Protected bike lane in Georgetown – close call

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    @Steve O 225907 wrote:

    (for clarification, co-worker is a she)

    I think the whole point she was making, being from Germany and seeing how things can be different, is that the infrastructure itself could be improved in ways to protect vulnerable road users from whatever the drivers want to do.
    So, yes, likely nothing the police can do about this, but we have already seen improvements that provide better separation for different users over the last decade. And that has happened because people have spoken up.

    Her question was both specific to her incident, but also more broadly, “how can this infrastructure be improved to keep this from happening to others?” I share her consideration for future users.

    My apology for the improper assumption of pronouns. Your co-worker must realize just how bad and ill-prepared most drivers are here in the US when compared to Germany, and bad drivers/driving is the root cause of this issue. Looking back at the most recent cyclist deaths in DC, I believe all can be traced to negligent drivers, and I’d argue that no amount of infrastructure would have prevented these, and using infrastructure as a way to mitigate bad driving is impractical, if not impossible, for most municipalities.

    I see NOTHING, absolutely NOTHING being done to ensure that the operator of a 2000+lb cyclist flattener possesses the necessary skills to operate it proficiently. Since majority the population drives, why not start by implementing programs like mandatory driver’s training, and policies that help in making better drivers? In Virginia, a driver’s license is good for ten years, which I find it ridiculous. It should be five years max, and a full re-testing upon renewal, regardless of age. If a vehicle in Virginia requires an annual safety inspection, shouldn’t a driver pass a fit-to-drive evaluation as well?

    But of course, imposing such draconian driving regulations would be so un-American as it infringes on the right to drive (for all intents and purposes). In Germany, I believe it costs serval thousands of Euros, mostly in training, just to obtain a driver’s license. So driving is truly a privilege there, but the end results of this approach are undeniable. While there, I had no issues overtaking others at 200+km/h on the autobahn, knowing that Rechts Fahren is strictly observed, practiced, and enforced.

    DC has descent biking infrastructure already, and while I am not opposed to continued expansion, I do believe that there is a tipping point for which non-cyclists will begin to question why, not unlike those that are complaining about the Old Georgetown road lanes. Striking that delicate balance between these opposing forces will be the key.

    Infrastructure alone can only give a false sense of safety, so having more competent drivers AND cyclists will be the other missing pieces of this puzzle and NEVER, ever assume that you are safe and protected when you ride, you are not.


    @secstate 225906 wrote:

    That’s smart if you have any desire to go through there quickly. That whole stretch of road is chaos whether on a bike or in a car and the two-way PBL has significantly increased the complexity of the traffic pattern. I mostly use the PBL but take it slowly, and skip it altogether and use the boardwalk on “bad” weather days when there aren’t many pedestrians about.

    Now that they’ve finished the road work, it’s a lot better. Before, I once had a driver go an entire block in the PBL and then hit me. I’ve had a lot of interactions with drivers in the PBL there over the years, and while the police were quite responsive in the one instance where I was struck, in general they do squat. If I see a driver in the lane, I do ask them to move. FYI, for discussion purposes with drivers, the fine for being in the bike lane is $500.

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