(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - Mayor Vincent C. Gray today announced that he had ordered an emergency rulemaking to prohibit motor vehicle drivers from making illegal U-turns across bicycle lanes at all times. The clarification of the rules eliminates a gap in the regulations that previously existed by clarifying that the prohibition on U-turns across bicycle lanes can be enforced even when cyclists are not present.
"This is an effort to ensure the safety of our increasing numbers of cyclists in the District by closing a regulatory gap," Mayor Gray said. "This action is in line with my efforts not only to protect public safety, but also to encourage a greener, healthier, more sustainable District through my Sustainable DC plan."
Currently, Pennsylvania Avenue is the only road in the District with a center bike lane. In 2010 and 2011, 11 out of 14 bicycle crashes on Pennsylvania Ave NW involved U-turns. These have continued in recent months.
The D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles, District Department of Transportation, and Metropolitan Police Department have worked collaboratively to create the emergency rulemaking, which adds a new section to Title 18, Chapter 22, Section 2204. Under the existing violation code, T571 - Improper Turn, the illegal U-turn violation will incur a $100 fine.
The action takes effect December 1.