At the DC Bicycle Advisory Council meeting last night, MPD representatives reported that the police officer who cited the cyclist struck and injured last week at 11th and U, says that she did interview him prior to ticketing him. She said that he admitted to running the red light and that he was informed that he would be cited. The injured cyclist is currently unavailable, but when he is again, they plan to interview him again.
The citation for "no helmet" was obviously a mistake, and should never have been approved by the Sergeant, so that one will be dismissed. The MPD representative added that giving two very similar tickets, for running a red light and failure to yield seems unnecessary. A statement was sent to the force about that, as well as a reminder about where information on bike laws can be found.
In other actions,
The Safety, Education and Enforcement committee reported on an upcoming curriculum update to taxi driver training/certification. Those who are putting together the new curriculum (at UDC I think) have been in touch with DDOT and WABA about adding training related to cycling. This is a move that the BAC supports. At their next meeting they plan to review current and past police report forms, and how those forms treat cyclists.
The MPD representatives talked about other issues. They plan to update the share the road brochure to make it more practical and stronger. They would like it to discuss common crash types in DC and how to avoid them. They would also like the officer training to have more video examples of common crash situations. Chief Lanier is interested in more frequent on-duty traffic enforcement, with it increasing from quarterly to monthly, and for that enforcement to be better. During complete streets they plan to have bike officers enforce bike laws, and they will target laws that WABA has identified as safety issue. This will including riding the wrong way, endangering pedestrians and running red lights. WABA has also identified some laws for enforcement on drivers such as unsafe passing distance. The recommended locations for enforcement are:
New York Ave. & Florida Ave. NE
K St. & North Capitol
Rhode Island Ave. & Florida Ave. NW
14th St. between Pennsylvania Ave. & V St. NW
14th St. between Girard St. & Lamont St. NW
15th St. cycle track
Pennsylvania Ave. cycle track
K St. between 29th St. & Wisconsin Ave. NW
East Capitol around Lincoln Park
16th St. between Columbia Rd. & Arkansas Ave. NW
The Facilities committee has sent letters to the Mayor about funding the parking called for in the report created as part of the Commuter Act, and on designating someone to maintain facilities. And they sent a letter to DDOT Director Bellamy on improving riding conditions EOTR. They submitted comments on the 14th street bridge draft EIS, supporting the three areas that were identified for future study. It was noted that the budget currently includes money for a multi-modal transportation plan, but that an updated bike plan would also be needed. Their next meeting will be a ride on Rhode Island Avenue, which is - according to a survey from 2005 - the most used bike route in DC that neither has bike lanes or has any planned in the bike plan. They discussed how to get bike lanes and traffic calming on the road and this may be something that could be addressed during streetcar planning.
The Legislative committee updated the BAC on their discussions dealing with bike definitions. While there is no question about what is and is not a bike, it gets much more difficult to distinguish between PMDs, electric bikes and motorized bicycles. This matters when deciding who may ride where, who may park where and what obligations owners have. While the committee first agreed that an electric bike is a PMD and thus free to use trails and to be operated without being registered, inspected or used by a licensed and insured operator; a DMV pamphlet seems to include them with "motorized bicycles" which would make that untrue.
The committee supports allowing motorized bikes to use bike racks (and thus adding more bike racks as needed) and treating electric bikes as PMDs, but they'd like to get motorized bicycles out of the bike lanes. But drawing lines between these various items is complicated and confusing (what distinguishes one from the other?). Because of this, and because there have been few concerns raised about these issues, the committee decided to table the issue until the lack of clear definition becomes a problem. MPD added that they were unaware of any ticketing on these issues and expressed their opinion that enforcement of these categories was very difficult in the field.
Finally the BAC supported adding "Look for Bikes when exiting taxi" signs to DC taxis.
Also, the meeting started with a presentation from the Alliance for Walking and Biking. I won't recap the whole thing, but I'll note this factoid. Currently Colorado has the lowest level of obesity among states. But, at currently levels, they would have been the most obese as recently as 1990.