Don’t Bike on H Street

G St night biking
Biking west on G St NE after the WABA happy hour. Note the contraflow bike lane on the left.

Do not bike on H Street NE under any circumstances! That was the consensus opinion at the Washington Area Bicyclists Association (WABA) summer happy hour at Vendetta on H Street. Everyone present seemed to have a story of injury and woe.

The reason? Streetcar tracks, which are dangerous to cyclists and impossible to avoid on H Street. There’s a small gap between rail and pavement that’s the perfect size to ensnare a bike tire.

I speak from experience. Two summers ago, I was cruising down H Street, in between the tracks. I had heard of the danger but thought I was being safe – I knew I needed to cross the tracks at a right angle to avoid peril. What I didn’t count on was the tracks veering off to the right as they approached Hopscotch Bridge. The front tire of my Specialized Sirrus got caught in the gap between track and pavement and I flew sideways off the bike, scraping along the pavement for ten feet or so. The tracks left me a bloody mess, with road rash all along my right side.

To add insult to injury, the streetcar isn’t even running yet. The tracks have been there for more than two years. But not a single passenger has been delivered. All the tracks have done is upend cyclists.

So, don’t bike down H Street! Take G or I instead. They’re pleasant neighborhood streets and free of the streetcar menace.

Author: Joe Flood

Joe Flood is the author of The Swamp, a funny new novel that mocks the city America has come to hate.

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