Heads Up – Cyclists Being Ticketed in Foggy Bottom

Photo from previous bike ticketing on 11th Street, NW

For the folks who were upset about word of stepped up enforcement with drivers getting ticketed. A reader reports:

“Saw bike ticketing in Foggy Bottom this morning. 23rd & H St. NW. Strict enforcement! Don’t start before light turns green and apparently don’t stop too far over the crosswalk box. As usual $25 tickets. Cops said they will be ticketing all summer, both bikes as well as vehicles for driving recklessly due to high accident rates.”

124 Comment

  • Thank you MPD! I rarely see any biker pay attention to any traffic signs or signals. Let alone a cross walk or pedestrian. They need to step it up. I don’t mind bike lanes, but with expansion needs to come greater enforcement. It’s dangerous for drivers as well as bikers when they constantly ignore traffic signs.

    • Totally agree. I bike nearly every day and am appalled by the behavior of many of my fellow cyclists as they casually drift through red lights, fail to stop for pedestrians, and generally act discourteously towards others on the road. Don’t get me wrong: I also see tons of drivers do unsafe things every day but, if we cyclists want our fair share of the road, we need to abide by the rules.

    • Dangerous for drivers? I’m not going to argue that the rules don’t apply to bikers, but I would say going 5mph over the speed limit in a car or rolling through a right on red (which cars routinely do) poses more danger to others than just about anything a person on a bike could do.

      In NYC cyclist/pedestrian crashes have caused 3 fatalities in the past 5 years (and that includes accidents where either party was at fault), while cars have killed nearly a thousand pedestrians.

      Reckless cyclists may be irritating but there is no statistical justification for stepping up police enforcement when reckless driving is still a DRAMATICALLY bigger threat to the public.

      • Thank you for the rational thought. Should bikers be breaking the rules? No. Should we somehow enforce rules for bikers? Yes. But please don’t play the “it’s dangerous for drivers” card here.

      • Well, think of it this way: the more bikers break the laws, the more drivers have to compensate, and thus the more likely they are to cause a catastrophic accident. Reckless bikers may not cause serious accidents directly, but cars that have to swerve or brake hard to avoid them do. So really, by obeying all the laws, us bikers are doing drivers a favor.

        • Evidence-based considerations show that you are incorrect. Many studies have shown that streets are safer *for all users* when bicycling increases. When I say “all users,” that means that car-on-car safety is increased as well. This effect is true regardless of bicycle scofflaws. The mechanism for the effect is believed to be that average automobile drivers are extremely inattentive. By adding bicyclists in to the mix, there are fewer drivers and the remaining drivers are forced to pay better attention.

          The “compensation,” mechanism that you propose seems to actually lead to safer streets.


    • “I rarely see any biker pay attention to any traffic signs or signals. Let alone a cross walk or pedestrian”

      You’ve never watched me bike then. I see cyclists stopping for peds all the time, and stopping at reds. DDOT did a study of the Penn Ave cycle track and found a majority of cyclists obeyed reds. Perhaps you just don’t notice them?

    • Hyperbole does not help your case. The following is on its face obviously false:

      “rarely see any biker pay attention to any traffic signs or signals. Let alone a cross walk or pedestrian”

      What cyclist anywhere is not paying attention to their surroundings?

    • There’s no justice in a system that gives $100 tickets to cyclists for running a stop sign and fines drivers only $400 for killing a cyclist.

  • *Me reading this right now: Yeah! About time we do this for everyone’s safety!

    *Me after getting stopped by the police for biking through a red light: Screw this! Stupid police. Don’t they have better things to do?!

  • As long as this is equally applied to cars, bikes, and pedestrians, I think it’s a great thing.

    • As a pedestrian who lives and works on various points along the 14th Street corridor, I would much rather scarce police resources be focused on the cars rather than “equally.” Yes, all can be annoying, but the safety-risk of rule breaking isn’t equal.

  • I can’t say I’m unhappy about this development. Somehow “sharing the DC roads with cyclists” has become “submitting to cyclists’ entitlement to do as they damn well please.” I’m all for auto-cycle parity and this seems like a good start.

