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I think the city should have a 20 MPH speed limit for cars and maybe 15 MPH for bikes.

And ban right turn on red. Too many cars fail to stop or even slow down.

Nobody should be running red lights, especially downtown.

Totally agree about enforcement on "novice" cyclist behavior. I'd be happy to see enforcement increase on all road users who exhibit dangerous behaviour!

@jeffb That would be heaven! Though I might say a 20mph limit should apply to all road users. And turning (after complete stop) should be allowed for cyclists when possible (when I see "no turn on red" I simply dismount, walk up the sidewalk, and remount at the cross-street).

The District seems weak on traffic enforcement (other than cameras) for all modes, presumably due to underfunding of MPD and its consequent stretch dealing with other crimes. One hopes this will be addressed as part of Vision Zero. In Alexandria where I live, there is much more traffic enforcement in general. As part of our VZ plan, I hope it will focus on the actual most dangerous behaviors. As for what those are by bikes, WashCycle has outlined them nicely. Though of course cars remain a much bigger problem. As for different limit for cyclists, were you thinking of on the trails? On roads it is of course safer and better for bikes to keep up with the flow of traffic.

BTW - washcycle, looking at your list of bike on ped fatalities, it looks like we have only had one in NoVa (or inner NoVa?) and never had one in the City of Alexandria. Ever, going back at least to 1905. Can you confirm that?

And I agree with Crickey

No one should ever run a red light. Even Idahoing a red (stopping, looking and then proceeding) should, IMO, only be done when the alternative of waiting for the light is more dangerous due to turning traffic, and when there are no pedestrians present - which in downtown would be almost never.

I don't know of any fatal bike-ped crashes in Alexandria, but that doesn't mean there haven't been any. There's a big gap between 1924 and 1995 that I can't speak to without going to a better library. I have not done a thorough search between 1890 and 1924. And I only look at DC papers when I do, and they may not report every crash in Alexandria.

Oh also the initial crash might be reported (or not) and the pedestrian die days later, but then that's not reported.

I think this Brooklyn cycling blog had a good response:

That's a pretty good piece, Brett. I think most of us agree, the constant effort to paint cyclists with broad strokes is inappropriate and, at least to me, offensive. We can say that without excusing the individual bad actors that are used as fodder for the smearing.

I obv don't know Crickey, washcycle, PortCity or JeffB in real life and through these comments y'all seem prettt ok, but honestly I really don't think that the average cyclist is a good actor. I would like that to be the case, but the evidence that presents itself by the behavior I see everyday does not.

I read that piece and was impressed.

I don't know whether it's the onset of crabby old age or a rise in stupidity and entitled attitudes, but I am increasingly disturbed by the behavior of cyclists I see on my commute. Today, for example, I stopped at a signed corner to let some guy walk his dog across the street and he nearly got hit by some bozo coming the other way who didn't think of slowing down. I apologized on all of our behalf--hope that's alright.

Mainly, however, it's idiocy likely to result in injury to the cyclist, such as sneaking up in the blind spots of cars likely to turn or with their signals on (!), or hugging the curb in narrow traffic lanes.

Anyway, my reaction has been to become increasingly literal about traffic signals and stop signs--I always was polite to peds. The optics are really getting critical and, at least where I commute and work out, the drivers tend to be pretty indulgent.

I have been knocked off the bike a few times by cars and used to think that when my number came up I would be clipped by some inattentive or aggressive dink in a motor vehicle. Now, based on my latest close calls, I think it's going to be some fool riding the wrong way around a blind corner.

Unfortunately, as more and more people cycle (and dockless bikeshare will add to the increases), I think we'll see more lawlessness. I think that most die-hard cyclists are relatively law abiding (compared to drivers) because their lives depend on it. You may do Idaho stops, but when you bike every day, you don't carelessly blow through red lights and think you're going to live long. It's odd, but it seems to me that part of the learning curve for cycling is doing so safely, for yourself and for others.

Eventually I think something will need to be done. I'm not a fan of requirements, but it would be nice if every new cyclist could take a WABA-style cycling safety course.

Richard B:

I really don't think that the average motorist or pedestrian is a good actor either. I would like that to be the case, but the evidence that presents itself by the behavior I see everyday does not.

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