DDOT/MPD Release: District Joins Regional Partners to Promote Pedestrian and Cyclist Safety

歩行者用横型信号機 pedestrian horizontal trafic signal, originally uploaded by iii_kkk5.


“On the enforcement side, motorists who ignore traffic safety laws in the District now face stiffer penalties. Drivers who do not stop and give the right of way to pedestrians in crosswalks now face a $250 fine and three points on their driver’s license. If the driver strikes a pedestrian in the process of failing to stop, the penalty is $500 and 6 points.”

Think this will help?

Full press release after the jump.

District Joins Regional Partners to
Promote Pedestrian and Cyclist Safety

City Hosts Kickoff Event for Street Smart Campaign

(Washington, D.C.) The District Department of Transportation’s (DDOT) acting Director Gabe Klein and Assistant Chief Patrick Burke of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) today called on District drivers, bikers and walkers to follow the city’s traffic laws and help make the roads safer for everyone. At the busy intersection of 14th and U Streets, NW, Director Klein and Assistant Chief Burke joined local elected officials and other law enforcement leaders to launch the 2009 Street Smart pedestrian safety campaign. The campaign aims to reduce the number of pedestrian injuries and deaths in the Washington metropolitan area through education and stepped up enforcement.

“In addition to making the public – walkers, bikers and drivers – more aware of each other,” said Assistant Chief Burke, “it is critical that violators understand there are significant consequences for not adhering to our traffic safety laws.”

To date, there have been four traffic fatalities in the District in 2009, and one of the victims was a pedestrian. In 2008, 15 pedestrians and 1 bicyclist were killed on the city’s streets, down from 25 pedestrians and 3 bicyclists the previous year. That decline is encouraging and indicates the Street Smart campaign and other efforts to improve pedestrian safety are having an impact.

“We are pushing the envelope on technology,” said Director Klein. “Last year we became the first city in the Northeast to install rapid flash beacons at a crosswalk on Brentwood Road. Since then we have seen yielding to pedestrians by drivers go from 26 percent to 80 percent.”

This year, DDOT will install a special pedestrian activated signal on Georgia Avenue, the first of its kind in DC, and more safety improvements are mapped out in the District’s Pedestrian Master Plan.

On the enforcement side, motorists who ignore traffic safety laws in the District now face stiffer penalties. Drivers who do not stop and give the right of way to pedestrians in crosswalks now face a $250 fine and three points on their driver’s license. If the driver strikes a pedestrian in the process of failing to stop, the penalty is $500 and 6 points.

New to the Street Smart campaign this year is a heightened focus on cyclist safety and following their remarks, Director Klein and Assistant Chief Burke participated in a bike ride in the Midtown area to highlight the dangers and the responsibilities of cycling in the city.

“In the District we are really happy to see an emphasis on bicycling in this year’s campaign, with specific messages for everyone who used our streets,” said Director Klein. “Motorists: please yield to walkers and look out for bikes when turning. Cyclists: if you want respect on the road, please obey signs and signals, don’t ride against traffic, and use a light at night. And pedestrians: please use the crosswalks and wait for the walk signal.”

21 Comment

  • Sorry to be a pessimist here, but just another law MPD will not enforce. In fact, enforce is a nice word as they won’t even freaking follow the new law themselves. But what else is DDOT suppose to do!

  • I’ve had cars nearly mow me down in the crosswalk right in front of the police. If they don’t care, why should anyone else?

  • I dunno.

    Today I was driving home and there was a guy standing in the crosswalk midway through 18th St in Adams Morgan.

    I’m driving along, watching him, when he starts walking in front of my car. I slam on my brakes, stuff flying and he gives me this nasty look and starts moving his hands around and walks past my car.

    I understand that I have the legal responsibility to stop for people in the street, but I could not understand what possessed him to step in front of a moving car.

    Yesterday I was signaling a right turn and started going into the turn when a bike passed me illegally on my right. The guy didn’t seem to acknowledge that he cut between me and my right turn at all.

    On Sunday my wife and I saw a woman bicycling down the street with IPOD buds in her ears. Let’s hope the ipod was turned off!

  • Motorists, cyclist and pedestrians all need to be a part of this. Cyclists in this city rarely obey rules – they go through stop signs and red lights, use sidewalks and put themselves at risk by not wearing helmets, listening to their iPod etc. I once got a 100 dollar ticket on my bicycle in Ottawa for disobeying a rule – at that time I didn’t think that I was breaking the law – I honestly thought that it was a matter of etiquette. I was pissed off that I got the ticket – but I now see the value in it (the Justice of the Peace knocked the ticket down to 30 dollars) – and am very by the book on the road. Ottawa is one city that is cyclist friendly – drivers and cyclists have a much better understanding of how to share the roads safely. I wish it were so in DC.

  • I hope it works. I am a frequent pedestrian on 17th SE, and a vigilant driver to let pedestrians cross. Its hard to cross 17th SE. Today I was driving down the right lane, and a pedestrian starts to cross the intersection from the left. I had plenty of time to stop, and did. But the driver behind me started honking and swerved around me to pass not noticing I stopped for a pedestrian. Luckily she slammed on her brakes after coming beside me and didn’t hit the pedestrian. I looked over and she was giving me a nasty look! What’s the deal? Is it MY fault for following the law? She then zoomed off with her MD plates.

    We need to get MPD to enforce. Are the police allowed to have “bait” pedestrians to see who stops, and who breaks the law? If they would just enforce the 25MPH speed limit on that road I would be happy too!

  • Is it just me, or shouldn’t a driver get more than a $500 fine and 6 pts on their license for running over a pedestrian in a crosswalk?

  • Honest question: Has anyone ever seen someone ticketed for a moving violation in this town? I haven’t. There is a reason the driving here is particularly bad.

  • Oh goodie, so this is the one week a year Sherman is safe to cross!!

    [Yes, sarcasm was implied.]

  • I have been nearly mowed down on both foot and bike by dc cops turning corners without stopping to look or blowing thru intersections. I was almost run over yesterday by a postal service vehicle while the driver was clearly looking off to her right while driving down Kansas (she suddenly veered to the left and just about clipped me on my bike!). Meanwhile, cars consistently drive in the bike lanes and sometimes turn right on red at full speed without even looking for peds.

    I hate to say it, but this law is bullshit. It will take much more than an unenforced law to get people–and dc police–to begin to be more respectful on the roads. It’s like everyone is in such a big important hurry that anyone who gets in their way is fair game.

    But what I’d really like to see is the cops ticketing themselves for being the worst offenders!!!!

  • I’ll just share one nice tidbit from Jim Graham’s live-blog/chat event with GGW yesterday:

    “but as everyone knows, we have very very little traffic enforcment in DC under any circumstance “

  • The fact is that bikers, pedestrians, or cars necessarily follow the rules. No one group is the sole offender and no one group has the sole responsibility for fixing their behavior. I would hazard a guess that many bikers don’t know (or want to know) the laws regarding their responsibilities – they likely feel that they are neither in a car or are a pedestrian so those rules don’t apply. Many pedestrians obviously don’t feel cross walks are necessary and many don’t seem to pay attention to where they are. Obviously a huge swath of drivers have not concept of a turn signal, think yellow lights are for speeding up, and think stop signs and speed limits are for other cars.

    Basically people are selfish, and think that where ever they are is their place and others have to watch themselves not the other way around. There doesn’t seem to be a sense of how bad behaviors by the individual impact the group. Either that or people just don’t care.

    I guess the reason all of the penalties come down on the car drivers as opposed to pedestrians and bike riders is because their instrument of movement is bigger and more dangerous in an of itself. There will never be enough police to ticket all the jay walkers, bad bike riders, and bad drivers.

  • DC is a third-world shithole. No laws are enforced, and the people basically drive like wild wolves. I’ve never seen more arrogant, selfish, generally nasty behavior anywhere else I’ve lived, and I’ve lived in the 3rd world.

    DC is like Mexico City with black people.

  • Neener, you were supposed to stop when you saw the pedestrian in the crosswalk. The fault was yours and he was understandably angry that you got so close to him.

  • And Neener, if there was a bike lane and you’re turning right, you have to yield to the biker and can’t turn in front of him/her.

    Having been a bike rider in DC before a driver, I didn’t realize how poorly timed all the lights are across the city. it’s ridiculous how you can rarely make it between green lights in this town, so no wonder people are racing around so much. if lights were timed and posted “Green lights are timed for 35mph,” i think most people would drive 35 mph.

  • Or 25, since that’s the posted limit on almost all District streets. I think that might make a big difference. For drivers that have any sense, anyway.

  • I am a big fan of stopping for pedestrians in the street – reality is it doesn’t matter who’s fault it is, if a pedestrian is hit they lose. I am bothered by the fact that people jaywoalk all up and down 14th Street, but I stop. What really gets me is people who honk their horns, or even speed around me, when I am stopped for a pedestrian.

    I wish people would stop being so angry and selfish and just take a couple of seconds (really tat is all it takes) to be courteous on the road. Like when you come upon a parked car and no one will let you into the other lane to get around it. Are you really in that much of a hurry that you can’t extend a seconds worth of courtesy?

  • Neener, you were supposed to stop when you saw the pedestrian in the crosswalk. The fault was yours and he was understandably angry that you got so close to him.

    Who steps in front of a moving car when the car barely has time to break without slamming on the brakes? I mean, there is no light there.

  • Oregonian, you are incorrect. The bike passed me, as in came from behind me, got next to me, and continued forward. The bike must slow to stay behind me while I’m in my turn. I do not have to yield to “any” bikes who happen to be 10, 20, 30, 100 ft behind me. I have to yield to bikes that are on my right.

    I also don’t believe there is a bike lane on that stretch of Adams Mill.

  • So, if I get HIT by a car they only have to pay $500! WTF! If they paralyze me does it get bumped to $550?

  • Ok, so I spoke to MPD about my right turn issue and here’s what the cop told me verbatim:

    That’s a common mistake. If a Bicyclist could squeeze between your car and the curb then they have the right of way. You must block the bike lane completely when making a right turn.

    I went on to talk about bicycling and he stated, seriously:

    Bicycles can use the sidewalks whenever they want in DC. Bicycles can use the bike lane, street or sidewalks- the law states that bikes are not limited to bike lanes.

    So there you have it from the horse’s mouth. Bikes have total immunity.

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