Sponsored: Learn About DC’s New Vision Zero Law For Cyclist

The follow sponsored content is provided by WABA Business Member Price Benowitz, LLP.

In September of 2020, The Vision Zero Enhancement Omnibus Amendment Act of 2019 was unanimously passed by Washington, DC politicians. This amendment expands on a new technique to establish protected bike lanes that was initially used in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The premise behind the legislation is to require protected cycling infrastructure anytime road work is done. Washington, DC joined other cities around the country in signing up for the global traffic safety platform known as Vision Zero.

What is Vision Zero?

The Vision Zero law promises to modify the basic DNA of the District’s streets. It states, if a road segment is being rebuilt and has been identified as a possibility for a protected bike lane, bus-only lane, or private-vehicle-free corridor, that feature must be included. The bill prohibits right-on-red turns in areas with high pedestrian traffic. It also mandates the installation of sidewalks on both sides of a street and imposes stiff penalties on contractors who fail to install sidewalks, bicycle lanes, or marked crosswalks after completing work. Additionally, bike riders would be permitted to have rear lights and applicants who want to convert an out-of-state driver’s license must also pass a traffic rules and regulations knowledge test.

The District Department of Transportation Role in the Legislation

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is still analyzing what constitutes “major repair,” which is the term used by the bill. How they define it might have a big impact on where the law applies and when. The DDOT will also be obligated to analyze the city’s 15 most dangerous pedestrian and bike corridors and junctions ahead of time and report on changes. Supporters argue that this will ensure that the city focuses its resources on the most dangerous areas.

Traffic Fatalities Still Increasing Despite Vision Zero Law

Vision Zero has struggled to achieve its aim of fully eradicating pedestrian and bike deaths due to traffic violence. The DDOT responded to the pandemic by launching bus-only and Slow Streets pilot projects, both of which were included in the bill. Despite fewer cars on the roads, there were 36 total traffic fatalities in the city in 2020, which was up from 27 in 2019. These traffic deaths sparked a season of demonstrations, activism, and support for legislative change to be included in the bill. When the Black Lives Matter protests began in June, racial equity became a major focus of the proposed legislation. Wards 7 and 8, which are mainly African-American communities, accounted for half of the traffic deaths in DC this year. The pandemic revealed systemic inequalities that affect not only health and unemployment, but also transportation and the ability to move about safely in neighborhoods.

A Price Benowitz Bike Crash Attorney Can Help You

Although the District of Columbia is taking steps to better protect cyclists, the government’s efforts will take years to fully implement, even with the help of advocates and DDOT. Pedestrians and cyclists are still vulnerable to crashes and deaths involving cars in and around the capitol. If you have been a victim of a bike crash, you are entitled to file a claim against the negligent parties. A bicycle crash attorney from Price Benowitz can assist you in navigating DC’s complicated traffic rules and ensure you receive compensation for the damages incurred.