 edition of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.

  • Westover

    I hope this means bicyclists will start following traffic laws because they certainly do not follow them in my neighborhood. Daily I have to hear cyclists yelling at cars as they (the cyclists) blow thru stop signs. I have even seen them spit on cars and ride along side cars as they give them a piece of their mind. Talk about road rage!
    I expect to see more cyclists ticketed for blowing stop signs and running lights. Maybe they should be registered and have little license plates for the traffic cams to identify them. (and yes, i am totally being serious)

    • MB

      Westover, there’s a really great piece over at WashCycle today, titled “Getting Along.” I recommend it to all.

    • DailyCyclist

      Very good points.

      However, I also hope that this means that cars will also start following traffic laws because they certainly do not follow them in our neighborhood.

      Daily I have to see cars blowing through stop signs, with barely a glance left and right. I have nearly bit hit many times because of this. I have known other cyclists that were not so lucky…

      I have even seen cars ride along cyclists giving them a piece of their mind even though the cyclist is where they are supposed to be and following the laws. I have also even seen cars purposly swerve towards cyclists to scare them.

      Yes, talk about road rage.

      Maybe cars should be registered and have little license plates for…oh, they do already. So, if license plates are the “cure” then shouldn’t drivers exhibit better behavior and follow the laws? They certainly don’t from what I’ve seen.

      I am a daily bike commuter so I’ve seen it all with both drivers and cyclists.
      And, yes, if I see a car doing something dangerous, I will point it out to a driver if that means rolling up to them at the stop light and asking them to roll down the window. Perhaps next time they reach that same stop sign or drive down the street, they’ll take an extra three seconds to actually stop and look or slow down their driving. They barely missed me that time…perhaps next time they won’t.

      I’ve seen bad drivers. I’ve and bad cyclists. I shake my head at both.

      I’ve also seen good drivers and good cyclists. I applaud them.

      For both cars and cyclists, it’s about being aware and anticipating what’s happening around you.

      It’s about sharing the road.

    • pedestrian

      I couldn’t agree more. I’m a frequent pedestrian, and not only have I witnessed many cyclists blowing through stop signs and red lights, I’ve nearly been hit by them as they did so, more than once. Too many cyclists (not all, but too many) are a menace to drivers and pedestrians, and I’m not sure whether these new lanes will help or hurt.

      • I couldn’t agree more. I’m a frequent pedestrian, and not only have I witnessed many cars blowing through stop signs and red lights, I’ve nearly been hit by them as they did so, more than once. Too many cars (not all, but too many) are a menace to bicyclists and pedestrians, and I’m not sure whether these new lanes will help or hurt.

    • Make no mistake

      There will be blood in the streets because a startling number of bicyclists arrogantly ignore the rules of the road (red lights, stop signs) and dart in and out of traffic in a haphazard manner. The backlash is only getting started. With the rights increasingly afforded bicycles comes responsibility, but riders have not embraced those responsibilities. This arrogance will be paid for in blood.

      • Oh please. Stand at any intersection and count the number cars that go through the red light or fail to come to full stop behind the white line before turning right. There are studies that substantiate car drivers violate traffic laws FAR MORE than bicyclists.

        The only difference, when there is an accident, a car gets a dent. A biker dies. There isnt a biker out there trying to commit suicide.

        • Make no mistake

          I don’t see defensive cycling in practice by an alarming number of male, middle-aged cyclists. Yes I’m talking about the wanna-bes in tight bike shorts and NASCAR-ad shirts. I bike for recreational and functional purpose, and I wear normal clothing because, well, I’m not a douche. I ride on the street where I deem it safe, and on the sidewalk (at modest speed) when that is safer.

  • Oh great. I’m on a car-free diet (95% walking and biking, 5% ZipCar) and I especially hate this. Bike snobs lobby for stuff like this for the same reason that there is a massive industry for cycling computers and loud-colored spandex: they believe someone gives a damn about this elementary form of transportation as some sort of sport. That there are less bumps and less debris in the middle of a road is a luxury deserved exclusively by the automobiles that literally do all the sweeping away and flattening out.

    Cycling is not sport (in terms of the municipal obligation to facilitate it with taxpayer subsidy) – it is a hop to the market.

