DC Fixes Contributory Negligence Law!

All Walks DC and the Washington Area Bicyclist Association advocating for the Contributory Negligence law to be fixed.

All Walks DC and the Washington Area Bicyclist Association advocating for the law to be fixed.


On October 4, Mayor Muriel Bowser signed a bill that would change DC law to allow a pedestrian or bicyclist injured in a crash to recover damages so long as they are less than 50 percent at fault for the crash. Before the law was changed, the District was one of five jurisdictions in the country that prohibited any recovery by a pedestrian or bicyclist injured in a crash if they had any degree of fault, even if the driver was at greater fault.

The other states still following a so-called contributory negligence standard are Alabama, North Carolina, and the District’s neighbors Virginia and Maryland.

The bill, known as the Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Act  (B21-0004), was sponsored by Councilmembers Mary Cheh, Charles Allen, Anita Bonds, Jack Evans, and David Grosso. It passed the DC Council on September 20 by a unanimous vote.

According to the District’s Department of Transportation, on average, 265 bicycle and 600 pedestrian crashes are reported to the Metropolitan Police Department each year.

Pedestrian safety and bicycling advocates in DC have worked since 2014, when another version of the bill was pending, to enact the legislation. Insurance groups and AAA-Atlantic opposed the bills, arguing that they would increase auto insurance premiums.

The measure now goes to the U.S. Congress for a thirty-day review period. A copy of the signed bill is available here.

More information about the bill is available here.

All Walks Asks for Better Snow Removal for Pedestrians

All Walks Member Joe Reiner testified yesterday at Councilmember Mary Cheh’s hearing on last week’s snowstorm response.

The public hearing before the Committee on Transportation and the Environment on the District’s response to Snowzilla included testimony from pedestrian advocates, advocates for people with limited mobility, representatives of Business Improvement Districts, and ANC commissioners, among others. The District’s Snow Team spent over $50 million to execute its snow plan. We believe some of that $50 million should have been allocated to cleaning curb cuts for people walking and using wheelchairs after the storm.

Do you want better snow removal on sidewalks, curb cuts and other areas where you walk or roll? Contact your councilmember to let them know.


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