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Gear Prudence: I know it’s illegal to ride your bike on the sidewalk in the “central business district” in downtown D.C. But where exactly is that? And how are people supposed to know where the borders are? Any tips? —Seemingly Indiscriminate Demarcation Enrages Walkers And Lessens Knowledge
Dear SIDEWALK: In more draconian times, the perimeter was marked by the very Game of Thrones method of displaying on pikes the heads of those caught trespassing on downtown sidewalks. While the more bloodthirsty pedestrians (to say nothing of the pike lobby) would love this method to return, there is no visual warning to a cyclist about to enter the “no sidewalk cycling” zone. You could avoid the problem entirely by never riding on any D.C. sidewalks, but the law doesn’t oblige to you do that, and neither does GP.
DDOT has a map of the “no sidewalk cycling” area on its website, but that’s not exactly useful when you’re already out on the road. The boundaries are basically south of Massachusetts Avenue NW/NE to D Street SW/SE and from 23rd Street NW to 2nd Street NE. Here’s a fun way to remember this: Pedestrians will be SoMaD if you ride on the sidewalk here. Repeat that 23 times to yourself, and you’ll never forget. —GP
Gear Prudence: I’ve been a Bikeshare member since 2011, and it was really important for getting me into biking. Now I own my own bike, and my annual membership is up for renewal. I’ve been using Bikeshare less and less, so I don’t know if it’s worth it anymore. Should I just let it expire?—Considering Abandoning Bikeshare Involvement
Dear CABI: You still like Bikeshare, and you have a history, but it’s just not the relationship you once had. And not having to rely on the Bikeshare fleet to get around has plenty of advantages, including freeing up bikes for the rest of us. “It’s not you, it’s me” is a lame breakup line, but it’s also pretty spot on. It’s OK; Bikeshare wasn’t exclusive with you anyway.
However, a membership is a nice insurance policy if you’re ever without your own bike. If the upfront cost of the annual membership is too much, consider the Day Key option. Since you already have a key, it only costs $7 for a 24-hour rental membership. Each subsequent time you use your key, it’s another $7 for another 24 hours, so it can start getting expensive if you use it a lot, but this is definitely the best choice for an irregular user in a pinch. —GP