The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) has been making a lot of noise in recent months about pedestrian safety. In June, Mayor Fenty announced the city will use $4 million of stimulus funds to shore up shoddy sidewalks. Last month, DDOT released the final findings of the District’s Pedestrian Master Plan. "Pedestrian safety is one of this administration’s top priorities," Mayor Fenty has emphasized.
Perhaps that’s why pedestrian safety signs admonishing cyclists have been cropping up across the city at a noticeable clip. It seems everywhere you look there’s a new sign urging cyclists to dismount, slow down, or ditch their bike entirely. For example, there’s nearly a dozen new safety signs in quick succession on the waterfront in Georgetown.
Do such signs work? Rarely have I actually seen a cyclist abide by a dismount sign, though that’s not to say they don’t guilt riders into somewhat safer cycling habits. I certainly feel compelled to at least slow down when passing such signs. However, there are also plenty of riders chafing at the new signs.