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Earthquakes: one more reason to ride your bike
If yesterday's East Coast earthquake and the subsequent scramble to get home taught us anything, it may be that there is no better vehicle in emergency situations than the bicycle. As traffic in downtown DC was bumper to bumper at 3:00 in the afternoon, bicyclists navigated fairly smoothly through the jammed streets, smiling and waving to each other.
League Communications Director Meghan Cahill helped several people rent Capital Bikeshare bikes yesterday afternoon. Later, "two Australian tourists came up to me at a traffic light and said 'Where'd you get that bike, we have to get out of here,'" Cahill said, "I explained where to find a station and what to do. They ran off saying 'Cheers, mate!'"
Meanwhile, we keep hearing stories about the grueling experiences so many people had getting home.
In all seriousness, walking and biking are often the best modes in unusual situations, including terror attacks, transit strikes, extreme weather, and yes earthquakes. The ability of large numbers of people to evacuate quickly is one of many reasons that non-motorized accommodations are so important on bridges.
In DC, buildings were evacuated after the earthquake. Here is the view of First Street Northwest. Photo by Douglas Graham for Roll Call.