Monday, November 7, 2011

Dr. Gridlock Chat (11-7-11)

As a public service, below are bicycle-related comments/questions issued to Robert Thomson on his Monday midday Dr. Gridlock chat on the Washington Post website, unedited.

This week, just one comment about bicycling this week -  "who is responsible for enforcement against parked cars in the bike lane..." 

Feel free to post your thoughts.
Parking in Bike Lanes
Question. Is there any effort to increase enforcement against cars double parking in bike lanes. I was riding up 14th street Saturday night and a couple of restaurants have decided that the bike lane is actually a valet parking waiting area. They had the lane occupied for a whole block with empty cars waiting to be parked. Something tells me that should be illegal.

Answer. Robert Thomson. Yep. That would be illegal. Have you called the D.C. police about it?
With regard to this question, Randall Myers, DCBAC representative will send the following message to Dr. Gridlock:
Regarding the question about the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) enforcement of bike lane infractions, contact Lt. Nick Breul of MPD's Traffic, Safety and Specialized Enforcement unit.  Lt. Breul met with the D.C. Bicycle Advisory Council Wednesday, November 2 to discuss the District's efforts regarding educating police officers and bicyclists about the laws involving bicycling. 

Lt. Breul's
unit issues directives to District precincts that deal with specific enforcement (seatbelts, speeding etc...) and makes decisions on where enforcement should happen (based on traffic information).  MPD is working with the District Department of Transportation to educate officers about bike laws and their correct enforcement. Lt. Breul is hopeful that MPD, with improvements in education, will be more attentive regarding the ticketing of vehicles parked in bike lanes as well as the understanding of bike laws in general. 

In addition, the public is encouraged to contact the Office of Police Complaints, which recently issued a report that encourages better communication to improve the relationship between the MPD and bicyclists, if they have concern about or are subject to police enforcement (or lack thereof) with regard to bike laws.