Report Card: The District's Initiative to Reduce Cyclist's Injury and Death
Part of Malik Habib’s job was riding his bike. He delivered food, usually after dark, in Washington, D.C. On June 23, Habib’s tire got caught in the streetcar track on H Street Northwest. He didn’t have time to work his way out of the track, and he was hit and killed by a charter bus. Habib was 19.
Less than two weeks after the teenager’s death, Jeffery Long, 36, was killed in the protected bike lane on M Street, Northwest, after being hit by a truck turning right.
Affected by these deaths, cyclists claim D.C. leaders aren’t moving fast enough responding to complaints about unsafe intersections, streets, and installing new bike infrastructure.
The Washington Area Bicyclist Association held a protest outside the Wilson Building that included speeches by Habib’s brother, Cyrus, and his mother, Laura Montiel. Cyrus Habib was 10 feet behind his brother and watched the tragedy unfold. At the demonstration, Montiel held a sign with her son’s photo with the caption: “My son did not have to die! Safety now.’’
“People will judge,’’ Cyrus Habib said. “And they go back and forth talking about entitlements. ‘Why do bicyclists have to be entitled?’ It’s not about entitlement. I’m trying to get home just like you are.’’
A Promise to Fight for Safety
When Montiel took the microphone, she said: “I’m not an avid cyclist. I am a mother who lost her child.’’
Two weeks later, more than 100 bicyclists pedaled down the street’s bikeway to the center of the intersection with New Hampshire Avenue NW and honored Long. There, during the peak of the rush hour, they dropped their bikes and stood in silence. Additionally, the group advocated for rubber flaps to cover the streetcar tracks, like the one Habib's bike tire got caught in.
In 2015, the newly elected mayor of Washington, D.C., promised to lead the nation’s capital into an era free of traffic fatalities. “We are taking our first step toward realizing a ‘Vision Zero’ where no lives are lost on our streets or at our intersections,’’ said Mayor Muriel E. Bowser, who set a goal of zero road deaths by 2024.
But since that announcement, the number of traffic fatalities has steadily increased, not only in the capital but, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), nationwide. After decades of improvement, the number of victims on the nation’s roads is rising – especially among pedestrians.
If you or a loved one was injured in a bicycle accident due to driver negligence, it's crucial that you speak seek legal help as soon as possible. Contact Law Offices of Stuart L. Plotnick, LLC today.