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Good news, D.C. cyclists: Much of the illegal behavior you’ve been engaging in is about to become legal.
Ever find yourself impatient after a long red light and crossing the intersection when the pedestrian light flashes to go, but before the main one does? Technically, you can’t do that—-but soon you’ll be able to.
Like those four-way pedestrian signals in Chinatown and Columbia Heights that let you cross the street on two wheels while drivers wait? Well, you’re supposed to wait with them—-but not for much longer.
Didn’t bother installing a bell on your bike? You’ve been breaking the law—-but soon you’ll be able to make do with just your booming voice.
(a) A bicyclist may cross at an intersection while following the pedestrian traffic control signal for the bicyclist’s direction of travel unless otherwise directed by traffic signs or traffic control devices. (b) A bicyclist may cross an intersection where a leading pedestrian interval is used.
Likewise, the bill, introduced by Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh and Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells, stipulates that cyclists will be treated like pedestrians in two other ways: They’ll no longer have to ride armed with bells, provided their voices can carry for at least 100 feet, and there are newly created driving infraction categories for failure to yield to a bicyclist and for colliding with a bicycle.
Additionally, if street construction projects block bike or pedestrian paths, the city is required to provide a suitable detour.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery