In the past few months, WABA has been receiving more questions about taxis and how to better educate taxi drivers on safe driving near bicyclists and bicycle infrastructure. Educating the District’s 8000+ taxicab operators is a daunting task, made more difficult by both communication and logistical issues. Last November, with the help of DDOT, WABA’s Bike Ambassador attended a meeting of the DC Taxicab Commission and presented on bicyclists’ concerns and discussed potential opportunities to work with the Commission and drivers on alleviating these issues and improving our access to taxicab operators.
More recently, WABA submitted the following testimony on the proposed taxicab industry reform law. Essentially, our testimony seeks to create an opportunity to ensure that bicycling is addressed in licensure and training standards, and that the goal of the legislation be broadened to include roadway safety generally, rather than simply regulation of the driver-passenger relationship.
Realistically, the particular standards that District taxi drivers will need to meet, as well as the educational and training elements that will be required of them, will most likely be set through a series of rulemakings–not through this legislation directly. So while it is important that the legislation make clear that the interests of roadway users in general, and cyclists in particular, are relevant and important to the development of these rules, it is as important that cyclists be ready and willing to participate in the Commission’s rulemaking process that will ultimately set these standards.
WABA will continue to work on this issue and seek the necessary resources to develop a more robust and region-wide outreach and education program directed toward taxi drivers. Meanwhile, we encourage those interested in this issue to CLICK HERE to sign up for alerts on the issue, and to support the development of this program.