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'It's a tragedy' | Hundreds of DC cyclists remember Jim Pagels

A driver hit and killed DC resident Jim Pagels Friday at Massachusetts Avenue and Second Street NW.

WASHINGTON — More than 500 cyclists gathered in Northwest D.C. Thursday to remember the life of yet another person hit-and-killed by a driver on D.C. streets.

A driver struck 29-year-old Jim Pagels, of D.C., at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Second Street NW on Friday. Less than a week later, members of D.C.'s bike community remembered him a block away at the intersection of Massachusetts and New Jersey avenues NW.

Pagels' friend Finn Vigeland said he knew DC's streets were dangerous to cyclists.

"Jim knew every time you got on a bike, you placed your trust in the city around you and the drivers around you," he said. "And, last Friday, that trust was broken."

Twelve people have died in D.C. traffic accidents so far in 2021. That number is more than during the same time last year and the year before.

Rachel Maisler, a local bicycle safety advocate, said the community is tired of seeing people dies on D.C.'s streets.

"My email is constantly going off with alerts from D.C. that there's another crash, another crash, another crash," she said.

The cyclists held a memorial bike ride in Pagels' memory later Thursday afternoon. It ended in front of the Wilson Building where the group ultimately laid down in the street to conduct a "die-in".

Some participants also taped a banner to the doors of the Wilson Building that read: "Mayor Bowser: We Demand Safe Streets Now".

Other cyclists criticized D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser's Vision Zero traffic safety plan as an "empty promise". The plan aims to reduce traffic fatalities in the District to zero by 2024.

D.C. Councilmember Charles Allen attended Thursday's event. He said Vision Zero needs to be fully funded by District government.

"And, I hope that everybody will help join that fight to fund this," he said. "The council, yes me, and the council, has to do better."

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