WASHINGTON — Insisting that safety is its No. 1 priority, the District’s Department of Transportation is proposing new restrictions on bikes on H Street Northeast, or anywhere the District engages its new streetcars.
Under the proposal from DDOT, bikes would be banned from using the traffic lanes where streetcar “guideways” are placed. Cyclists could still use the lanes outside the streetcar tracks.
The move comes after many bikers’ tires have been caught in the streetcar tracks, causing them to tumble or damage the bike.
The Washington Area Bicyclist Association says the proposal amounts to banning bikes from the H Street corridor, home to a thriving cycling community and as many as six Capital Bikeshare bike stations from North Capitol Street to the intersection of Bladensburg and Benning Roads.
Loren Copsey, one of the owners of the Daily Rider bike shop on H Street Northeast, says the proposal took him by surprise. He first heard about it from reporters. He’s not a fan of restricting bike traffic on H Street, though he recognizes the safety problems posed by the gaps in the streetcar tracks.
“I have a medical kit in the back,” he explains. “When we first opened, we were constantly having people come in,” with bumps, bruises and worse after their tires got caught in the streetcar tracks.
A cyclist who identified himself only as “Reel,” says barring bikes from any part of H Street doesn’t make sense.
“The only way I can get around is by bike…I can’t go any other way. If they ban it, what am I supposed to do?”
Isis Misdary and Jacquett McGhee sat outside a caf