Pennsylvania Avenue Bike Lanes Provide Media Platform for Local AAA

4565824365_cbe2c2f0d6.jpgBike lanes are going in on Pennsylvania Avenue — and that makes some motorists mad. (Photo: Eric Gilliland via Flickr)

In the last couple of days, several of our Washington, D.C.-area contributors have been writing about anti-cycling rhetoric coming from the local AAA chapter.

AAA Mid-Atlantic has been obliging reporters looking for inflammatory quotes in response to new bike lanes on Pennsylvania Avenue, reports Greater Greater Washington — even as the national office for the automobile drivers’ association urges its member to share the road with cyclists, in honor of National Bike Month. Greater Greater Washington writes:

AAA Mid-Atlantic is, as usual, taking the reflexively anti-bicycle position without really backing it up. But they don’t need to to get in the paper; they’ve realized that if they just say pithy things, they get quoted. No need to actually argue whether the lanes will slow down drivers’ commutes, which DDOT says even the traffic models say won’t happen as Pennsylvania in this area is wider than it needs to be.

You’ll find much more coverage of the story from WashCycle here, here and here. DC Bicycle Transportation Examiner rounds up some of the research that shows the Pennsylvania Avenue lanes will likely not result in the dire congestion AAA Mid-Atlantic predicts.

It is perhaps not very surprising that the installation of bike lanes on one of the nation’s most iconic boulevards would make knee-jerk auto advocates angry. The same thing happened with the pedestrianization of Times Square. But as WashCycle points out, reporters for the mainstream media need to pick up the phone and call some other sources — like the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, whose spokespeople could articulate all the reasons that new bike lanes don’t mean the end of the world for drivers.

More from around the network: EcoVelo on the virtues of friction versus indexed shifting — the bike equivalent of stick versus automatic. UrbanCincy reports on Cincinnati’s goal to double the number of people riding bicycles by 2015. And Riding in Riverside wants the mainstream media to make the connection between our appetite for travel by automobile and all that oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico.