Pedestrians, Bikes Clash on Pennsylvania Ave.
This was bound to happen, and it'll for sure happen again: A bicyclist crashed into a pedestrian crossing Pennsylvania Avenue NW and its controversial new Fenty administration-backed bike lanes. As one Wash Cycle reader reported:
A pedestrian was crossing PA Ave, as he was [the reader] SY was cycling west on PA Ave. SY had a green light. He rang his bell, and he thought the pedestrian saw him. It looked like the pedestrian was going to stop. But he didn't see SY or stop walking. So SY slammed on his breaks and flew over the handle bars to avoid hitting the guy. The pedestrian then claimed SY ran the red light.
When the bike lanes were restriped to fit within the original median—they initially were designed to occupy additional car traffic lanes—that created a smaller amount of space for pedestrians to use as a mid-avenue refuge. And that space is attractive to tourists as a spot to stand around in. Greater Greater Washington took note in July:
But stationary pedestrians aren't the only hazard. Because of its grand vistas and relatively calm traffic, the median of the avenue is a popular place to stop to view monuments and for tour guides to give a little speech.
So the bike lanes are a work in progress. Which means, if you're a tourist, keep an eye out for people speeding at you on metal contraptions while you stop to ponder the sights. And look both ways!
Photo by Richard Drdul via Flickr under Creative Commons