A brief report and a question or two

15 Aug

Hello again! I don’t have much to report. But this is August and it appears, as with every year, things tend to slow down. I did attend a meeting with some of the Logan group who met with a DDOT rep on Tuesday. it was a fairly informal meeting. We learned about DDOT problems in implementation and we talked about a few things that ordinary citizens could do as well. Nothing is specific right now so I won’t say more than that I was encouraged that thought was actually being given to the concerns of both bicyclists and pedestrians. But it raised some questions in my mind about how to move things forward and how to make this blog more useful. Out of that came these questions:

1. One problem that DDOT and others in power have is that few pedestrians report their close encounters and even their being hit by bicyclists, either on the sidewalk or when running a red light. So my question to you is: What kind of simple reporting system should be used to collect this information? Do we make police reports? Do we report in some other way? Should we use calls? or something like Twitter? I’d appreciate your ideas on this.

2. I’ll continue getting information on what other cities do. But what cities would you like to see profiled here?

Finally, A NOTE TO THOSE WHO HAVE SIGNED UP TO FOLLOW THIS BLOG: I think I’ve finally figured out a way to make any revisions I make after posting without wasting your time. And in a minute, I’ll make corrections on Potpourri. When I do I will add to the title “(revised)” That way you’ll know the post is not totally new and I will have the satisfaction of knowing that I’ve corrected any spelling and language errors I discover that I missed in my original proofreading. Hope you think that’s a good solution as well.

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4 Responses to “A brief report and a question or two”

  1. Robert Werner August 15, 2013 at 7:51 pm #

    I don’t think the police would even take a report on a close encounter by a pedestrian, without injury/death.

    • jeannemallett2013 August 16, 2013 at 6:23 pm #

      Thanks, I agree. I’ve addressed your comment more thoroughly in my reply to Harriet’s comment.

      But I just wanted to make a related comment because while I was approving your comment last night, I was listening to the news on WJLA and they had an interesting piece about the loss of more than 40 paramedics in DC since 2011, with just two in training. Then they showed a chart and the first two cities were DC and Columbus, OH. As you’ll know from reading this blog, there are many similarities between the two. So, when I saw that DC had 130,000 paramedic calls in 2011 and Columbus had 137,000, but Columbus, with lower taxes, had an average of 96 paramedics on duty and DC had only 35, I thought—here’s another important problem that DC has. And, of course, it affects what we as citizens can expect if we are seriously injured, whether as pedestrians by bicyclists or in any other way.

      Obviously this blog can’t take on a host of other issues. But that doesn’t prevent your blogger from urging you and all who read this blog to put to the test the council and the mayor, especially with a mayoral race starting up. They are elected to serve the public and we should make sure they do.

  2. Harriet August 16, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

    It is an interesting idea to come up with a reporting system for such accidents.
    I agree with the post stating that the police would not be interested in taking a report without someone being seriously injured.

    Thanks for the Potpourri blog! It’s full of useful information!

    • jeannemallett2013 August 16, 2013 at 6:03 pm #

      Thanks to both Robert and Harriet for your comments. And I agree with you. I don’t think the reporting system could realistically be a simple police report. As you both point out, the police would not be interested in (nor would it worth the time spent for them) taking reports without someone being seriously injured. And, “seriously” is the operative word. When I got hit this spring, I was injured but not seriously–big scrape on my arm, a little dislocation and a really ugly bruise. But even at the time I didn’t think of reporting because the bikers were a block away by then. I’d like to think that the two guys that the bikers almost hit instead of me would have helped out if I had been more seriously injured, as I would have. And of the people I know personally who have been hit and injured, even one who was knocked down, none reported their incidents either.

      But my thought is that there has to be a way of coming up with a reporting system so the statistics that agencies like DDOT and our elected representatives rely on show the real state of things. For instance, even with pedestrian death, it appears the existing reporting system may not be accurate. One of the early commenters to this blog noted that the last pedestrian death from being hit by a bicyclist was in 2009. I did not correct that statement then because I didn’t have access to figures that he might have had. But I knew for a fact that there was a pedestrian death on Capital Hill on Thanksgiving weekend in 2010 because that was what made me realize that a problem was developing since I had come close to being hit the same day. But this man did not die right away. He was in his late 70’s and was reported that night as being in a coma. I guessed he would die because he had probably fallen and hit his head on the concrete. And in fact he did die the next week. But was he counted as a pedestrian death from a bicycle hit? I don’t know.

      If you or anyone you know can think of a reporting system that is reliable and would be considered credible by the people in positions we need to influence, please let me know. You keep thinking and I’ll keep thinking. And, hopefully we’ll come up with a solution.

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