Photo by Karen Ramsey of the memorial erected near 12th & Florida in memory of murdered cyclist David Salovesh
As most of you will already know, a cyclist was killed Friday morning about 10am near the intersection of 12th & Florida Avenue NE. 54 year old David Salovesh was at a stop light when he was struck. Robert Earl Little Jr. (25 years of age) was headed west on Florida Avenue at a high rate of speed. He was driving a stolen van, and he blew through the red light at 12th & Florida, hit another car, crossed the yellow line into the other lane, and hit Salovesh before striking a tree. Little suffered non-life threatening injuries, but Salovesh was not so lucky. Little has been arrested and charged with Second Degree Murder and Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle. The Washington Post story below quotes an affidavit saying “[p]reliminary calculations provide an estimated range of speed of 60 miles per hour." The speed limit on that stretch of Florida Avenue is 25 miles per hour, but many drivers disregard the posted limit and drive much faster.
David Salovesh, known to many by his Twitter handle @darsal, was a tireless advocate for safer streets and a more cyclist and pedestrian friendly District. More than 100 people gathered for a ghost bike memorial service in honor of Salovesh yesterday. He died on a stretch of Florida Avenue that residents and those who push for safer streets have long called a hazard. I have lived in the 1200 block of Florida Avenue NE since 2003 and I can 100% confirm that the street is dangerous with many drivers routinely far exceeding the speed limit. I still remember the day years ago that two young children (siblings) were killed in the crosswalk by another speeding driver who also chose to run a red light. The history of inaction and failure on Florida Avenue is a long and frustrating one. This 2017 Greater, Greater Washington post provides a little context. The bottom line is that the District has the power to redesign Florida Avenue NE to make it safer. It's imperative that we do so before more blood is unnecessarily spilled.