Photo by ahockley on Flickr.

Arlington police have personally visited the cyclist who couldn’t get them to take a report after a recent bicycle crash. They’ve also promised a follow-up from the supervisor for the shift when the crash took place.

Mark Blacknell wrote in an email:

The head of the reporting unit (Captain Afzal) pushed it down the line and it ended up with a visit to the cyclist by an officer. She has also been contacted by the shift commander who has assured her he will look into it.

I’ve tied together for Captain Afzal a number of similar incidents in which ACPD has discouraged a struck cyclist from reporting the crash, and have suggested that the short term fix is a review of the reporting standards not only for ACPD officers, but for those who answer the phones.

Captain Afzal seems to be making a sincere effort to deal with this specific case and the general problem.

What is DC’s police department doing about the many cases where police don’t interview witnesses, don’t talk to the victim, or misapply the law in writing up their police reports?

Councilmember Phil Mendelson asked Assistant Chief Patrick Burke about this. Burke promised to distribute to officers copies of a bicycle law guide DDOT and WABA maintain, but didn’t seem to have much fire in his belly to really attack this problem.

The Council, including Mendelson, are generally great on pedestrian and bicycle safety. Streetsblog envies us, given the way their transportation committee chair scorns cycling.

However, the DC Council can do little to get MPD to take an issue seriously. That needs to come from the Mayor and from the Chief of Police. Will they push the department to fix problems?

David Alpert is Founder and President of Greater Greater Washington and Executive Director of DC Sustainable Transportation (DCST). He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle. Unless otherwise noted, opinions in his GGWash posts are his and not the official views of GGWash or DCST.