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"Their primary responsibility is to keep traffic moving in a safe and efficient manner," [said] Gabe Klein. Ha! Watch out, motorists AND cyclists. An hour ago, I was out biking back from a restaurant I went to on my lunch break. I was heading down 14th Street NW, attempting to make a left on F Street. In the middle of the intersection, as I awaited the barrage of cars heading in the opposite direction and making a right onto F, I noticed a whole army of TCO's just standing in the middle of the street. My light finally turned red, and at that instant it still wasn't safe to make a left, but I was in the middle of the intersection. Once it was safe I asked one of the TCO's if I could make a left now, and he replied "Not unless you want a ticket!" So I had to peddle back in the middle of 14th and F to position myself behind the cross walk.

Ugh. This is what happens when you give people a pen and a pad of paper. This power-tripper endangered my life. After the next round of cross traffic, I made my left turn, and stopped across the street on F to observe these idiots. I counted TEN of them, congregated around one corner of the intersection. Most were just standing on the sidewalk, while a couple stood in the middle of the street, giving cars just enough space to pass by in between them. Whistles were blaring non-stop, and in the 15 minutes I observed them, several cars were stopped and ticketed, creating a huge bottleneck for those on 14th trying to cross F, or turn right or left into F.

This is the kind of aggressive enforcement (read: revenue raising) cities undertake when they've been irresponsible with our money. Why are TEN TCO's sitting at one intersection, walking recklessly into traffic looking for expired tags and people whose cars are just ever so slightly a couple inches into the cross walk? How is this efficient or safe? I'm calling my councilman, not only because I feel sorry for the car drivers (which is rare), but because I'm convinced we'll be seeing a spike in the number of tickets issued to cyclists.

kenney: This is why all you need to do is ignore them. They are not cops, they don't have any right to see your id. let them write the ticket to a fake name, then crumple it up and drop it at their feet. They have absolutely no ability to ticket anything that isn't parked, vacant, and licensed.

I can see some very important benefits. Some drivers completely disregard TCOs telling them to stop at a light - this has caused me many near misses when pulling out of the light. Now they can ticket these drivers. Another benefit is that I can tell a TCO (much easier to find than a cop) to ticket the idiots that park in the bike lanes.
By the way, where do you get the info that they can't ask for you id?

no they can ask you for it, but you don't have to show it to them. I'm pretty sure that's just like, the law that only police have a legal right to see your ID for no reason whatsoever. If you ran a red light and a TCO asked to see your ID and you asked why, s/he'd have to give you a reason to which you could respond "um i don't remember" or whatever. The only people I wouldn't do this to are badged officers. Fortunately, MPD routinely watches drunk drivers speed through red lights without doing anything, so I wouldn't worry about them too much either.

To Anonymous, when I see the city doing something stupid, I don't think it's enough to just avoid the stupidity on a technicality.

To Stan, the benefit us cyclists receive from using the TCO's as our "protectors" by having them ticket people parked in bike lanes and such, is far outweighed by the need to stop the madness that I just witnessed.

There were ten - I repeat TEN - TCO's at that intersection, and it created a dangerous situation for drivers and cyclists alike. There was a lot of confusion, due to the ridiculous number of them in one spot, and their clearly systematic search for violations. One of them gave me attitude, and put my life in danger because he was on a power trip. Im fighting this, and I hope to engage WABA on the matter.

Why are you so concerned about the TEN? It's most likely a day used to observe the more experienced TCOs...or something like that.

Let me see if I have this correct... you believe that your inability to turn left (one those cases where there is much traffic) far outweighs the benefit of another cyclist getting killed by a driver not respecting a TCO's stop signal?
Also, when a driver parks on a bike lane then the cyclists have to make their way into a traffic lane, which can be dangerous.
In all, I agree that it would be awful to get a ticket for not putting my foot down on a stop (or some similar law that shouldn't apply to a cyclist). But let's give it a try and figure out how to make the best of it instead of just complaining.

I kind of agree with Stan. I will gladly give up the convenience of lightly breaking the law for the safety of enforcing the laws that endanger me. It remains to be seen if this program will do that. Today is Day 1 of the program, let's give it a while before we declare it a failure.

TCO's can not write citations for criminal violations, and so that may include "failure to identify". They can contact a police officer though.

I think you guys misread my story. I was in the middle of an intersection at a green light, waiting to make a left. Approaching traffic didn't clear until my light turned red, at which point it was safe to turn left (this is legal). Before I did so, I made eye contact with the TCO and asked him if I was "okay." That's when he replied "not unless you want a ticket," forcing me to pedal back to the left turn lane. Of course, there was already a car there behind me who couldn't back up. He was covering the crosswalk, so I was forced to wait for the next green light while practically in the middle of the street.

So, this wasn't even a case of wanting the convenience of "lightly breaking the law." I was just trying to point out the likelihood of TCO's putting other cyclists in danger by being on a power-trip.

About a year ago I was making a left-hand turn (on my bicycle, obviously) from southbound 17th onto westbound K Street NW. It was the middle of the day, traffic was non-existent on 17th, I took the left-hand turn lane, had the green, had no oncoming traffic... Yet the TCO decided to try to chase me down (seriously!) lecturing me about how unsafe what I had done was. As in, doing the exact same thing that cars are supposed to do when turning left? No idea how he thought I should have made a left turn.

Let's hope they've had better training since then.

Kenney, what you did was common, but illegal. From 2405.1 of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations Title 18 Vehicle and Traffic.

No person shall stop, stand, or park a vehicle in any of the following places, except when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic, in compliance with
law, or at the direction of a police officer or traffic control device:
(a) Within an intersection;

So the minute you stopped in the intersection, you broke the law. Technically. You aren't supposed to enter the intersection unless you can clear it. Part of the "Don't block the box" law.

The car behind you, the one parked on the crosswalk, also breaking the law.

Is it confirmed that TCO can ticket for parking in bike lanes? The mentioned list doesn't include that infraction.

P.S. Just rode through downtown on G St and I counted 5 cars parked in the bike lane in the space of 3 blocks.

Gabe Klein mentioned it and he's the boss of all the TCO's, so I'm going to go with yes.

The "don't block the box" law is interesting. I was taught in driver ed in upstate NY that you take the intersection and turn when it is clear, even if the light turns red just as Kenney did.

I was taught that too. But I seem to remember someone asking Dr. Gridlock if it was legal for two cars to wait in the intersection and he said it was illegal for even one. In may be a new movement to avoid gridlock.

I saw a cyclist getting a ticket from a TCO this morning near the Columbia/Adams Mill intersection. I don't know if he rolled past a stop sign or what, but he was handing the TCO his ID and she was writing up a ticket.

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