Georgia and Kansas Intersection Remains Troubled – Another Car-Bicycle Collision this Morning

kansas-georgia
via google maps

A reader reports:

“Looked like a bike-car collision on southbound Kansas Avenue at the Kansas-Georgia ave intersection (there are bike lanes on Kansas in that area). Couldn’t see how bad the situation was, several police cars and a fire truck on the scene around 9AM. Not sure what happened in this situation, but from experience:

1) cars coming from Varnum St (either crossing Kansas to continue on Varnum, or turning onto Georgia) when cars on Kansas are bumper-to-bumper fail to notice that the bike lanes keep moving, and

2) cars heading south on Kansas and planning to make a right onto Upshur after they cross Georgia will often encroach onto the bike lanes in anticipation of the upcoming turn.”

16 Comment

  • I’d add to the above that southbound traffic on Georgia was bumper to bumper when I drove it shortly before 9 am, with many cars going into the intersection & just staying there through the red light cycle. Gridlock leads to driver frustration, which can lead to lapses in judgment/awareness.

  • Another reason why we need protected bike lanes built from concrete barriers to discourage drivers swerving into them every second. We should get rid of the street parking on Georgia ave. Georgia ave is a total cluster – [email protected] both up north and farther south. People just swerving around double-parked cars, people doing illegal u-turns, & just general reckless driving everywhere.

  • I live on this stretch of Kansas and would like to point out that cyclists do not stop at the red octagonal signs at Kansas / Webster, and often at the red light on Georgia. Overall I don’t have a problem with it, the cyclists are rather conscious of their surroundings, but it is a decent hill and cyclists can build up speed coming down to GA Ave.

    • Just want to point out that cyclists are allowed to cross Georgia on a red light PROVIDED the cross-walk is also allowing pedestrians to cross Georgia; it’s called the Leading Pedestrian Interval (LPI) and it’s totally legal and awesome. https://beta.code.dccouncil.us/dc/council/code/sections/50-2201.04d.html

      • You’re badly misinterpetring the code. It allows cyclists to cross with the pedestrian signal “unless otherwise directed by traffic signs or traffic control devices” (aka a red light). A leading pedestrian interval only means that pedestrians get a head start with a walk signal prior to the light turning green for vehicle traffic in the same direction. The intent is to prevent vehicles from making right- or left-hand turns into pedestrians. The notion that cyclists have a free pass to go through red lights is a complete fiction.

        • And you clearly have not biked down Kansas. At this intersection, the pedestrian signal remains activated for nearly 20 seconds AFTER the red light goes on for cars (blinking red hand + countdown clock).

          So, yup – totally correct that cyclists don’t have a free pass to go through red lights… but irrelevant in context, because the traffic signals at this particular location provide plenty of time for bikes to cross the intersection consistent with pedestrian signals (and thus the DC Code) while cars can’t go.

        • James, you are the one failing to understand the code. The traffic control or signage referred to is not a general red light, which is at almost every pedestrian signal and would thus render the law pointless. The code is referring to bicycle specific lights or signs. Bikes can cross with pedestrian signal regardless of a red light unless a traffic control device or sign indicates that bicycles follow different rules than the pedestrian signal.

  • I don’t know why there aren’t constant sweeps by parking enforcement along GA, 16th, etc during rush hour to scoop up all the idiots who feel they’re entitled to block a lane for their own convenience.

  • I bike this intersection every day and it can be hairy. Hope all are ok. To point 2 – drivers of cars *should* merge to the right when preparing to turn as long as the path is free of bicycles. This goes for any turn that crosses a bike lane – just as you would move from a lefthand vehicle lane to a righthand vehicle lane to turn right – you don’t turn right form the lefthand lane (ok, maybe in DC….).

    Check for cyclists, then merge into the bike lane & make the turn. Safer for everyone, saves frustration for we cyclists who are unsure if you are waiting for us or if you’re about to make a turn across the lane.

    • All true, but I think the point that was being made by OP is that cars encroach the bike lane before reaching *Georgia* when they’re not actually turning until they get to *Upshur*. In other words, they’re moving into the bike lane a block early, which I don’t believe is the recommended practice.

      • Exactly… if cars are backed up in the southbound lane, a driver planning to make a right AFTER crossing Georgia will sometimes veer right and drive in the bike lane in the block BEFORE the intersection with Georgia… skip a few cars and be positioned for the turn onto Upshur.

        This is really dangerous because during rush hour the bikes are moving much faster than cars – downhill to boot – and may not be able to stop if a driver unpredictably (usually no signal) and illegally occupies the bike lane a full block before the car would turn.

  • Not directly bike-related, but 3. Cars traveling southbound on Kansas ignore the no-left-turns sign and take lefts onto Georgia, making the intersection that much less predictable.

  • Was this intersection addressed by the recent East-West Transportation Study? For them to ignore this intersection borderline malpractice. I agree DC needs to do a better job ticketing people who double parking or blocking the intersection.

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