Good morning! We are about to enter another weekend and I thought I would make you aware of something I’ve been noticing in my walks around town, especially in my own neighborhood, Dupont Circle. WALK LIGHTS with numbers counting down to the red hand seem to be out of sync. I’ve noticed when I’m coming up to a light where I think I have plenty of time to get there and across, suddenly the countdown numbers change dramatically. For example, the light starts counting down from 60, gets to 17, then the next number is 5. Or a 30 second light will get to 15 and then the next number is 4. This doesn’t seem to have any consistency to it. One day the light will act this way. The next day, it will be back to counting down normally. Then a day later, out of sync again. I’m thinking that, if I don’t get to a crossing with at least 20 seconds to go, I’d better be quick or wait for the next light. At any rate, to be safe you still want to cross with the light and not against it. The longest you wait is 60 seconds for the next light, easily better than getting mangled or killed by traffic.
Report if you or another is hit by a car or a bike
On that note I should mention again the Washington City Paper’s effort to catalog situations where pedestrians (and bicyclists) have been hit in DC. I’ve been in communication with the editor who is conducting this effort, Sarah Hughes. If you go to their site
you’ll find an alarming number of pedestrians hit already this year. If you click on a dot on the map, you can tell how it was reported and when and where. All the ones I opened were reported from police reports. The only problem with this is that, as Ms. Hughes tells me, MPD will not release police reports on struck peds/cyclists until the case is closed, which can take a good deal of time. So unless she’s able to find the person, she’s not able to determine whether they were hit on the sidewalk or in the street. So I remind you that, whether you get hit, or you see another person get hit, especially if they are on the sidewalk, it’s important to go to the site and report.
Ms. Hughes also mentioned that they do have the 2014 data and plan to publish that in the fall. So stay tuned.
A couple of good takeaways from the infamous Sommer article
When I re-read the Will Sommer rant for sidewalk bicycling, I noticed a couple of things that give we pedestrians hope:
1. Sommer opens with “My latest run-in with the law happened last August.” This means to me that at least some police are enforcing the current law. It would help them if there were better signage in the CBD and to mark the boundaries. But clearly some officers recognize the danger.
2. There appears to be a techblogger, one Anthony Sodd, at DC Inno, who is a cyclist like I am and other good cyclists throughout the city are. Of course, Sommer hates him because Sodd tells the truth, like an adult cyclist on a sidewalk being “simultaneously revolting and pitiful.” I’ll try to find his blog and see what more he has to say.
3. Sommer is evidence of what we all know about sidewalk bikers when he mentions among the reasons for sidewalk biking “avoiding going the wrong way on a one-way street” and “when traffic is backedup and the cars are too close to the curbs to filter past.” Guess what you’re traffic too! You go in your lane, and, like other traffic, if you have to go a block out of your way to get a street going the way you’re going, you do it! Oh, and he also mentions, in the “inconvenient” part of sidewalk biking, “you have to watch out for pedestrians… and, if you’re really scrupulous, you’ll have to ring a bell every time you pass a pedestrian.” No, the law says YIELD to pedestrians!
Ah, well, it’s summer and it’s supposed to be nicer weather than last weekend. So enjoy. But STAY ALERT! DON’T GET HURT.