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Posts about Crash Charges


This man's reckless driving killed four people, including two children. Should he be in jail?

This is part 3 in a series on traffic enforcement. Read part 1 on DC's proposed fines and part 2 about how traffic cameras could be more swift, certain, and fair.

Though raising traffic fines might not deter lawbreaking, people often feel a harsh punishment is appropriate anyway for the most egregious acts. Here's one man who was about the worst driver ever. What if he had to spend 23 years making roads safer rather than sitting in jail?

A car crash. Not the one we're talking about. Photo by IceBone on Flickr.

One common response to criticism about the proposed higher fines was that they will also take the most dangerous drivers off the streets. Suspending a license for a repeat offender is the sort of punishment that should be much more common. Sadly, many jurisdictions are reluctant to take away driving privileges because people have few alternatives. But in DC, there are alternatives to driving.

Beyond the valuable tool of license suspension, however, greater punishments may also not achieve much. It's understandable to feel that if people are driving 55 in a 30 mph zone, or if they door or hit cyclists, they deserve anything that's coming to them. They've done something obviously very dangerous and/or done actual damage. Why not punish these people severely?

While it may make us feel better, we just know that it doesn't actually stop the next person. It didn't work for the "tough on crime" efforts of the 1990s, and while traffic safety isn't the same thing, but there's also not a lot of reason to believe this approach will work here.

To think about this more, let's look at one of the most egregious examples out there, a former Google sous chef named Nicola Bucci. I worked at Google, but didn't know him personally; he worked there after I'd moved to New York, but I know many people who did know him.

In 2006, Bucci hit another car and killed two children while speeding in the wrong lane of a road on a hill in Fairfield, California, northeast of San Francisco.

In case this doesn't make him seem unsympathetic enough, Bucci had actually killed two people before, on I-80 in the Sierra Nevadas in 1994, where he fell asleep at the wheel. He'd been convicted of vehicular manslaughter and done some jail time then.

A jury convicted Bucci of murder for these two deaths, and now he's in prison serving a 23-year sentence.

Is this just?

In some sense, that feels good, since he's killed more people than some serial killers. But other than the possibility of taking him off the road so he personally doesn't kill anyone else, the roads aren't getting any safer because of it.

Has the press around the case in California (some articles here and there) made people drive less when tired? Probably not much. Is there anything about Bucci's experience that is reminding California drivers day in and day out about the dangers of driving tired? No.

Clearly, Bucci should not be allowed to drive again, but his privileges should have been revoked after his first conviction. If he had to spend 23 years going around to every driver's ed class in the state telling his story or something, that would achieve quite a lot more.

Oh, and the state's road engineers were responsible, too. Another jury in 2011 found Caltrans 35% responsible for the crash because of the road's unsafe design. The state had to pay $29 million to the victims, and only then did it put in a divider.

Meanwhile, Bucci's family is suffering, and some of his former coworkers have been trying to help him get his sentence overturned. Those friends are not working to help educate people about the lessons of Bucci's experience to make the roads safer. Ideally, they would be.

It's understandable to want to punish people who do terrible things, but people drive tired, don't yield to buses, speed, and park in bike lanes all the time. To make an example of one or two of the worst offenders just lets society feel better and then ignore all of the lessons of the incident.

We need better road design, lower speed limits, license revocations, and "certain, swift, and fair" enforcement to make roads safe. If jail time or (getting back to part 1) high fines get people to change behavior, then by all means let's do that, but absent evidence, it seems like a way to feel that we're working on the problem instead of actually solving it.


Drivers who kill people on bikes often don't get prosecuted

Since 1971, there have been 109 fatal bicycle crashes in the DC region. Authorities rarely prosecute the drivers, and when they do, punishments aren't very harsh.

Photo by rick on Flickr.

During that span, there have been 32 cases where either the federal government's Fatality Analysis Reporting System or media reports said a driver was at fault in a fatal crash with someone on a bike. Authorities only charged a driver with a crime in 15 of those cases, or 47% of the time.

Prosecution was most likely in cases related to DUI and hit-and-run. Three of the 15 cases involved both a hit-and-run and DUI charge. Four were only hit-and-runs, and another two were only DUIs. Charges for the six other drivers included distracted driving, ignoring a red light, excessive speed, failure to yield, and unsafe passing.

There wasn't information on the results of the prosecution for every case. But in all 13 cases that I was able to track, the driver was convicted.

It's also worth noting two unresolved cases that aren't included in these counts: Tonya Reaves and Andrew Malizio

Even when it looks bad, drivers tend to get off easy

In all of these cases, the average sentence for convicted drivers was only two years and two months. Judges cut the actual jail time down to an average of only 15 months. In four cases, the convicted driver served no time. Another driver went to a night-time only facility, and another was admitted into a medical institution.

In a few cases where there weren't any criminal charges, there was a lawsuit against the driver but the parties reached a settlement before the case went to court. In the only civil case I could find that did go to court, which was in Maryland, the driver was found to be primarily responsible but got off the hook because the judge deemed the cyclist to have been contributorily negligent.

In another case, where the cyclist was at fault, a driver successfully sued the cyclist's estate for damage done to the car and for injuries sustained in the crash.

The numbers vary by jurisdiction

As was true with fault, there is a relationship between charges and jurisdiction.

There were nine cases in Montgomery County in which authorities blamed the driver, with driver convictions following in eight of them. Prince George's County prosecuted three out of five "at-fault" drivers (ignoring cases where the driver was never found). On the other end of the spectrum, Northern Virginia jurisdictions only prosecuted two out of six "at-fault" drivers, and DC only prosecuted two out of ten.

While this may be because Maryland treats these crimes with greater import, it is more likely due to the fact that Maryland crashes more often involve DUIs and/or hit-and-runs, which are easier to prosecute.


Cyclists more often get the blame if they die in a crash

Over 100 Washington area cyclists have died in motor vehicle crashes since 1987. Previously, I mapped out their locations. What about the outcomes? Police fault cyclists and drivers equally, except in Prince George's County, where they overwhelmingly blame cyclists.

Photo by The Bike Fed on Flickr.

Cyclists are found at fault more than drivers

I collected data on fatal crashes involving both a cyclist and a driver in the region since 1987. The data came from media reports and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS).

I was able to determine who was found at fault in 83% of the crashes. Cyclists got the blame 58.9% of the time. This could be because cyclists are just more reckless than drivers, but it could also be that there is a failure in the reporting itself.

There's a big discrepancy between the two sources. Of all of the cases in which fault was assigned, 34.4% relied only on data from a FARS report. In these cases, cyclists got the blame 74.1% of the time. In contrast, where the details of the crash came from a media report or from both a media report and a FARS report, cyclists only got the blame in 30 out of 59 crashes, or 50.8% of the time.

Prince George's finds cyclists at fault far more often

Prince George's County has has the most bike fatalities of any jurisdiction in the area. It's also the place cyclists are most often found at fault.

Cyclists got the blame in 76.7% of Prince George's fatal crashes, compared to 52.9% in Northern Virginia, 50% in Montgomery County, and 48% in DC. In fact, outside Prince George's County, drivers and cyclists in the region share fault 50-50.

Could police bias explain these discrepancies?

Responding police officers are responsible for filling out FARS reports, so police bias might be a factor.

For example, in several cases the only contributing factor was "Walking/Riding With Or Against Traffic, Playing, Working, Sitting, Lying, Standing, Etc. In Roadway." This could mean a lot of things, including something as simple as the cyclist riding in the road.

The inherently one-sided interview can also play a role. Often the only living witness, the driver, has a strong incentive to blame the cyclist, and perhaps the police do not do enough to challenge these claims.

On the other side of things, it's possible that the media only reported on crashes where the driver was to blame. My data set has far more news stories on the investigation, subsequent trial, and verdict when the driver was criminally at fault. Perhaps stories where the driver is at fault, such as the recent fatal crash near Baltimore, are more appealing to the media.

In addition to asking why the county is so deadly for cyclists, Prince George's County needs to ask the question of why cyclists who die there are so much more likely to be blamed. Are Prince George's cyclists worse? Do the roads there invite risky cycling? Is there a difference in the way police and journalists investigate and report crashes in Prince George's?

If it's bias, someone needs to address it for the sake of both justice and safety. If it's cyclists riding dangerously, then the county needs more education and enforcement. If it's road design, the county needs to change the roads. Being such a negative outlier should be cause for alarm.


A driver killed Tom Palermo in Baltimore, but road designers deserve some blame, too

On the last Saturday of 2014, driver Heather Cook struck and killed cyclist Tom Palermo with her car in Baltimore. Police have filed charges against Cook, but Tom's killing highlights the need for protected bike lanes on roads that are designed for high speeds.

