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Cyclist Recounts Accident at Lynn Street and Lee Hwy

by ARLnow.com — August 11, 2011 at 1:35 pm 9,037 180 Comments

(Updated at 3:15 p.m.) A cyclist who was struck at the dangerous intersection of Lynn Street and Lee Highway in Rosslyn is recounting her accident with the hopes that it will convince transportation authorities to speed up safety improvements planned for 2013/2014.

Erika, a 24-year-old Rosslyn resident, injured her foot after being struck by a vehicle in the intersection. The accident occurred around 1:20 p.m. on Saturday, making it the first of three instances of bicyclists being struck in the intersection this week.

I was riding south along N Lynn (sidewalk/bike trail) as I approached the intersection with Lee Highway (NE corner of intersection). I checked to see that I had the walk signal, which I did, and that the cars on Lee Highway had the red light, which they did. The cars were stopped at the red light. As I crossed Lee in the crosswalk, someone tried to turn right on red and drove straight into me, knocking me off my bike and onto Lynn (where traffic was proceeding).

My injuries aren’t severe, but I’m still undergoing medical treatment. My bike needs to be fixed as it currently can’t be ridden, but I feel very lucky to have made it through that intersection alive!

I suppose it’s good that Arlington is planning to make the intersection safer, but 2 or 3 years is ridiculous. There should be no turning on red, or a dedicated turning arrow at a time when pedestrians do not have the walk signal.

Drivers really just do not look for bikers or pedestrians, so even if you’re following the laws and traffic signals as I was, you can still get hit.

The Arlington Bicycle Advisory Committee is planning a “site visit” with county staff at the intersection on Monday, Sept. 12. The meeting, which is open to all who want to attend, will start at 6:30 p.m. and will discuss ways to make the intersection safer for cyclists and pedestrians.

  • Rosslynite

    September 12? What’s the rush? I guess that means drivers will have that much more time to run down bicyclists.

    • http://blacknell.net/dynamic/ MB

      I picked the date. This site visit was planned last week, before these accidents. In any event, the County’s improvement plans certainly don’t depend on the scheduling of this meeting.

      The Arlington Bicycle Advisory Committee is a citizen’s committee that provides Arlington County with feedback and suggestions about cycling-related issues – there’s no power to force the County to do anything (or prevent, if it really gets down to it). However, Arlington County staff who work with ABAC have been very responsive to our concerns, and there are many projects in Arlington that have been improved because of ABAC’s involvement. Unfortunately, there is no equivalent body for VDOT, and this area is almost entirely under VDOT control.

      • Bill M

        Good luck. I have commuted through this intersection for nearly 18 years. As mentioned in an earlier post, it is the worst in the DC area for cyclists. Drivers are clearly unaware of their obligations (see commentary from them on this site.) Pretty clear that the number of incidents in recent days is testimony for a long overdue pedestrian/cyclist friendly overpass at this intersection. Drivers will be happy, and everyone else will be safer. In turn, the stretch of the Custis Trail along Lee Hwy into Key Bridge requires cyclists to be a far more speed conscious and less reckless than what you see out there on a daily basis.

  • mickey644

    “Walk Signal” is the operative word.

    • normal

      Why?

      • ZoningVictim

        I seems obvious that the crash wasn’t her fault, but aren’t bicyclists supposed to obey the traffic laws as if they were any other vehicle, unless they’re walking with it?

        • Evil

          I agree
          I thought bicyclists had to walk their bikes, not ride them, across intersections.
          Otherwise they should act as a vehicle and obey the traffic lights as a car would.

          • LyonParker

            Motorists should WALK their vehicles when turning right on red there.

          • Jack

            What are you two years old?

          • LyonParker

            88 and counting…

          • JT

            You are mistaken about the law. There is no law requiring bikers to walk their bikes across intersections. But you are also correct that this intersection is so dangerous that it is safest for bikers (who are riding on the Custis Trail and have designated pedestrian signals btw) to ride through it extremely slowly, at near pedestrian speeds, to make sure the cars see them.

          • Novanglus

            This rider was clearly doing what she should have — it’s a shame she got hurt.

            But Virginia’s laws regarding bicycles are very outdated and meant for rural areas. We should, like in other states:
            - be required to walk our bikes across intersections
            - not be allowed to ride on urban sidewalks (except for designated shared use paths)
            - when riding, be subject to all laws that other vehicles are subject to.

