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Dear D.C. Cabbies


Excuse the language, but seriously.

Since I started riding regularly last summer, I’ve never had a problem getting through D.C. traffic. Rush hour down to Hains? Check. Saturday in Georgetown? Sure, no problem. That’s saying a lot for a girl who used to load up her bike and drive a mile just to ride short traffic-free loops. In any case, now I’m comfortable and confident on the road even in a city where drivers have little respect for bikes — and by the same token, cyclists rarely obey the rules of the road.

Last night made me a bit more wary.

I was riding home after a few Hains loops — which were a challenge in and of themselves, given the wind, the minimal weight of my bike and the fact that I could barely stay upright — and was headed straight through a green light at 15th and Independence (right by the Washington Monument) when a cab coming from the other direction decided to take a quick left right in front of me. I was going fast and, if you’ve ever been on a bike, you know it’s impossible to stop on a dime. The guy almost hit me, I braked and my back wheel skidded out from under me and I nearly fell over. On my new bike, no less. There were two other cyclists behind me who also had to brake quickly, and we all shouted plenty of obscenities at the driver for nearly killing us.

Thus, I was really shaken and didn’t calm down until well after I got home (and told the story to my book club girls who had already arrived). I was scared for my life, angry that I nearly crashed my new bike and generally enraged that cab drivers here think they can do whatever the hell they want with no consequences. I did learn, however, that my handling skills are pretty solid, as last year I would have gone down hard in that situation, seriously hurting myself and definitely ruining my new baby. The whole thing absolutely will make me more careful and aware of my surroundings (ie. no more swerving all over Constitution — you know who you are).

The moral of the story: D.C. is bike friendly only in the sense that there are designated lanes and lights. It’s still a crowded city with lots of cars. And diplomats. And buses. And cabs. All of whom are MORONS.

Be careful out there, kids.



8 thoughts on “Dear D.C. Cabbies

  1. Eek – that is scary. Glad to hear you are OK.

    Posted by Victoria (District Chocoholic) | April 12, 2011, 8:48 AM
  2. In DC more than 50% of the drivers are from out of town and have no idea what the hell they’re doing. Parking in bike lanes, swerving all over the place, not looking for cyclists. It drives me crazy!!! I’m glad you weren’t hurt. I always want to throw things at cars when they nearly hit me. Grrrr!

    Posted by Beth | April 12, 2011, 9:09 AM
  3. This totally freaks me out and I am so glad you’re ok. I used to bike commute from Dupont to our house on the hill and found that Constitution/Independence were pretty terrible. Since moving to VA, I have the trail for most of it, which is better, though I still could do without Georgetown. My least favorite is when I’m smack in the middle of a lane and a car tries to ride between two lanes to pass me. I’m pretty sure they have no idea how close they really get!

    Posted by amy | April 12, 2011, 9:14 AM
  4. Close calls are so scary and I understand why you are shaken up. I like to think there is karma for a-hole drivers.

    Posted by Liz | April 12, 2011, 10:10 AM
  5. TERRIBLE. cabs are reckless. so many pissy drivers like to play it fast and loose with us cyclists just because they hate us! im glad you (and your bike!) are okay.

    i must have just missed you on HP! I was out doing a loop on foot later ni the evening.

    Posted by Emily | April 12, 2011, 10:53 AM
  6. man, I ride with you one time and you are cussing like a sailor! 🙂

    so sorry to hear this, some people just have NO idea. but glad you are ok.

    Posted by katie | April 12, 2011, 12:51 PM
  7. Ugh seriously. This city has THE WORST cab drivers ever. They are always distracted – they just spend the entire time on the phone or texting.

    Glad you managed to make it home ok! Scary! :/

    Posted by Grace | April 12, 2011, 4:24 PM

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