    • Car driver break law hits cyclist -> cyclist injured. Cyclist breaks law, gets hit by car -> cyclist injured. In other words a 200lb person going 12mph on a bicycle will never be “equal” to a 4,000 lb driver in car that can go 100mph, so we need to stop thinking of them as such. Different vehicles require different facilities and different rules. We’ve started the conversation by building a few cycle tracks and allowing cyclists to use ped signals, but the fact remains that cyclists are not and will never be cars, and they need well thought out facilities and rules to accommodate them on the road.

      Sure, enforce some of the existing rules, but keep in mind how little we’ve done to make bicycling safe and efficient and how much we’ve done to make driving fast and efficient. The deck is still largely stacked against safe and comfortable bicycling. If you disagree, try biking down Massachusetts Ave.

      • It’s not about which vehicle is more dangerous when the rules are broken. It’s about breaking the rules = DANGER.
        Safely operating a 4,000 lb relies on 1) predictable traffic, 2) the driver’s ability to react to unexpected change, and 3) the vehicle’s response to the driver.
        If a cyclist unexpectedly cuts in front of my car and I slam on the brakes to avoid hitting him, that cyclist is relying on A LOT that is beyond his control. And if the driver behind me doesn’t react quickly enough, I’m the one who is rear-ended – suffering damage to my vehicle and my person. Plus, the driver behind me who couldn’t even see the cyclist would be at fault.
        Change your thinking about your responsibility for safety and we’ll all be safer.

        • Actually it’s very relevant. This is why so many crimes (assault, robbery, etc.) carry much heavier consequences if the person is armed with a gun or other deadly weapon.

      • It’s the unpredictability of the cyclists that makes them dangerous, not their weight. Standard rules allow you to predict that, for example, vehicle X will stop at the stop sign, vehicle Y will turn because it’s in the turn lane, all vehicles will go the right way on a one-way street, etc. With bikes zooming in and out against all rules or rationality, it makes it impossible for drivers and others to act safely and reasonably around them. Hence the anger, I believe. When you’re startled by some fast-moving object popping up where you don’t expect it, your adrenaline and fear get jacked up because you’re suddenly put in a dangerous situation, both for yourself and those around you.

        • This is why we need laws bikes can and will follow like Idaho stop laws.

          And don’t act like cars behave at all predictably.

        • Also because cyclists, being smaller, lighter, and therefore more agile, are easily overlooked by drivers. Not saying that’s right, but it’s a fact. Having the majority of people behave according to established rules/safety standards will help everyone settle down and reduce accidents.

          • If you’re driving in the city, you should be looking out for cyclists. If a driver “overlooks” a cyclist, then they are not safely operating their vehicle. “Established rules/safety standards” require drivers to be aware of their environment at all times, to look before turning right on red, etc. That is a fact.

        • The anxiety that people driving cars feel around bicyclists actually makes roads safer. Inattentive driving is what causes most accidents in the first place. (http://www.transalt.org/files/news/magazine/043Summer/02provocateur.html)

  • Can we all just agree that pedestrians are at fault here? Drivers and cyclists could get along fine if traffic wasn’t constantly interrupted by people crossing streets!

  • As a cyclist, I support this.

  • Bad boys, bad boys
    whatcha gonna do?
    Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?

  • I wonder if the increased aggression and disdain for bikers is a direct result of the attitude that the laws of the road don’t apply to them.

    • The disdain against bikers comes from not knowing that there’s a bike chapter in the traffic code. If drivers read it, they’d understand most of their complaints are actually legal. Driver disdain is really anger that bikes are faster in the city.

      • No, it’s because bikers act irresponsibly and recklessly. I don’t care if you get there faster, don’t put yourself and others in danger.

      • Speaking for myself (usually a pedestrian) , the disdain comes from getting dived bombed by bikers while legally crossing 17th @ New Hampshire every morning. When there’s a red light for traffic on NH, the vast majority of cyclists going SW on NH glance north to see if cars are coming down 17th and then try to intimidate pedestrians into ceding the right of way. I’m a pretty big guy and I usually look ticked off in the morning so they usually give me a wide berth but I’ve seen everyone from old people to children have packs of cyclists buzzing them. I’m tempted to stick a foot out next time…

  • Now if only MPD could just do better with the drug dealers and gang bangers in the city… Sigh.

    • Imagine if they started conducting their business on bikes. Invincible.

    • Actually, when the police start enforcing cars not stopping for pedestrians, they find a) people with warrants, b) people with no license (and I mean no valid license, not that they don’t have it with them) c) other illegal activity. Turns out people who disobey laws also don’t stop for peds.

  • Props to the Cops!

  • but they don’t wait. for anything. ever.

    • For what it’s worth, I’m a cyclist, and I wait for the vast majority of traffic lights. However, I would say only about 20% of my fellow cyclists also wait and otherwise abide by the rules of the road.

      That said, the same (or worse) is true for drivers (of which I am also one). Far fewer than 20% of drivers stop for pedestrians waiting in crosswalks along New Hampshire or Georgia. Around 20% use their turn signals when changing lanes.

      Acting unsafely in transit is not an issue unique to cyclists or drivers or pedestrians. We all need to abide by the rules of the road and learn to respect the safety of our peers.

      I’m pleased to see this enforcement, but I would like to see more enforcement for all forms of transit city-wide.

    • Ever? Now, I may not be contributing much to the debate myself, but how is claiming EVERY cyclist is ALWAYS WRONG helpful?

    • Goooo fuck yourself

  • I don’t know about you guys but I feel safer already!

  • If a cyclists wants to become a hood ornament, then that’s their decision. It’s the selfish, rudeness of those who ride through red lights and stop signs at the expense of people in all directions — other cyclists, people in the cross walk, and drivers who have to take avoidance action to avoid hitting or injuring said cyclist who dart into the intersection to exercise their God-given right to not lose momentum while riding their bicycle.

    The maturity and traffic experience to make the right decision to treat a stop as a yield or a red light as a stop sign safely is certainly within the grasp of many of us, biker or driver alike. However, not every adult has such maturity, experience or good judgment. A uniform, unambiguous set of laws that apply to all road users is easier, more predictable and safer for all road users. “Experience”, and “Good Judgment” are subjective things that people always think they have more of than they do which is why traffic laws shouldn’t be based on them.

    They should also try this around 11th and Kenyon St in the morning around 8:30am. Constant flow of biker traffic riding south on 11th blowing every single stop light and stop sign along the way, really…not even breaking cadence, which then forces all the cross traffic to jam up, despite when they have the ROW.

    • “The maturity and traffic experience to make the right decision to treat a stop as a yield or a red light as a stop sign safely is certainly within the grasp of many of us, biker or driver alike.”
      Sorry, but I’m tired of drivers treating stop signs and lights as yields, whether there’s any other traffic coming or not. If you’re going to drive a 3000 lb vehicle, follow the traffic signs and lights. I live at an intersection with three-way stop signs and it amazes me how many cars just drive right though, many without even slowing down.

      • Yeah, this. The driver of a car is the one responsible for operating a murderous multi-ton steel deathtrap. When’s the last time a pedestrian collided with a car and the driver died?

        • It almost happened to Travolta in Pulp Fiction. Luckily Zed intervened.

          • That was Bruce Willis (aka Butch) that hit Marcellus Wallace with his girlfriend’s Honda, not Travolta (aka Vincent Vega), who had actually just been killed by Butch before he got back into the Honda and the whole Zed/Spider incident occurred.

          • Well, I suppose if there’s anyone whom a car could hit and suffer the worse damage, it’s probably Ving Rhames.

  • I’d be happy to start on the green light from behind the crosswalk as long as the driver behind me promises not to ride my back tire or swerve around me the second the light turns.

    • Right! If there were better protection for cyclists at intersections they wouldn’t need to get a jump start on the car traffic.

  • The whole “can’t go until the light turns green” is pretty ridiculous if you’re been bike commuting for a while. I always go up to the front of the line (when the cars are parked and waiting- that’s legal), and I get a head start when I see the other lights turn red. Why? Because it is safer to start before the cars start going. A bike takes longer to get momentum going, and I like to get ahead of the cars’ mad dash at the green light. The traffic laws weren’t written perfectly to accomodate the unique needs of a biker. They were written with motorists in mind. Sometimes rules need bending.

    • I completely agree with your statement re: traffic laws.

      As the cycling infrastructure in this city grows, so too should our laws.

    • Is that legal? It wouldn’t be on a motorcycle… So you get to the front of the line and slow it down forcing everyone to pass you and then repeat the process when you do it again at the next light. Awesome.