          • 5555624

            Walking bikes across this intersection is not any safer. Drivers turning right on red do not look to their right. The Walk signal precedes the green light, so drivers see a gap in traffic — because N Lynn ST ha a red light — and simply turn right.

            This is a designated, shared-use trails.

            Cyclists are subject to the same laws as other vehicles.

          • soarlslacker

            All of Arlington County is “urban”. The sidewalk is much safer to bike on when pedestrians are not present than the “bike” lanes. A vehicle has to jump a curb to hit you if you are on the sidewalk. I ride a lot in the Pentagon City area. The only vehicle ever to follow the law by stopping at a red light while in a right turn lane and yielding the right of way to me in the crosswalk with the crosswalk light in my favor was an Arlington County Police vehicle.
            What do you propose for people in wheel chairs–that they get up and push their chairs though the intersection. A bike is not a vehicle. The people walking, on bikes and in wheelchairs deserve the same courtesy that drivers expect from other vehicles.
            It appears that in Arlington County the larger entity (cars) have the right of way. That rule only applies on the ocean where it takes a larger boat a longer time to execute a turn than it does a smaller boat. The vehicles should yield to all those not in vehicles.

      • Mickey

        Walk the bike

        • Mickey

          MB at 4:07 PM said the correct answer and I was wrong. Riders do NOT have to dismount. They have the same rights as pedestrians when the “walk” light comes on. Next time shoot the automobile driver and don’t try to bluff the idiot!

  • TJ

    Wow, glad she’s ok, as it sounds like it could have been much worse, having been deposited in on-coming traffic.

    However, I would think that if she was either walking her bike across the cross walk OR riding in the traffic lane, this might have been avoided.

    Riding a bike in a crosswalk isn’t a good idea…my two cents.

    • Stanely

      The cross walk happens to be a bike lane. My 3 cents.

    • Tim

      The sidewalks there are designated as off-street bike trails, according to the county bike map.

      • Arlwhenever

        There are plenty of bike trail crosing signs that require bikes to stop before crossing. This is a perfect opportunity for this very cheap fix.

        • Roadrunner

          This crossing has that, it’s called a stop light. She had the walk signal that indicated that she had the right of way in the crosswalk. This isn’t an uncontrolled crossing for bikes, you have to wait until you have the signal.

      • TJ

        Clearly, the driver should have had that map in his car.

        It’s painted as a crosswalk, so that’s what it is. I was always tought to walk bikes across crosswalks. If you want to ride across the intersection, do it in the road and use the stoplight, not the walk signal as your guide.

        To be clear, I’m not blaming the cyclist/pedestrian here, because the driver turned when it wasn’t safe to do so, but sometimes the cyclist needs to be a bit more defensive, such as slowing and waiting for eye-contact from the driver before proceeding.

        • wonder

          Many of you are missing the point, and talking about what could be rather than what is. Note that is is LEGAL to ride a bike on that particular crossing. There is NO separate bike lane. Actually, the bike lane is where the crossing is. You are right though that it seems we are coming to a point where bikers should walk their bikes to remain safe, but such action is required only because of reckless driving that ignores the rules of the road. Your logic is such that if a walker was hit, you’d say he should crawl. Know the rules of the road. Based upon comments here, it appears many of you don’t.

          • BlueSkies

            +1000

          • brendan

            is there any sign indicating to drivers that they should be aware of two way bike traffic occurring on the sidewalk? or that cyclists do not have to stop/dismount so may be traveling around a blind curve at 30mph?

          • Mike

            Yes, there is such an indication. It’s called a crosswalk, and it notifies drivers that pedestrians, runners, bicycles, baby carriages, dogs on leashes, etc. may be coming from either direction at any time. The stop light told the car not to go, and our “right on red” allows the driver to make the turn as long as it’s safe. It’s not safe when there is anyone coming in the crosswalk. This is really not a difficult issue. The primary takeaway is that we all need to be very careful in our cars when we’re driving and to pay particular attention in areas like crosswalks.

          • brendan

            let me guess – you’re one of the people I see riding around on sidewalks?

          • cyclist

            My new policy there is to wait for the green hand. It goes on about 2 seconds before the green light for cars, giving you enough time to get in the intersection and be seen. I don’t rush through at the end of the cycle any more, even if there is time.

