The Chainlink

DC Proposal Would Be a Huge Change (For The Better) In Protecting People on Bikes

Activism works. Just a week after D.C. residents took to the streets to protest the death of a local cyclist, a new measure is before City Council that would require the construction of protected bike lanes, ban right turn on red and even allow bicyclists to help enforce rules against parking in the bike lane.

Just as the Massachusetts city of Cambridge did, the D.C. legislation would require the Department of Transportation to construct protected bike lanes anytime those streets need to be repaired — if those streets have already been identified as needing them. This would help avoid problems like where the city dragged its feet for two years on the construction of a bike lane through the Shaw neighborhood.

This revolutionary part of the bill would establish a Citizen Safety Enforcement Pilot Program, housed in the Department of Public Works. Specially trained regular residents would be given access to an app that lets them snap photos of vehicles parked in bike lanes, bus lanes or in crosswalks. The drivers who were caught with the violation would then receive a ticket.

If DC passes this proposal, I would hope other cities adopt similar changes like the ones outlined in this article. This could be such a game changer for our safety, riding in big cities.

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The Citizen Safety Enforcement Pilot Program sounds awesome. I wish we could get that here in Chicago.

I hope Cambridge and now DC (hopefully) set off a change that will translate to other cities and areas. We need a huge culture shift. I love that they included cyclists in enforcement. I think Bike Lane Uprising has made such a huge impact with her data (it's in DC too). I hope DC uses what she created rather than trying to invent something new. 

Do you know any details about the program? Will it require the specially trained folks to appear in court when the tickets are inevitably challenged? That's one reason police don't issue the tickets themselves, as they don't want to show up in court.

I don't know the specifics of the proposal. I believe the citizen is required to provide photos (proof).

btw, side note... I am in the photo (I can see me and my bike). I was wearing a yellow cap and my bike is the bright blue focus. :-) That was the most organized and effective protest I've ever participated in - on Pennsylvania Avenue, outside of the mayor's office in conjunction with the Red Cup Project.


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