Less than a month after a driver fatally struck vocal D.C. bike advocate Dave Salovesh as he was biking on Florida Avenue NE, another driver on Saturday smashed into the white ghost bike memorial for Salovesh that his friends and community activists had installed on a pole close to the intersection where he was killed. Salovesh’s death sent shock waves through the District’s cycling community and became a rallying call for residents who want safer streets.
The Metropolitan Police Department told NBC4 and the Washington Post that early on the morning of May 18, the driver of a Chevy Tahoe collided into the pole, the ghost bike, and a parked car before fleeing the scene, near 12th and K streets NE. Police are still investigating the crash, which also damaged fencing and was first reported on social media by a neighbor.
@DDOTDCDirector, @charlesallen, @councilofdc, @darsal's bike is gone!!! It was hit by a carcwho hit the pole!!! REALLY?!??!! #bikedc #VisionZero pic.twitter.com/jacipTqVHB— Blaise (@DC1f525) May 18, 2019
@MayorBowser @DCVisionZero @DDOTDCDirector Look at what a car can do to a bike when it speeds because of poor infrastructure. It could have been another cyclist. It could have been another pedestrian.@darsal is still telling you to stop the killing with his ghost bike. pic.twitter.com/qy8nPiqAfV— Blaise (@DC1f525) May 18, 2019
Amazed no one hurt or killed. Clearly a driver putting others at risk w/ very high speed, but design of our roads matters & can make everyone safer. This is why I moved emergency law to expedite Florida Avenue redesign. It’s needed now! And yes, we’ll replace @darsal ghost bike. https://t.co/HD6iXmLco5— Charles Allen (@charlesallen) May 18, 2019
One month ago, vocal road safety advocate @darsal was killed by someone operating a motor vehicle. A ghost bike was put up memorializing him. Someone else just “killed” that ghost bike while operating a motor vehicle. Unbelievable. https://t.co/toLiGRyTQ8— Aaron Landry (@s4xton) May 18, 2019
.@MayorBowser @DDOTDCDirector when will you do something?? This is absurd!! https://t.co/xfvyHobQ84— Matthew S, king of nothing and queen of rage (@riotpedestrian) May 18, 2019
Insane. A speeding car crashed through the memorial of a DC bike activist killed by another speeding car a month ago. How do we allow drivers like this and roads like this? Enough. #bikedc https://t.co/k826O0pbeB— max richman (@richmanmax) May 18, 2019
Cyclists are people y'all. We're not trying to annoy you. We're trying to get home to families and friends without dying. https://t.co/oN9gEx6JFz— EAT ALL THE BILLIONAIRES (@UnironicFlannel) May 18, 2019
Hitting the damn ghost bike is just too much https://t.co/xdJKzP2DSC— Ben She (@bensh__) May 18, 2019
NOOOO!!! @DDOTDC, y’know those “temporary” safety fixes that are going onto Florida Ave NE? They need to go in NOW. And almost a month to the day - no words. #fixthisnow #VisionZero #ZeroVision #bikeDC (cc: @riotpedestrian @HandlebarsDC) https://t.co/0CVezQjK6t— Rudi #wwdd Riet (@randomduck) May 18, 2019
So a "ghost bike" (which are placed in honor of cyclists killed on the roads) dedicated to someone who was hit by a stolen car a few weeks back, has been hit by a car. You can't make this shit up. #VisionZeroDC https://t.co/HI2RlmiYuS— Dad (@unknowncaller__) May 18, 2019
“We’ve been saying for 10 years now that this intersection is a death trap,” the neighbor, Blaise Marion, told the Post. “Luckily, nobody died yesterday, but it could have happened.” So far in 2019, nearly a dozen people have died in traffic crashes in the District. Last year’s tally of 36 traffic deaths was the highest number since 2011, when there were 32. Officials have been seeking to end local traffic deaths through the Vision Zero initiative since 2015.
Salovesh, who was 54 when he died, was widely recognized for keeping pressure on local officials to enforce traffic laws and reengineer roads. Police charged the driver who struck him, Robert Earl Little Jr., 25, with second-degree murder and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. Little allegedly stole a van and was traveling at a high speed on Florida Avenue NE.
On top of a myriad of legal changes that policymakers are now considering to make District streets safer, the D.C. Council recently green-lighted an emergency bill that targets Florida Avenue NE. The bill bolsters the Council’s financial oversight of the District Department of Transportation in relation to a long-delayed redesign of the avenue meant to calm car traffic.