Archive | March, 2013

A few words about your blogger and about DC Law

27 Mar

1. First, About Your Blogger: this is my first blog and I just found that out when I wrote an excellent piece that I tried to publish and was told it was unauthorized. So it’s totally gone somewhere in space. Rather than try to recreate the whole thing, I’ll just admit defeat and tell you that my idea for the name of this blog came from my thinking last summer about keeping a diary of the almost daily incidents I observed or was involved in. In fact, all I have to do is leave my apartment building and by the time I’m on the main sidewalk on 16th street, I have to be alert to sidewalk bicyclists coming from both directions at speeds faster than the auto traffic on the street.

In this blog I will recount incidents as they occur and, if you want to comment and add incidents that you see or that happen to you please do.
I’ll try to blog every few days and at least once a week. And I’ll work in the most recent incidents and other things I’ve learned as I go so every set of blogs won’t be as text heavy as this one.

2. A bit about DC Law: Most people, even lifetime DC residents are surprised to find that in all of DC, EXCEPT in what is called the Central Business District, bicyclists can ride on the sidewalks, at the speed of the auto traffic on the adjacent street and without announcing their presence when they come up from behind. In most other cities, including all others I’ve lived in, bicyclist are not allowed to ride on the sidewalks anywhere.

The Central Business District designation was set up, according to my research, over 30 years ago. DC has changed a lot in 30 years. And there are a lot more bicycles. And bike lanes. And Capital Bikeshare.

If you are wondering what the Central Business District is you can find a map easily on the Internet. If I get more adept at this blogging in the future I certainly will try to put it here as well. <SOjust in case you were worried about the safety of the President, Congress, the K Street lawyers and lobbyists, have no fear–they’re in the Central Business District and thus protected from sidewalk bicyclists. BUT if you’re walking your child to or home from day care, walking your dog, or shopping in the neighborhood grocery or other store, in any adjacent neighborhood, like Dupont, Logan, U Street, to name a few near me, you are not.
I will try to mention more of this quirky law as well as some efforts to change it in subsequent posts. BUT FOR NOW–

Happy Passover and Happy Easter. Enjoy the Cherry Blossoms.
But wherever you are, especially strolling on the sidewalk, STAY ALERT.

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Why start a blog about the dangers of sidewalk bicycling to pedestrians?

27 Mar

On Thanksgiving weekend 2010, my first Thanksgiving spent in DC instead of with family, I was walking home on Saturday noon from a morning event.  I noticed that there was virtually no auto traffic anywhere.  At the corner of R and 19th I waited for the “walk” signal out of habit, then looked both ways before crossing, even though R at that point is a one-way street, because I already knew that bicyclists sometimes rode the wrong way on such streets.  Seeing no one I crossed.  By the time my foot hit the other sidewalk of R, a bicyclist riding on the sidewalk came seemingly from nowhere, probably from the street on 19th or the opposite 19th St. sidewalk (in both cases he would have been hidden by parked cars until that last moment), and, if I had not quickly moved back into the street, to avoid him, would have hit me full on. As it was he missed me by a couple of inches only.  I was frightened and amazed because there was a bike lane going his direction and ZERO auto traffic.  That same night I heard on the news about an elderly man who was hit and seriously injured(he later died) by a hit and run bicyclist in Capitol Hill.  That was when I decided I should write my councilperson about not only this incident but frequent close calls I had been seeing in the Dupont Circle area.  But after this letter; more incidents I observed and one others told me about; more letters; my taking time to provide testimony at hearings, both council and ANC, that were only somewhat related to this issue–after almost three years and nothing being done, I decided to try to reach whomever I could in the public in whatever ways I could.

Welcome to my new blog

27 Mar

If you are coming in for the first time, please read About.  In this space I will recount my frequent adventures trying to successfully navigate our city sidewalks without being injured by racing bicyclists.  And, true to the mission I state in About, I will start with  really basic tips: 1. if you are walking on the sidewalk walk as far to the right as possible. 2. whenever you come to a corner, look both ways before proceeding even if you are only turning the corner on the sidewalk.  3.  If you decide to get a newspaper from a street box, get out of the way of a puddle if it’s raining, or do almost anything else that will cause you to move even a bit to the left, look behind you also before moving left. In short, always be aware of what’s coming in all directions.  More as we go….