Sunday, June 26, 2005

DC cracks down.

This comes from a list serv in DC.

Apparently the DC police are going to find more ways to harass cyclists. I think Chief Ramsey who has always been an enemy to demonstrators, is just mad cause he had his car stolen.

Although I am very against blaming the victim, I do realize that pedestrians and cyclists are prone to acting in unsafe ways on the streets.

But will this enforcement be balanced? This is the age old question. Did the bike rider die because he was acting irresponsible or did it have something to do with the vehicle double parked in the bike lane? Does the number of pedestrians and cyclists killed per year need to predicate an investigation of motor vehicle traffic and the willingness of a metro area to accomadate more cyclists.

Either way, something is being done in DC. In New York City, well...just blame the victim. 2 people have been killed on bicycles on Houston St. this year. This is one half of 2004 total number of reported cyclists killed in a year in DC. When you talk to residents of Manhattan who live near Houston Street they paint a picture of a dangerous avenue, one which they have know about for more than 10 years. Nothing is done.


MPD, DDOT Step Up Enforcement of Pedestrian Safety Laws;
Motorists, pedestrian and bicyclists targeted during new enforcement effort

In a renewed effort to enhance pedestrian safety in the District of
Columbia, the Metropolitan Police Department and the District Department of
Transportation over the next few weeks will be stepping up enforcement of
traffic laws that pertain to pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists.

"We want to send a strong message that failing to stop for pedestrians in
crosswalks will not be tolerated," said Chief of Police Charles H. Ramsey.
"Motorists need to understand that only a moment of inattention or
distraction can take a pedestrian's life," he said.

The MPD has received funding from DDOT to support overtime operations
designed to combat pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities and injuries. Each
year in the District, pedestrians account for an average of 14 fatalities
and nearly 800 injuries. Eight pedestrians have been killed so far this
year, and while no bicyclists have died on DC streets this year, four were
killed in 2004, an all-time high.

The program, which will focus on speeding and aggressive drivers, is
designed to alert motorists to the role they play in pedestrian safety. No
less important, police will also be on the lookout for risky and illegal
pedestrian behaviors, such as crossing against signals and disrupting the
flow of traffic. Bicyclists who run red lights, ride the wrong way on the
street, or ride on downtown sidewalks will also be targeted. Police will
focus on intersections with a history of pedestrian and bicycle crashes
throughout the city.

"Pedestrians need to remember a few of the rules they were taught in
sharing the road with cars means they must use crosswalks, obey signals,
take the time to cross safely," said Chief Ramsey.

This enforcement wave complements the regional Street Smart initiative, a
$350,000 advertising campaign to raise awareness of pedestrian and bicycle
safety. Street Smart ads are running in local newspapers, on radio, and on

The enforcement effort is the first since the District amended its
pedestrian safety law to require drivers to stop, not simply yield, to
pedestrians in crosswalks where there are no traffic signals. The MPD
pedestrian safety enforcement effort will be repeated in several waves
throughout the year.

News media representatives who are interested in covering an enforcement
operation should contact Capt. Patrick Burke at (202) 437-7984.
Bill Rice
Spokesperson, Dist. Department of Transportation


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