Part of the YouTube and Pulitzer Competition, the video “A Virtuous Cycle: Bicycling in DC” was created to document the current transitional state of cycling in the Nation’s Capital. Efforts by different organizations in the Distric of Columbia, like the Washington Area Bicyclist Association and Pedestrian and Bicycling section of the Dept. of Transportation, have created over 40 miles of bike lanes and more bike facilities (including a public bike rental organization). These efforts have led D.C. to become one of the only northeastern cities to make the League of American Bicyclists most bike-friendly cities.
Despite these improvements DC still requires significant improvments before it can be consireded to be on the same plan as Portland, OR or Davis, CA. As stated in the video below, like most cities, increased gas prices and overcrowded streets have led to increaed interest in bike commuting. However, again like most cities, DC does not have the infrastructure or resources to handle a mass inrease in bike commuting.
While I think that DC has made some incredible strides toward being a biking city, one thing that I feel is overlooked in this video, and by many other organizations, is improving the biker as well as the biking in a city. Repaving or widening roads, adding bike racks, and all other maintenence-related bicycling improvements can take hundereds of man hours and cost milliions of dollars. Having an population of cyclists that are informed of road rules and cycling etiquite is an effective, and economical, way of making urban cycling safer. Also, having a knowledgable bicycling citizens gives administrators and facility maitanence personel eyes and ears into the bike facilities and what changes will make the most difference in improving bikeability. This is why I am a proponent to creating online, and interactive, bike resources for different communities. I have created such websites for my college community at Rutgers University, rubiking.wordpress.com and www.mappler.com/rubike and I hope that other communities follow these examples and the intiatives set in DC to make their own communities more bike-friendly.