Testify in Support of Safer Streets, Better Legal Protection
WABA needs your help to make a compelling case to the DC Council that more effort is needed to improve bicyclist safety. In February, WABA–along with many of you–testified before the DC Council’s Committee on the Judiciary regarding the need for better enforcement of traffic laws to protect bicyclists. The stories told that day were compelling and, in some cases heartbreaking, and led Councilmember Mendelson to refer the issue to the Office of Police Complaints for investigation. Earlier this month, the Office of Police Complaints released its reports verifying our claims and finding that, indeed, the DC Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) is in need of improvements to its crash reporting and response systems and training regarding bicyclists. Now, on November 2nd, we have the opportunity to appear before the Committee on the Judiciary again on the issue of bicyclist safety with this report in-hand to demand on-the-ground improvements and accountability and better protection of bicyclists on the District’s roadways. This November 2 hearing gives cyclists who ride in the District the opportunity to address two separate, but deeply related, safety issues: (1) overall bicycle safety enforcement by DC MPD, and (2) the proposed Protection of Bicyclists from Assault bill that will help provide a civil cause of action allowing cyclists to fight back against those who intentionally attack and harass us on the roadways. If you have a story to tell about either issue and want to help ensure that cyclists are protected on DC’s streets, we need you to come and tell that story to the Committee on the Judiciary on November 2nd. We have put in many hundreds of hours of work to get this far, with a report officially stating that the police need to do more and a bill introduced by over half of the members of the Council. But without a strong showing at the hearing, that progress can come to a hault. The report can be filed on the shelf with others from the past. Bills can die in committee. If you want better enforcement, or if you want a better civil cause of action for assaulted cyclists, we need you to join us in saying so. Those wishing to testify in person should contact Jessica Jacobs, either by telephone (202.724.8038) or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Written testimony can also be submitted until November 16–though in-person testimony is likely to be more impactful and effective. Full details for providing in-person or written testimony are available HERE. If you do plan to provide testimony, we would appreciate your taking a moment (in addition to contacting Jessica at the Committee Office) to let us know by CLICKING HERE so that we have a sense of the likely turnout of bicyclists. And finally, for those who would like to testify but would appreciate assistance in telling their stories more clearly and within the rules and time limits of the Council, WABA will be holding open-house sessions to help cyclists to testify more effectively. Please email us at email@example.com to let us know if you would like our assistance in crafting your testimony. The sessions will be scheduled once we have a better sense of the number of cyclists seeking this support.