Bikers and Walkers Beware in Washington D.C.

Real Estate Agent with Buyer's Edge Company Inc

Don't get me wrong, there are bike lanes and pedestrian right of way signs in D.C. But drivers, bikers and walkers need to pay attention... Seriously!

Victoria Henderson Pennsylvania Ave


I was driving to the Old Ebbitt Grill  in downtown D.C.'s early morning rush hour. My meeting started at 7:30 a.m. so traffic was relatively light but for Washington D.C., it was already hectic.

Inbound on 16th Street, there are two lanes of traffic. Buses stay in the right lane so you rarely see drivers staying behind a bus. The left lane is also a turn lane. So with buses to the right and turners to the left, the climate is ripe for what I like to call-

The Bob & Weave Effect


All of us driving inbound, toward downtown Washington D.C., are bobbing and weaving around the buses and the cars turning from the left lane. Of course, all of the drivers are speeding because everyone is in such a hurry. Victoria Henderson Penn Ave

And now, just to make it more dangerous, cue the bicyclist and pedestrians! 

The Bob & Weave is a challenge in a car but for a bicyclist or a walker, it can be deadly. This morning I witnessed two near misses with bicyclist and cars. One bicyclist, trying to avoid a large grate in the road, pulled in front of a car driving 30 mph. Fortunately, the driver moved around the bike. 

I watched another driver blow through a red light, barely missing a car in the intersection. Fortunately, the red light runner was immediately caught by a passing Secret Service police truck. Still, it was dumb luck that he didn't broadside a car, on the driver's side. 

Before I joined Buyer's Edge as Vice President & Associate Broker, I was a traffic reporter in Washington D.C. Ironically, I never drove in rush hour traffic but I did watch it and report accidents and incidents on local radio and television stations. I learned a lot about human behavior as I watched road rage incidents unfold. 

According to The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety 

High speeds make a crash more dangerous because it shortens our time to stop or slow down. Speed also makes a crash more deadly because the crash energy increases as speed goes up. With this in mind, here's my unsolicited safety advice for drivers, walkers, and bicyclist.


  • Slow the hell down, please. Where's the fire? What's the hurry? Why speed up to the next traffic light only to join the rest of us who are just behind you? In all seriousness, take some deep breaths and calm down when you are behind the wheel of a 4,000-pound vehicle. You are commanding a metal warrior that can kill, so please drive with this in mind. 
  • A bicyclist has the right to be in a travel lane. Respect that right- like it or not. 
  • Plan for your daily drive. If it usually takes 30 minutes to drive to work, give yourself 45 minutes. If you are running late, accept it. Don't take it out on bicyclist or other drivers who are "in your way". 


  • Pay attention to your surroundings. Take out the ear buds and wear a helmet, just in case you need it. 
  • Know where you are riding. The first time you ride your bike to work shouldn't be in rush hour traffic. Take a practice drive on a Sunday and learn how to navigate the potholes and construction. 
  • Use hand signals! I don't know where you want to go unless you tell me and it's rude and dangerous to keep me guessing. 


  • Look up from your phone.  It's fine to be on the phone while on the sidewalk but  scary if you've got your head down in a crosswalk. 
  • Just because you can walk, doesn't mean you should. Look both way and count to five before you walk into the crosswalk. If it saves your life, it's worth the 5-second wait. 

Imagine being the bicyclist, walker or the other driver, how would you want to be treated? What if the "other person" was a sister, wife, dad or friend? 


This simple practice, imagining being the "other" can be a powerful way to stay in control. 


Posted by

4849 Rugby Avenue Bethesda Maryland 20814 office 301.657.1475 cell 301.922.1677


Victoria Henderson is Vice President & Associate Broker with Buyer's Edge, Exclusive Buyer Agent & Realtor in Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC. Victoria is a certified Military Relocation Professional 



Marshall Henderson is a Certified Negotiation Expert & Exclusive Buyer Agent with Buyer's Edge & Realtor in Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC

Certified Negotiation Expert


Members of National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents

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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude


Such wise advice to pedestrians and bicyclists, as well as motorists. The opportunities for accidents are sure plentiful, and everyone really needs to pay attention, and not do stupid things. Problem is, a pedestrian or cyclist is NOT going to win the argument with a car, even if they are in the right.

I used to live in Boston and did a lot of driving in town - used to see some pretty scary stuff from cyclists and pedestrians, and drivers often just hink they own the road and can do what they want.


Sep 01, 2016 04:42 AM #1
Victoria Ray Henderson
Buyer's Edge Company Inc - Bethesda, MD
Real Estate for Home Buyers with Buyer's Edge

Hey Jeff Dowler!   good to hear from you Southern California relocation Dude

Thank you for commenting! I'm so glad to read what you wrote and I agree 100% 

My hope is that people begin to think , just a little more, about how their actions affect others.  Have a great weekend and keep in touch!

Sep 01, 2016 07:31 AM #2
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Victoria Ray Henderson

Real Estate for Home Buyers with Buyer's Edge
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