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The Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Act

At the end of June the D.C. Council passed the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Amendment Act of 2016 by a unanimous vote. The act was signed by Mayor Muriel Bowser at the end of July and recently finished its 30 day period of Congressional review. This Act contains numerous changes that will make a positive impact on pedestrian and bicyclist protection laws. One of the most beneficial changes in the Act is the safety requirements for heavy-duty vehicles registered in the District. Large vehicles often have difficulties seeing pedestrians and bicyclists while turning, which can result in catastrophic injuries if a person is clipped during a turn and dragged under the wheels. The Act will require all heavy-duty vehicles to have side-underrun protection guards, blind spot mirrors or a blind spot camera system, and reflective blind-spot warning stickers. The Act also includes requirements for the Mayor to study the need for pedestrian alert systems on large public sector vehicles, such as buses.

DC Bicycle and Pedestrian Accident Lawyer

The Act also creates a Major Crash Review Task Force, which will include personnel from the Metropolitan Police Department, the Bicycle Advisory Council, the Pedestrian Advisory Council, and DDOT. This Task Force will review crashes handled by the police department and permit access upon request to District owned cameras that capture footage of a crash. Additionally, the Act provides much stricter provisions for the Ignition Interlock System Program, requiring use of the system for a period of 6 months after the first conviction of driving under the influence, one year after the second conviction, and two years after the third conviction. The Act also explicitly amended the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations to provide that motorists must not only open the door of a vehicle without interfering with traffic and pedestrians, but must now also not interfere with bicyclists as well. This provision provides bicyclists with much needed protection from dooring collisions, which can often cause very serious injuries.

We are very pleased that the D.C. Council is working to make the city’s streets safer not only for motorists but also for pedestrians and bicyclists as well. You can read the full text of the Act here. And, if you or a loved one was injured as a bicyclist or a pedestrian, please call our law firm to speak directly with an attorney and receive a free legal consultation.