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I understand the argument that enforcement should be targeted where the need, statistically, is the greatest, and that would be cars. Cars are also the overwhelming majority of vehicles on the road.

But there are also benefits, including safety benefits, to an enforcement scheme that occasionally targets pedestrians and cyclists. The primary benefit is political, not in a cynical, but in a more profound way: *everyone* is reminded that they are citizens and are bound to follow the law. And a culture of lawfulness tends to benefit minorities (such as cyclists). If we understand enforcement in these terms, as addressing lawful/unlawful behavior (rather as solely targeting statistical risk), there is also a potential benefit to safety. (I know that no one on this blog buys this argument, but if you travel to other countries, you will note that drivers are more or less respectful of other vehicles, often independently of the legal penalties attached to infractions. This is *cultural* phenomenon, and culture can be changed.)

So, no, not everything should be enforced. But the law, and lawfulness, does matter.

That's a good point. If you feel that unlawful behavior is a risk in its own right, then you'd be interested in going after the most frequently broken laws. Probably red light and stop sign violations for cyclists and speeding for drivers.

For drivers it would be failure to pass with the proper passing distance (3 feet), running stop lights/signs and turning from the wrong lane (which would be the bike lane when one is present).

Okay, so are you saying that moving into the bike lane at the intersection to make a (I'm assuming) right turn is "the wrong lane", or that not using the portion of the bike lane with the broken line is turning from the wrong lane?

This is, in my opinion, the worst part about the design of DC's bike lanes (I mean other than the fact that we've been pushed into the door zone). My understanding of how they're supposed to work is that someone making a turn across the bike lane is supposed to occupy the bike lane at the broken line, and that it's supposed to be that way to avoid right hooks. But I've also seen people in that spot, waiting for cross traffic to open up, and in the meantime getting yelled at for sitting in the bike lane despite that fact that they're in the right spot.

I try to keep up with these things since I'm almost always on a bike and my safety depends on it, and I thought I was pretty clear on this. But now I'm not sure. And if I'm not sure, it's my guess that most motorists are just doing whatever seems like the right thing to them.

The system of guidelines on bike lanes are, in my opinion, a total fail.

Not using the portion of the bike lane with the broken line is turning from the wrong lane.

Is the situation you're describing one where a cyclist is waiting at a red light and a driver wants to make a right turn on red, but can not because the cyclist is in the turning lane/bike lane, or is it a car waiting to make a right turn in the turning/bike lane? In either case, the person sitting in the bike lane is doing the right thing and the person yelling is wrong.

It's easier to think of the bike lane as a limited access lane. It is limited to: bikes (and mopeds and segways), right turning vehicles of all kind, cars that are parallel parking, and vehicles that are legally stopped for loading and unloading (the law proposed last year that would have made stopping in the bike lane illegal didn't pass).

Probably red light and stop sign violations for cyclists and speeding for drivers.

Okay, as an "scofflaw cyclist" (roll stop signs w/ no traffic; stop, look, and run red lights) I'll sign on for the stepped-up bike enforcement when we see MPD implement zero-tolerance towards speeders.

Any vehicle exceeding the posted speed limit by more than, say, 1 mph, will be pulled over by DC police officers. Right?

Looking forward to lots of responses that are some combination of "Everybody should follow the laws!" from the cyclists, and "Don't be ridiculous! One MPH! Snort!" from the drivers.

"Everybody should follow the laws!"

"Don't be ridiculous! One MPH! Snort!"


Okay, that's what I thought, so this portion of the sentence had me confused:

...and turning from the wrong lane (which would be the bike lane when one is present).

So does that mean, wrt the report, that "turning from the wrong lane" meant that they were turning from the non-bike-lane portion of the street, or that the motorist was turning from the bike lane?

Oh, the example situation was one where I came up to a red light on Q at 14th, headed east, and there was a motorist in the broken-line portion of the bike lane waiting to turn right on a red. A cyclist was yelling at him that he was in a bike lane and shouldn't be making a right turn from there.

The thing is, the motorist was clearly pretty confused since the the cyclist sounded like he knew what he was talking about, and it was plausible. For a second, I had to double check my own understanding of how it's supposed to work. It's just not very clear.

Chiggins, sorry about that. I need a full time editor. That was my mistake and I'll fix it.

I meant turning from the non-bike lane portion but it doesn't sound that way.

Heh, but, it too was plausible :)

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