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If you’re biking home from work today before 6:30 p.m., expect the commute to be (somewhat) safer: Biketivism DC will host a “stand-in” along the bike lane on Pennsylvania Avenue NW from the Wilson Building to the White House. Participants and their bikes will form a human shield along the cycletrack across from Freedom Plaza to protest illegal U-turns by drivers.
Its message is twofold, said event organizer Sam Wetzel: that the District Department of Transportation should stop delaying the installation of bike lane barriers (“Park-Its”) along the 1300 and 1400 blocks of Pennsylvania Avenue NW; and that too frequently, DDOT uses the excuse of needing to “study” an area to delay or renege on its commitments.
After it committed to installing the black-and-white barriers from 3rd to 13th streets NW in May, DDOT said it would study the traffic patterns between 13th and 15th streets NW before installing barriers and making U-turns legal there for cyclists.
“There’s no excuse for continuing to study something when you have a solution you know is effective,” Wetzel said.
She argues that making U-turns illegal for a dozen consecutive blocks forces people on bikes to make the turns at the same intersection, increasing bike traffic congestion and, subsequently, risk for injury.
Wetzel, who prefers the term “people on bicycles” rather than “cyclists”—the latter connotes Lycra and the Tour de France, she said, rather than average people—said the event will be low-key.
Photo by Darrow Mongtomery