Archive | January, 2015

Some good news for both pedestrians and cyclists

30 Jan

If you haven’t seen the Washington City Paper yet, do so.  For both pedestrians and cyclists there’s a very helpful article in the District Line, City Desk, entitled “Struck DC”.  here’s the sense of it:

There appears to be a Twitter account Struck in D.C. (@StruckDC) that compiles information on the number times drivers of vehicles struck pedestrians and cyclists.  The City Paper article notes that in 2014 there were more than 500 such incidents and, the note the following– A few of the incidents in 2014, it should be noted, involved cyclists striking pedestrians–OF COURSE, I SAY, BECAUSE BICYCLES ARE VEHICLES TOO.

At any rate,  @StruckDC continues to report.  And there are 29 incidents this year already.  The City Paper article notes that DC Fire and EMS tweet incidents as well but not every incident reported to an official agency is reported about and not every collision is reported to police, which we knew already.  I see collisions between cyclists and pedestrians on the sidewalks frequently and have even been involved in one but had no way to report.

NOW THANKS TO THE WASHINGTON CITY PAPER, there will be not only @StruckDC but an additional way to give this info. Per the article

“City Paper will seek information about pedestrian and cyclist incidents, both reported officially and unreported and compile it into a map.  Visit washingtoncitypaper.com/go/struck to view the map or submit an incident.”(Emphasis added)

I haven’t go to the site yet to see how incidents are reported, but I encourage you—especially pedestrians because there is no lobbying organization looking after us—to report whenever an incident that you are involved in or witness to occurs.  Be certain to be accurate.  Only this way will we begin to get a better picture of the real dangers out there.  And in case the site doesn’t activate through the above, try it this way

washingtoncitypaper.com/go/struck

and, if you have a Twitter account try

@StruckDC

Have a great Super Bowl weekend and STAY ALERT; DON’T GET HURT.

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New Year’s Resolutions

13 Jan

FIRST TO MY READERS:
At the end of 2014 Word Press sent me an annual report of my blog activity. It seems my blog was visited 420 times. Trying to be too cute, Word Press informed me that was over six SF cable cars worth of people. Taking out my regular readers, I’d say the number was more like 200. BUT, outside of Harriet and Bob, YOU’RE ALL SO SILENT! I really want to hear from you! So, if you have any comment or info on sidewalk bicycling or pedestrian safety in light of that activity, or an incident you have been involved in, let me know. Also, if there’s something not too difficult for a tech dummy like me to add to my blog to attract more traffic, let me know.
RESOLUTIONS
As time permits, I will:
1. contact and meet with my new ANC commissioner to talk about the dangers of sidewalk bicycling in the Dupont neighborhood and see what he is willing to do about it, including following up on the sign project;
2. follow up with MPD on getting info on enforcement of the ban on sidewalk bicycling in the CBD;
3. Now that Jack Evans is on the Transportation and Environment Committee, make one more attempt at getting him to act on behalf of the Dupont citizens he represents to make walking on the sidewalks here more safe;
4. carefully read the new MoveDC plan and see what, if anything, is planned to make pedestrians life safer;
5. contact whomever is appointed by Mayor Bowser to head DDOT about this issue;
6. Contact the Washington Post reporter who was told last summer to make a FOIA request to get actual incident info on biker infractions to see if that has happened and the result;
7. Continue this blog when I have something to report on any of the above or new info from other cities.

I urge you also to at least get involved with your own council person and ANC commissioner and public safety committee on this issue. Together we can make a difference in 2015.

Biker Grinches Spoil Christmas

6 Jan

As I’m writing this, it’s our first snow of the season and looks more like Christmas than the actual day.  Maybe, if we’d had a nice Christmas snow, I wouldn’t be telling this story now.  But I doubt it because by 10 am today I spotted my first sidewalk biker, who almost ran down the person shoveling snow in front of our building.

Christmas Day 2014 in Whoville, Dupont

In Whoville this last Christmas morning dawned bright and beautiful.  With the sun shining and just a bit of chill in the air, after church, unwrapping presents and a bite to eat, many Who families in Dupont took advantage of the fine weather to walk around the neighborhood, greeting other Whos warmly with a cheery “Merry Christmas!”  I joined them around 2 pm, walking up 16th Street near the Church of the Holy City to see the big Christmas display of the house next door and the small crèche on the church side. Nary an auto could be seen driving on the streets.  As happens every year on Thanksgiving and Christmas in this part of Whoville, the Whos leave cars behind to enjoy the peaceful camaraderie of walking and talking to neighbors.

BUT THEN THEY CAME–BIKER GRINCHES–First, one, whom I could almost understand, a man biking down the sidewalk with a cart attached to the rear of his bike in which sat a small child.  But the cart was wide enough to block the entire sidewalk from any pedestrian traffic.  And I wondered how he would stop safely in time to avoid hitting a pedestrian coming around the corner or out of a building.  Not only they would be injured but he and, most importantly, the innocent child in the cart, could be hurt as well.  Still I assumed he would take extra care since he had his child in tow.  And he was riding on the sidewalk opposite of where I was walking.

Within 2 minutes I had just got north of R and saw two more sidewalk bikers–also on the opposite sidewalk, one riding with after the other, each clearly racing his bike, and just missing the Who walkers.

As I continued my stroll and exchanged greetings with fellow Whos, I began to wonder whether this had been such a good idea as I saw yet another biker Grinch speeding on the other sidewalk.  Luckily I turned around at that point because I was immediately confronted with a really reckless Biker Grinch on our sidewalk.  Riding his bike in a “look Ma, no hands” posture, although clearly more than old enough to know better, this Biker Grinch raced through the crosswalk scattering a Who family right in front of me and continued on in an irregular riding pattern.  I barely had time to step on a grass patch to avoid him. He continued up the sidewalk flapping his free hands like some demented bird.

Finally, a Biker Grinch scored a hit.  While walking back toward the crosswalk at 16th and Q, I glanced across the street and saw two Who teenaged boys I’d seen earlier leaving my apartment building.  A half block north I saw yet another Biker Grinch riding a bike with unusually fat tires.  But he was racing it and appeared to be of adult age.  The teenagers barely got to the main sidewalk and turned south, walking side by side talking to each other, when the Biker Grinch came up behind and hit the outside boy in the shoulder, just as I’d been hit on the same stretch of sidewalk last year.  The boy staggered but didn’t fall.  Fat Tire Biker Grinch’s ride was momentarily unsteady.  But he didn’t fall either. And sped on without a look behind him looking for new Whos to endanger.  The Who boys stood still and shaken, the one inspecting the other’s arm before continuing on, their Christmas less merry after that.

Happily I got back safely to my door and then realized my stroll had lasted not more than 10 minutes.

NEXT TIME NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS.