Royal Coverage of Princely Ride
We don’t always get a lot of national and international media coverage for local bike events, so I have to say it was a pretty amazing sight riding up Pennsylvania Avenue Monday morning and seeing a wall of media people wielding cameras, microphones, even some notepads…apparently in the median and across the bike lanes! The combination of European royal-watchers, sports reporters, and a couple of political hacks each headed for their respective targets (the Crown Prince of Denmark, Caron Butler, and Congressmen Oberstar and Petri respectively) as we rode up to the intersection at Freedom Plaza.
The Associated Press story that followed (and was picked up in a lot of places) included a rather unnecessary jibe about a passing motorist complaining that the event was holding up traffic as people were trying to get to work. That was pretty ironic given that we deliberately started the ride at 9:30am to avoid rush hour, stayed resolutely in the bike lanes (which are still within the temporary orange traffic cones) all the way up Pennsylvania Ave., and didn’t spill over into the travel lanes even when we stopped for the wall of media at 13th Street. In fact, the only people who might have been in the way of traffic were…the media. And we had specifically asked them to gather in Freedom Plaza and not in the middle of the street!
Besides, if you are still trying to get to work and it’s already 9:45am…I think you should be blaming your alarm clock, or the traffic you got stuck in on the Beltway or the illegally parked tour buses and taxis on Penn. Ave., rather than a couple of dozen people in the wide median of a six lane roadway!
Another miserable piece of journalism from the DriveOn blog at USA Today used the ride to regurgitate misinformation about the bike lanes from AAA Mid Atlantic and the always civic-minded D.C. cab driver corps who are irritated that the bike lanes will prevent them from making illegal and dangerous u-turns – or at least make them more difficult. The facts about the bike lanes are that with the proper enforcement of cabs and tour buses who currently illegally park, double-park, pick-up and discharge passengers along Pennsylvania Ave., there is no degradation of service to motorists using the reconfigured street. Of course, that doesn’t make such good copy as an imaginary “war on drivers” that the USA Today writer so enthusiastically perpetuates.
After we left Freedom Plaza, the ride around the Monumental Core of Washington DC was a real treat – the weather was perfect, and taking in the sites by bike was an ideal way to go.
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