From a WABA release
On October 21st, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) finally met with representatives of the DC Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) to raise concerns over the perceived lack of protection for cyclists and pedestrians on DC streets. The meeting, which was highly productive, was also attended by staff from the DC Department of Transportation (DDOT) and the DC Council.
In addition to highlighting the growing safety concerns of cyclists WABA also cited several recent examples where MPD either failed to enforce the law or enforced it incorrectly. During the meeting it was clear that MPD recognized our concerns and appeared willing to work with WABA and DDOT on making changes that would improve the safety of the roadways most vulnerable users and take additional steps to improve the training of MPD officers on bike and pedestrian laws.
As a result of the meeting, WABA, DDOT and MPD agreed to do the following:
- WABA and DDOT will create power point slides to be shown during police roll calls on areas where clarification of District law is needed. Other slides identifying high bike/ped crash areas will also be shown.
- MPD will expand distribution of WABA's Pocket Guide to DC Bike Laws to MPD officers;
- MPD will designate a point person on bike issues that will regularly attend DC Bicycle Advisory Council meetings;
- MPD will coordinate better with DDOT on the upcoming Street Smarts enforcement campaign and improve training of officers working the program;
- MPD will work with WABA on enforcement stings of the bus and bike lanes in Chinatown and will conduct occasional bike lane double parking ticketing waves;
- WABA, DDOT and MPD will explore creating a police training video on bike and ped laws;
- WABA will work with MPD on collecting unreported crash data and other complaints that will be passed along to the Traffic Safety Branch;
- WABA, DDOT, MPD, and Council staff will coordinate efforts to identify high traffic safety complaint areas;
- WABA, DDOT and MPD will examine the DC Driver Training Manual's questions on bike and peds to see if they can be improved;
During the meeting WABA also handed out a draft Memorandum of Understanding between WABA, DDOT and MPD that would formally acknowledge each groups' role in traffic safety and outline steps each would take to improve bike and ped safety. While this MOU certainly could not have been signed at the meeting, MPD agreed to pass it up the chain of command for consideration. For a copy of the MOU please click here.
Overall it was a very positive and successful meeting and more than we could have hoped for. This is a very good starting point for greater coordination between WABA, DDOT and MPD and for safer streets for everyone. Thank you all for your valuable input.
UPDATE: Here's GGW on this. It does sound like, from this and other things I heard, that it was a productive meeting. MPD recognized the concerns WABA was expressing and seems genuinely willing to work with WABA and DDOT on making positive changes. They noted that more people ar biking and they recognize that the city wants to encourage this.