New Law Treats Cyclists More Like Pedestrians
Good news, D.C. cyclists: Much of the illegal behavior you've been engaging in is about to become legal.
Ever find yourself impatient after a long red light and crossing the intersection when the pedestrian light flashes to go, but before the main one does? Technically, you can't do that—but soon you'll be able to.
Like those four-way pedestrian signals in Chinatown and Columbia Heights that let you cross the street on two wheels while drivers wait? Well, you're supposed to wait with them—but not for much longer.
Didn't bother installing a bell on your bike? You've been breaking the law—but soon you'll be able to make do with just your booming voice.
(a) A bicyclist may cross at an intersection while following the pedestrian traffic control signal for the bicyclist’s direction of travel unless otherwise directed by traffic signs or traffic control devices.
(b) A bicyclist may cross an intersection where a leading pedestrian interval is used.
Likewise, the bill, introduced by Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh and Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells, stipulates that cyclists will be treated like pedestrians in two other ways: They'll no longer have to ride armed with bells, provided their voices can carry for at least 100 feet, and there are newly created driving infraction categories for failure to yield to a bicyclist and for colliding with a bicycle.
Additionally, if street construction projects block bike or pedestrian paths, the city is required to provide a suitable detour.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery