A new bill introduced by DC Councilmember Mary Cheh should make cycling easier for DC employees and safer for all.
The Employee Transportation Act of 2012 includes a few provisions of interests to cyclists.
It requires the Mayor to issue a comprehensive plan, termed the Fleet Management Strategy, once a year. This plan would, among other things, certify compliance with the vehicle fleet requirements of section 2 of the Bicycle Safety Enhancement Amendment Act of 2008. That section reads
Sec. 2. Bicycle safety enhancements for District-owned, heavy-duty vehicles.
(a) The Mayor shall:
(1) Equip all District-owned, heavy-duty vehicles with the following:
(A) Blind-spot mirrors;
(B) Reflective blind-spot warning stickers; and
(C) Side-underrun guards to prevent bicyclists, other vehicles, or pedestrians from sliding under rear wheels.
(2) Require that operators of District-owned, heavy-duty vehicles receive bicycle and pedestrian safety training from a curriculum and instructors that are approved by the District Department of Transportation
Currently everything in that law is being complied with except for the side-underrun guards mentioned in part C. Adding those was estimated to cost $2.9 million in 2008, but the money was never allocated. Perhaps that would be a good use of traffic camera revenue - as it would protect both pedestrians and cyclists. The District is probably at great risk of liability since they have the law on the books, but have never implemented it. A jury probably wouldn't look too kindly on the "Yeah, we knew it was dangerous, but fixing it was too expensive" argument.
It also calls on the Director of Public Works to promote the use of bikeshare for work related travel, and it limits the purchase of new vehicles if the trips they would accommodate can be accommodated by bikeshare or transit.
And finally it calls on both the Mayor and the Secretary to the Council of the District of Columbia to report, separately, by the end of the year "Whether the use of alternative transportation, such as WMATA services, Circulator, Capital Bikeshare, and taxicabs by District government employees for work-related business could be increased and, if so, how."
By helping DC employees to use CaBi as part of their work duties, they could increase the pool of cyclists in DC (and maybe save some money), And if side underrun guards are finally added to all DC heavy-duty trucks, that would make the roads safer for all cyclists, pedestrians, motorcyclists and scooter riders. This is a law that cyclists should support.