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Driver slams into ghost bike honoring late D.C. bike advocate killed while cycling in April

The crash took place Saturday near Florida Avenue NE. The driver fled the scene

The ghost bike installed in advocate Dave Salovesh’s memory (April 21, 2019)
The Washington Post/Getty Images

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.

“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.