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.

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