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What’s Hard About Biking in Washington DC? 6

Washington DC Bike Lane

Photo by James D. Schwartz / The Urban Country

Washington DC resident and filmographer Monica Gray asks fellow bicyclists what’s hard about biking in Washington DC during the 2010 DC Tweed ride. In many ways, the answers could have come from any city in North America:

“In rush hour – uh, angry and impatient drivers.”

“Being terrified of doors swinging open – dodging cars”

“Drivers are inattentive, and always in a hurry to get somewhere. If people slowed down a little bit more, I think it would be better for everybody.”

“They (drivers) say get onto the sidewalk, but it’s illegal for me to be on the sidewalk”

Our photographer friend and fellow activist Bill over at District Citizen Cycling also shared some great photos from the Tweed ride “after party”.

Here is Monica’s film “What’s Hard About Biking in Washington DC”:

What’s hard about biking in [your city]?

James D. Schwartz is the editor of The Urban Country. You can contact James at

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6 thoughts on “What’s Hard About Biking in Washington DC?

  1. Philip Nov 26,2010 10:42 am

    Dear James,

    I love the work you are doing on your blog, and I share your views on cycling. Publications like your own have given us valuable insights on how cycling can (or: should) be approached. Thanks for that. A bit of background on myself: I am a Dutchman, I lived in Amsterdam, and I moved to Dublin, Ireland in January this year. My girlfiriend is setting up a small bike business, I write a blog on bikes.

    I am now writing to ask if you would like to put a link to our blog Dutch in Dublin ( on your website. The blog is a personal account of our cycling lives in Dublin. Our goal is to show readers how romantic a simple thing as an everyday bike ride can be. For instance, we have a recurring item called ‘A Classy Commute’, in which I interview (colourful) Dubliners on their cycle to work. The Classy Commute stories are meant to show cycling is not something sporty, and that every day normal people enjoy the smell, hearing, and colour of their route by bike. Recent interviews I did were with:

    * Minister Eamon Ryan:
    * Actress Kerrie O Sullivan:
    * the Dutch Ambassador:
    * Minister Ciaran Cuffe:

    Apart from the Classy Commute item, our posts focus on (for example) stylish cycling (see our post on sytlish traffic signs), new bike products (read about our test ride on the urban arrow), or the people of Dublin (see the portraits at the Bernard Shaw pub). I think our stories on Dublin might also be of interest to your readers.

    Yours truly,


  2. Ryan Nov 26,2010 10:51 am

    What’s hard about biking in St. Catharines?
    Some streets are completely bike-UNfriendly during rush hour. People will wait for a safe opportunity to pass, though are usually grumpy about having to wait.

    Although our current municipal council has added more bike lanes then any previous council, they have also backed down on three bikes lanes (removing one that was already in place).

    Not a St. Catharines only issue I assume, but with Christmas just around the corner I find people’s mind to be elsewhere while on the road.

  3. James D. Schwartz Nov 27,2010 5:02 pm

    Thanks Ryan, I’ll add my two cents: What’s hard about biking in Toronto? I find certain streets to be a pain because there isn’t enough space for four lanes of automobiles and bicycles to share the road (King street), so getting squeezed is “hard”.

    I also find certain corridors to be extremely hard to get through – especially getting under the 401. Most arterial roads north of Eglinton resemble highways. It’s much more comfortable riding downtown.

  4. James D. Schwartz Nov 27,2010 5:04 pm

    Oh, and left turns are also hard at many busy intersections – that can be hard too.

  5. Alexwarrior Nov 28,2010 11:22 pm

    What’s hard about biking in Vancouver?

    There are a few missing connections to be built linking up certain places. The hornby st bike lane was a major one that fills a huge gap. There was a bike lane there before, but could require the reflexes of a Jedi, especially for the return trip on Burrard St (Hornby St is one way, soon to be 2-way for bikes.

    A connection between Kitsilano Beach and Jericho beach would be hugely popular for both beach users in the summer, and commuters. The existing bike route between them has some serious hills that could be avoided by running a bike lane along Cornwall St and Pt Grey Rd.

    Pretty minor stuff compared to what I’m guessing they face in DC.

  6. Kevin Love Nov 29,2010 8:47 pm

    What’s hard about cycling in Toronto?

    *A complete lack of safe, protected Dutch-style cycle infrastructure.

    *Bike lanes where the most dangerous place on the entire road to cycle is the centre of the bike lane. Because the centre of the bike lane is in the door zone.

    *Dangerous, violent criminal drivers who commit crimes such as “Assault with a Weapon” (assault includes threatening and intimidating someone with a lethal weapon such as an automobile), “Criminal Negligence” or “Dangerous Driving.”

    *A police force that refuses to uphold and enforce the law in the face of dangerous, violent criminals who commit the above crimes of violence.

    *A provincial government that refuses to allow basic, fundamental safety devices, such as photo radar, to restrain the dangerous, violent criminals.

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