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.

Activists hold a sign calling on the Bowser administration to create safer roads in D.C. after a biker was killed on Florida Avenue in Northeast D.C. (WTOP/Melissa Howell)

Bicycle activists hold a sign calling on the Bowser administration to create safer roads in D.C. (WTOP/Melissa Howell) (WTOP/Melissa Howell)

A cyclist stops at the crash scene where D.C. cycling advocate Dave Salovesh was killed on Friday. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)
A cyclist stops at the crash scene where D.C. cycling advocate Dave Salovesh was killed on Friday. (WTOP/Kate Ryan) (WTOP/Kate Ryan)
Cyclists and pedestrians gather to raise awareness to the dangers bikers face on D.C. roads. (WTOP/Melissa Howell)
Cyclists and pedestrians gather to raise awareness to the dangers bikers face on D.C. roads. (WTOP/Melissa Howell) (WTOP/Melissa Howell)
A ghost bike has become a common site at intersections in major cities across America where cyclists have been struck by cars. (WTOP/Melissa Howell)
A ghost bike has become a common site at intersections in major cities across America, where cyclists have been struck by cars. (WTOP/Melissa Howell) (WTOP/Melissa Howell)
Green paint marks the crash scene at 12th and Florida Ave NE where cyclist Dave Salovesh was killed. Police say the driver of the van has been charged with 2nd degree murder and unauthorized use of a vehicle. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)
Green paint marks the crash scene at 12th and Florida Avenue NE where cyclist Dave Salovesh was killed. Police say the driver of the van has been charged with second-degree murder and unauthorized use of a vehicle. (WTOP/Kate Ryan) (WTOP/Kate Ryan)
Mourners leave a ghost bike in memory of David Salovesh, who died on Florida Avenue in Northeast D.C. (WTOP/Melissa Howell)
Mourners leave a ghost bike in memory of David Salovesh, who died on Florida Avenue NE. (WTOP/Melissa Howell) (WTOP/Melissa Howell)
A D.C. bike officer pedals past the scene where Dave Salovesh, a DC resident and biking advocate was killed on Friday. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)
A D.C. bike officer pedals past the scene where Dave Salovesh, a D.C. resident and biking advocate, was killed on Friday. (WTOP/Kate Ryan) (WTOP/Kate Ryan)
Residents of the neighborhood at 12th and Florida Avenue NE say it’s the scene of frequent crashes and close calls. Bike advocates say D.C. is falling far short of its Vision Zero goals. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)
Residents of the neighborhood at 12th and Florida Avenue NE say it’s the scene of frequent crashes and close calls. Bike advocates say D.C. is falling far short of its Vision Zero goals. (WTOP/Kate Ryan) (WTOP/Kate Ryan)
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Activists hold a sign calling on the Bowser administration to create safer roads in D.C. after a biker was killed on Florida Avenue in Northeast D.C. (WTOP/Melissa Howell)
A cyclist stops at the crash scene where D.C. cycling advocate Dave Salovesh was killed on Friday. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)
Cyclists and pedestrians gather to raise awareness to the dangers bikers face on D.C. roads. (WTOP/Melissa Howell)
A ghost bike has become a common site at intersections in major cities across America where cyclists have been struck by cars. (WTOP/Melissa Howell)
Green paint marks the crash scene at 12th and Florida Ave NE where cyclist Dave Salovesh was killed. Police say the driver of the van has been charged with 2nd degree murder and unauthorized use of a vehicle. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)
Mourners leave a ghost bike in memory of David Salovesh, who died on Florida Avenue in Northeast D.C. (WTOP/Melissa Howell)
A D.C. bike officer pedals past the scene where Dave Salovesh, a DC resident and biking advocate was killed on Friday. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)
Residents of the neighborhood at 12th and Florida Avenue NE say it’s the scene of frequent crashes and close calls. Bike advocates say D.C. is falling far short of its Vision Zero goals. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)

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.

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