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D.C. Bicycle Safety Bill Focuses On Driver Awareness

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The new cycling law includes heavy penalties for drivers who fail to yield to cyclists.
Katie Harbath: http://www.flickr.com/photos/katieharbath/3733299538/
The new cycling law includes heavy penalties for drivers who fail to yield to cyclists.

As bicycling grows in popularity in D.C., city lawmakers are looking at ways to make two-wheel commuting safer and easier. On Tuesday, Council members Tommy Wells and Mary Cheh introduced the Bicycle Safety Omnibus bill to do just that.

The package of proposalsare quite robust, and focus heavily on improving driver awareness of cyclists in the city streets. Provisions include:

  • The DMV would be required to start testing drivers on their knowledge of sharing the roadways with bikes.
  • Drivers who fail to yield right-of-way to cyclists would face stiff penalties of up to three license points and a $250 fine.
  • Construction companies would be required to create safe detouts for cyclists and pedestrians when their work blocks a bike lane or sidewalk.
  • Cyclists would be expressly permitted to cross intersections following pedestrian crossing signals.


The bill would also remove a section of city law that requires cyclists to have an audible warning device like a bell. The proposal says a loud shout should be enough to give people a heads up.

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