Should MARC allow bikes on board?
Sun photo/Amy Davis
There's an interesting article -- followed by a spirited discussion -- on the Greater Greater Washington blog about the wisdom of allowing bicycles on MARC trains.
As much as I like bikes and bicyclists, I'm skeptical. I tend to consider worst-case scenarios and I can't help but think that having bicycles on a rail car such as the one above -- without having a safe place to secure them -- could be a real safety hazard in the case of a derailment. In a crowded car, they could become an obstruction; in an uncrowded car, I can see them becoming a missile.
Instead, I would propose a solution employed by one gentleman of my acquaintance. He rides a bicycle to Penn Station and parks it there, takes the train down to Greenbelt, picks up a second bicycle that he keeps there and pedals to his workplace.
Cost should not be a big issue for most riders. Anyone can pick up a used second bike for a fraction of the cost of a new one through the print or online classified ads. Rather than lobby to get bikes on trains, bicyclists ought to concentrate their efforts on getting safe, secure bike lockers at each station.