      • This was my thought. If you acknowledge that you ride slower than the flow of traffic, why not wait at the back of the line so you won’t be passed by a whole line of cars 10 seconds later? Not only for the sake of the flow of traffic, but also your safety.

        Also to note, even in a car I wouldn’t want to start driving right as the other lights go red. I usually wait for pedestrians to step in the crosswalk so they would take the brunt of an impact if a car runs the red light.
        (Absolutely kidding, but I really do wait a second to make sure that all of the cars are actually going to stop.)

        • If you’re on a street without bike lanes, it’s dangerous to ride in the middle of a pack of cars. Getting to the front and taking a lane increased visibility and safety. If a cyclist jumps the light, this allows them to reach their top speed faster, and reduces delays.

          In downtown traffic, btw, the bikes are going to get across town a lot faster than the cars. They’re not slowing you down, it’s the other way around.

          • Thank you- you explained this better than me. If you’re not a city biker, it’s going to be harder for you to understand this.

          • ” They’re not slowing you down, it’s the other way around.” Yep, and that’s how the problem bicyclists act. Cars be damned, I’m going where, how, and when I want irrespective of anyone else’s existence.

      • Yeah, so I’ll take my physical safety over some car driver’s need for complete efficiency, and I’d recommend this method for anyone who is commuting in heavy traffic. With all the stop signs and red lights on my ride into work, my starting ahead of them (and to the right, not the center of the lane!) doesn’t have much impact. If it did, though, I wouldn’t care because like I said, my safety is paramount over cars being able to speed down the street. I’ll take the lane if safety warrants it. This method has worked for the past few years, and I’m not changing it. I consider myself a pretty courteous biker- much better than some I see out there.

      • Yes, DC law specifically allows bicyclists to pass stopped traffic.

      • It is legal to go to the front of the line. Starting before the light turns green is not legal (though, if the cross-light is red, in my mind it’s not a huge issue).
        Though, that raises the question if your real complaint is that the cyclist slows you down (and that’s what it seems to be), don’t you want him to start a little earlier? This practice doesn’t hurt anyone (assuming the cyclist actually waits until the cross-light is red). Often it seems like drivers get pissed about cyclist behavior that doesn’t adversely impact them.

        • No, I don’t want them in front of me going 10 mph instead of 5 because they got a head start at the light. I Want them behind me where they were prior to cutting the line . Try driving on Connecticut Ave in the morning. You end up passing someone multiple times because of this. Not a MD or VA commuter here either.

          • OK, but again, it’s legal for cyclists to “cut the line,” so you’ll have to lobby the DC government for a change. Good luck.

          • It sounds like your mad that your commute is expensive and miserable while theirs is cheap healthy and fun.

          • Got it dcd. Was able to read it the first time you typed it.

          • So you want cyclists to stop behavior that is perfectly permissible under DC law? I hope you don’t spend a lot of time in Amsterdam – you’ll never make it past the windmills.

        • It turns out that starting without a green, but with the crossing sign, is legal, per Michael’s comments above.

    • Just because you’ve justified it in your own head doesn’t make it OK. If you’re not prepared to follow the rules then I hope you don’t expect it of others either – everyone who breaks a rule will likely have some justification for it.

      • Yes but the justification of this will help me not die is a tad stronger than this will get me to my destination a few seconds faster.

        • In truth you have no idea whether it will help you not die, especially if you not dying depends so heavily on the behavior of others. The justification really only helps you feel better about bending the rules.

          • You are wrong it is safer. The only places that have actually thought to make bike specific laws allow these sorts of things.

          • Ride a bicycle in city traffic then get back to me.

          • Also why dc allows you to go when walk signal starts, which is often a couple second head start.

          • Well, Anonymous @11:39, my justification is rooted in bike safety research (I’ve done a lot of it) and years of experience. I don’t want to be rude to you, but I’m not taking a non-city biker’s recommendation or suggestion on how to prevent injury or death because (frankly) you have no idea what you’re talking about. My ‘justification’ doesn’t make me feel better- it keeps me safer- not perfectly safe- but safer. Your comment is akin to a non-pianist telling me how to perform ornaments in Bach’s music or devise better fingering for a Chopin etude. Your opinion is not really helpful or useful.