Roland Avenue in Baltimore, near the scene of Tom Palermo's killing. Image from Google Maps.

Roland Avenue, the site of the wreck, is a four-lane divided road with narrow, unprotected bike lanes that run alongside cars. This stretch has wide traffic lanes and few crosswalks or traffic calming features. The road's design gives cues to drivers that highway-like speeds and frequent passing are OK. While the charges against Cook allege that she was distracted and impaired, it is also clear that her speed, along with a road design that puts slower-moving bikes close to fast car traffic, were key factors in the crash.

Roland Avenue is a case study in how a road's design may affect driving attitudes

Roland Avenue shows us that a narrow, unprotected bike lane does not work on a street designed for high traffic speeds. Though Roland Avenue is shade-covered and mostly residential, the road's design tells drivers that it's more like a high-speed through road than a calm neighborhood street.

Roland Avenue combines wide travel lanes that "forgive" swerves and weaves with a bike lane that has no physical barriers between cars and bikes. The bike lane itself is effectively narrowed because it lies mostly in the left-hand door zone of a parking lane at the curb. There aren't many well-marked crosswalks, and the long distances between traffic lights let drivers build up speed. Despite the poor pavement quality, we wouldn't be surprised if average or at least common car speeds on that stretch were well above 40 mph, regardless of the speed limit posted.

Route 1 in College Park is an opportunity to get it right

A few months ago, we co-authored a post on how the State Highway Administration is developing Route 1 in College Park for cyclists and pedestrians, but the specific infrastructure it has in mind is still unsafe. With tens of thousands of students, faculty and staff traveling up and down the Route 1 corridor every day to go to the University of Maryland, a bike lane here will both accommodate current need and help bring down the number of cars on the road.

For the bike lane is going to be safe, though, it needs to be separated or protected from errant traffic. And unfortunately, the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) has put forth plans for Route 1 that have dangerous bike lanes similar to those on Roland Avenue.

There's no parking lane along Route 1 in College Park, meaning the minimum protection for bike lanes should be flexposts and six-inch parking stops like those along the 1st Street NE bikeway in DC. Alternatively, the Route 1 bike lanes could go on the sidewalk side of the curb, which you can see in the illustration below. An even more creative solution would be to design a two-way bike path in the median, similar to DC's Pennsylvania Avenue design, or on the west side of Route 1 (which has fewer driveways).

Illustration of a possible Route 1 design with bike lanes outside the curb. Drawing by the author.

So far, College Park city officials, University of Maryland officials, and local bike advocates have been unable to persuade SHA that narrow, unprotected bike lanes are an unsafe choice for Route 1. In fact, SHA has said that their internal guidelines restrict them from putting protected bike lanes behind the curb, and the agency is unwilling to use "vertical" protection measures for bike lanes, like flexposts.

The 1st Street NE protected bikeway in Washington DC uses flexposts and parking stops. Photo by the author.

Commercial and neighborhood streets should be safe and useful for everyone, not just drivers. It's time to design multi-lane roads to reduce the risk of a distracted or drunk driver weaving across the bike lane stripe and running cyclists over.

Tom Palermo might still be alive had bicycle safety been a priority when building Roland Avenue. If the SHA rebuilds Route 1 using a similarly poor design, the results could be similarly tragic.


Driver assaults bicyclist, police ticket bicyclist

Cyclist and photojournalist Evan Wilder encountered a road raging driver on R Street. He says the driver tried to force him off the road, caused a collision, then threw his bike into the truck. A police officer later wrote Wilder a ticket while he was in the hospital. Here is his story:

Image from video by Evan Wilder.

A driver came alongside me on a narrow, sharrow painted part of the R Street bike route just before the entrance to the Metropolitan Branch Trail.

He should not have tried to pass me, since there was no way to pass and give me the required 3 feet minimum. What he was doing was intentional because he kept pace with me then moved to his right in order to broadside me.

I braked hard in order to avoid a collision, but the driver had stopped at stop sign as he swerved right, so I ran into the back of his truck.

He then got out and berated me, yelling and screaming that I shouldn't mess with his truck and that I should be in the bike lane. When I said I would call the police he picked up my bike and threw it into his truck. The bike bounced out and landed on the other side of the truck in the road.

