#RedCupProject on Venice Boulevard by Rabi Abonour used with permission.

People who bike in the District, across the US, and as far away as Australia responded to the death of cyclist and safe street advocate Dave Salovesh on Friday, April 26 by using red cups to illustrate how vulnerable bicyclists are without separated infrastructure. Participants placed red cups (or in some places, tomatoes or potatoes) along unprotected or unpainted bike lanes. Sometimes, drivers ran over the cups in a matter of minutes.

Salovesh had used red cups method to mark out bike lanes in DC. He died after being struck on his bicycle by a driver in a stolen van evading DC police on Florida Avenue NE. The viral protest was started by a group of social media-savvy bike advocates across the US in response to Salovesh's death, and subsequently spread around the world.

The crushed cups are a powerful illustration of how painted bicycle lanes, while helpful, don't protect cyclists and other vulnerable road users. Using the hashtags #RedCupProject, #PaintIsNotProtection, and #DemandMore, advocates demanded that policymakers improve road infrastructure so that people don't die while bicycling.

Although many local advocates were busy preparing for a rally at the Wilson building, some took part in the project in DC:

Elsewhere on the East Coast, advocates in Pittsburgh, New York, Boston, and Cambridge posted photos:

People in Seattle, LA, and Boise also took part:

And Canadians got in on it too.

It even spread to Australia.

Many people posted followup pictures of drivers running over the cups.

Salovesh’s death comes during a period both nationally and locally marked by increases in bicyclist and pedestrian fatalities by drivers.

Data from the US Department of Transportation shows that the number of bicyclists killed by drivers increased by 25% nationally from an all-time low in 2010. During that same period, the number of pedestrians killed by drivers increased by 39%. In 2017, which is the last year of available data, 777 bicyclists and 5,977 pedestrians were killed by drivers.

According to the District Department of Transportation’s Vision Zero Data, in 2018 three bicyclists and 15 pedestrians, including one person on an e-scooter, were killed by drivers.

The #RedCupProject is a form of tactical urbanism, which encourages temporary and often unsanctioned public installations that many times serve to demonstrate where street safety improvements can be made.

In another recent example of tactical urbanism, two DC residents painted their own crosswalk at an unmarked crossing near where pedestrian Abdul Seck was killed by a driver on April 21.