Cold weather bicycling by Joe Flood licensed under Creative Commons.

The DC Department of Transportation (DDOT) is inviting public comments on a proposal to change regulations affecting bicycle lanes and motor vehicles.

DDOT proposed regulations that would make a few broad changes that specifically address bicycle lanes:

  • Establish a limited list of situations when a motor vehicle may enter a bike lane, such as turning onto a cross street or following a police officer’s directions;
  • Prohibit motorists from stopping, standing, or parking a vehicle in a bike lane, except stopping is allowed when necessary to enter a legal parking space or follow a police officer’s directions.

The agency is also proposing to change some other rules:

  • Eliminate exceptions to the general rule against standing or parking motor vehicles close to fire hydrants, stop signs, and other road elements; and
  • Eliminate a provision that lets drivers park and load or unload passengers or freight in spaces where parking ordinarily is prohibited.

Helder Gil reported the proposal over the weekend.

The updates are part of DC’s Vision Zero initiative, which is a road safety effort to eliminate fatalities and serious injuries among people who use DC’s transportation system by 2024. Mayor Muriel Bowser and her administration laid out plans in October, but some say DC isn't doing enough, fast enough.

Among the changes, stiffer fines for a variety of road safety violations went into effect last month. And DDOT is implementing a ban on right turns on red at approximately 100 signaled intersections and trying to make left turns safer.

So what’s wrong with parking in bike lanes? A lot, actually, GGWash contributor Stephen Hudson wrote in August. Sometimes delivery trucks and commercial vehicles double park next to them, which can also create issues, GGWash founder David Alpert wrote in 2011.

Delivery trucks parking in bicycle lanes have been such a persistent problem that DDOT and the Department of Public Works, which enforces road safety, wrote letters to the US Postal Service, FedEx Corp., and United Parcel Service of America Inc. in October to ask for their drivers to cut it out. DC could have sent them a helpful flowchart to figure out whether it’s ok to park in a bike lane.

Whether you like the latest proposal or hate it, you can give your input. The comment period closes March 10.

Anybody interested in submitting comments can send them by email to, or deliver them to Dan Emerine, Manager, Policy and Legislative Affairs Division, Office of the Director, District Department of Transportation, 55 M St SE, 7th Floor, Washington DC 20003.

Tagged: bicycling, dc, ddot, roads

Jon Steingart is a Ward 1 resident who earned his law degree at the University of the District of Columbia and his undergraduate degree at the University of Maryland. A licensed attorney, he previously worked as a journalist covering litigation and policy in the field of labor and employment law.