MPD officers arrived and I told them what happened. EMS took me to the ER, and while I was waiting, the MPD officer gave me a $100 Notice of Infraction for "following too closely." The driver got nothing.

The officer wrote the following on the police report:
D1 states he was traveling east bound on his bicycle when D2 drove past him on the left. D1 states D2 passed him too closely. D1 further states that D2 stopped at the stop sign in front of him and he was unable to stop his bike in time. D1 struck the back of D2 with his bike causing a scratch to the right side of D2's tailgate.

D2 states he was stopped at the stop sign when he heard D1 strike the rear of his vehicle.

[Witness] W1 states D2 was stopped at the stop sign and D1 struck his right rear bumper. W1 also states D2 was walking perfectly fine after the accident.

W2 states he came out side of his house after the accident and seen D1's bike behind D2's truck as in a rear end.

D1 was issued an NOI [Notice Of Infraction] for following too closely.

D1 had no complaint of injury but was transported to Howard University Hospital by Medic 17 for further evaluation.

The driver passing Wilder.

This narrative resembles Wilder's, but in a way that is clearly more sympathetic to the driver's point of view. What seems most conspicuous is that it makes no mention of the driver throwing Wilder's bike into his truck. It seems very strange not to include that, since it is certainly also an illegal action. And did the officer ask the witnesses about this?

Wilder says he indeed told the officer, both at the scene and later at the hospital. And he says that both witnesses indeed saw the bike-throwing incident; they came outside after the crash because the driver was yelling so loudly. He writes, "When I asked about it and how that wasn't an offense, he said that it was a separate incident from me being ticketed for striking his car, and that was it."

It certainly seems relevant to the question of whether the driver was in a road rage state of mind before the crash. If you're just sitting stopped at a light and a cyclist for some reason hits your car and makes a small scratch, you usually wouldn't respond in this way.

As it happens, Wilder has a camera on his bike, which captured video of the whole incident. He's not yet ready to release the video, but I've seen it and it seems to corroborate the fact that the driver suddenly cut off Wilder just before stopping. It also certainly shows the driver yelling, throwing the bicycle, and so on. Wilder is initially (and understandably) fairly angry as well, but then starts more calmly talking about calling the police while the driver rages on.

Certainly Wilder was asserting his right to space on the street. Some cyclists would have just slowed way down to give this driver a wide berth. But sharrows on this block mean emphasize that the cyclist has as much right to be in any road space as a driver. Passing a cyclist too closely (a violation of the law) and then swerving in front of the cyclist to stop at a stop sign is fairly clearly an aggressive move that's likely to cause a crash. Not to mention throwing the bike into a truck.

View from the bike as it's flying into the truck.

Cyclists have had constant problems with police officers doing scant investigation, assuming a cyclist is at fault, and going all the way to the hospital to give the cyclist the ticket. It's not one jurisdiction or one police force; this happened just last Monday in Rosslyn with the US Park Police.

We know from Zach T.'s story that many police officers strongly believe that a cyclist is just about always at fault for any crash. We don't know if this officer is one of those people or not, but given Wilder's video, it's clear that either the officer was biased, or else the type of investigation he conducted is simply not adequate to find the truth.

Update, May 20: Here's the video.


"It must have been your fault. C'mon. You are a biker."

Getting in a crash is one of the scariest things that can happen to a cyclist. Even worse is when police assume that bicyclists are always at fault, even if they've got evidence to the contrary.

The crash about to happen. Photo captured from MPD surveillance video.

On a pleasant March morning in 2011, I was on my way to work, biking south on 14th St NW in the center of the right lane. As I approached W Street, I looked to make sure I had ample time to cross. The light was green. As I left the intersection, an SUV driver made a left turn across traffic, directly into my path. All I could do was hit the brakes hard.

The next thing I knew, I was on my back in the middle of the street. I tried to sit up, but failed pathetically and landed back on the road. My glasses were in a mangled heap nearby. Seconds later, some cyclists stopped by. None had seen the collision, but they locked my bike at the scene and helped me to a safe place. Someone called an ambulance, which showed up a few minutes later.

In the ambulance, Carlos Carter, a DC police officer, asked me what happened, and I told him. Once the EMTs realized I had hit my head, it was straight onto a backboard and off to the emergency room.

At George Washington University Hospital, an X-ray found that my shoulder was separated and several ligaments were torn. Doctors took me to a CAT scanner to check for broken bones.

