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Was there supposed to be a picture of the AAA truck with this?

I'm counting on the giant AAA PR machine to issue an apology for their truck covered in AAA logos hitting a cyclist.

They can spin just about anything into a AAA press release.

will, no I didn't get one.

I'd like to make my killjoy plug for running flashers EVEN IN DAYLIGHT. It really is true that some accidents happen simply because the driver does not see the cyclist (which they should, but they are only human). I'm not saying that is what happened here. I am saying that I've seen drivers react to my presence because I was lit up like a Christmas tree.

I am glad the injuries are not serious. The driver seems to have admitted to violating the 3-foot rule.

This is of course a problem with the door zone bike lane. Drivers thunk it is a safe place to ride, but many cyclists trust the truck driver behind them more than the unseen passenger in the back seat of an SUV.

With two lanes in the same direction, why didn't the driver just edge a little bit into the parallel left lane? It seems as if he was treating the dashed stripe to his left as more inviolable than the cyclist to his right!

This accident really makes me rethink the idea that lane sharing a tad left space to the left of the cyclist when there is a second lane in the same direction than when there is a couble-yellow.

Sorry, typos. I meant: This accident really makes me rethink the idea that lane sharing requires a tad less space to the left of the cyclist when there is a second lane in the same direction, than when there is a double-yellow, because motor vehicles and move a foot into the parallel lane.

The driver seems to have admitted to violating the 3-foot rule.

Doesn't the bike lane marking magically make the 3-foot rule disappear?

For example - on the R & Q St lanes. It would be next to physically impossible for a car to pass a cyclist and not be within 3 feet.

And, in reference to those same lanes, quite often drivers will drift well into the bike lanes.

Finally - I hope Matthew was able to contradict the AAA driver's assertions as to who was where.

I don't opine on DC law. But in Maryland a bike lane would not absolve one from the 3-foot buffer law. There is a narrow roadway exception which would not apply to a 4-lane road like 14th street but might apply to R street (though maybe not if there are gaps in the parking zone).

You raise an interesting question: Is a cyclist who rides in the bike lane along R street and is clipped (or doored) by a car contributorily negligent for not using full lane? Most cyclists seem to agree that the proper place to ride is along the left line, but is failing to take the lane at that point contributory negligence?

If not (e.g. a court decides that a bike lane is a TCD that makes it a nonnegligent place to ride), then is DDOT liable should the driver who pays the cyclist then sue for contribution?

I wonder if the driver had a GPS, laptop, or smartphone app going at the time of the wreck? Even worse than audio cellphone use because it's both a distraction and it takes eyes off the road. Yet very common in work trucks and vans.

2202.10 A person driving a motor vehicle shall exercise due care by leaving a safe distance, but in no case less than 3 feet, when overtaking and passing a bicycle.

There does not appear to be an exception in DC laws for the 3-foot rule and bike lanes. I think I have seen such an exception in other state's laws.

If this is true - then every car passing a cyclist on R & Q is violating this law.


The three foot rule is one cyclists actually can do something about. Not, of course, if you never see the vehicle approaching.

@Jeff B. Maybe not small cars. Can you be more precise? If the general lane is 9' and the cyclist is entirely within the bike lane, then small (5') cars could leave 3' with 1' along the parked cars on the left. I realize that many drivers pass bikes more closely than they pass a parked car, but it is legal to drive in the door zone.

Is your larger point that these roads are too narrow for bike lanes?

An update: I received a call from the MPD today indicating that the truck driver will be issued a citation in the crash. Good!

The officer also asked me if I know what happened to the bike. (I didn't.) I feel bad. I didn't even think about it at the time, I hope it didn't get stolen from the scene.

Regarding the exact "who was where," the impact occurred as the bike and truck went through the intersection southbound at 14th & T, so there were not actualy any lane markings right where he was struck. (Clearly the truck was 36 inches short of the 3-foot rule, though.)

I have no idea what was going on with the driver (inattention? rage? texting? sleepyness?) to make him do that. But he didn't seem very remorseful at all afterwards, which I found disturbing.

Sorry about the picture of the truck and driver, I thought it was attached to my original email, I don't know what happened to it.

And I'll second Krick's thing about daytime running lights, if you have crazy-bright lights that are visible during the day. I think it really does make a difference.

I'm still a little wigged out from seeing that crash, actually -- please stay safe everybody.

@Jim T,

Yes my larger point is that rigorously applying the 3 foot rule on these streets would mean cars should not be passing cyclists in the bike lane,

Which then calls into question why there is a bike lane in the first place.

Sure a cyclist could ride as far right as possible in the lane and that would give cars room to have the necessary clearance.

But having seen first hand just how quickly doors can be flung open and how much of bike lane they obstruct I choose to ride on the left lane marking.

Of course many motorists, given the narrowness of the street, choose to drive with the right side of their car well within the bike lane.

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