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Looks great, but I would recommend getting rid of that last bit of railing between the bottom of the stairs an the path. That's a real hazard as bicyclists could catch their handlebars on it as they rode by.

I hope its just an oversight in the drawing, but there should really be a bike channel on that staircase: http://www.sfbike.org/email_templates/20070424_bart.jpg

Eric said the same thing at the meeting. I wasn't there so I don't know what the response was.

I'm still trying to figure out what they mean by mandatory turn lanes at 27th and K. I ride through that intersection a lot and I'm not sure what that means.

Here is a link to the google photo of the intersection: http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=107085480100734680175.000455efb9bda0d1d5f98&ll=38.902495,-77.055968&spn=0,359.997275&z=19&lci=lmc:panoramio&layer=c&cbll=38.902483,-77.056218&panoid=58pMWCItrh-C-DzcDqQZCw&cbp=12,316.00477831610726,,0,5

Tort reform is long overdue, both in general and specifically for cyclists.

DC currently uses the doctrine of "contributory negligence." What this means is that a plaintiff cannot recover he contributed in any way -- however small -- to his own loss. So if the court finds that a loss was 99% the other guy's fault, 1% yours, you're out of luck.

This is bad news for cyclists, because the DC Court of Appeals created the precedent in Washington v. Garcias that cyclists are ALWAYS partly to blame. Here's what they wrote: "[Washington, the cyclist] was fully
chargeable with the knowledge that
when the truck reached M Street on a
green light and proceeded into the intersection,
it would either go straight ahead
or turn onto M Street. The bicyclist, for
his own safety, was obliged to pay close
attention to the movements of the truck,
and to anticipate the possibility that it
might turn right, toward the bicycle.
[H]e knew that a right turn was one of
three possible directions the truck might
take upon reaching the intersection." Washington was found to have contributory negligence for not anticipating that a truck would illegally turn into him.

Washington v. Garcias created a new duty for operators of bicycles -- and only for operators of bicycles: the duty to anticipate any possible action on the part of a motorist, even an illegal action. This is a duty that is not present anywhere in DC law; it was simply made up out of thin air by the court, as a codification of the societal bias against cyclists, and the sentiment that cyclists are second-class users of the roadway. It actually runs counter to DC law, which states that cyclists have the same rights and duties as operators of vehicles.

So in the eyes of the law, in any accident, a cyclist is always partially to blame, because the cyclist always should have anticipated the accident and avoided it.

There is some question about whether Washington v. Garcias is still good law. It was handed down in 1964, and reaffirmed in 1998 in WMATA v. Young. I don't know when the current law, which explicitly states that cyclists have the rights and duties of other operators of vehicles, went into effect. If it postdates these two cases then it would supercede them.

Moving to a standard of comparative liability -- where the court assigns damages proporionally to the blame in an accident -- would make it possible for cyclists to prevail even given the current assumption of contributory negligence. It would not be a cure-all however. Cyclists would still be automatically considered partially to blame for any accident, and not only would they not recover full for their own damages, they could be responsible for damages to other vehicles even in cases where they were otherwise blameless. Since motor vehicles tend to be much more expensive to repair than bicycles the result could be that cyclists come out poorer even in cases where they prevail.

An ideal solution would be comparitive liability coupled with a legislative overturning of Washinton v. Garcias.

Contrarian, this is to be discussed at the next BAC Legislative committee I think. You should go. They could use someone else who knows a lot about this.

When is the next meeting?

It's tentatively scheduled for 6:00pm Feb 4th at Teaism at 8th and D. But it may change. When I hear more, I'll post it here.

I think the Mandatory turn lanes refer to the lanes going north on 27th to K. The left lane is left turn only. The right lane is left or right turn only. I'm not clear on the plan or concern either.

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