During the test, Officer Carter entered the room. He asked me to sign a ticket for running a red light. I asked him to take a look at footage since I was certain I hadn't. He wasn't interested and asked me to sign the ticket and admit fault. I didn't. He left.

Video proves that I was right

Often that would have been the end of the story, but, thankfully, not this one. I was confident that I was right, but after spending a day at the hospital, I began to doubt myself. When the police report was ready, I picked up a copy. Both the driver and another witness said I had run a red light.

Once I was mobile again, I returned to the scene of the collision. I tried to reconcile their version with mine. Was it possible that the light showed red in their direction but green in mine? I watched a few light cycles: the lights turned red at the same time. As I watched the cars roll through, I took a careful look around and noticed a camera with a Metropolitan Police Department label.

The camera was part of MPD's CCTV Neighborhood-Based Cameras program. After calling the department, I learned that I had to file a DC Freedom of Information Act request to obtain the footage, which is erased every 7 to 10 days. Thanks to the careful work of Commander James Crane, Kaylin Junge Castelli, and Ofc. E.A. Hoffstetter, I was able to obtain the footage before it was deleted.

Here is the relevant segment. I appear 32 seconds into the video.

The video was extremely clear: I did everything right, while the driver did something dangerous and in violation of traffic laws. At 9:13:09 am (7 seconds into the video clip above), the light turned green. At 9:13:42 (32 seconds in), I appear on screen, and less than 2 seconds later, I cross the intersection. At 9:13:44.524, the driver made a left turn. 8 more cars pass through the intersection. At 9:14:08, the light turns red.

I was left with the same question I had before: why did the driver turn? She claimed that I ran a red light, which meant she saw me but decided to turn anyway. Or maybe she didn't see me? I was wearing a bright orange jacket, and it wasn't very sunny or dark out. Maybe she had really bad vision, she didn't look, or wanted to hit me on purpose?

I will never really know for sure, but I do know that my shoulder ligaments will never regrow. I really wish she had bothered to look.

MPD refuses to admit its error in crash reporting

Now it was time to take action against the claims that I was at fault. I returned to the Third District police station, where a supervisor told me that only the officer who wrote the report and the ticket could change it. He asked me to tell my story again.

"Wait, you mean, you were biking and you want a ticket canceled?" he said, incredulous. "We all know how bikers behave. It must have been your fault. C'mon. You are a biker."

When I suggested that he review the video, he refused. The supervisor said he'd contact the officer but that I shouldn't expect anything to come of it, as I was a bicyclist.

So I filed an appeal. I scheduled a hearing and brought my evidence, but the officer didn't bother to show up. The ticket was canceled. It took an extra several hours of unnecessary hassle, but it felt great.

However, to get compensation for my permanent injury, my medical bills, lost work, pain and suffering, I had to sue the driver and her insurance company. It's hard to do in DC, which along with Maryland, Virginia and 2 other states, uses the "contributory negligence" standard for liability after crashes. Under that standard, if the victim was doing anything at all wrong, no matter how small, he or she can't collect any damages.

Without the video, it would've been nearly impossible to prove that I did everything right. But thanks to the footage and the work of Patrick Regan and Paul Cornoni of Regan, Zambri, Long, and Betram, I subsequently sued and then settled with the driver and her insurance company, receiving compensation for my permanent partial disability.

I would rather the whole thing never happened, but it's refreshing to know that the legal system can sometimes help hold negligent parties accountable and compensate those that they harm.

What I learned

From this experience, I learned two things. One is that police officers need substantially more training in different types of bicycle-automobile crashes. A driver turning left into oncoming bike traffic is a common form of collision, and that driver is usually at fault. Officer Carter botched the incident report by not asking the right questions.

Once the driver claimed I ran a red light, meaning she admitted to seeing me, the officer should have asked her why she decided to cause a collision, rather than assuming I was at fault. This would have helped him write the correct tickets and prepare an accurate report. And when someone shows up with clear evidence in their favor, he should've admitted his error, apologized, and fixed it.

Second, I learned that if you get hit by someone while bicycling, check for cameras. Without them, you'll have to fight against the assumption that you were operating in an unsafe way, no matter what the driver did.


I was in a hit-and-run by a distracted driver

My normal commute between work near Union Station and home in Dupont Circle is 35 minutes, doorknob to doorknob. Tuesday night, that commute came to a grinding halt just 2 blocks from my office.

