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District bicyclists who use the bike lanes in the center of Pennsylvania Avenue NW know how dangerous they've become. D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray announced emergy rulemaking to prohibit drivers from making illegal U-turns at all times.
The mayor clarified the existing rule that mid-block U-turns that cross over the bike lanes are illegal on Pennsylvania Avenue NW between the White House and the Capitol, even when cyclists are not there. The bike lanes have been in Pennsylvania Avenue's center median since 2010.
"In 2010 and 2011, 11 of the 14 bike crashes on Pennsylvania Avenue involved vehicles making those U-turns," says Pedro Ribeiro, a spokesman for Gray.
Dave Salovash commutes on his bicycle on Pennsylvania Avenue every morning with his ten-year-old daughter. When he noticed the frequency of the mid-block U-turns, he decided to bring his camera one day.
"So I picked one spot and just stood there for half an hour and counted U-turns made across the bike lanes. I saw about 25 people doing it and managed to get pictures of about 20 of them," Salovash says.
Mid-block U-turns on Pennsylvania Avenue have become one of the biggest safety concerns in the District, says Washington Area Bicyclist Association Director Shane Farthing.
The action takes effect on Dec. 1.