Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Mean Streets of D.C.

So yesterday morning, a 22-year-old girl was killed in Dupont Circle while riding her bike to work. Run over by a garbage truck. Damn. Then yesterday evening while walking to dinner, there was a guy laying in the street. He had just been sideswiped and wiped out. From what I can gather, the driver took off. Then tonight on my home from school I saw a car on the side of Pennsylvania Ave with its flashers on. There was a cyclist laying on the street writhing in pain, his bike wrecked pretty good, and another bike on the ground. My best guess is that the driver hit both of them. Must've just happened because the ambulance wasn't even there yet. Moral of the story? ALL PARTIES NEED TO BE MORE CAREFUL!

My order of most common transportation is 1) walking, 2) driving, 3) cycling. As a consumer of all three conveyances, I get pissed at everyone and I often fear what's going to happen. For starters, drivers don't pay attention to people who are walking. They cruise through crosswalks or breeze through stop signs with nary a care. Then you get the walkers who don't pay attention to the drivers. When I drive I shouldn't have to wonder if somebody is going to dart across 14th St. Which brings up a good point--we recently moved to Logan Circle and I'm amazed at how many people just cross 13th and 14th St. wherever they want! Jaywalk if you want, but do it when there's no traffic. It's at a point all over the city where people don't even look to see if they have a "walk" sign. The cops have begun ticketing for jaywalking and I'm all for it. Mind you, I'm a hardcore jaywalker myself. The difference is that I'll jaywalk against a signal if there is nobody around. I don't do it in the middle of the street. Usually. And then there is cycling. I hate riding my bike on DC streets. The drivers suck and pay attention to nothing, so it's a crapshoot. Plus the walkers are all over the place and you never know if they're going to jump in front of you. Yet on the other hand, I can't stand the cyclists who ride in the middle of the street and then just disobey the traffic signs. If you want to ride down the street, you best pay attention to the signals and stop signs. Don't be that asshole who gets hit by a car and then ticketed for disobeying the law (it happens. Happens for jaywalkers too).

So there it is. My PSA for the day. Pay attention, everyone. And wear your helmet if you're a biker. And a word of advice to the people who turn left on a red to a one-way in DC--it's against the law. Just a bit of fair warning. I'll link if I can find it, but I know this from a friend who got ticketed. I thought you could turn left on a red in DC too.


Mark said...

I hear you PFB... I was hit last year W.O. & D. People aren't watching. FYI... the D.C. traffic laws are enumerated on the links below. Neither list a left turn as legal during a red signal.


The legalese:
Municipal Regulations 2103.7

For the layman:
D.C. Driving Manual (pg. 56)

Tim said...

I still don't require a helmet, as I don't belive 1 inch of styrofoam on my dome is gonna protect me from anything, other than getting yelled at by joggers for not having a nightlamp...
This is my solution to people getting in MY way... it seems to have been designed by Willy Wonka.