Cycling Etiquette on the Subway

Taking your bike on the subway still feels like we’ve discovered some Brave New World.

When people ask me how I get to work I answer by biking from the valley to downtown or taking my bike onto the subway.

The top two responses I receive are, “They let you do that?” or “We have a subway?”

Bikes weren’t allowed on Metro trains up until five years, but now bringing them along opens up a whole lot of options.

Still, there are some hard and fast rules I live by since I don’t want the people at 1 Gateway Plaza¬†take away such a good thing:

      • Look for the yellow bicycle circle next to the door when the train pulls up. That’s the part of car that has space set aside for bikes. Go on the train enough, you’ll start to recognize patterns where they’re marked.

        Look for the little yellow circles
        Look for the little yellow circles
      • Let everyone exit the train before entering. The same goes for when you don’t have a bike. Or going into an elevator, taxi or sauna.¬†Two objects can’t occupy the same space. Van Damme proved that years ago.
      • Some may be fortunate enough to own a bike they can carry over the turnstyles, but for most of us, tap your card, go through the gates, then grab your bike through one of the emergency exits.
      • Don’t ride your bike anywhere in the station. Besides playing human plinko, the floors are typically tiled and slippery. Same goes for skateboarders.
      • If you see someone wearing an orange helmet typing on his phone, leave him alone. He could be writing this article.
      • When placing your bike next to another, be sure not to get your bike stuck in someone else’s spokes. Odds are good you’ll break a derailleur or tear someone’s wheel up getting. That won’t be fun.

        Yes skateboarders. You slip and fall too!
      • Don’t leave your bike there just balancing on its kickstand. Odds are things will shake and gravity will take its course. And it might take out another bike.
      • Always be close to your bike and on the ready if your bike is occupying the handicap spot. You’re going to look like a real jerk if someone in a wheelchair rolls up just looking for a spot to grab onto.
      • Do everything you can not to to block the door. Unless you’re getting out at the next exit, you’re going to be just as unpopular as the guy I just previously mentioned.
      • Don’t lock your bike to the handrail. I could do a column alone on how many different ways that could end up bad.

        Give some space when exiting the train.
        Give some space when exiting the train.
      • Bikes are not supposed to be taken on escalators, but if you do, let everyone walking go ahead of you, especially when getting on the train.
      • Be the last one out the train and up the stairs. Your bike takes up a lot of space and can be tough to maneuver. It’s just good practice to stay clear of the volume of humanity that can feel like the running of the bulls.

There are dozens of other notes I could add, but bottom line, treat others the way you’d like to be treated without a bike. That may be easier said then done, since you’ll probably never go on the train again without a bike, but try please.