          • Ha ha, yes, riding a bike is like playing the piano. As both a musician and a cyclist I have to say that you are ridiculous. Like I said, everyone has their justifications, but that doesn’t make it right. If you can’t figure out how to ride a bike (or whatever) safely within the rules then so be it – just do not expect it of others.

          • Anon 11:39. How do you explain the laws allowing this? Another example is the cycle boxes that are between the cars and the crosswalk (I believe an example is 16 and u). These types of thing are do e because studies show it is safer.

          • “Your comment is akin to a non-pianist telling me how to perform ornaments in Bach’s music or devise better fingering for a Chopin etude.”
            To the person who asked in the GRK thread “Is there anything more pretentious than a new Greek restaurant that brags about their authenticity when they’re 3 doors down from a restaurant run by an actual Greek guy?”
            anonymous 12:31 just answered your question.

  • Did this get through?

  • Happy to see enforcement increase against poorly-behaved cyclists, but what about enforcing the rules other road users? Since the beginning of this “safety campaign”, I’ve seen dangerous driving occur more frequently. I’ve been honked/cursed at for cycling outside of the bike lane (blocked by taxis/construction). Just now I passed 2 delivery trucks parked in the L st death-track. I’ve seen cars ignore traffic signals and signs. I’ve been nearly killed for trying to cross (on foot) in an unsignalized pedestrian crossing. And people want to applaud the crackdown on cyclists? Again, I’m glad to see any enforcement, but can’t we focus on the real dangers of the road rather than just kowtow to the complaints of MD/VA commuters?

    • Agreed. There needs to be stepped up enforcement on vehicles blocking the bike lane. It makes it so much more dangerous for us who are trying to abide by the laws and ride safely. Bike lanes are for bikes, that’s it. I was actually going to rant today about runners running in bike lanes. Obviously they don’t take up as much space as a parked truck, but still annoying and potentially dangerous if I come up behind you (because they NEVER run against traffic like you’re supposed to) when cars are coming and I can’t switch lanes. If your feet can’t handle a few uneven bricks, maybe you shouldn’t be running? Or find yourself a track instead.

      • You know, sometimes there are legitimate reasons for cars to be in bike lanes. Parking, for example, requires that a car actually pass through the bike lane t get to the curb. Cyclists have brakes too, loathe though they may be to use them. If something is in front of you momentarily and you can’t switch lanes, just slow down or stop. The same thing cars have to do for bikes.

      • rogue cyclists drive me crazy but I have nothing but hatred for anything parked in the bike lane.

        • The comment was about legal parking against the curb, not parking in the bike lane. But to get to the curb, you have to go THROUGH the bike lane. And sometimes, you might even have to wait a few seconds in the bike lane while a driver is backing up to parallel park, etc. Take a breath, stop your bike for the parking car, and then move on. Just like cars have to do.

        • The comment was about cars legally parking against the curb, not parking in the bike lane. But to get to the curb, they have to go THROUGH the bike lane. And sometimes, bikes might even have to wait a few seconds while a driver is backing up to parallel park, etc. Take a breath, stop your bike for the parking car, and then move on. Just like cars have to do.

          • Sorry, should have been more thorough. Obviously, crossing a bike lane to get into a parking space is fine, just as a car might have to wait behind a car that’s pulling into a space in a more narrow street. I’m referring to inconsiderate, unnecessary use, such as double parking or continuously driving in the lane. I’m all for sharing the road and always stop at red lights, even when I get dumb looks from other cyclists. Bikes shouldn’t get special privileges, but we should be recognized as legitimate users of the roads and laws should reflect our needs and safety, as well as those of drivers and pedestrians.

    • I was honked at for walking across the street in a crosswalk by a car who stopped at the stop sign while I was crossing. I experience cars driving directly at me while I’m in a crosswalk because they can’t be bothered to wait the 10 seconds it takes me to get across the road safely. It’s ridiculous. I wish police would do more in neighborhoods to deter this type of behavior as well as poor cycling behavior.

  • This is ridiculous pandering to the entitled dickbags from the suburbs who drive in the town. The fact is a car is much, much more likely to hard someone than a person on a bike. Before the start ticketing bikers, perhaps they should actually enforce traffic laws on the cars and trucks that actually kill people.

