Hey Bike Partiers!
Until we can work out all the liability and coordination with a Baltimore Police escort, Bike Party has decided to implement a West Coast Bike Party style operation policy. What this means is that we will be forgoing official police ride support in favor of a little more self-sufficiency. What this does NOT mean is that we will party any less, have any less fun, or spread any less good cheer!
Now some of you are already thinking “oh this means we have to stop at red lights again…” You got it! The most fundamental change to the way Bike Party is going to operate in these months is that we will have to behave a little less like one huge parade and a little more like many smaller parties! So if you come to an intersection, no matter where you are in the ride, you need to abide by the traffic signals and yield to oncoming cars. What this will do, in essence, is create a number of mini Bike Parties tracing each other throughout the city and the routes created for these months have been specifically created with this policy in mind.
So how do we minimize the risk and maximize the fun? The key here is to STAY IN YOUR PARTY. When we first get started, we are going to be one large group, that will get divided by the light cycles on the road. The important thing is for those waiting for the next light to turn green is to pack in together. Take up the 2-3 lanes going in your direction. If you make it through an intersection and the rest of your group doesn’t, wait on the other side (not blocking traffic) unless you are trying to catch up to the next group ahead of you. If you are at the tail end of your group and can’t quite make the light, feel free to wait for the next group to come up on you a few blocks back! If we follow this idea, Bike Party will continue to be a great, fun, celebratory community event, different than any other ride in town.
So with this new plan in mind, here are a few riding rules to keep us all safe!
1) Know the route. If the group ahead of you makes a turn while your group is waiting at an intersection, it’s important to be able to know where to go. We will be posting the route earlier in the month along with turn-by-turn directions that you can print out and bring with you on the ride. We will still have ride guides throughout the party, but it’s best to have an idea of the route yourself just in case!
2) If you come up on vehicles stopped at an intersection (or anywhere there might be condensed vehicle traffic), stop behind the cars. Think of your chunk of bike party as ONE big vehicle that has to stay behind the cars ahead of it.
Do not begin to filter through the cars. This is a dangerous move in a group. Sure you might be able to cut in front of the car(s) but the 80 people behind you might not be able to. This runs the risk of having someone stuck next to a car in their blind spot when the light changes, and even more so splits your group into 2 with cars in the middle! Just stick behind the traffic and stay together in a mass.
3) Even if you come up next to one vehicle on a multi-lane street, it’s best to stay behind the front of that car. You don’t know when they may accelerate or want to make a turn.
Don’t crowd around them, blocking them in. Let the car have the ability to pull out in front of your group and not be trapped in the middle of the party.
4) Ride ONLY in lanes of traffic going your direction. If we have 2-3 lanes all going the same direction, like Charles Street, feel free to spread out in your group and enjoy the ride. However if there is traffic going both directions, especially on streets with only 1 lane each way, like Keswick, it is EXTREMELY important to stay in OUR lane. Riding against traffic is one of the most dangerous things you can do. It may look like no car is coming at the moment, but someone could turn into that lane at any moment without seeing you. Just don’t do it, let’s stay in our own lanes and stay safe!
5) Stay off the sidewalks. They are for pedestrians, little old ladies, and kiddos playing hopscotch. There is no need for us to risk barreling over any of them. Even if the sidewalk looks nice and wide, we have enough numbers where it’s safe to be in the street, let’s leave the sidewalks for others. (By the way, it’s also illegal!)
6) If we come up on any police officers that are directing traffic, go with their directions. If they are motioning for us to continue through a red light, it’s okay to go ahead. Consider that one a freebie!
7) It’s okay to make a right turn on red, but think about the group behind you. If there is potentially oncoming traffic that could split your group in half, it may be best just to wait until you get a green light.
So that’s easy enough, right? Stay together, stay behind the cars, and stay on the street in the correct lane. You know, follow basic common sense. If we keep these rules in mind we can ensure that Bike Party will continue to be an awesome event year round.