Bike Harassment in DC

This week we wanted to find out if individuals experienced harassment while biking around DC so we asked and this is what folks told us:

yeah, this happens to me every once in a while (i live in mount plez; commute downtown on bicycle). when i started riding in the city, i didn’t know what i was doing, and it showed. male couriers occasionally offered unsolicited advice about how to ride. one fit courier, while dropping me on 15th st, yelled at me to “raise that saddle, baby.”

these days, the comments usually come when i’m walking or carrying my bike. men occasionally make condescending comments, asking me if i need help or mechanical assistance. other times it’s mildly sexual. once i picked up my road bike and carried it across 14th st; you’d think i’d lifted a refrigerator judging from the “you’re so strong, honey!” comments from the peanut gallery. while walking my bike, the comments sound more like, “hey girl, let me ride your bike,” “how long can you ride,” “do you ride fast,” etc.

i’d say to avoid comments like these, get on the  bike and dust ‘em! Submitted by A.S.

Photo by dionhinchcliffe via flickr

A long time ago I was a bike messenger in DC…. One day while relaxing at DuPont Circle, a male friend of mine came riding up frantic, as he had just been groped and hollered at by some women in a car. I started laughing. The other guys were consoling said friend with comments to the tune of “That happened to me once!”

It was noticed that I was laughing, and I was asked why I thought it was so funny that my friend was assaulted by a passenger in a car driving so close as to really menace running him over while trying to grab his butt. My response was “because it happens to me almost every single day.” In addition, I was usually groped multiple times a day in elevators.

I guess its easy to assault women who, such as a bike messenger, you are unlikely to have contact with again. Plus, a guy in a suit just looked like a guy in a suit to me. They would have a much easier time remembering me than I would them, although I doubt they put that much thought to the matter. Submitted by Jen

Yes, I am often harassed on my bike in DC. Once on my bike, a driver shouted at me something like, “I’ll ride you like you ride that bike.” I yelled at him to fuck off, and then he swerved at me, running me off the road. It only amounted to a bad fall with some scrapes and bruises, but, as you can imagine, it really freaked me out.

That was the worst thing that’s happened. Sometimes pedestrians say stuff and I just ride by. I get called a bitch a few times a week by drivers who hate their lives and long commutes. Submitted by Sue

Photo by M.V. Jantzen via flickr

I often hear “can I get a ride on that thing?” One time I yelled back, “Maybe if you lost some weight.” I like riding my bike to work in a skirt and the comments I get are comments but they have always been decidedly harmless. Submitted by Holly

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