News & Politics

Should You Ride Your Bike Around These Washington Post Columnists?

Nearly every Post metro columnist wrote about bikes this week. We read them so you don't have to.

Everyone inside has a take. Photograph by Benjamin Freed.

Move over, Courtland Milloy and John Kelly. Following Kelly’s plea to cyclists to get off downtown sidewalks on Tuesday and Milloy’s cri de coeur against “biker terrorists” on Wednesday, it appears that nearly all of Washington Post Metro columnists are having their say in the Great DC Bike Debate of Mid-July 2014. Here’s a handy guide to what Post Metro columnists think of you and your bike (so far).

John Kelly

Disposition: Finger-wagging disappointment at cyclists who ignore the District’s ban on cycling on downtown sidewalks.

Excerpt: “Maybe pedestrians could politely mention to cyclists that they shouldn’t ride on the sidewalk. But that’s not without its dangers. A while back My Lovely Wife did that on 20th Street NW, and the guy launched into a profanity-laced tirade, which I acknowledge is really the best kind of tirade but which is still not something you want to be on the receiving end of.”

Should you ride your bike around him?: Yes. But for heaven’s sake, stay the heck off the sidewalk!

Courtland Milloy

Disposition: Concern-trolling justifies incitment to violence.

Excerpt: “It’s a $500 fine for a motorist to hit a bicyclist in the District, but some behaviors are so egregious that some drivers might think it’s worth paying the fine.”

Should you ride your bike around him?: Normally, one should not feed the troll. But cycling is a fun, healthful, and productive activity, so yes, you should ride your bike around Milloy. Don’t forget to bring 40 of your friends and a small media circus, and be polite.

Petula Dvorak

Disposition:  Channeling Los Angeles police-beating victim Rodney King, Dvorak writes, “Can’t we all get along?”

Excerpt: “Bottom line: Everyone is right. And wrong. Too many cyclists ride the streets and sidewalks like they’re above the law and own the place. Too many drivers haul around town in a ton of metal, oblivious that a careless right turn can kill someone.”

Should you ride your bike around her?: Yes, but obey traffic laws to the letter (no Idaho stops!), stay in marked lanes where available, engage other people using the road with courtesy, and remember to wear a helmet. In the event your bike is a car, please do the same.

Colby King

Disposition: Lighten up, cyclists, Courtland Milloy was just joking!

Excerpt: “No side-driver or biker has cornered the market on courtesy and good sense. Pedestrians aren’t exactly good traffic models, either. None of us will be going away.”

Should you ride your bike around him?: Um, maybe? Today’s he’s counseling everyone to chill out. But back in 2002, he said of bikers on WTOP, “They are as dangerous as anthrax. And just as sneaky.” 

Robert McCartney

Disposition: He hasn’t joined in the scrum this week. But last July, he encouraged greater investment in bike lanes and Capital Bikeshare. (Is July Bike Month at the Post, or something?)

Excerpt: “The public needs to insist that its tax dollars pay for a balanced approach that will yield the greatest overall reduction in congestion.”

Should you ride your bike around him?: Yes, but if he starts talking wonky, run the next red light and leave him the dust.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.