2nd & F NE. Photo by reallyboring on Flickr.

As I crossed the street at 2nd and F Streets NE, an SUV pulled up to the 4-way stop. The SUV stopped at the stop sign, and I began to cross the street in the crosswalk. As I was just in front of the SUV, the driver, who'd looked down to his phone while stopped (it looked like he was texting), pulled forward full speed into a left turn, hitting me.

In the split second I had as the vehicle began to move before it hit me, I screamed and tried to jump back, but I was directly in front of the SUV, and it hit me squarely in the right leg, rolling over my right foot.

As I screamed, the driver finally looked up, saw me, and yelled "sorry!" out of his open window before continuing on his way. I was stunned.

It had all taken less than 15 seconds.

Waiting for the police

Once I got safely onto the sidewalk, I stopped, and the security guard at the nearby SEC parking garage stopped to ask me if I was okay and comment on the craziness of what had just happened. While I was in one piece, I was pretty banged up and definitely very shaken, and reached into my pocket for my cell phone to call 911.

It felt odd to me to call 911 when nothing was on fire and nobody was bleeding or in imminent danger, but as the security guard pointed out, I'd just been involved in a hit-and-run traffic collision.

Nonetheless, I gave the 911 operator my first name (they did not ask for my last name) and location, explained what happened, declined an ambulance, and was told that the next available unit would be on their way to me shortly. I hung up as a good samaritan came up to ask me if I was okay, and another security guard ushered me into the Securities and Exchange Commission building lobby to wait.

Collision diagram by the author.

Once I was settled inside on a bench, I called my significant other, Kian, to let him know that I'd be late getting home, and he insisted on coming from Dupont to meet me and help me get home once I was done with the police.

Once I hung up with Kian, building security suggested I call 911 again—they were very concerned no officer had responded yet. Kian arrived (via Metro) 25 minutes after I called him, but still no MPD officer had arrived.

The security guards in the building took down my information to let their supervisor know what was going on, and told me that there was a security camera on the corner of the building that might have had an angle to catch the whole thing on tape. They'd be happy to work with MPD to provide the tape.

10 minutes or so after Kian arrived (thanks to Twitter and call logs on our cell phones, I have the timing recorded), we called 911 for a third time. It had been an hour since my first call. They seemed to have no record of our earlier calls, but assured us that this was a priority and that a unit would arrive soon.

80 minutes after the collision, Capitol Police arrived on the scene. The responding officer explained that they'd heard it come in over the radio, and decided to respond. The Capitol Police officer took my full report, spoke to the security guard who'd been an eyewitness, and explained to me that Capitol Police would now have officers canvassing the area on the lookout for the vehicle, but since it had been over an hour, that it probably wasn't in the area any longer.

20 minutes after Capitol Police arrived, and as they're nearly finished writing the report, an MPD unit arrived, explaining that they'd been dispatched from the other side of the city, because of something going on downtown occupying all of the units in the area. The officer asked me to explain what had happened yet again, even though they ended up letting Capitol Police file the report.

Bad intersection?

About 30 minutes after the accident, waiting for MPD, I logged into Twitter on my phone. Many, many people on Twitter expressed their sympathy and kind thoughts (thank you!). As the discussion progressed, several people expressed frustration with that very intersection:

I've definitely noticed on my daily commute lots of drivers blowing through the intersection with a rolling stop, or occasionally no stop at all.

A serious reminder

I'm sore and bruised from the collision, but otherwise I am okay. I'm incredibly grateful for that, and for all of the kind people around me who helped me after the accident, like the good Samaritan and the building security at the SEC.

But as a smart growth and complete streets advocate by day, this experience was a serious reminder that our work for more walkable, bikeable, livable streets for everyone in our communities is far from complete. Even in a place like DC that does so many things right when it comes to transportation and planning, there's more work to do, even at the most basic level.

It's easy to get wound up in rhetoric about "us vs. them", the "war on cars", and so many other issues that we write and read about every day here. We've all been guilty of this from time to time. But when we step back, can't we all agree that cars, bicycles, and most especially, pedestrians, should all have a safe place on our streets? Washington is a great place to live, but we still have a long way to go to make it greater.

Let's do it for the kids in the daycare down the street from this intersection. For our elderly neighbors who can't get around as well anymore. For our children biking to school. From driver to cyclist to pedestrian, everyone benefits from a street that's safe and welcoming for all users.

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