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If I were a betting man, I'd wager that Mr. Letter Writer is a 23 year old Republican Hill intern/dudebro from Nebraska.

"D.C. Dept. of Transportation should reverse course by widening roads"

Brilliant! Just widen the roads! I'm sure DDOT shouldn't have any problem leveling buildings and houses, and removing all street parking in order to get a couple extra lanes.

Indeed, the sole purpose of the DDOT should apparently be to allow drivers from elsewhere to spend as little time as possible here.

"Everytime I hear the term "breathing room" I think of "lebensraum", but I didn't want to title the post that."


Really, I do not see problems with it.

@MM - Mr. Letter Writer is a big fan of using Thomas Circle as a rollerblade track, it seems - http://www.bestletterstotheeditors.com/latest-letters/item/849-dcs-most-powerful-special-interest-group-cyclists?tmpl=component&print=1

Crickey7: you forgot that DDOT is also supposed to provide all traffic, parking, and other services for free. Metered parking and fines for speeding violate the Constitution.

It's great to see more cyclists on the streets of D.C. It's a sea change brought about by more bike lanes, bikeshare, etc. But the more mainstream cycling becomes, the more cyclists will have to obey the law. You just can't have 10% of our vehicles ignoring crosswalks.

Jack: I completely agree that you can't have 10% of our vehicles ignoring crosswalks.

While driving home yesterday, I stopped at a crosswalk on Conneticut Ave in DC to let a woman cross. She was standing in the median. 50< cars went around me at speed before she was able to cross, and that was only because of a break in the traffic. Yes, I completely agree that you can't have vehicles ignoring crosswalks.

I recall reading about a study that MPD did about drivers at unsignalized crosswalks. The first phase was observation, and they found that 90% of drivers did not stop for pedestrians. Then they started pulling people over, and they found that 75% of drivers said they didn't know they were supposed to stop.

That means that among the 25% who know they are supposed to stop (or admit it), 60% don't stop anyway.

So yeah, we can't have 10% not stopping at crosswalks, it just messes up the other 90%.

"Cyclists will have to obey the law"? I thought that motorists were our role models!

I like the way motorists are always talking about how cyclist behavior will have dire consequences if things don't change. It's weird that the data from the last hundred years of essentially the same behaviors haven't shown those consequences. Maybe we should focus on those things the data actually show to be dangerous? (Cars speeding would be number one.) That's probably too much to ask of an angry person who doesn't believe in science.

Jack, why is it such a problem for a cyclist to break a traffic law (which they do), but it isn't a problem when car and truck drivers break traffic laws or act aggressively on the streets?

I'd estimate that at about 1/3 to 1/2 of every intersection I approach as a pedestrian in D.C., a car driver will speed through the red light or block the box. So many car drivers continue to think that they have a constitutional right to blow through an intersection, no matter what color light is displayed. As long as they saw a yellow light within the last 20 seconds, they can continue on, even when the light changes to red 5 seconds before they even reach the intersection.

I see car and truck drivers try to force pedestrians out of crosswalks, even when the pedestrians have the WALK signal and the pedestrians were there first.

Many drivers continue to text and drive, often without bothering to look for oncoming traffic. They will pull out of parking garages, parking lots and parking spaces without looking for other cars, cyclists or pedestrians in the street or sidewalk. Every time I witness another of these incidents, I immediately look to see if the driver is on a cellphone or texting. In the vast majority of cases I've seen, that is exactly what's going on.

Do many cyclists also break traffic laws? Sure they do, and I don't excuse them. But when so many car drivers break laws every single day, it's nonsensical to go on about "scofflaw cyclists" when there continue to be speeding, aggressive and distracted drivers all over the D.C. metro area.

I wish that all road users would follow safe practices. When I see a cyclist going the wrong way on a street, I will point it out to him. It's more difficult to say anything to a speeding driver because they won't hear me, and they are long gone before I would even have a chance to shout out anything.

The fact also remains that the group that continues to be waging some kind of war on American streets is car drivers (and truck drivers). Each year, anywhere from 32,000 to 36,000 Americans are killed in traffic incidents, unintentionally or intentionally. The vast majority of those deaths are caused by drivers.

(Pollution and lack of exercise from a car-dependent lifestyle are separate issues, but important ones too.)

*1/3 to 1/2 of all the intersections...

I do not see problems with it.

I didn't want to compare the desire of cyclists to have a little safe space on the road to Hitler's desire for land that the German people could expand into.

Michael H, you are 100% correct. It's terrible out there. Pedestrians are put at risk, especially in urban areas, by driver behavior I see constantly: running red lights, turning right on red without stopping, turning across crosswalks when peds are trying to cross, turning right while only looking left, not giving crosswalk users enough clearance, completely ignoring mid-block crosswalks, stopping on top of crosswalks, and on and on. I've scolded drivers for most of these behaviors at one time or another (though I'm learning more self-control). That's not even getting into all the reckless things drivers do that endanger bicyclists.

Sometimes people will ask me why I don't stop completely at every stop sign on my bike. I tell them I'm doing something called a "car stop". To a driver, slowing down from 30 mph to 5 mph at a stop sign might seem like a stop. It's not.

Don't get the wrong idea if I point out something that we as cyclists can do to make the streets safer for pedestrians. There's always room for improvement. But if every car were replaced by a bike in this country, pedestrian fatalities would drop 99%.

Cyclists should show pedestrians the courtesy we wish drivers would show pedestrians, not the courtesy drivers actually show.

I have no problem with Jack emphasizing on this blog what cyclists need to do because this is blog is read by cyclists. Jack has done as much as anyone here to ensure creation of a cycling infrastructure.

Jim T and Jack, I completely agree that cyclists should be better than motorists, especially since we have most to gain from heightened courtesy. Honestly, I don't think I would have known that I should have stopped for peds unless I read this blog and GGW.

Jack's right. We're better than that.

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