    • Rachel

      what. that doesn’t even make sense.

      • In simpler terms: Cyclists don’t need and don’t deserve the same road conditions that cars have. But if a truly democratic process decided otherwise, then we’d have to live with it I suppose.

    • Those bikers wearing spandex – they’re probably not hardcore bikers. The real bikers are the guys with the old bikes, mis matched bike parts because they have been biking so long, and whatever clothes that are on the floor. The guys in the spandex and the new bikes without a scratch are noobies. And yes, unfortunately I have notice – as a veteran rider – that the noobies, er, uh, make mistakes. But please dont attribute the actions of a noobie to all bikers – as I would not attribute the driving habits of a mid-life crisis driver in a red hot Hummer to all drivers.

  • G. Clifford Prout

    Why must they keep experimenting with Walter Reed Drive? I remember a little while back when the wanted to *calm* the flow between Route 50 and Columbia Pike. The County narrowed the road to ONE lane. Traffic backed up to Bethesda, but it was very calm! Then the County claimed that it was the contractor’s error. What we have now is one lane up to about 100 feet away from the Pike where it suddenly becomes THREE lanes. It’s a total cluster f*ck.

    • Let’s Be Free

      You are absolutely right Prout. I recall being told by a pack of Arlington County bureaucrats that the County couldn’t afford to restripe the streets to counteract the blocks long backups there misbegotten lane closures cause. It took a near rebellion to get the County to partially reverse course.

      As for the South Glebe/Columbia Pike section of Walter Reed drive, it is not marked as a trail or recommended route on Arlington County’s official bike map. The master planned bike route goes up Quincy St. to South 12th and points east (alternative is Monroe) where bicyclists are out of heavy traffic, which is safest for all.

      As for sharrows per se, the bike plan element of the transportation plan states sharrows “They are installed on the right side of the traffic lane. They are most effective in travel lanes that are 12–14 feet wide, i.e., where some space is available for bicyclists to operate on the right side of moving vehicles.” Notice the creep — now it’s full lane when two short years ago when the plan was adopted it was right side. Arlington County government where plans, promises and representations mean nothing.

      • Allen Muchnick

        The sharrow guidance in the 2008 Arlington MTP Bicycle Element–quoted above–was partly mistaken. After sharrows were formally adopted in the December 2009 Manual on Uniform Traffic Controls and Devices, Arlington’s Bicycle Advisory Committee convinced County staff that it’s hazardous and thus irresponsible to position sharrows on the right side of lanes that are too narrow for a bicycle and an auto to laterally share (i.e., lanes less than 14 feet wide, excluding gutter pans and door zones). Thus, this is less a matter of government “creep” than of correcting a staff misunderstanding about bicycling best practices and the proper application of a brand new traffic control device.

        Sharrows do not restrict the use of the roadway by motorists, except to better convey the legitimate right-of-way of any bicyclist ahead. With or without sharrows, I typically cycle legally in the middle of a travel lane, and I expect all following motorists to change lanes to pass, the same as if I were driving a slower auto. If you don’t like seeing bicyclists in the travel lanes, please limit your motoring to I-395 and I-66.

        • TGEoA

          Says the guy who is against any and every expansion to 66 & 395.

          I’ll remember to give the next biker that blocks an entire travel lane out of sense of entitlement like I do tailgaters. Once you are in front of the offender, give them a blast of washer fluid.

  • Let’s Be Free

    The sharrows stop at South Glebe, so Chris Zimmerman’s Douglas Park neighbors are spared. Fascinating.

    Jeepers, creepers. There is a center-line marked bike path paralleling the section of Walter Reed Drive (between Four Mile Run and King Street) where the sharrows were first emblazoned. It is somewhere between stupid and silly and most assuredly unsafe to encourage bikes to mix with motorized traffic when there is an alternative that keeps the travel modes separate. The greenie weenie plutocracy of Arlington County careens out of control.

    On crowded urban streets sharrows give bicyclists a false sense that they are safe and secure. Most of the misbegotten sharrows on narrow streets in Alexandria wore away last winter in the onslaught of salt, sand and plow blades — so there is at least a chance that pedalists there won’t unnecessarily expose themselves to risk by acting like they are a car.

