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Thread: Cyclist struck and killed at 1200 Florida NE (DC)

  1. #31
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    Wherever Dave is, I hope he's laughing at the ghost bike they're going to put up for his ghost bike.

    I sent another letter to the Mayor, my councilmember, and the at-large councilmembers, asking them what they're doing about DC's unsafe streets. I urge all of you to do the same. If you don't live in DC, write to your own elected officials - I'm sure there's an unsafe street near you that they're ignoring.

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrenaut View Post
    Wherever Dave is, I hope he's laughing at the ghost bike they're going to put up for his ghost bike.

    I sent another letter to the Mayor, my councilmember, and the at-large councilmembers, asking them what they're doing about DC's unsafe streets. I urge all of you to do the same. If you don't live in DC, write to your own elected officials - I'm sure there's an unsafe street near you that they're ignoring.
    This is not about any individual street. I support street redesign that would reduce and narrow the driving lanes on Florida Ave and similar places. But witnesses estimate the speeds of the two drivers who have hit Dave Salovesh and his ghost bike at 70 and 80 MPH. What kind of traffic calming could ever have neutralized those guys? Speedbumps at every intersection?

    The @howsmydriving result for this license plate shows several infractions issued in DC proper that are presently unpaid. The driver almost certainly has a far more extensive history of speeding dangerously than his record shows. We are lucky that no one was killed on Saturday morning. But if this person continues to drive, I fear that may happen soon enough.

    Our traffic carnage cannot be stopped with infrastructure and engineering alone. We need more speed cameras collecting and pooling data from numerous locations that can be used to flag individuals with a pattern of reckless behavior. And we need the power to suspend or revoke licenses of the worst offenders based on these histories. Even if they haven't killed anyone yet.

    @howsmydrivingdc DC:EE5857
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  4. #33
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    First, yes, absolutely.

    Second, though, it's much more complicated. Speed cameras and automated ticketing can't be attached to a driver - just a car. So automated enforcement penalties can only be collected by 1) booting or 2) reciprocity at tag renewal. I'd love to see more booting, and don't see why this can't happen. But the reciprocity is much tougher.

    And as much as I want to revoke licenses - some people can't survive without driving. Our transit system is so bad that many people simply can't live their lives without driving. I don't want those people to lose their livelihood for parking tickets.

    And even for egregious speeding violations - we design roads as highways and then expect a speed camera to keep drivers in line? What if suspending a license for a few speeding tickets, even egregious ones, means the driver loses their job and then their home? I just don't think an equitable solution can be to suspend all these licenses.

    We need better transit. We need narrower roads. We need to charge market rates for parking. All of these things get people out of cars an onto buses and trains (and hopefully bikes, because bikes rule).

  5. #34
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    Summary / TLDR version of the following post:

    Yes, it is extremely complicated. Those are all very important issues that will require careful consideration. We do want to minimize any unintended consequences that could result from undertaking a serious attempt at Vision Zero.

    Regardless, these complications are distractions. People are dying on our streets. If we make the difficult choices necessary to save most of these lives, some people will be inconvenienced. If we fail to make these choices, we will sentence more innocent bystanders to their deaths.

    How many human lives is it worth to avoid inconveniencing dangerous drivers?

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  7. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrenaut View Post
    Speed cameras and automated ticketing can't be attached to a driver - just a car.
    Yes, one can identify the car more reliably than the driver. A vehicle owner could claim that someone else was driving the car, and that person could dispute it. For this reason, Dutch law 185 WVW assigns civil liability to the vehicle owner when vulnerable road users are involved in collisions with vehicles. (Are criminal penalties treated similarly in the Netherlands?) Could we figure out how to do something similar? Assume the vehicle owner is responsible unless he/she can prove that someone else was driving the car. Don't lend your car to people that you cannot trust to take responsibility for their actions. Given all the data sources that could be probed (cameras / credit cards / cell phone records / etc.) in the case of a dispute, I would guess that most cases would be easily resolvable with a preliminary investigation.

    Even if there would be more disputed cases than I expect, how much does that matter? Is it worth letting more pedestrians and bicyclists die on account that the law that could have saved them is occasionally difficult to enforce? "Beyond a reasonable doubt" is a great standard for prosecutions with potential jail time. However, when driving privileges are the only thing at risk for the defendant and public safety hangs in the balance, perhaps it is an unnecessarily generous standard?


    Quote Originally Posted by jrenaut View Post
    I don't want ... people to lose their livelihood for parking tickets.
    I am suggesting confiscating licenses for dangerous driving behaviors that directly put the public at great risk. Not for parking tickets: those are nuisance violations that increase public endangerment only indirectly. That said, the impunity with which people can park illegally is appalling. If license revocation is the only effective deterrent for someone who has amassed dozens of parking tickets and yet continues to park illegally, it could be considered as a last resort.


