Photo on Flickr by neverminddtheend.

As usual, bikes will be banned on Metrorail all day on the Fourth of July. As usual, it will be a totally unnecessary, and even counterproductive, precaution except around the fireworks.

Metro’s policy is:

Bicycles are not permitted on Metrorail on July 4th or other special events or holidays when large crowds use the system.

Large crowds, huh?

Last year 631,206 people used Metrorail on the Fourth of July, making it the 5th busiest Saturday in Metro history. Not bad. But on an average weekday in 2008 Metrorail had 727,684 trips. So, the Fourth isn’t actually that busy. Not busy enough to ban bikes all day.

Of the twenty-three busiest days* in Metrorail history, not a one is a Fourth of July. Of those 23 days, bikes were only banned for #1, #5 and #16. Busiest Day #2 was on April 2nd of this year when Metro recorded 890,000+ rides. Metro banned bikes only during the morning and afternoon rush and yet no one seemed to have a problem with it. How come we can allow bikes on for most of a nearly 900,000 rider day, but not on a 650,000 rider day?

It might be reasonable to ban bikes on for some time around the fireworks, when Metro is crazy, but why at 9 am? It’s complete overkill. Considering how much financial trouble Metro is having, it doesn’t really make sense to turn away paying customers.

* To get 23 you have to combine this list of 20 from after the inauguration with this top 5 from April, which has three new ones. There may be more between five and twenty-three that weren’t captured in these lists.

Cross-posted at The Washcycle.