  • TuesdaysChild

    No doubt Jay Fisette loves this pet program. Bike riding in urban environments, on shared road or other, is dangerous to the bike riders and the car drivers (albeit to a lesser extent). No reason to encourage this behavior. Any enviromental improvements are negligible compared to the massive use of cars in the city on any given day. Why increase risk (which we as a society must pay for through insurance premiums etc) for no return.

    • No reason?? You mean like the energy crisis, the transportation crisis, the health and obesity crisis? Yup no reason.

      Bikes and cars can coexist peacefully. It is possible. The Custis trail is fantastic. The W&OD trail is wonderful The GW trail is awesome.

      90% of my ride is on bike path and it is a great ride. 10% is on road. I got hit by a car once this summer – and the car’s insurance took responsibility and bought me a new bike. Yesterday I almost go hit on N Lynn Where the Custis crosses at Rosslyn by a car that field to yield.

      It is possible. But I dont ride on roads. I dont like to. I avoid them where I can. Now I need car drivers to do the same, and respect bikes where the bike paths cross the roads.

      This is not hard. There is a good outcome. But as long as car drivers view this as war – which all this comments read like – then there is problems. Relax. You will get there.

    • Allen Muchnick

      Despite greater traffic and traffic congestion, urban environments are generally the safest for bicycling because motor vehicle speeds are typically lowest. Urban environments are also the most practical and appropriate for bicycling because average trip distances are much shorter and space for auto parking is limited and costly.

  • Dirt

    Cool to see Arlington implementing these lanes.

    I find all the finger pointing at other groups (pedestrians, drivers and cyclists) entertaining. I don’t see any of the groups really following the laws that much. Honestly the real problem is the whole “Us versus Them” mentality that we all adopt so easily. If people dialed it back a little, we’d probably find we have quite a bit in common. We’d also all live a lot longer too.

    • Deb

      I think that some people are idiots and some people think the rules just don’t apply to them. Sometimes those people are behind the wheel of a car, sometimes they are on a bicycle and sometimes they are on foot.

      • Dirt

        True. Even with people who go by the rules, it is easy to get upset at other groups. I find myself doing it at times and have to take a step back. When I’m a pedestrian and a cyclist passes close without warning, it is upsetting. What’s important is how I handle it. Do I start a hate campaign (verbal or otherwise) on all cyclists? Or do I take a look at my own behavior and see how I can be a bit more responsible.

        I started doing the latter about a year ago after a year where I was hit by cars running red lights on 4 occasions. I’m happier and safer. I give drivers fewer opportunities to get pissed off at me.

        Sorry to go off topic. Just kinda had to laugh at the negativity we all express.

    • I agree with Dirt. Strongly agree. It would be helpful if we saw this as a joint problem and joint solution – where WE ALL have a part of the transportation solution.

      Unfortunately bikers are in an alien universe. Roads are for cars; bikes are aliens. Sidewalks are for pedestrians; bikes are aliens.

      The solution lies in creating a safe route for bikes. That’s why the Custis, W&OD, and GW trails are so great and so heavily used.

      But I leave you with one thought. In this us versus them mentality, when there is an accident between a car and a bike, a biker dies (or breaks a leg or is seriously injured). Bikers have a far greater incentive to be safe – their life. Car drivers are merely inconvenienced.

  • Deb

    First, I assure you that no cyclist has a false sense that they are safe and secure. We know that at any time we could be killed. And even if we’re obeying all the laws and doing everything right when it happens, the driver at fault will probably not be punished.

    Second, there already is blood on the streets, because a startling number of drivers arrogantly ignore the rules of the road (red lights, stop signs) and dart in and out of traffic in a haphazard manner. With the rights afforded motor vehicles comes responsibility, but drivers have not embraced those responsibilities. This arrogance will be paid for in blood.

    Third, this is not risk with no return. There is plenty of return.

    • Dirt

      Amen, Deb. Thank you.

    • This is a story from not that long ago. A girl near dupont circle was legally riding in a bike lane. A dump trunk came up, turned right directly in front of her, running her over and killing her


      This driver had a driving record with violations. He was not charged in this incident reportedly. But reportedly he has been deported.



