DC Bicycle Safety Advocate Struck and Killed by Driver of Stolen Van

by | Apr 24, 2019

Our legal team at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. would like to express our condolences for the loss of Dave Salovesh, a longtime member of the DC cycling community and an active advocate for cyclist safety. Salovesh was tragically struck and killed by the driver of a stolen van in Trinidad on the morning of Friday April, 19, 2019.

The 54-year-old IT professional was a fixture in the DC cycling community, and he lived and breathed bicycle safety. From attending local bicycle club meetings to writing op-eds about the need for protected bike lanes, better traffic safety enforcement, and improvements to cycling infrastructure in the District, Salovesh made his presence known – and was committed to making roadways safer for all cyclists, himself and his family included.

A Tragic Loss. An Important Reminder.

Friday’s accident is a tragic and sobering reminder of just how vulnerable cyclists are when sharing the road with motor vehicles. Salovesh, who was extremely vigilant and hyper-aware of cycling safety practices, was struck at approximately 10:00 am near the intersection of 12th St. and Florida Avenue NE.

Officials from the Metropolitan Police Department say a lowjack hit had alerted authorities of a stolen white van. Though officers attempted to stop the vehicle, the driver evaded, sped westbound on Florida Ave., and ran a red light before hitting another vehicle, crossing the double yellow lines, and striking Salovesh, who died at the scene.

DC police reported the 25-year-old driver of the van has been charged with second-degree murder.

A Call for Cyclist Safety & Protection

As a Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) sponsor and personal injury law firm actively involved in the local cycling community, our entire team mourns the loss of a truly selfless, safety-conscious advocate. As WABA President Greg Billing said in a public statement: “Dave was an outspoken advocate for safer streets, and a dedicated father.” His loss will be felt throughout the community.

Although the incident which claimed Salovesh’s life is still under investigation, the section of Florida Ave. NE where he had been traveling had been the subject of a number of calls for action. Since the 2013 death of a pedestrian, WABA and advocates like Salovesh called on the District Department of Transportation to redesign the road, make it safer for cyclists, and take steps to reduce speeding.

The District DoT did complete preliminary plans for installing bike lanes in the area, from 3rd St. to 9th St., in 2017, but the project has since slowed. Since Salovesh’s crash, cyclists have already teamed up to call out the DDoT about project delays.

As the District of Columbia struggles with a rise in traffic fatalities, and at least six deaths so far this year, friends of Salovesh are confident he would want his death to compel advocacy and action. He’d want people to “get angry and make the streets safe,” a friend said, and make for real action and safer streets. That’s evident from recent comments Salovesh made on Twitter before his death:

“Good reminder that protecting sidewalks and bike lanes isn’t just about keeping well-controlled travelers in their spaces. Vision Zero would say, approximately, ‘people make mistakes, but nobody has to die from that.”

CSCS regularly works with WABA and advocates to improve cycling safety in our communities. Our firm also represents victims and families who suffer as a result of preventable bicycle accidents as they seek justice, accountability, and compensation in the civil justice system. Call (202) 659-8600 or contact us online to speak with a lawyer if you have a potential case.

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