    Nationally, vehicle collisions cause about 4,000 pedestrian deaths annually.
    Pedestrian deaths caused by bikes average at most 1-3 per year.

  • they should start ticketing “cyclists” for riding on the sidewalk downtown as well

    also now is a good time to bring up that DC should pass the Idaho Stop law

    • +1

      People who ride on the sidewalk seems to be the less experienced people who are scared to ride in the street and tend to have about 0 control over their bikes. I have almost been hit multiple times.

  • As an occasional bike commuter from Foxhall Village along the Capitol Crescent trail, through the Georgetown water front and across Foggy Bottom/ GW to near the World Bank, I consistently find the biggest villains are pedestrians. Cars and bikes aren’t perfect, but once cars pass, pedestrians start crossing with the DON’T WALK signal, as if bikes are invisible. Esp. around the GW campus. Respect, folks!

    • I’ve often wondered what it is about the area around GW that makes it one of the worst in terms of rude pedestrians illegally crossing against do not walk signs. It’s not just the students, its everybody around there.

      • Here’s my guess: people walking around that area are mostly walking fairly short distances from place to place. A 3-5 minute walk (based on distance alone) can easily become a 5-8 minute walk if you stop and wait at all the signals. And I would say that many people are far too impatient (or important) to spend twice as long walking than they think they have to.

  • Bravo MPD.

    Thank you for the enforcement. Keep it up.

    Ticket cyclists, drivers and pedestrians when laws are broken.

  • How exactly do they ticket you? Last I checked, you don’t necessarily need an ID to bike and bikes have no tags to identify them.

  • I wonder how many drivers commented on this post while stopped at a light from their phone…

    Driver’s want the rules followed then you follow them as well. How about when making a left at a light. Are you gonna go when the light turns red? is the car behind that one gonna try to squeeze in too. There are simple little things a smart biker is going to do. DC needs to address the bike laws if they are going to keep putting in all the bike lanes. Then yes I will be there right in line to ticket the dumb bikers.

  • The should set up a sting in the PA Ave Bike Lanes. DDOT set up cameras a year ago and were admittedly shocked in their own report that a full 42% of cyclists using the PA Ave bike lanes were blowing their redlights.

  • I understand the complaints against bikers in busy intersections, but if there are no cars or pedestrians around, what is the big deal? It’s no different than a pedestrian crossing the street when they don’t have a walk signal. I have been riding in the city for years “blowing” red lights and the only close encounters I have had with pedestrians is when they are jaywalking and come out from between a couple of parked cars without looking. I have no problem with jaywalking either, just simply look before you cross….. to be honest, if all people (drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians) pick their head up and look, there would be significantly less accidents.

  • GiantSquid

    I think we can all agree: there are cyclists that don’t obey the law. There are drivers of cars that don’t obey the law. There are pedestrians that don’t obey the law. None of these groups are in the right. Drivers need to realize that they’re in a steel object, sometimes 2 tons or more, that can cause a lot of damage and kill people. Especially people not in other vehicles. That carries a lot of responsibility and a big part of that is being aware of all the other things out on and near the road. Cars, cyclist,s and pedestrians should be as obvious and predictable as possible. Cyclists are allowed to “cut to the front of the line” at lights because it makes them more visible. You cannot block the crosswalk when pulling up front, just like cars can’t block the crosswalk. They can legally, in DC, start crossing the intersection when the walk signal turns white. They can legally, in all of DC except the business district, bike on the sidewalks. Sure, there will be those cyclists that run lights, bike too fast around pedestrians on sidewalks, and are generally assholes that salmon, pass on the right, shoal, race, etc. but they do not represent all cyclists.

  • Keep ’em off the sidewalk, too!!!!!

  • 4 blown stop signs ($100 fine each) equals a driver killing a cyclist ($400 fine, no other penalty). That’s why this is bs.

  • These commenters — are you all for real? Sure, cyclists are dicks, often. But if we’re going to talk about people routinely breaking the law in dangerous ways, we have to be talking about car drivers. Speeding people. Cars speed routinely everywhere all the time. Law breaking by speeding is far more widespread on roads than cyclists doing whatever.

    • “we have to be talking about car drivers.”
      Don’t worry, there’s plenty of that around here too. Quite a bit on this very page, in fact. If you mean that we have to be talking *only* about car drivers, then you may be in the wrong place.

