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Of all the people to cut me off in traffic…

April 19, 2012, 9:41 PM

Of all the people to cut me off in traffic, who cut me off twice while driving south on 16th Street NW? None other than DC Council member Jim Graham of Ward 1. Take a look:

Jim Graham's Volkswagen Bug convertible.
Jim Graham’s Volkswagen Bug convertible.

Detail of the first image, showing Jim Graham's special DC Council license plate.
Detail of the first image, showing Jim Graham’s special DC Council license plate.

Jim Graham, you may recall, is the DC politician who gave Metro riders “peak of the peak” as part of the 2010 Metro fare increase. I have discussed Graham as he relates to Metro multiple times in this space, and have made less-than-subtle suggestions that Jim Graham should leave office, and that the Metro board needed to be replaced, mentioning Jim Graham specifically.

So here’s what happened. Jim Graham was driving somewhere behind me while we were traveling south on 16th Street NW on the west side of Malcolm X Park, roughly at Belmont Street NW. I slowed down in order to move slightly left due to a service vehicle that was partly in the lane that I was in. I looked and was starting to make my move, and Jim Graham came zinging past me at a faster than safe speed, cutting me off and nearly hitting me. Swerve and jam on brakes. Within the next three blocks (between Belmont and U Street), I somehow managed to get ahead of Jim Graham again under normal traffic. Then at U Street, I went through the intersection on the yellow light. Jim Graham apparently gunned it to make it through on the yellow light, driving around me in the intersection, and getting in in front of me, again cutting me off and nearly hitting me, causing me to again have to jam on my brakes so as to not hit this wacko.

At the intersection of 16th and T Streets, we were stopped at a red light, with Jim Graham’s car ahead of mine. That’s when I noticed the DC Council license plate, and took the above photo of the car. First I thought it was Jack Evans, but then realized that Evans was Ward 2. Then I quickly figured out that it was Graham. So I changed lanes and pulled up alongside this VW Bug with the DC Council plate to take a look. Positive identification: it was Jim Graham behind the wheel, orange glasses and all. I had been cut off by an elected official! That bastard!

I was heading over to Whole Foods on P Street to pick up some things for the office. When I got to Whole Foods, I sent out two tweets in quick succession:

Got cut off twice while driving down 16th St NW by none other than DC Council member @JimGrahamWard1. #drivers http://twitpic.com/9bn43d

I think that DC Council member @JimGrahamWard1 should resolve to drive more carefully in the future! #drivers #dccouncil

At least as I see it, if you are driving around with an official city government license plate, you are representing the District of Columbia. Thus one should be an especially courteous and safe driver when driving in something with official tags. I don’t care how much of a hurry Graham was in, because he nearly caused an accident twice within five minutes’ time. That says to me that this person is driving dangerously, and is being a hazard to all of those around him. What if he misjudges? He could hit another car. He could hit a pedestrian. People could be injured or killed. Not a good thing.

Also, as a member of the DC Council, Graham should be setting an example of how to conduct one’s self in the District of Columbia, and especially when driving a car with official plates. Now I understand why DC is number one in cities with the worst drivers. If the local city council members can’t even drive safely, what hope do we have for the rest of us?

Web site: Jim Graham is quoted discussing bad drivers in this blog post from AAA. He accuses Maryland drivers of being the worst drivers. I say that if Jim Graham wants to see a bad driver, he should just look in a mirror.

Song: Obviously, the sound of tires squealing.

Quote: And yes, I think that Jim Graham is a bad driver. A dangerous driver, too. Usually I don't think that local officials need chauffeurs, but in Jim Graham's case, I'm willing to make an exception. He needs one for the rest of our safety. I can't imagine that a chauffeur would ever drive as dangerously as I saw Jim Graham driving. Even the cabbies in DC drive better than Jim Graham, and I've seen some pretty outrageous moves by many of DC's cabbies.

Categories: Driving, Some people