A recent Greater Greater Washington post detailed how a cyclist in D.C. was improperly cited and found at fault after a car crash. He was ticketed for running a red light—though camera footage showed otherwise—and told by a Metropolitan Police Department officer that he was at fault because he was a biker.
As cyclists, we’re familiar with this kind of bias. We’re working to collect stories of police officers getting it wrong so that we can work with police throughout the region to improve their responses when crashes occur. (This effort is separate from our general crash tracker, because we want to know about specific instances involving police bias.)
Additionally, due to a number of existing reports of such bias from cyclists riding in the District, we’ve recently requested that Councilmember Tommy Wells, chair of the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety, hold a hearing to address MPD’s bias when dealing with cyclists. We hope that the councilmember’s office will work with us to move forward and fix MPD’s approach to crashes involving cyclists.
Please share with us your story of biased interactions with police throughout the region, particularly if you have evidence showing an officer did something wrong or made an explicit statement of bias. We depend on the protection of area law enforcement officials to keep us safe, and we need to push back against bias that undermines that protection and our safety.
Image by Flickr user randomduck
Today, councilmembers Mary Cheh and Tommy Wells introduced to the D.C. Council the bicycle safety omnibus bill. It makes it easier to ride a bike in D.C. by altering requirements for cyclists (like removing the requirement that all bikes be equipped with a bell) and proposes that drivers face points on their license for bike-related traffic infractions.
The bill has yet to be referred to committee, but WABA supports it and the provisions it suggests for cyclists and drivers.
Read the full text of the bill below:
Bicycle Safety Omnibus Draft_2 1 13 by wabadc
Last month, we wrote here about DDOT’s failure to provide, via the new 11th Street Bridge, a direct connection for the east and west sides of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail.
Councilmember Tommy Wells’ staff followed up with DDOT to ensure that trail access would be included in the construction of the new bridge. DDOT responded thusly:
To clarify, there WILL be a direct connection from the bridge to the trail on the east side of the river. DDOT will build a temporary path connecting to the existing path (which links directly to Good Hope Rd and the Riverwalk Trail). This is a temporary solution because DC Water will be working on the site long term as part of the Clean Rivers Project. When finished, DC Water will build a permanent ADA-compliant trail in its place.
As for the width of the sidewalk on the bridge itself, there will a 12 foot wide clear space between the railing and the outside wall for bicyclists and pedestrians to use.
Many thanks to DDOT and Councilmember Wells’ staff for their assistance with this important connection for cyclists and pedestrians.