D.C. Council to Hear Public Testimony on Proposed Bicycle Safety Bill
On Mon., March 25, the D.C. Council’s Committee on Transportation and the Environment will hold a public hearing on pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure and safety. The committee will also hear public testimony on the proposed Bicycle Safety Amendment Act of 2013 (read the full text of B20-0140). The proposed legislation would amend and update sections of the D.C. municipal regulations as they relate to bicycling in the District of Columbia. If passed, the Bicycle Safety Amendment Act of 2013 would make the following updated or amendments:
- Bicyclists’ use of leading pedestrian intervals: Bicyclists could get the same head start as pedestrians at signalized intersections where pedestrians are given few extra seconds to start crossing a street. Allowing pedestrians and bicyclists the opportunity to get into the intersection before cars make them more visible to drivers.
- Bicycle and pedestrian detours: The mayor would be allowed to require permits obtained from the District Department of Transportation for projects that block sidewalks, bike lanes, or other pedestrian or bicycle paths to provide safe accommodatiosn for pedestrians and bicyclists.
- Aligns bicyclists crash infractions with similar pedestrian one: The bill adds penalties “failure to yield” and “colliding with a bicyclist” infractions, similar to current pedestrian infractions. The penalty for “failing to yield” to the bicyclist would be three points points and a fine of $250. “Colliding with a person riding a bicycle” would be six points and a fine of $500.
- Ability to make an audible noise: The bill modifies the law that requires all bicycles to be equipped with a bell, instead requiring all bicycle riders to “be capable of making a warning noise either with a bell or mechanical device, or with his or her voice, audible for a distance of at least one hundred feet.” It also removes a section prohibiting bicyclists from a making a noise within the established quiet zones (Title 18 Section 1204.7)
- Sign up to testify.
- Show up at least 20 minutes before the hearing starts.
- You will be required to pass through security. Bring a state-issued ID.
- Bring at least 8 copies of your written testimony to submit for the record.
- You will be given three (and only three) minutes to testify. You don’t have to use all of the time! Make your point and be brief.
- Your written testimony and supporting documents can be longer than your testimony, so feel free to get into details in writing.
- The committee chair will bring up a panel of 3-4 people to testify in a row. You will all give your testimony and then stay at the table for questions.
- Be sure to thank the committee chair and any present councilmembers.