If you’ve ever been to Washington, DC, you know how busy it can get. Not just downtown, where hundreds of thousands of commuters stroll the city streets to get to and from work, and the thousands of tourists walking to see the many attractions the nation’s capital has to offer–but also in the many residential areas where pedestrians get around by foot quite a bit each day. Unfortunately, more pedestrians equates to more pedestrian accidents in Washington, DC, and most other cities.
Recent Washington, DC Pedestrian Accidents
In early May, a pedestrian was struck by a car at the intersection of N. Capitol Street and Florida Ave. NW. The pedestrian was pronounced dead at the scene, and police were investigating the circumstances surrounding the fatal encounter. Only a week later, a 66-year-old man was crossing Connecticut Avenue NW in the 5300 block when he was hit by a southbound car. He passed away after being rushed to a local hospital. That’s two pedestrian deaths in the span of about one week.
DC City Council Proposes “Right on Red” Ban
To curb the increase in pedestrian and cyclist deaths in Washington, DC, the city council is proposing a measure to ban right turns on red lights throughout the district. The Safer Intersections Act initiative “would allow bicyclists to proceed through stop signs and red lights safely and prohibit motor vehicle operators from making a right turn when facing a red traffic control signal, except where doing so would improve safety at a given intersection.” This idea was born in 2018 when the DC Department of Transportation announced plans to eliminate Right on Red in 100 intersections during a pilot phase.
On the surface, it seems as if this measure could improve safety for pedestrians and bikers–but it’s not without its critics, most of whom are district business owners who feel that the Right on Red ban will only back traffic up even more and potentially hurt their business. Others, including the DC Department of Transportation, feel that a blanket Right on Red ban is not practical, but it should be considered on an intersection-by-intersection basis based on traffic and accident data.
Ways to Improve Pedestrian Safety
- Only cross streets at crosswalks and intersections.
- Watch for turning vehicles. Look left, right, and left again.
- Wait for the walk signal.
- Use the push buttons.
- Watch out for blind spots around trucks and buses.
- Be visible. Wear something light or reflective after dark.
Of course, drivers have their own set of responsibilities regarding pedestrian and cyclist safety.
- Stop for pedestrians at crosswalks.
- Slow down and obey the speed limit.
- Use caution when passing buses or stopped vehicles.
- When turning, yield to people walking and biking.
- Look for bicyclists before opening your door.
- Allow at least three feet when passing bikes.
Accidents Can Still Happen
Even when everyone is using caution, accidents can happen. And when they do, The Lapidus Law Firm is here to help you and your loved ones get through that difficult time. If you’re dealing with a pedestrian accident, call us at (202) 785-5111 or (301) 852-7500 to set up a free, no-obligation consultation. If a negligent driver caused your pedestrian accident, we will work diligently to ensure that the responsible party is held accountable for their actions because everyone deserves a safe place to walk, no matter where they are.