ANALYSIS / OPINION:
Getting motorists to slow down is a challenge that DC Mayor Muriel Bowser has willingly accepted as a legacy without much push from the bike lobby.
In fact, generally speaking, the bike lobby gets away with it because former mayor Adrian Fenty, a cyclist and triathlete, opened the door wide.
He and Miss Bowser wink when the directors of the Department of Transportation, the Department of Energy and Environment, and the Department of Motor Vehicles pretty much do what they please to please those who support alternatives to driving.
Miss Bowser marked the bike lobby card on June 1, 2020, announcing her administration’s intention to lower the city’s default speed limit from 25 mph to 20 mph.
The city also created the “Slow Streets” initiative on behalf of cyclists who advocated for additional and wider bike lanes for social distancing protocols.
The Bowser administration is back. This time around, the mayor rightly flanks her new anti-motorist initiative with public safety programs, but still leaves the bike lobby in a position to give approval to bike pardons.
As the mayor explained Tuesday in her anti-motorist ad: “Work to make our roads and sidewalks safer is urgent. In addition to speeding up safety improvement projects across the city, residents deserve a faster process to address dangerous conditions on our roads and sidewalks. We can and will do it faster, and implementing a simplified and less bureaucratic process is the first step to make that happen. “
The mayor plans to target 100 intersections that are part of the “city corridors with many accidents and injuries,” which means that these “corridors” are hardly bike, bus and scooter-free zones.
Slower driving tactics, including lower speed limits, include installing speed bumps, stop signs, right turn restrictions, and longer pedestrian intervals.
Interestingly, transportation director Everett Lott struck out at motorists saying, “We are increasing workloads and streamlining processes to finish our safety improvement projects faster, and we are also doing everything we can to deter reckless driver behavior. driver that makes these senseless tragedies begin. ” with.”
Hmm. Mr. Lott knows best. He knows that not all motor vehicle accidents are caused by reckless or even deliberate driver behavior. Some motorists lose control of their vehicles due to illness.
And not to blame cyclists, but do they ever cause public safety problems or break the law?
Do cyclists, for example, ride their bikes while using their cell phones?
Pedaling at a red light? On the sidewalk? Does it obstruct pedestrian traffic?
This may sound miniscule, too, but think about this for a moment: DC vehicle owners directly contribute hundreds of dollars a year to the city’s economy just to own their car, park their car, and buy gas. The city does not legislate bicycles in a similar way.
The bike lobby has developed a great boot print in the nation’s capital and shows no signs of shrinking. But public policy needs to buckle up and stop doing everything possible for adults who ride bikes just because, well, they ride bikes.
If the City Council is not careful, the bike lobby will prevent you from teaching your child or grandchild to ride a bike.
Correct. The DC Bike Lobby already does.
• Deborah Simmons can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.