At vigil for fallen DC bicyclist, activists call for safer streets for bikers

On Sunday, members of the D.C. cycling community gathered at the site where an outspoken D.C. bike advocate lost his life in a crash Friday to hold a vigil and place a “ghost bike” to symbolize the fallen biker.

David Salovesh, 54, was struck and killed by a man driving a stolen van near the intersection of 12th Street and Florida Avenue. Robert Little Jr., 25, of Northwest, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder in connection with Salovesh’s death.

Matthew Sampson, a bicycle activist in D.C., attended the Sunday memorial, where a roadside memorial, known as a ghost bike, was placed at the scene of Salovesh’s death. Ghost bikes are typically painted white and are designed to draw attention to the dangerous conditions bikers face in some sections of roadways.

Sampson wants to see action taken to make the intersection safer for bikers.

“The [Advisory Neighborhood Commissions] have been incredibly supportive, but the city continues to drag their feet,” Sampson said.

The D.C. Bicycle Advisory Council, an organization that advocates for bicycle awareness and safety also called on city officials, including Mayor Muriel Bowser, D.C. police and DDOT to “enact further protections for cyclists and pedestrians, and to provide more funding for safety, enforcement, and facilities for cyclists and pedestrians throughout the District.”

“The cycling and pedestrian community has lost a passionate advocate to a needless death,” the council said in a statement.

Jeff Marootian of the D.C. Department of Transportation said the Bowser administration is aware that the area where the crash happened needs to be improved for the safety of bikers and efforts are being made to ensure that happens.

“The Florida Avenue reconstruction project is included in Mayor Bowser’s budget and it is a priority for our administration,” Marootian said. “It’s a priority for us and a priority, clearly, for the community so we intend to continue to work together.”

According to The Washington Post, Mayor Muriel Bowser has included $2.8 million in her 2020 budget for better enforcement of bike lane laws.

Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

Zeke Hartner

Zeke Hartner is a digital writer/editor who has been with WTOP since 2017. He is a graduate of North Carolina State University’s Political Science program and an avid news junkie.

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