In October, Councilmember Jim Graham, chair of the DC Council's Public Works and Environment Committee, introduced Bill 17-981, the Bicycle Safety Enhancement Act of 2008. The recommendations contained within the bill are mainly a response to the death of local cyclist Alice Swanson earlier this year. Following Ms. Swanson death, WABA developed a list of recommendations to help better protect cyclists from heavy vehicles and many of WABA's recommendations are containing in the bill. The Bicycle Safety Enhancement Act includes the following:
1) A requirement that blind spot mirrors be installed on all DC owned heavy duty vehicles
2) New bicyclist and pedestrian awareness training for DC heavy vehicle operators
3) A new law requiring that motorists give three feet of space when passing cyclists
4) A fine for the use of restricted lanes (bus/bike lanes or bike lanes) by unauthorized vehicles
What You Can Do to Help:
A hearing on the legislation has been scheduled for Friday, November 14th at 2pm. WABA urges you to contact the DC Council to express your support for the Bicycle Safety Enhancement Act. We have provided a sample letter for you to send to the Council, but please remember that personal messages are much more effective. If you'd like to testify in person at the Council hearing, please contact Maria Angelica Puig-Monsen at 202-724-8195 or email email@example.com by November 12th. Written statements of support for the bill can also be sent to Ms. Puig-Monsen's email address.
Photo by BikePortland.org