    Quote Originally Posted by jrenaut View Post
    What if suspending a license for a few speeding tickets, even egregious ones, means the driver loses their job and then their home? I just don't think an equitable solution can be to suspend all these licenses.
    Is it worth sacrificing more victims to traffic violence, in order to make life easier for repeat offenders who will be driving while already knowing that their privileges are on thin ice before the last straw? When a clear pattern of egregious driving has been identified, the driver should be well aware that they are in danger of losing their license before the final violation. Anyone who can't avoid egregious speeding, all the while knowing that they are on their final strike that will cost them their driver's license, deserves the consequences.

    "Three strikes" laws that have imprisoned many drug offenders have been justifiably panned, but this is very different. Aggressive/negligent drivers pose a much greater danger to innocent bystanders than nonviolent drug addicts. And we're not discussing incarceration here but a mere loss of driving privileges.

    Equity is a major concern. The metric for license suspension/revocation will need to be as objective as possible. Speed cameras, if fairly distributed around the city, could be unbiased
    data collectors.


    Quote Originally Posted by jrenaut View Post
    Our transit system is so bad that many people simply can't live their lives without driving.
    Yes, too many are trapped in a car-dependent lifestyle. I'd argue that poor land use decisions by our governments are primarily responsible, and zoning reform is imperative to fixing the problem. But better transit service for our existing sprawl is also part of the solution, along with better infrastructure for pedestrians and bicyclists.

    The basic challenge is this: although the poorest among us strive to minimize monetary costs of transportation, most transportation mode decisions today are made to minimize travel time instead. And driving alone is still the fastest way to get between most origin/destination pairs in our region. To curtail car dependency and increase the feasibility of alternative transportation for more people, we must increase the expense difference (so that more people choose the cheaper option) or make the alternatives more competitive timewise.

    For the former, we need to start by recapturing all the externalities that the general public is presently paying to subsidize private vehicles and their drivers. This means ending oil subsidies, raising gasoline taxes, carbon pricing, stricter enforcement of moving/parking violations, instituting market-priced parking, congestion pricing, tolling, etc. For the latter, we need streets engineered to prioritize safety over vehicular throughput (road diets, narrower lanes, traffic calming, etc.), improved MUTs/sidewalks/crosswalks/bike lanes, dedicated transit lanes with signal priority, and more reliable transit service.

    As vehicular capacity drops and transit experience improves, demand for transit will increase. Removing the worst apples from the driver pool should only help to accelerate the increase in demand for higher-quality transit. It might even help to attract some demand from communities that are presently opposed to transit funding, as they see that their car-dependent lifestyles are not a right but instead a privilege that they could lose.

    How about the drivers who would be marooned by such a policy? Yes they might find themselves needing to consider major changes such as relocation and a new job if their present home and/or workplace is impossible to access without a car. But how many would even get to that point? They will have had ample opportunity to avoid that predicament by fixing their terrible driving when they see their history of recklessness piling up thus threatening to jeopardize their license. Such a wake-up call would hopefully convince most of these people to improve their driving behavior, thus solving our original problem without needing to suspend their licenses.

    It all leads back to the original question: how many human lives is it worth to allow a lifestyle of convenience to those who have repeatedly demonstrated that they are either unwilling or unable to operate a motor vehicle in a socially responsible manner?

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  9. #36
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    Now you're making me miss Dave and extended arguments with someone I largely agree with.

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  11. #37
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    dasgeh is online now Queen of Family Biking & All Things Kidical
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    I think your both right and one issue that fills the gaps in your arguments is culture change. We live in a society that sees speeding as not only acceptable, but expected. We live in a world where one of the more progressive sit coms around saw fit to make swerving at cyclists the butt of the an episode-long joke. (Blackish - here's the petition to ask them to address it).

    We need a pretty massive culture change around driving. We need it to get to the point where neighbors chatter about the one car that consistently runs that stop sign. We need to get to the point where people call each other out for speeding, and where drivers are the ones asking for it to be harder to make a car speed. Where driving aggressively isn't sexy.

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  13. #38
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    An update- My workday took me past 12th & Florida NE. I can presume the wreck that destroyed the Salovesh ghost bike also destroyed the traffic light pole it was locked to. DDOT was repairing it today:

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  14. #39
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    Today. Breakaway traffic light pole replaced. Ready for the 2nd and hopefully last ghost bike. The tree where Dave's life ended bears mute testimony to the wreck.

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    Last edited by Starduster; 06-18-2019 at 06:35 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Starduster View Post
    Breakaway traffic light pole replaced
    This society sure does spend a lot of money protecting drivers who drive off the road from themselves, doesn't it?

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