October 28, 2012

Regarding the Oct. 24 front-page article “D.C. traffic cameras have drivers’ number (and loot)”:

I am a cycling enthusiast, and there is hardly a better time or place to ride than Washington in the fall. At about noon on Oct. 19, I set out from Takoma Park for a ride north along Beach Drive. As I came around the bend on Sherrill Drive, which leads to Beach, a minivan rapidly approaching from behind slid off the road. It overcorrected, then hydroplaned into the opposite lane. I threw down my bike and tried to dash out of harm’s way. The van began sliding toward me, perpendicular to the road, and then flipped over. It came to a halt just short of me and my bike.

Together with two men who had been nearby, I helped pull the young driver from the van. She mumbled something about going too fast and her tires being old. Emergency responders arrived and took over. As I finally rode away, my heart was still pounding and my legs were shaking.

I frequently ride on Beach Drive at midday, and cars often pass me at dangerous speeds. The speed limit is 25 mph and, as a competitive cyclist, I am not riding much below that. It is unfortunate that Washington and surrounding areas have placed speed cameras in many heavily driven areas but have not done so in a place with heavy pedestrian and cycling traffic, such as Beach Drive, where they have the potential to save lives.

Emily Butler, Washington