      This summer I biked home along the mall to Lincoln circle. I was the fifth of five bikes in a pack. We went through a cross walk. All cars were stopped. As the last bike I entered the cross walk – with all cars stopped – there were three lanes of traffic. The center car released her breaks, went forward, hit me, totaling my bike. I had strobing headlights, was wearing bright yellow, and was biking in a pack – highly visible. Her insurance settled.

      A biker can do everything right and still have a near death experience. The car gets a nick maybe. I have friends who ride with t shirts that read “Please dont kill me.”

      • Allen Muchnick

        I don’t think it was ever established that Alice Swanson had been riding in the bike lane and not on the sidewalk. Also, Swanson might have been able to avoid the turning garbage truck by being aware of the driver’s blind spot and waiting for the truck to complete it’s turn.

        Carl Henn was not riding a bicycle when he was struck by lightning.

      • Allen Muchnick

        bArlington: Your crash at Lincoln Circle evidently resulted from bicycling as a pedestrian on wheels, not as a driver on the roadway. Thus, your crashes fail to demonstrate that bicycling on the roadway in the middle of a travel lane is dangerous in the slightest.

        Bicyclists fare best when they act and are treated as drivers of vehicles, and that is the message to bicyclists and motorists that sharrows are intended to convey.

  • doug

    About 20 years ago I was riding my bike on an Arlington street. I was doored – a parked car opened a door without looking and flipped me and my bike. I broke a bone in my hand and in my foot. The police followed the ambulance that took me to the hospital. At the hospital, various doctors debated whether or not surgery would be necessary. While I was waiting for the decision, the police showed up to give me a citation. I was cited for riding my bike improperly. I was told that I was supposed to ride my bike as any vehicle taking the center of the lane I was traveling in.

    In response to one comment above – based on my experience, riding on sidewalks might be a very reasonable thing to do.

    It is interesting that now we have lanes that will permit a riding behavior that I was once told is required by bike riders. Hmmmm… This article seems to have brought out a lot of auto-driver anger about bicyclists. I always find that interesting. Car drivers are upset about two basic things I think – they are inconvenienced by cyclists and they are offended when cyclists break certain laws of the road. On the other side of the equation, cyclists object to the fact that cars repeatedly come close to killing or maiming them. In many cases, cars do kill bicyclists. I noticed that one commenter complained about lack of civility among cyclists. When near misses occur, bicyclists become upset – near death experiences do that to you. Although I am now of the mind that the middle finger belongs on the handlebars, I can understand why many cyclists struggle to remain polite.

    In the article “Getting Along” cited above by MB, it is suggested that some of the friction will dissipate when more car drivers try biking…just a little. So if you find yourself getting really angry and upset at bikers, try a little biking just to see the other perspective. I think there is a good chance you will be and feel at least a little more understanding.

    Some of the comments seem to revolve around the idea that biking is not a valid mode of transport. I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder here or is the proof in the pudding? I dunno, but many cyclists in the DC area do use bikes as a way to get to work or get groceries or whatever. Don’t believe me? Spend a morning on the key bridge and check it out. They take many cars off the road, making streets less crowded, parking spaces more available, and air that is cleaner. In some cases, biking is the only mode of transport available to someone. Why…because – news flash -some people cannot afford cars. Oh yeah…one more thing…it’s the law. We get to ride bikes because it is legal. Just like you get to drive your car.

    The debate about the validity will diminish in the coming decades as increases in population, combined with the increasing difficulty of oil extraction ( http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128212150 ) and rapidly increasing warning signs of climate change ( http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=phytoplankton-population ) will put more and more of us on bikes. Oh yeah…It is coming.

    In many bike friendly cities (DC/ARL isn’t really one of them yet) a very large number of people bike to work and it seems to make a huge difference in congestion and air quality. Arlington is trying to make itself more bike friendly and I think it’s great. Now…is this sharrow the best way to do this. Hmmm…not sure. Maybe. But what would you rather have – a bike lane that takes away your right to drive all the time? Or a sharrow that only occasionally inconveniences you? I live right near the discussed sharrow, have driven it many times and have only seldom had to accommodate a cyclist. It really doesn’t affect me much. Hopefully it might make some folks more respectful of cyclists that ride there.

