Credit: Darrow Montgomery

In an ideal world, every bike lane in D.C. would look something like the protected, two-way cycletrack on 15th Street NW, which was repaved this fall and has become a heavily trafficked commuting route since its installation several years ago. (Still, can we get some bicycle-targeted stoplights?) Elsewhere, the city’s record has been mixed. It installed protective “zebras” along the Pennsylvania Avenue NW track earlier this year, but they haven’t stopped motorists from U-turning across the bike lane, endangering bicyclists. Part of the planned M Street cycletrack was canceled due to lobbying by a church hoping to preserve curbside room for its congregants’ cars, a bad precedent that inspired a strip club to make a similar request. (A graffiti artist who has been tagging D.C.’s bike lanes got partial revenge, stamping “Jesus Loves Bicyclists” in front of the church.) And while bikes have become ubiquitous downtown, routes like the L Street NW cycletrack still mystify some car drivers, and outright enrage others: In a video captured via helmet cam, a biker is seen being berated by Fred and Fran Smith, a couple that runs a conservative think tank, after they overhear him calling police to complain about a truck parked in the protected bike lane. “This used to be a nice town where people actually got along,” says Fred Smith, channeling two reactionary views at once: that cyclists have angled for more than their share of public space, and that they’re all aggressive lawbreakers. “You are so obnoxious if you report” the truck, said Fran Smith. “I’m going to report you.”