‘Sick of Paying With Our Lives': DC Cyclists Demand Change

Protesters shut down Pennsylvania Avenue and left red handprints on the pavement outside the Wilson Building after crashes killing cyclists and pedestrians

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Protesters shut down Pennsylvania Avenue in downtown D.C. on Thursday to demand safer streets after a series of cyclists and pedestrians were fatally struck by vehicles.

Demonstrators, many with bicycles, left handprints in red paint on the pavement outside the Wilson Building, representing blood. The group accused the District government of failing to do enough to prevent traffic deaths. 

“We’re here for at least the sixth time with the same message: We need safe streets, and we need them now. We’re sick of paying with our lives,” advocate Rachael Maisler said. 

Those who gathered spoke of Michael Randall and Charles Jackson, who were killed on July 2 when a driver suffered what police called a medical emergency and crashed his pickup into a fireworks stand in Northeast. 

They remembered Michael Gordon, a cyclist who died after he was hit by the driver of a dump truck on July 15 as he rode in Northwest.

They also honored Shawn O’Donnell, who was bicycling to work at the State Department on July 20, just days before Wednesday night’s protest, when she was killed after colliding with a heavy truck in Northwest.

Jeremiah Lowery of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association flagged specific policy changes the D.C. government could make to protect people. 

“They can accelerate the moveDC plan to create a network of bus, bike and trail networks throughout the city,” he said. 

Three ghost bikes are being installed around D.C. to honor cyclists struck and killed this year. News4's Walter Morris reports on a vigil for Michael Gordon, who was riding his bike last week when a truck hit him at the intersection of 7th Street NW and Rhode Island Avenue.

Pedestrian and cyclist deaths have increased nationally for the past two years. 

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