Are Washington, DC Bicyclists Putting Themselves and Others at Risk?

By Peter DePaolis

In 2015, drivers racked up more than 60,000 red light camera violations in the District. However, now police are looking at Washington, D.C. bicyclists, who have triggered red light cameras 1,557 times between January of 2015 and April of 2016. Unfortunately, police have no way to identify bicyclists who run red lights, so many do not pay for a ticket and continue to violate this traffic law.

There are some intersections in the district that have hundreds of bicyclist red light violations, including:

  • Rhode Island Avenue and First Street NW, which had 276 violations
  • Oak Street NW and 16th Street, which had 201 violations
  • K Street and 27th Street NW, which had 173 violations

Bicyclists are more vulnerable than drivers and could sustain more serious injuries in a bicycle accident. However, they don’t just endanger themselves when they run a red light. They also unintentionally put pedestrians and motorists who may try to avoid them in harm’s way.

While it is true that the majority of traffic deaths are caused by cars, the bicycling community must still follow the laws that are in place to keep them and others safe.

How DC Bicyclists Can Navigate Safely Through Washington, D.C.

According to the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, bicyclists must obey D.C. traffic laws. Some safe practices include:

  • Wearing reflective gear
  • Not wearing headphones
  • Though it is not a law, it is safer to ride with traffic, rather than against it
  • Always wearing a helmet
  • Yielding to pedestrians

In turn, drivers must check for cyclists when turning right across a bike lane. Additionally, it is illegal for drivers to park in bike lanes. Drivers should always check before opening their doors. It may seem minor, but “dooring” a passing bicyclist can still cause serious harm.

Call a D.C. Personal Injury Lawyer

Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP is a personal injury law firm that helps injury victims in Washington, D.C. We help those injured due to car crashes, bicycle accidents and pedestrian accidents. Call us today to speak to one of our attorneys.


About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.