Reporting on pedestrian life in the D.C. area

Picture of the day: Pedicabs on the Mount Vernon Trail? Seriously?

September 2, 2011 - 02:20 PM
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King of the road. (Photo: Andrew Beaujon)

The Mount Vernon Trail has provided a wonderful 18-mile path for many in the D.C. area since its construction in 1973. Pedestrians and bicycle commuters alike enjoy its paths and views alongside the Potomac River. The NPS website cautions on a few rules of the road, however — keep right and move off the trail when stopped, for instance, and obey the speed limit of 15 miles/hour.

But there's no word on one other vehicle that apparently ventures onto the Mount Vernon Trail trail from time to time. Yes, we're talking about the vehicle in the picture above, taken by TBD's resident Mount Vernon bicyclist Andrew Beaujon. A pedicab ventured onto the trail the other week and was casually moving down it without a care in the world. The only consolation is that it's sticking to the right.

But is this fair for the biking and pedestrian population that uses the trail? Is it even legal?

I called the Park Police to get a sense of whether they would permit a pedicab. The notion of such a vehicle surprised the initial people I spoke to there. Why, after all, would a pedicab ever be on the trail? No one expects it. I guess there are those pretty views. Pedicab passengers must enjoy staring out at those. The Park Police finally provided an answer after I was on hold with a couple different people. Are pedicabs allowed among the walkers and cyclists?

"I don't believe so," a Park Police man told me. "A pedicab wouldn't be narrow enough."

No, it wouldn't. Especially based on the photo above. Remember this, pedicab drivers of the DMV: No Mount Vernon Trail! As we all learned recently, you're not operating in a lawless bubble anymore ... there are rules.

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