City Desk

Video: Cab Driver Cuts Into Bike Lane, Gets Caught

When bike commuter Bill Walsh caught a cab driver making an illegal U-turn across the Pennsylvania Avenue bike lane Thursday, he figured it was just more proof of a long-running problem. Instead, the video has become a hit, earning more than 500,000 views since being posted Friday.

In the video, a cab U-turns into Walsh's path. To Walsh's surprise, though, an FBI car behind him turns on its siren and pulls the scofflaw driver over.

Walsh, a copy editor for the Washington Post and the author of a book on language snobbery, has had encounters with drivers making illegal U-turns on Pennsylvania before. In another video, he's nearly hit by a driver on her cell phone.

Walsh wants a physical barrier protecting the bike lane, but worries that a cyclist will have to be hurt or killed by a U-turning driver before changes are made. "I'm afraid that might be what it takes," Walsh says.

 

 

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  • SEis4ME

    How sad a state of city affairs when a story about illegal u-turns is actually considered one worth printing.

    Next installment, "Man videotaped eating while walking"

    BREAKING NEWS!!!

  • a change gon’ come

    How about enabling some legal left/U turns on Pennsylvania? Not sure why that option is blocked from at least 7th all the way to 15th?

  • noodlez

    AS A BROTHER WHO NEVER GETS PICKED UP BY TAXIS I HAVE A DEEP HATE FOR THEM BEYOND RECONCILIATION SO I'M FOR THE TICKET I'M SURE HE RECEIVED.

    THERE SHOULD BE LIMITS ON THE AMOUNT OF TICKETS THEY GET BEFORE THERE TAXI LICENSE IS REVOKED!

    HOWEVER THE BLOKE WITH THE HELMET CAM IS A LITTLE WEIRD IN A FUNNY KIND OF WAY.

  • anons

    Considering 42% of the cyclists who use the PA Avenue Bike lanes run their red lights (DDOT quantified it last year), I think cyclists flagrant disregard for the standard street laws is their biggest danger.

  • cminus

    @anons, speaking as someone who crosses Pennsylvania Avenue frequently and owns neither car nor bicycle, I'm a lot more afraid of the motorists on that street than I am of the bicyclists. The guy in this article is afraid that someone will have to be killed before something is done to improve safety; motorists *have* killed pedestrians who were legally crossing at 7th and Penn and still are free to scoff at posted signs, the rules of the road, and basic decency and common sense without so much as a slap on the wrist.

  • hflakker

    @ SEis4ME, I appreciate the humor but thought to write because this is news worthy. I bike for recreation on weekends so I don't have a pony in this race but it seems to me that there is real progress being made promoting alternative transportation. Can you imagine just 5 or 10 years ago a story like this? Not likely. But there would have been dozens of stories about widening highways to improve congestion or the like. How news worthy is a highway expansion by the same standard?

  • ceefer66

    These people who think it's cute or some God-given right to go around taking pictures of strangers had better be careful about invading people's privacy. They're opening themselves up to a lawsuit or worse.

  • Will

    @a change gon' come, to allow for U-turns at the signals, you would have to do something called "split phasing, which basically means an entire signal phase for U-turns of at least 15 seconds. You have to take that 15 seconds from something else, either through traffic, or cross street traffic, and for the low level of demand for U-turns at signals, it's not worth doing. The reason everyone complains about the taxi U-turns is because they are always whipping around to beat all the other taxis to a fare, not because making a U-turn is necessary to get someplace. It's just pure opportunism and scofflaw-ism on their part, and unlike when cyclists are scofflaws, people get very badly hurt by taxis. I've seen three people lying in the street in various states of agony and injury from encounters with taxis in this lane, and by all accounts, dozens of people have been hit here. While luckily there haven't been any fatalities or crippling injuries yet.

  • SEis4ME

    @HFlak, For me, it's hard comparing an entire highway serving hundreds of thousands vs. a limited section of a segmented street where people make illegal U-turns. Obviously the highway is much more of a news item.

    I also agree w/ceefer about the dangers of citizen journalism. Keep thinking you can willy nilly go after people on film. Besides, did the biker put himself and others in danger by not paying attention to the road?

  • ksu499

    The FBI police can enforce traffic laws in the District?

  • black jack

    ceefer66 and SEis4ME: you guys are pretty funny.

    (1) the biker/videographer WAS paying attention to the road - that's why he didn't crash into the taxi that suddenly turned across his path. And while he was stopped at the intersection, he kept paying attention to the road; that's why he kept turning to look at the intersection, then turning back to see what's happening with the pullover.

    (2) it may feel like an invasion of privacy to have someone filming you while you are driving on a public road (or walking around), but legally it is not. So smile for the camera, and behave yourself - or embrace your id and become a YouTube star.

  • T1

    Of course someone wants about a cellphone video in the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue. I swear. Nevermind the bigger point that idiots keep breaking laws in flagrant view of authorities.

    Thankfully this FBI cop is legit. So many MPD officers just ignore it.

  • Bike Crusher

    Seriously, Do the FBI police have jurisdiction to do that ?? Not defending the taxi, but the bike riders don't exactly follow the traffic laws either

  • a change gon’ come

    Will, as a regular cab rider, yes, I've certainly seen taxi drivers do absurdly dangerous things to pick up a fare. It's just that on that stretch of Penn, where I sometimes hail a cab at 7th, the preferred route to my destination is via Constitution, and we have to ride up to 14th to make that left. Maybe it's the time of day I travel, but it doesn't seem that even one 15-second split would promote much congestion, and might ease the driver/biker tension?

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