In what could become a precedent for other cities, the DC Department of Transportation recently published a Notice of Final Rulemaking in the DC Register amending the law regarding (among other things) brakes on bicycles.
Of particular interest is the sui generis stipulation that a fixed gear bicycle operating in the District is not required to have a handbrake, provided it can be stopped using the pedals (huh, that last bit is a clever idea). For the link-lazy, here’s the relevant subsection (never mind the grammar), verbatim:
- 1204.1 Each bicycle shall be equipped with a brake which enables the operator to cause the braked wheels to skid on dry, level, clean pavement; provided, that a fixed gear bicycle is not required to have a separate brake, but an operator of a fixed gear bicycle shall be able to stop the bicycle using the pedals.
So, on to the shameless shill: if you live in the DC metropolitan area and you care about biking issues and you want a stronger voice against the motorized majority and others who would restrict your right to safely enjoy the self-propelled life, skip a night out at the pub and become a member of WABA. As Barabbas said when asked about how he could live with the metaphysical ramifications of a certain physical substitution, "It's really quite fucking easy."
“People have been standing for centuries before a worm-eaten door, making pinholes in it with increasing ease. The time has come to kick it down, for it is only on the other side that everything begins.”
Raoul Vaneigem, Traité de savoir-faire à l'usage des jeunes générations
PS: WABA also has a quick yes/no/duh survey that you can take regarding mandatory helmet laws. Curiously, WABA has yet to take a stand on this issue that so closely parallels the one about bike handbrakes. Perhaps your duly-noted opinion will make a difference in how this matter plays out going forward.
* "Back to Base", Fugazi, Red Medicine