It’s been a tough few weeks for the DC bike community. Two preventable deaths in less than a month have sent a shudder through the city. These deaths were preventable. Let that sink in.
Every single bicyclist has a story of a near miss; a sketchy situation in which a driver almost forced a crash. Every bicyclist knows about the streetcar tracks on H Street (but unfortunately, alternatives only get us so far to avoid the corridor); every bicyclist should feel secure in a protected bike lane.
What is the city doing to prevent these deaths?
Not enough. In 2015, Mayor Bowser committed to Vision Zero, a plan to eliminate all traffic fatalities in DC by 2024. Great start. But it takes hard work and tough choices to make this commitment a reality—engineering, outreach, expenditure of political capital, inter-agency coordination and more. You’d think the situation for all road users would be getting better year after year. It’s not.
To be frank: more people are dying, not fewer.
As of this writing, there have been 21 traffic deaths in the District. That means there have been three more deaths in 2018 than there were by this time in 2017. Below are MPD’s numbers on traffic fatalities.
|Fatalities||29||26||26||28||30||21 (+3 YTD)|
Source: MPD, July 15, 2018
The numbers are going in the wrong direction, meaning that more people are being killed on our roadways every year. But why?
Well, to start, the government of the District of Columbia is not doing what it said it would do. The Vision Zero Action Plan, finalized in December 2015, laid out 67 strategies and projects to complete by 2017. Only 32 of 67 deadlines have been reported complete. In 2017, the Mayor didn’t even release a progress report. It’s clear why the numbers are going in the wrong direction: the District government just isn’t doing enough.
And that’s just not ok.
This Thursday, July 19th, we’ll be meeting at noon on the steps of the Wilson Building to rally for safer streets.
We are rallying because people continue to die because the Mayor won’t act. Because the city prioritizes cars over people. Because failing to protect the lives of citizens of the District is unacceptable.
No more politics. The time is now.
We’ll see you on Thursday.
MEDIA CONTACT at the rally: Colin Browne, Communications Director. Cell: 802-633-0281. firstname.lastname@example.org
He looks like this but has glasses now: