Today at 6 p.m. (weather permitting, we assume?), The Hop and the Wisconsin Bike Fed will host a free bicycle ride along Milwaukee’s soon-to-be-fully-operational streetcar route. This “relaxed ride through the city’s downtown” is intended to “introduce participants to some helpful tips about riding along and across the streetcar route.” Earlier this summer, however, one of The Hop’s helpful tips about riding along and across the streetcar route was simply “don’t.”
First, the press release for today’s ride:
The ride will begin at 6:00 p.m. at The Hop’s Operations and Maintenance Facility (enter at the corner of W. Clybourn St. and N. Vel R. Phillips Ave.), where instructors will discuss some key points about biking over and near the streetcar tracks. Participants will also be able to see how easy it is to bring a bike on board The Hop. From there, the group will ride the length of the route and back to see all the great destinations along the way and experience how cyclists and The Hop can safely share our roads.
And now, the “Tips For Cyclists” that The Hop released earlier this summer via its HopSmart service (emphasis ours):
Track grooves are slightly wider than a typical bike tire, meaning bikes can potentially get stuck in the track way. Always avoid riding between the rails, where it can be difficult to maneuver in the tight space.
When crossing the tracks, always do so in as close to a 90-degree angle as possible, and ride in an upright position as opposed to leaning into the turn.
When making a left turn across streetcar tracks, do so in two stages. First, cross in the right lane through the intersection. Second, pivot to the left to cross the tracks perpendicularly at the next traffic signal.
Streetcar tracks can become slippery when wet, so always exercise caution when biking near the tracks in rainy or snowy weather.
Much of the streetcar route includes clearly-marked bike lanes, but an alternative route is typically only a block away for less comfortable cyclists.
Today’s ride comes after two incidents where a motorcyclist and a Bublr Bike rider took “major spills” while riding along and across the streetcar tracks. Both riders are represented by Michael Hupy, naturally.
But whatever: The Hop is here, it’s not going away, and we’re all going to have to learn how to deal with it. Advance registration for today’s ride is not required, but folks are encouraged to RSVP on Facebook. Good luck out there!