    • Exactly. Thanks to the laws of physics, the odds of pedestrian fatality pretty much double for every 10 MPH. That’s a rule of thumb, but the risk of serious injury or fatality jumps significantly even at speeds lower than 20 MPH.

      Cars have been the #1 cause of accidental death in the US. Thankfully, that stat is decreasing due to technology and engineering, but there’s no crumple zone or restraint system that can protect someone outside the car.

    • “Sure, cyclists are dicks, often.”

      There you go youngster. Be dicks and then act surprised when you get no sympathy.

      Share the roads. Follow the laws. You are not exempt.

  • The point is that whoever gets hurt and whatever gets damaged, we all need to do our best to protect ourselves and others. To drivers who are angry about pedestrians or bikes ignoring lights and jumping out, slow down so that you can reduce the chances of you getting in trouble for a collision that they may or may not have had a part in. For pedestrians or bikers, get off your phone and pay attention to the movement of vehicles around you and stop ignoring traffic lights/signs so that you yourself don’t get hit.

    As a pedestrian, I never look down at my phone while walking because I’m extra careful about idiot drivers- who knows what I might dodge while I’m aware. As a driver, I’m always looking out for the idiot pedestrian or biker who will jump out from nowhere even while I’m driving slowly. Bottom line is, as a pedestrian, I look after my life by following traffic signs and staying aware and attentive, and as a driver, I look out for pedestrians and bikers so that I don’t end up liable for something that I may or may not have had a hand in. It’s really that simple. Pay attention and be courteous, and stop painting groups of people with one brush. You don’t have an excuse to be an ass just because someone else is.

    • Thank you for being a voice of reason. As a driver, cyclist and pedestrian, I feel exactly the same way.

  • Better start giving tickets to pedestrians who jay walk all the time recklessly too.

  • IMO what they really should be ticketing are bikers that don’t wear helmets. Fines do exist for drivers that don’t buckle up. If you can’t take the 30 seconds to strap a life-saving device to your head, you shouldn’t be trusted to mix with the general public.

    As a “safe” driver (pay attention to traffic laws and those around me, have gone through defensive/offensive driving programs, etc.) I’ve got to say that the blame does NOT rest with just one group of people. It’s a lack of respect on everyone’s part. Pedestrians straight up don’t care about who they are inconveniencing when they mosey across the road when they don’t have ROW. Drivers don’t seem to care that blocking the box/crosswalk/bike lanes really just adds to the mess that forces people to get angry and straight driving erratically, and bikers do tend to believe that agility equals less personal responsibility. I think the real solution is promoting a culture of transit respect across all modes of transportation. I realize this is a pipedream, but it would be nice for people to just take an extra 30 seconds to allow traffic to flow the way it is supposed to.

    • It seems crazy to me to not wear a helmet (I always do), but choosing to do so is totally legal in DC for adults, so it would be rather silly to ticket them…

      • Yup. Helmet laws are a catch-22 because of the safety in numbers effect. There are enough silly people in the world who find wearing a helmet to be too much of a burden and who therefore stop bicycling. When that happens, streets become less safe for all bicyclists because drivers become less attentive to bicycles.

  • I just wish they’d bring back stepped up enforcement for cell phone use. Nearly every time I see a driver doing something stupid … there’s the cell phone, texting away. I see some cyclists doing this too (how stupid can you be?), so maybe stepping up enforcement here would make everyone happy.

  • I agree with everyone who has said it’s time for an Idaho stop law in DC. There’s no reason that cyclists should have to wait at a red light with no cars passing, or to come to a complete stop at an intersection with a stop sign but no other vehicles waiting to pass. Treat stop signs as yield signs and stop lights as stop signs.

  • as a biker in dc for 12 years, yes, please ticket people who behave badly on bikes. i yell at fellow bikers pretty regularly for doing dangerous, stupid things.

    but drivers should not complain about splitting the lane and other perfectly legal things bikes do. the difference between blowing stop signs on 5th nw or kansas between bikes and cars is negligible.

    pedestrians on 15th between k and rhode island, please don’t cut through the parked cars and across the bike lanes. every morning i go down that stretch super slow to be careful and at least once a week i have a close call with someone on their phone cutting through with their heads down.

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