  • Let’s Be Free

    FYI, I jogged around Hains point this afternoon, staying to the right, way to the right. Bicyclist flew by me with two open lanes on the open road, moving with the wind making like Lance Armstrong going maybe 30 or 35 MPH, missing me by about three inches for no good reason.

    That’s today’s bicyclist for you — arrogant and out of control. Back in the day when I biked and bused everywhere (including to and from work thousands of times) I never behaved like that. If you want bike friendly then start out with friendly bicyclists instead acting out from a smug sense of entitlement because you use your legs to get around when you are still young enough to do it and supple enough to recover from the inevitable spills.

    • Too be clear, Hains point is all but designated as a bike race track for professional riders. There are soccer fields, there are basketball courts, there are skateparks…. and there are places for bikes. Dont be SHOCKED SHOCKED that you got buzzed by a bike if you go to hains point.

      • KateKirk

        Actually, Hains Point is designated as nothing but a 2-lane one way road where bicyclists, runners, inline skaters, walkers, fishermen, vagrants and CARS need to cheerfully coexist. If there is a permitted official tri/bike/run/etc event going on, you need to get out of the way; otherwise, the two lanes are for all of the above users and between some courtesy and common sense, they allow plenty of a space cushion for passing. (Everyone’s squeezed into technical gear anyway, so we should be a half-size smaller)

        • Right, but I said informally. As indicated, most recreational activities have designated parks. Race bikers dont. And they have informally identified Hains point as a bike racer park


          It’s a bit like going to Graverly point and being shocked that everyone is watching the planes. Is it officially a plane watching park. No. Do most people at Graverly point know that this is THE PARK for watching planes. Yes.

          It’s hard to be at Hains Point and not realize what is going on.

          • co-opting Hains Point?

            So, it seems the racing gangs of bicyclists have no official purpose or right to do that speeding with pack mentality, it just happened over time? And the rest of us are supposed to let that happen and cede use of the road? and you think this is just fine? apparently the bike mafia is stronger than i supposed.

      • TGEoA

        I hope someone throw ball bearings in front of your smug ass.

        • Thes

          Your call for violence does not advance your cause.

  • Clarendude

    I don’t ride my bike on the streets (too chicken), or on the sidewalks (too polite). But I appreciate those who do ride in the streets since they tend to slow the cars down. As a pedestrian most of the time, I get annoyed by some bike behavior on sidewalks or not stopping at crosswalks or stop signs but it’s worse when cars do it as they will kill you if they hit you.

    I’ve read a bit about the history of the introduction of automobiles into the urban environment and it is very interesting. University of Milwaukee, WI used to have a great online exhibit and discussion about this but its gone now. There is a report that references it here


    and calls out one of the interesting things about early speed limits. When people had the priority it made logical sense that you would limit the speed of the vehicles in the city to be close to that obtainable by a human walking. Now that is looked on as crazy talk. From the paper above:

    Milwaukee recognized some of the impacts of motor vehicles at an early stage, particularly the impact of the speed of motor vehicles. In 1902, when motor vehicles were fairly new to the City, the Common Council passed a resolution limiting the speed of motor vehicles to 8 miles per hour on streets and public grounds, while imposing the additional limit of 4 miles per hour on “crowded streets”. In 1904, the Mayor asked for even tougher speed limits, noting that “many of the automobilists seem to be perfectly regardless of human life.” It is worthy to note, not coincidentally, that 8 miles per hour is the speed of a adult running, and 4 miles per hour is a brisk walking speed.

    These actions by the Council and Mayor point out the importance at the time of
    attempting to “humanize” this new mode of travel through a public policy relating to speed. While bigger than people and horses, if the speeds of motor vehicles stayed in the range of speeds at which people could themselves travel, then the motor vehicles would be less intrusive and dangerous in the city (this same concept forms a large part of “traffic calming” today). Also, by attempting to limit to these speeds, the motor vehicles would have little to offer in terms of reducing travel times as compared with walking. Pedestrian travel was clearly at least as important as motor vehicle travel to the policy makers at the time.

