On September 27, 2018, Bruce S. Deming was honored to appear before the DC Council Committee on Transportation and the Environment and the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Policy in support of DC’s Vision Zero initiative. Watch the video of the live testimony and read the full statement below.
Council of the District of Columbia
Committee on Transportation and the Environment
Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety
Hearing September 27, 2018
Testimony of Bruce S. Deming, Esq.
Councilmember Cheh, Councilmember Allen, and members of the committees, good afternoon. My name is Bruce Deming, and I am the Bike Lawyer. I am a sole practitioner personal injury attorney. For more than 20 years now, my law practice has been devoted exclusively to representing the victims of bicycle and pedestrian crashes throughout the United States, but principally in the District of Columbia and surrounding jurisdictions.
Let me say at the outset I am not a transportation policy wonk. What I am, is an advocate for cycling safety, and an advocate for the victims of horrific accidents that happen all too often in the District of Columbia. My job, is to help my clients recover from the pain and suffering they endure when their vulnerable bodies – flesh and bone – are impacted by multi-ton vehicles with horrific consequences. The pain they endure in these crashes is often long-term, and is multi-dimensional in its effects. Not only do my clients suffer immense physical pain, but they suffer emotional, and financial pain as well. On the emotional side, we see PTSD, depression, family and marital disruption, opioid addiction, and countless other maladies that all too often result from being struck in a crash. On the financial side, we see the impact of unpaid medical bills, credit disruption, lost wages, long term loss of earning capacity, even bankruptcy. Unfortunately, I have seen it all. Repeatedly.
Vision Zero is a laudable goal, and I commend your embrace of it. But in the end, no catch phrase or sound bite makes any real difference out on the street. It is the actions you take that count. My time is limited, so I will give you three proposed actions that will substantially improve the safety of our most vulnerable road users. None of them will be popular among certain constituents. All of them will save lives. Therefore, I ask that you exercise the political leadership to do them anyway.
1. Prohibit right turn on red during the hours of 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM in high density areas, especially in the downtown business district.
2. Consider enhanced penalties for certain traffic violations, especially failure to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. $75 fine is not enough.
3. Continue and improve the deployment of speed cameras, and resist opposition to their use.
It’s an honor to appear before you today. On behalf of my clients, past, present, and – unfortunately - future, I thank you for your attention to these important issues.