Gear Prudence: Here’s something I don’t get. Sometimes I’ll see people lock their bikes to street signs even when there’s an empty bike rack nearby. Doesn’t seem to me like this should even be legal. Is there something I’m just not getting? —Really, A Cyclist Keeps On Not Locking Yonder
Dear RACKONLY: It’s both legal, for the most part, and makes sense, for the most part. People tend to want to lock their bikes as close to their destination as possible and if that means choosing a street sign over a bike rack a half a block away, they’ll chose the sign. A close bike means less walking after you park and also lets you more easily keep an eye on it if you’re worried about theft or other malfeasance. While it may not be specifically designed for the task, as long as the street sign is solidly affixed to the ground and reasonably accessible from the sidewalk, it’ll get the job done. As for the legality, DC Municipal Regulation 18-1209 says that bikes can be locked to stanchions (street signs or parking meters) for up to 12 consecutive hours, provided the stanchion is not in a bus zone or within 25 feet of the intersection (though GP doubts this is ever enforced). Bikes cannot be locked to fire hydrants, police call boxes, or trees with diameters under 10 inches, though you don’t have to be the Lorax to see that locking to trees of any diameter is pretty bad. Don’t ever do that. —Gear Prudence
Gear Prudence: Why is bike twitter so mean? Someone just suggests that maybe not all bikers are perfect and they jump down their throats like a bunch of self-righteous maniacs. These little twits are even worse than Bernie bros (though there’s probably a lot of overlap)! —Man, You Odious Pathetic Ingrate Commenters!
Dear MYOPIC: A working theory in two parts:
1) Twitter is a hell site that brings out the worst in people, no matter the topic (see: 2016 election, comic book movies, the color of dresses, etc.), and denies nuance and conciliation
2) Many people who bicycle carry around with them a lot of unchanneled rage due to the challenges of a hostile and uncaring biking environment, in which their safety is minimized and callous disregard for their well-being and convenience is manifest. Unable to release their frustration another way (like running a pedestrian off the road with their car or shooting a fellow driver in a banal bout of road rage), they turn to the internet to vent their frustrations. Blessed/cursed with some anonymity and, more importantly, physical distance, some really let loose. The powerlessness and vulnerability one feels on a bike is erased and people can’t help but overcompensate when at the keyboard.
Or, there’s a subset of assholes in any larger group and it has nothing to do with them riding bicycles. —GP