Sunday, April 21, 2019

Mourning community leader, BAC presses for change

Bicycling advocate Dave Salovesh. Photo from his Facebook page.

The BAC mourns the tragic loss of Dave Salovesh, a community leader struck and killed April 19 while bicycling on Florida Avenue NE.

Police issued a press release reporting the fatal turn of events.

Detectives with the Metropolitan Police Department’s Major Crash Investigations Unit are investigating a traffic fatality that occurred on Friday, April 19, 2019, in the intersection of 12th Street and Florida Avenue, Northeast.

At approximately 10:00 a.m., an automated license plate reader alerted that there was a stolen white van in the area of Benning Road, NE. Metropolitan Police Department Fifth District officers saw the stolen van near the area of Benning Road and Florida Ave, NE and attempted to stop the vehicle. The driver refused to stop for the officers and fled the area. A short time later, officers from the Fifth District discovered the driver of the stolen van was involved in a traffic crash at the intersection of 12th Street and Florida Avenue, NE. The preliminary investigation into this crash revealed that the driver of the stolen van was speeding, while traveling westbound on Florida Avenue NE. When the driver reached the intersection of 12th Street and Florida Avenue, NE, he failed to stop at the red light and struck a blue Hyundai that was traveling South on 12th Street, NE. The driver of the stolen van then proceeded to travel westbound on Florida Avenue NE, crossing over the double yellow lines, striking an adult male cyclist following the flow of traffic in an eastbound lanes of Florida Avenue NE. The driver of the stolen vehicle then struck a tree. MPD officers arrived on the scene shortly after the traffic crash and placed the driver of the stolen van under arrest.

The driver of the striking vehicle was transported to a local hospital for non-life threatening injuries. The driver of the blue Hyundai did not sustain any injuries. The adult male cyclist showed no signs consistent with life and was pronounced dead on the scene.

The decedent has been identified as 54-year-old David Salovesh, of Northeast, DC.

On Friday, April 19, 2019, 25-year-old Robert Earl Little, Jr, of Northwest, DC was arrested and charged with Second Degree Murder and Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle.

Individual BAC and Pedestrian Advisory Council members issued the following joint statement:

“The cycling and pedestrian community has lost a passionate advocate to a needless death. The majority of the D.C. Bicycle Advisory Council, with support of members of the D.C. Pedestrian Advisory Council, calls on the Council of the District of Columbia, Mayor Muriel Bowser, the Metropolitan Police Department, and the District Department of Transportation to enact further protections for cyclists and pedestrians, and to provide more funding for safety, enforcement, and facilities for cyclists and pedestrians throughout the District.”

― BAC Chair Rachel Maisler, Chair Pro-tem Tom Bridge, Secretary-Treasurer Jeff Johnson, and members Emily Oaksford (Ward 1), David Alexander (Ward 2), Emily Curley (Ward 3), David Cranor (Ward 6), Casey Studhalter (Ward 7), Sade Adeeyo (At-Large Grosso), Anders Pedersen (At-Large Mendelson), Randall Myers (At-Large White, Jr.), Eileen McCarthy (PAC Co-chair), Ivy Benjenk (PAC Secretary), Priscilla Magee (PAC Treasurer), David Tumblin (PAC Ward 4), Moira McCauley (PAC Ward 5), and Mark Rodeffer (PAC At-Large White, Jr.) 

Salovesh was a high-profile spokesman for bicyclist safety, a regular at governmental and civic meetings about bike lanes, law enforcement, real-estate development, multimodal transportation, and other issues affecting bicyclist travel in the urban ecosystem. Through his deep involvement in public affairs, he was known to many elected officials and journalists.

Several D.C. councilmembers posted statements about Salovesh.

“Devastating afternoon. Today’s victim at 12th & Florida NE - Dave Salovesh / @darsal - was a friend to me & a friend to #bikeDC. A leader, an advocate, & someone that always pushed us to be better & do more. I am more than heartbroken today & his family is in my prayers tonight.”

“My condolence to Mr. Salovech’s family and friends. So sorry for his reckless passing. May you be comforted in knowing that Dave was highly regarded by many for his advocacy and outstanding citizenship.”

“My sincerest condolences go out to Dave Salvovesh’s family, friends & the entire #BikeDC community. I pray for his family’s comfort during this extremely sorrowful time. I didn’t know Dave personally but the outpouring of love by so many who did shows his impact on our community.”

“We must do more to make our streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists. I extend My most sincere thoughts and prayers to his family and friends. #BikeDc should be safe and fun for all, not scary.”

“I regret that I can’t join the Memorial Ride for @darsal, but am there in spirit & share in everyone’s sorrow. I planned to introduce a bill on Tues. to hasten/expand our protected bike lane infrastructure, but in light of this grievous loss would like to name it in Dave’s honor.”

Councilmember Cheh is referring to a ghost bike ceremony, taking place on April 21 at 11 a.m. at 12th Street and Florida Avenue NE. A memorial ride is being planned.

The BAC has most recently recommended safety improvements in its September 2018 Vision Zero statement and FY 2018 performance oversight hearing testimony.

The BAC will propose a policy response and vote on a formal statement at its May 1 meeting, taking place at 6 p.m. at One Judiciary Square, 441 4th St NW, 11th floor. BAC meetings are open to the public.