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New Bike Rules, Restrictions for Uber Hit on Tuesday

Capitol Police announced that cyclists, including Blumenauer, have to comply by new rules beginning Tuesday. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Capitol Police announced that cyclists, including Blumenauer, have to comply by new rules beginning Tuesday. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

New traffic regulations for the Capitol campus go into effect on Jan. 20, impacting Uber and Lyft drivers and bicyclists, the Capitol Police announced Friday evening.  

Bicycles will no longer need to be equipped with bells, bringing the rules into line with a District of Columbia law that permits use of a vocal signal as a warning noise.  

The changes, adopted in December, also clarify that any bicycle parked in a parking garage or secured designated staff parking lot must have a valid Senate or House permit. But any bike parked in any other public parking area, including a bicycle rack, does not need to have a permit. The language updates a traffic rule that concerned cycling enthusiasts, including the Washington Area Bicyclists Association and Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., last summer.  

Also, any bike secured in excess of 24 consecutive hours may be seized by the Capitol Police under the new rules. The department is sometimes called to respond to bikes parked in inappropriate places because they are deemed suspicious according to regulations. In those cases, bikes could be removed and impounded.  

The changes also clarify that a chapter related to “public or private vehicle(s)-for-hire” applies to ride-sharing services, such as Uber, Lyft and Sidecar. Like taxis, those services and companies are prohibited from soliciting passengers on Capitol grounds, occupying a taxi stand and accepting “street hails.”  

Such services must also “display the approved private vehicle-for-hire company trade dress,” according to Capitol Police.  

A third change clarifies that no unauthorized person shall enter any closed or cordoned off areas on Capitol grounds.  

This round of changes follows an overhaul that went into effect in June, following the first major rewrite of Capitol traffic regulations in more than 30 years. The entire traffic rulebook is available via the department’s website.

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