Cargo Bikes on Sound Transit: Not so fast

Hi UW LightRail. I only biked here for show. No Cargo bikes allowed, I know.

It's old news but per Sound Transit "no oversized, cargo, family cargo, tandem, or fueled bicycles are permitted on any vehicle".  This is not a new rule but it was spelled out more recently, especially with the opening of two new stations.

Cargo and family bikes are a spectrum. I wish a length requirement was used instead because this would clarify better what is allowed. Many cities have a cap on length and I think this is helpful for people who plan to be multi-modal. The SkyTrain in Vancouver, BC specifies that bikes must be less than 185 centimeters or 73 inches long. They also limit which stations bikes can exit.

This is NOT a cargo bike
After our trailer days we looked into what would give us the most flexibility. It turned out my Oma bike with a kid seat on the back would be the most flexible. If I had to, I could load it on a bus bike rack and mitigate all elevators with it. It was a great set-up. I had to bike the 1st kid to school in Capitol Hill and home again. 20 miles each day on a bike if we didn't do errands would be helped by taking the train at Mt. Baker the rest of the way home. It worked for the most part.

When we finally upgraded to a cargo bike I knew that using it on the light rail might be difficult. In fact, I figured lightrail could be used in the most extreme circumstances, especially if I need to get to G&O with a bike that was having issues. I asked about rules then but didn't get a firm answer. The transit police didn't kick me off. I got a lot of curious looks and questions but those rare times we used lightrail we managed to load in and out without problems.

Disclaimer: 
The instances when I used the light rail I did it when it had the least amount of people on the train and with the completion of the Beacon Hill Greenway I would only take it a few stop. As ridiculous as it seems, just taking it to there got me out of parts of the Rainier Valley the the tween has trouble riding. We currently have no connections and if I can manage to spend less time biking through some dangerous intersections and roads, the more I am encouraged to bike.

That time we saw Frozen in 2013 and it was frozen outside, burr
So, since 2013 I have been pushing it with the Edgerunner on the light rail and anticipated a day when that would not be a transit tool to get me to my destination. I prepared. I bought a normal bike at BikeWorks and will soon add a seat. I can bike very far distances with the tween and toddler on the Edgerunner deck but even with assist it's a big chore and they fight. Yes they fight. The toddler kicks her and the tween is in the way of his ability to see and throw stuff. Nobody is happy. Biking any distance with both of them is torture for me. So, the tween rides, regardless of the distance. I would like to expand out network so we have the REGULAR bike so we can take lightrail all the way to the University Washington. For me, this connection means we can blissfully ride on the Burke Gilman.

I can maneuver the Edgerunner on the train and it works well. This is only possible because I know which door will open and where to position the bike.

2 bikes, luggage and a stroller. It's like a bad transit comedy

BUT.....Regular bikes don't do well on Sound Transit Light Rail anyway.
The space is weird. In general it was not designed with bikes or luggage in mind. I am constantly reminded of the struggled for passengers to find a seat and a place for their luggage. People honestly don't want to drive or use a car service so lightrail is a great option to get from the airport downtown. People put their luggage in the bike/luggage space, the folding handicapped area or worse, use two entire seats so they can sit with their luggage.

Mr. Peyos, demonstrates hanging his bike for me. Most bikes block this space.

We know their are certain peak times. We call them "Airport Hour". Recently, airport hour seems all the time. I won't even dare get on with a stroller. It sucks! Even Mr. Peyos has issues with his own, made for Vikings bike. The man is 6'4 and his bike is oversized.
That time Mr. Peyos instantly turned his bike into a CARGO BIKE.
Mr. Peyos doesn't hang his bike because he feels that it blocks that middle passage and become a nuisance so he likes to stand with it. He gets on the lightrail regardless but the man is tall and Danish so bringing a bike on the train is a normal.

How does it work in Denmark. Watch the video, it doesn't matter if you don't speak the romantic language of otter, I mean Danish.


I honestly don't remember that much drama with the older trains but I do remember seeing a guy get hit in his private area with a bike so it makes me laugh, old times. Okay but Seattle is not Denmark but you get my point, design the space better and we won't have this chaos.

My "normal" bike fits on a Metro rack. 

The times I have tried to get on the train with the older kid with regular bikes we have to maneuver ourselves, mostly because my bike doesn't fit on the hook and she can't lift her bike.

What can you do. If you haven't signed the Seattle Greenways petition, read it and then sign it.

You can also contact Sound Transit and let them know, that the space needs a redesign.

We just stand because neither of us can hang our bikes.
These new rules forced a lot of people to make hard decisions on what bike to buy, how to mitigate taking kids with them on the lightrail. This topic has opened a can of WORMS. I welcome worms, but only in my compost pile. Some people bought certain bikes, which per ST rules are technically "cargo" bikes, feel they can't go on the light rail now.  You might as well buy a car you hippie biker. I want mass gridlock on roads. DO IT.

The "cargo bike" wording is so vague, that's why a length requirement would be better. I can see a whole slew of bikes that could fit on lightrail now during non-peak times. I'm not talking about the Edgerunner. I have no plans to bring that bike on the lightrail.

You might technically have a "cargo bike" BUT here's what you can do.  Before you board the train stand at the front where the driver can see you. Sure, full disclosure. Walk past them. Give the driver the thumbs up. If they ignore you, you are golden. Get on the train, enjoy!

I'm not even going to go into what is and not a cargo bike because a transit system should do some homework before they start using words to make rules.

Sound Transit, not that you read this, set a length requirement.

If you need help. Contact me (nospandexreq at gmail dot com) Aside from myself, Familybike.org can also do some consultation so that this length requirement can be more clear. We can even hold a mini-Familybike Expo just so you learn.

Again, nobody listens to me because I'm just a lady on a bike with close to ten year of biking with kids and using a bike as transportation all of my life. I know nothing! Fuggggg, get me some spandex and then someone will listen to the words coming out of my mouth.






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