  • TuesdaysChild

    I am not against fuel savings. Enact laws that improve fuel savings or mass transit. Fine.

    My point is that any fuel saving gains in the near future (like 10-20 years) from these bike lanes in negligible, where as the risk that people will be seriously injured is very high. Are bike riders licensed? Do they pay a bike tax? Do they have their bikes inspected every year? Are bikers themselves evaluated to determine if they are competent to ride bikes? Is there a minimum or maximum age for biking? Do bikers have to collision and liability insurance Answer: No. No. No. No. No. No.
    In the past month, I have seen multiple bikers with Ipods on (saw one today) and one talking on a cell phone. I saw two buzz through a stop sign in Rosslyn last week. We need to deal in reality here and assume bad practices will continue.

    In response to Deb, the blood is not on the streets, it in on the hands of the Arlington County government, and yes I am talking to you Jay, that promotes biking in the street without considering the likely result.

    • I dont know about the bike lanes— I dont like bike lanes for what someone else said. I have been doored before – bike lanes put you right next to car doors. I wont ride along car doors.

      But as to your other points, your wrong on just about everyone one.

      The Custis, W&OD, and GW trails are heavily used. The cue on the Custis trail at the lights in Rosslyn is regularly as long as the car cue during rush hour. That amount of heavy bike traffic adds up to substantial transportation efficiencies. Bike Arlington does regular censuses and has numbers. I know my savings shows up in my personal budget.

      Are bike riders licenses. Yes. Most adult bike riders (like close to 100%) have drivers licenses. If a biker receives a traffic citation, those are points on their drivers license.

      Do they pay a bike tax? Yes, bikers pay income, property, and sales tax. Most bikers own cars and pay taxes for that. However, bikers per capita receive substantially less transportation dollars than car drivers. Less money per capita goes to bike lanes or bike paths than for roads.

      Bikes inspected? One of the wonderful thing about bikes is that they are simply enough that most riders can fix them themselves. Most riders inspect their own bike ever time they ride them. Their lives depend upon it.

      Cars are inspected in part for emissions – bikes have ZERO emissions. And thats one reason bikes are an important part of the transportation solution.

      Minimum age? Well yeah sort of. Under 14 you are required to wear a helmet so there are age laws.

      But remember that one of the reasons we have min age for cars is that if you cant drive a car properly, you will kill someone else. If an eight year old fails to ride a bike properly, the kid will probably fall down and scape a knee.

      Also, Bike Arlington and WABA give lots and lots of bike training courses in schools and open to the public.

      Do bikers carry insurance. Yes, I learned this the hard way when I got hit by a car this month – its your home owners insurance.

      In the past month, I have almost died twice. Once I actually got hit by a car. The second time was this week when I slammed on my brakes to avoid a car that failed to yield right of way and went over my handle bars.

      There is blood on the streets. Literally. In these accidents, bikers die. Unfortunately we bikers get regular reminders of it, and ride knowing this. No biker is out there riding wishing to die.

      Cyclist hit, killed by apparent drunk driver in Germantown

      Bike Advocate Carl Henn Killed in Sunday’s Storm

      Cyclist struck and killed by Humvee

  • TuesdaysChild

    Umm, we are not talking about bike trails. The article is about shared bike/car lanes. I support bike trails. Love them. Build more, as far as I am concerned. I stand by all my other points. Your comments are not responsive. If bikes are going to share roads, the same rules should apply. The insurance and safety class analogies you make are just not comparable to car driver licensing, insuring and inspecting. (And the inspection is for safety every year, emissions every 2 years, BTW).
    I totally agree with you that biking is dangerous, and that car drivers are part of the problem. My point is that the county government is not addressing the danger, is encouraging more biking in the street in rush hour, and more accidents will occur.

    • Well most of these comments are about bikes in general.

      Please specify your safety inspection concern with bikes and cite specifically with evidence how a failed adjusted derailer or a low brake pad has contributed to an accident or killed anyone. Its true, not analogous because it would serve no purpose. You are making a red herring argument.

      If I run through a stop sign on a bike, or in a car, I get a ticket and I get two points on my license. Please specify the lack of analogy.

