Small number of DC bike lanes are protected with barriers

Is there anything in place to prevent a deadly truck attack - like the one in New York City - from happening here?

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - Even though New York City is more than 200 miles away from D.C., people in the area were talking about the terror attack that killed eight people on Tuesday.

Many people wanted to know what the city has in place to keep them safe.

“It seems like it’s just easy for people to think that they can do stuff like that,” Adrian Shelton said.

“As a pedestrian, I don’t spend a minute of my day thinking about a car that’s going to come off of the road and kill me,” Alex Beszhak explained.

Some walkers and bikers wanted to know how to stop a similar attack from happening in the district.

There are 145 miles of bike lanes and trails in D.C., and 80 of those miles are dedicated to bike lanes.

However, only eight of those bike lane miles are considered protected.

The DC Department of Transportation explained the type of protection depends on the location, the width of the street, and other factors. 

The city uses flexiposts, curbing, and place some bike lanes between parking lanes and the sidewalks. 

Many of the trails have short, thick posts that stop vehicles from driving on them. 

The posts can only be removed by the DC Fire Department and city maintenance crews in case of an emergency or repair.

“I love protected bike paths,” Beszhak said. “I love any opportunity to protect pedestrians, important buildings, bicyclists, anyone with concrete barriers.”

WUSA9 pulled the numbers.

DDOT reported more than 650 crashes with pedestrians and more than 330 with people on bikes between 2005 to 2010. 

Because what happened in NYC was a deliberate attack and not just an accident, local law enforcement and planning officials here are monitoring the situation to see if any changes need to be made.

“Fifteen years ago we were not talking about vans driving through very popular pedestrian areas to commit a terrorist attack. Now we see a pattern developing. We have to work to stop it,” Beszhak said

“On a project-by-project basis, we work with our designers and the community to identify the best design that meets the needs of the location,” Maura Danehey, spokesperson for DDOT, said. “Safety for the traveling public is at the forefront of DDOT’s mission.”

DDOT has put money into trails that are dedicated to bicyclists and pedestrians, such as the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail and the Oxon Run Trail.

It has plans to extend other pathways in the city to get pedestrians further away from traffic.

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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