WABA reports progress with MPD
WABA finally got MPD to sit down and talk about bicycle safety and enforcement. As previously reported, MPD had postponed their meeting twice, once with scant explanation, prompting WABA to send a public letter asking for concrete steps to improve officer training, better target enforcement, and collect useful data.
Recently, WABA finally met with MPD and had a productive conversation. They felt MPD "recognized our concerns and appeared willing to work with WABA and DDOT." The parties agreed on some concrete steps, including:
The complete list is here.
WABA also circulated a draft Memorandum of Understanding they hope MPD, DDOT, and WABA can jointly sign in the future. It lays out steps for all three groups from "acknowledge the strengths in a collaborative approach to traffic safety throughout the city" to more specifics.
Many cyclists feel that the recent stings against cyclists, like wrong-way riding on New Hampshire Avenue, represent a misguided attempt to improve safety by going out and writing a lot of bicycle tickets for violations that, while against the law, don't represent actual unsafe behavior and unfairly put the burden on cyclists alone.
Several points of the MOU address this issue. It asks MPD to "acknowledge that education and enforcement activities include warnings, citations, referrals, and safety education" and to publicize certain enforcement activities, since telling people the police will be writing tickets often does more to change behavior than just writing them. For its part, of course, the MOU calls on WABA to "encourage all motor vehicle operators, bicycle operators, and pedestrians to
follow all laws for safety" and support education and enforcement efforts from MPD and DDOT.
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