      Please specify how their is an insurance problem. All as in almost 100% of bikers are insured with both car insurance and homeowners insurance or renters insurance. When a bike and a car are in an accident, the damage to the car is generally under a few hundred dollars where the biker is at fault. The damage to the biker can be life threatening. I have a friend currently in a neck brace because she got run over by a truck. Yes, lack of analogy because the liability is different. Again, a red herring argument.

      Bike shared lanes (not bike lanes) have the potential of making transportation safer by putting cars on notice that they are to share the road. The items you list while in the first place being false also in no way contribute to the danger. The danger is caused because cars refuse to accept bikes on the road (and yes, I never bike on a road when given a choice, I just dont always have the choice).

      • Allen Muchnick

        According to the Code of Virginia, bicyclists should NOT receive points on their Virginia Drivers License for traffic infractions made while bicycling. If you know of any such instance, please give me the specifics.

        • TGEoA

          I do beloive they can get a DUI

    • Syd

      The very first sentence of your post bases the rest on false information – ALL lanes are shared lanes unless specifically signed otherwise. Too many drivers don’t understand that fact.

  • Joe

    The problem with bike lanes and sharrows is that the police have to enforce this if it’s going to work.

    This is the same Arlington police force that couldn’t be bothered for 3 days to post the composite of a child predator in Arlandria. The same police who ran to the media on the third day, but didn’t post flyers about the incident.

    This is the same Arlington police who couldn’t be bothered to QC their own petition campaign, so that a convicted felon wound up collecting signatures for them.

    But now we’re to believe that the Arlington police will actually roust themselves from their cruisers or the Dunkin Donuts on Columbia Pike to enforce respect between cars and bikes on the road?

  • Babycakes

    Roads were built for cars………nough said

    • MrCar

      That’s right, cuz before cars there weren’t no roads !

  • G Clifford Prout

    Talk about rules of the road. I wish I could have videotaped the Arl Co vehicle on Col Pike last night. Ignored the 4 way stop rule at every signal that was out. And it wasn’t an emergency vehicle.

  • MrBike

    Actually, paved roads were built for bicycles:

    “This fast crowd of cyclists were the first Detroiters to complain about bumpy potholed dirt roads and began lobbying for smooth paving. Historians attribute the automobile’s explosion of growth in Detroit to the network of superior roads built for bicyclists”

    From The Detroit News: http://apps.detnews.com/apps/history/index.php?id=21

  • charlie

    As a bike commuter I take the whole lane when I need to be on control of what cars might do near me +- like going down a big hill or approaching a bad intersection. Rest of the time I stay right.

    But my concern with these sharrows is that no one knows what they are and mean. Unless they are more and throughout the county it does not help. We keep adding every new street marking experiment and it confuses people. People like consistency in their driving experience.

    • Allen Muchnick

      Sharrows have only been officially sanctioned since December 2009, and VDOT’s adoption of sharrows will probably take a few more months. As these pavement markings become installed widely across the nation, motorists and bicyclists will soon understand what they mean.

      Sharrows show bicyclists and motorists where bicyclists operating most safely on the roadway should typically be positioned–in the middle of right-most travel lanes that are less than 14 feet wide.

      • charlie

        Allen: What you do for biking is great.
        But seriously, this explanation is too long. And when you are driving down a street and you see something weird on the pavement it should be immediately obvious what it means. This doesn’t. And we have to add 2ft square signs to the side of the road and add even further to our clutter.
        It is amazing that this is the same VDOT which refused to put eight foot large letters that say STOP on the pavement or, also like in California, to also put eight to ten foot tall letters ont he pavement witht he SPEED on it.
        Those seem much more important and also much more clear.
        I just don’t like confusing drivers anymore than they are already confused.

  • Darwin

    Gasoline taxes pay for almost all the cost of roads, bicyclists obviously don’t pay into this. How is the county going to find a way to make sure they pay their fair share if they are given the same use?

    • MB

      Darwin, you are incorrect.

      This thread is amazing, filled with so much hate and misinformation.

  • Struck in DC this week: 8 pedestrians, 4 cyclists http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post.cgi?id=6750


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