Bicyclists in Washington, D.C. want police officers to become more knowledgeable about bicycle laws around the District. Why is this issue so important to bicyclists? Because when an officer cites a bicyclist for a violation in an accident with a car, it can affect whether the injured bicyclist can recover for their personal injuries.
In a washingtonpost.com report, the DC Police Complaints Board recommended last month that police officers become well versed in the District’s bicycle laws. Collisions that most bicyclists fear or have experienced are when a car door opens as they ride by, or when a car makes a right turn in front of a bicyclist. According to the report, bike advocates say that police often say it is the bicyclist’s fault when that is not the case.
A spokesperson for the Washington Area Bicyclist Association said police cite bikers for illegal passing when the biker is following the appropriate laws. A hearing before the DC Council this past February bought the issue to light and the Council sent a report to Mayor Gray. There will be a second hearing next month to revisit the issue. We will keep you informed on the developments on this blog.
Despite the number of safe bicyclists in the District, bicyclists can get a negative reputation as a rogue sub-culture that ignores traffic laws. What has been your experience with bicyclists in the District?
Approved by attorney David Schloss