    • Roadrunner

      In this case, that crosswalk is where the Custis and Mt. Vernon trails meet, and is the access to the bike/ped bridge over 66. So the crosswalk is meant to serve bikes (and peds) coming off those trails and heading down into Rosslyn. You can’t blame cyclists for using the infrastructure put there for them.

    • Roadrunner

      And also, as someone who is a pedestrian far more than a cyclist, I’ve nearly been hit there in the same exact situation (crossing with the light, someone making a right turn on red without stopping) while on my own two feet. So walking your bike won’t save you. The only thing that will is drivers obeying the law by stopping at the red light.

      • Arlwhenever

        Nearly being hit and being hit are totally different things. Pedestrians are more like to see a turning car and to be seen, just enough to be safe.

        • Roadrunner

          So the solution is for cyclists to walk their bikes on a bike path where they have the right of way to ride their bikes, so that drivers can continue to break the law without hurting someone? What if, instead, drivers stopped at the red light and made sure the intersection was clear before proceeding?

          • Wildhair

            +1

          • cyclist

            Yes, if that’s the alternative to being severely injured, it’s a good solution, at least until they fix the intersection.

      • R.Griffon

        It’s not just turning right on red. I’ve MORE OFTEN been nearly run over by cars turning right on a green. Motorists tend to think that if they have a green light, they’ve got automatic right of way to go wherever they please, when in truth they have right away going straight only. Right turns must yield to pedestrians, who also have a clear walk signal at that time BTW. This problem is made worse by the fact that they haven’t even slowed down for a “rolling stop” as they would for a right on red.

        • bf

          that is exactly what the driver who hit me on Monday said. “I have a green light”. I guess I had the nerve to be in the cross area, on my bike, with a white flashing go sign.

        • jan

          You are right.

      • wonder

        i guess some here would say you should crawl, or dance to be better seen, or required to wear bright neon. if you don’t it’s your fault. Crazy logic.

        • cyclist

          Nobody is saying it’s your fault.

          Your green neon thing is a good example – you aren’t legally required to wear it, but you’re smart if you do, especially at night. Going beyond the legal requirements to assure you don’t die is a smart thing to do.

  • Hattie McDaniel

    Did the auto involved have MD tags? I’d be willing to bet it did.

  • Elizabeth

    Pedestrians in Arlington do not obey “walk” or “do not walk signals” very well. I encounter this problem several times a day at the Pershing Drive Glebe Road intersection. Pedestrians see a green light and off they go, regardless of what the pedestrian signaling says. There is zero enforcement of ped crossings so I don’t really see the point unless it comes down to assigning blame for an accident.

    • Wilbur

      Yes. Yes. Of course. You are right. It is always “THEIR” fault – whoever it is that is THEM and not YOU. Your tribe good; their tribe “scaflaws.”

      • MC 703

        I don’t think he’s saying that at all.

        As a motorist, I don’t hesitate to beep at a pedo who is crossing against the red hand almost daring cars to it them (happens every evening as I turn left onto SB Quincy from WB Wilson).

        As a pedestrian, I do not hesitate to kick the door of a car that guns it and nearly hits me as I walk across the crosswalk with the walk signal. If I’m close enough to get a good hi-YA on his passenger door, he probably shoulda yielded to the pedo with the walk signal in the xwalk.

        • 5555624

          +10

    • Stanely

      Yeah, blame…. that would have been the Car that ran the red light turning right. Let me check the rule book. Yup, that would be the car.

    • Matt

      Elizabeth, I cross that intersection quite often, and the buttons to signal the walk signal often do not work. When that happens, if I am crossing Glebe on the south side of Pershing, I wait for the left turn arrow to turn off, then I cross with traffic. While I know that not everyone bothers to press the button, many of us do. And when it doesn’t work, we hope that drivers are courteous enough to let us safely cross in a crosswalk where we’re allowed to be. And even when the walk signal is working, I’ve nearly been hit numerous times.

      • Elizabeth

        For what it’s worth, and I don’t want to flame the trolls already a trolling, I wasn’t assigning blame to any one party. As this woman attested to, the car wasn’t paying attention and hit her.

        So, Matt, I always stop for peds regardless what the crossing says. I don’t want to hit anyone quite simply. And it does make me worry more that the buttons don’t work on a very newly reconstructed intersection. No bueno.

    • GrandArch

      Note however that the damn walk signs are nuts in Arlington. Unless you hit the button at the right time (and hard enough), you often don’t get a walk sign despite there being a red light for drivers. I kind of understand when pedestrians ignore them, as they don’t seem to mean anything. The dangerous exception to this is when there’s a left turn arrow, pedestrians see a red light and a “do not walk” sign, but suddenly cars do start going by. This is Arlington’s transportation planning in action – apparently not having a walk sign saves a few seconds of red light time for drivers but creates risks for pedestrians and drivers alike.

  • http://barlington.blogspot.com/ bArlington

    I have been complaining about this intersection for almost 2 decades. If you read the spec on what they are proposing to do, it amounts to little more than a fresh coat of paint on the asphalt. Any notion of altering the infrastructure to make safer routes…. only theoretical proposals.

    “Arlington #1 safe city.” Bull hockey!

  • MC 703

    I think she meant to say that she was in the NE corner of the intersection. That’s the only place a car on Lee HWY could’ve been turning right. Lee is one-way there.

    http://www.virginiadot.org/programs/bk-laws.asp#TrafficControls

    Where to Ride

    Bicyclists must ride with the flow of traffic on the right side of the highway.
    Bicyclists operating a bicycle on a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place under conditions then existing shall ride as close as safely practicable to the right curb or edge of roadway. Exceptions to this are when bicyclists are overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction, preparing for a left turn, avoiding unsafe conditions, avoiding riding in a lane that turns or diverges to the right, riding on a one way street where bicyclists may ride as near the left-hand curb or edge of roadway, or when the lane width is too narrow to share with a motor vehicle. Additionally, bicycles are not excluded from riding on the highway shoulder.
    Bicyclists must not ride between two lanes of traffic moving in the same direction unless one lane is a separate or mandatory turn lane.
    Bicyclists cannot ride more than two or more abreast on highways. When riding two abreast, bicyclists cannot impede the movement of traffic, need to move into single file when being overtaken from the rear. On a laned roadway, bicyclists shall ride in a single lane.
    Bicyclists are not permitted to ride on interstate and certain controlled access highways, unless the operation is limited to bicycle or pedestrian facilities that are barrier separated from the roadway and automobile traffic. The restricted sections of the highways are marked with conspicuous signs.
    Bicycles may be ridden on sidewalks unless prohibited by local ordinance or traffic control devices. While on sidewalks and shared use paths, bicyclists must always yield the right of way to pedestrians and give an audible signal before passing a pedestrian.
    Bicyclists pulling onto a sidewalk or highway from a driveway must yield the right of way to pedestrians or vehicles already on the sidewalk or highway.

  • Rosslynite

    Wilson Blvd between Lynn and Rhodes Streets must be the jaywalking capital of the world. People are walking all over the place. It is a surprise there are not more of them being run over.

    • Roadrunner

      She wasn’t jaywalking. She was crossing with the signal and was hit by a car running a red light. She obeyed the law, the driver didn’t.

  • Arlwhenever

    The rider doesn’t say she stopped or slowed down to pedestrian speed before entering the intersection. It is a real problem when bicyclists barrel along a sidewalk out of a driver’s field of vision when the driver turns his/her head to check before turning, and then suddenly the bicyclist appears as if out of nowhere only when the turn has started. The only dent we have in our minivan was caused by a bike t-boning our vehicle is situation like this (we were turning right into a parking lot).

    Whatever this woman’s “rights” she gives no indication of riding her bike defensively. Personally, I never cross an intersection in the path of cars waiting to turn right without getting some assurance that I’ve been seen or will be seen. Better safe than sorry, at all intersections.

    • MC 703

      I always walk BEHIND the car that is about to pull out. Chances are they’re too busy checking left and right to see me.

      • jan

        The problem is that they neglect to check right. 99% of the time they only check left for oncoming cars.

        Remember to look right as well, everyone !

    • Roadrunner

      She was on a bike path, in a crosswalk designated for bikes. It is the driver’s responsibility to make sure the way is clear before turning right on a red light. Otherwise, it’s running a red light. She followed the law, the driver didn’t.

      • Arlwhenever

        Actually my post focused on safety rather than legal compliance. But if legal compliance is all you care about we can take care of that by putting up a sign requiring bicyclists to stop at that crossing just like they are required to do at dozens of other bike path road crossings in the area.

        • Roadrunner

          There already is one of those: it’s called a red light. She had the green light in this case, so she was right to proceed into the crosswalk.

          • brendan

            think you’re missing the point of what ARLwhenever is saying…

          • John Fontain

            First off, I think there is a slight error in her reporting of the accident. She says she was heading south along the bike path next to Lynn Street and was approaching the northwest corner of the intersection. Given that the bike path is on the east side, I assume she must mean she was approaching the northeast corner as she headed south.

            Roadrunner said: “It is the driver’s responsibility to make sure the way is clear before turning right on a red light.” AND “She had the green light in this case.”

            If, as she reports, the eastbound traffic on Lee Highway had a red light, then the northbound traffic on Lynn Street would have a green light – the same green light that gave her the simultanious walk signal that she relied on when crossing the intersection. Therefore, this doesn’t appear to be a case of a driver turning on a red light.

            Without seeing the accident happen, we really have no way of knowing the relative responsibility of each party in causing the accident. Did the driver turn right without looking at all when it would have been obvious that she was in the middle of crossing? Did the driver look at the intersection, not see anyone in it, and properly proceed to turn only to have a biker come flying down the bike path at a high speed and into the intersection and the path of the car? Was a combination of both? We just don’t know.

            What I will say is that I see plenty of negligent driving by both cars and cyclists in this area.

        • normal

          Arlwhenever is right – she followed the law but still got injured. The point is to avoid injury, not just be right. Anything that can help prevent intentional or unintentional violations of the law, or even lawful actions, that are unsafe are a good idea. And of course defensive driving/biking is what that’s all about. I don’t want “he was completely within the law” on my tombstone.

        • Librarina

          Signs that say “dismount before crossing” are routinely ignored by bicyclists on the crossings near the Memorial Bridge.

    • Jen

      Your comment is illogical. If you apply the same theory to car vs car, the onus is on the car with the right of way to make sure it’s going slow enough so that the car turning right onto the road sees them. It should be the responsibility of the car making the right hand turn to insure there is nothing in the road before actually making the turn-be it car, cyclist, or pedestrian.

      • brendan

        your comment skips logic all together!

        ohhh! zinnnngggggggggggg!

        using logic, if you are turning right on a one-way street, a majority of your attention will be to the left, where faster moving objects (cars) are coming from. Which is why a two-way bike path that appears to be a sidewalk on a one way street. is extremely dangerous and puts everyone in an extremely dangerous situation.

        Yes, drivers should always make sure the path is clear – but if you are tracking cars traveling 35mph+ heading one way and pedestrians walking/jogging at <5mph, you're not necessarily going to be expecting a cyclists traveling in the opposite direction, on what appears to be a sidewalk, and going 10-30mph. You can put your proverbial onus wherever you feel is special to you, but at the end of the day the whole setup is the fault of the county and VDOT.

        • Jen

          Really, holding the driver accountable for insuring the street is clear before turning skips logic all together? I really hope you don’t have your license.

          • brendan

            below is an image of the driver’s view….if there’s a bicyclist who doesn’t dismount heading South (from right to left of image) how are they expected to see that?

            listen… i ride my bike around the county and i’m a driver as well. i’m trying to approach this from a “What went wrong and what can we do to improve this” perspective rather than a anti-car or anti-bike view that too many people on here seem to have.

            Even if the driver comes to a complete stop, looks right-left-right (instead of the intuitive left-right-left when turning right onto a one way street), there is still a much higher risk of accidents because of how this intersection/bike/crosswalk is designed. This is way outside the norm and probably built without much consderation to bike/pedestrian/motorist safety – two-way sidewalk path on a one way street, with no stop/dismount requirement for an obstructed view path is asking for trouble. Having lived/biked/driven in cities that are significantly more bike friendly than DC/Arlington, this kind of setup is a big no-no and needs to be changed immediately.

          • jan

            Thanks for the picture. It succeeds in showing the problem drivers would have.

          • Ehh??

            Am I missing something, or doesn’t it say STOP on the ground right there? Wouldn’t that cause a bike rider to be required to stop before proceeding, regardless of whatever the walk signal shows?

            Also, wouldn’t the walk signal take precedence over the street light (from the bike rider’s perspective) since the bike rider was using the crosswalk/bike path and not utilizing the roadway (and maintain compliance with motor vehicle rules and regulations).

            In any case, I think people should take responsibility for their own protection. Being in the right doesn’t make you any less dead if someone runs you over. I still look both ways when crossing the street and make eye contact with the driver before I walk into the street. There’s an insane amount of people that I have seen that are too busy using their phone or listening to their music while jogging and have almost been killed when they walk into the middle of oncoming traffic (against the walk light).

            My question would be, how many pedestrians are hit at that intersection vs. bike riders? It seems to me that there’s a simple fix here–have the bike riders stop and dismount before crossing the street. It will take a little longer for them to cross the street, but I think it will make everyone safer in the long run and save the taxpayers some money….

  • JimPB

    Incident specific: Was the driver ticketed, and if so, for what?
    —-
    General: My observation is that stop and turn right has become slow and then accelerate for the right turn if there is an opening in oncoming traffic TO THE LEFT. So the attention of drivers is TO THE LEFT and not to the right and possible pedestrians or bicyclists. Is this the observation of others?
    Recommendation: Pedestrians and bicyclists crossing on the walk signal where drivers can make a right turn on red into the crossing need additional protection in the form of a flashing red light for right turns — this signal triggered by a pedestrian pressing the button to obtain a walk signal.
    Thoughts? Other suggestions?

    • Roadrunner

      I think dangerous intersections like this could use a red right arrow, and a no turn on red sign. That light isn’t that long for the Lee Hwy side of things, people can wait an extra thirty seconds. The current set up is clearly a danger to public safety.

      Also, you’re totally right about drivers looking only left when they’re turning right. I really don’t know what’s to be done about that, but I wish people would look both ways when driving across a crosswalk where pedestrians have the right of way.

    • Noj

      I think your general observation is right on, but the recommendation is probably too complicated. Like some others have said, a simple addition of a right turn arrow signal, and adding 30 seconds of dedicated crosswalk time (with the turn signal showing red). Is that the very ideal solution? Probably not, but it could be done quickly, be pretty affective, and somewhat limit the potential traffic backup.

      I don’t get why people are trying to contradict to this single incident account with their own general observations. Saying you see bikers break the law all the time is irrelevant to this story.

      Guess what, if you live here you’ve probably been an asshole on the road, whether that’s in a car or on a bike or as a ped. We’re all pieces of crap when it comes to commuting, and if you say you’re different well then you’re a piece of crap and a liar. I don’t ride a bike at all and yes I’ve seen plenty of bikers disobeying laws, but I’ve seen drivers pull every move in the book. I only get more riled up at bikers because I feel like if I personally were riding a bike surrounded by cars, I would be extra cautious. As a driver, if a split second distraction causes me to bump into another driver then that’s just a pain in the ass. If it were to cause me to hit a biker I’d be really shaken up.

    • ZoningVictim

      I think a lot of the problem is that bikes cover so much more ground than pedestrians do and people just aren’t used to them riding on the sidewalks and into the crosswalk. Most people probably look for someone about to cross as they approach the intersection and then start looking left for cars thinking that no one would ever be able to come up on them from that side in the amount of time it would take them to clear the intersection if there are no cars coming.

      • Noj

        That is true about bikes covering more ground. Many times I’ve had near heart attacks because a biker is crossing and they don’t enter my field of vision until I’ve started moving – and this is all within fractions of a second when everyone is proceeding legally.

        People can go back and forth as to who’s wrong and what side needs to change in order to fix the bike/car problem in Arlington… or we can focus on this one intersection that seems to be particularly dangerous, and suggest (what seems to me to be) a fairly simple improvement. And if the idea of added crossing time and dedicated right turn arrows wouldn’t work, then let’s think of something else.

  • Steven

    I choose to ride in the road at this spot because it is so dangerous. Safer to be in the road then in the crosswalk.(It is legal too)

    • normal

      How do you ride? On Lee Highway, then left on Lynn, then right onto the trail?

    • OX4

      Agree. It’s much safer to ride in the road than on sidewalks, and I’ve nearly hit other bike riders who ride into the crosswalk from the sidewalk when I’m trying to turn. Crosswalks are for pedestrians, not vehicles.

      I ride in the right lane on N. Lynn until I cross both Lee Hwy intersections, then hop up on the sidewalk to cross the bridge.

  • http://thankyouforseeingme.com Kat

    Happy she’s okay. Hurry Arlington. This is obviously a scary situation.

  • Ali

    The only thing that is going to fix this is a dedicated walk signal for cyclists/pedestrians AND a dedicated right turn arrow. Any other combination won’t alleviate the problem.

    Just stopping right turns on red will lead to more competition in the VERY slim time the light is green and even more collisions.

  • brendan

    correction? if you were riding South on Lynn St. the crossing is in the NE corner, not NW. (upper right)

    Not sure what you mean by “checked to see” — complete stop?? b/c even slowing down to 10mph is significantly faster than a driver looking for pedestrians would be likely to notice.

    Unless there are signs requiring bicyclists to come to a complete stop and dismount…this is entirely the fault of the county. Whether it’s a crowded path, fast moving cyclists or limited view… It’s an extremely dangerous situation to have off-hwy bike paths crossing w/ out coming to a complete stop and greater visibility. Drivers would not be expecting cyclists to be riding on what appears to be a sidewalk, much less coming from the right on a one way street heading in the opposite direction.

    Hope you feel better – I would make sure the County covers any and all medical expenses.

    • CW

      Um, no. The off-highway bike path is just that, a path, filled with vehicles (bicycles). They happen to be routed, at that particular point, across something painted on the ground that we colloquially call a crossWALK, but which in this instance is for more than walking since a bike path is routed over it. Drivers there have a RED light which means they must STOP and make sure it is safe before turning right if they so choose. The default to a driver in a RED light is STOP. Not roll, not cruise, but STOP. If there is anything with a right of way – pedestrian, other cars, bikes being routed across the lanes, herd of bison – that is crossing, you MUST yield to it. That is what right turn on red means.

      This is not the fault of the county. It is the fault of the moron who RAN HER OVER in the middle of the street where she had right of way. And, DO NOT agree to settle for medical expenses. Go get a lawyer. A good one, who deals with bike accidents. Now.

      • brendan

        no. and. no…

        this is an incredibly poorly designed intersection, which is why it’s slated for improvements.

        As i’ve explained elsewhere on this post

        “Yes, drivers should always make sure the path is clear – but if you are tracking cars traveling 35mph+ heading one way and pedestrians walking/jogging at <5mph, you're not necessarily going to be expecting cyclists traveling in the opposite direction as traffic on what appears to be a sidewalk, going 10-30mph."

        Even if you come to a complete stop, look right-left-right, there is still a much higher risk of accidents because of how this intersection/bike/crosswalk is designed. This is way outside the norm and probably built without much consderation to bike/pedestrian/motorist safety – two-way sidewalk path on a one way street with no stop/dismount requirement is asking for trouble. Having lived/biked/driven in cities that are significantly more bike friendly than DC/Arlington, this kind of setup is a big no-no.

        • brendan

          perhaps i should have reiterated this more… typically, coming to stop and turning right onto a one way street drivers will intuitively look left, right, left. here you must look right-left-right, but that is counter-intuitive to most people who are not used to such poorly designed intersections.

          • CW

            Ok, while I understand that the intersection may not be optimally designed for those who choose to not be cognizant of cyclists and pedestrians, you are still choosing to be an apologist for them. “Oh, drivers aren’t used to looking that direction, how could you EVER ask them to do something like that? Horrors!”

            I’m joking a bit with the hyperbole, and sure, the intersection is totally a deathtrap. But we shouldn’t be apologizing for the drivers. If they’re not capable of tracking both the cars and cyclists without running into one or the other, then they should not be turning right on red.

          • brendan

            there is no sign indicating to drivers that there’s north/south bike traffic on the sidewalk. there’s a bike route sign, but if you’re coming up the ramp and not intimately familiar with that bike route, how would you know they would be traveling on the sidewalk? much less riding at full-speed with no stop/dismount rule from behind an obstructed view. you would look left-right-left and by the time you pull out a cyclist could already be crossing.

            simply saying it’s poorly designed and the county and vdot should be blamed for constructing such an illogical and counter-intuitive, anomaly of an intersection.

          • CW

            Yeah, but I also think they did pretty well with what they had to work with. Better than just saying “tough luck cyclists, no way we’re putting a bike path through there.”

  • Chris Slatt

    The continued problems with this intersection are explained quite clearly in the Arlnow photo for this story – right where it says “VDOT R/w” VDOT is an incredibly slow organization with little concern for pedestrian or bicycle safety. I wish Arlington the best of luck in trying to get VDOT approval for any bike or ped improvements (which is the step those safety improvements appear to be stuck in right now).

    Long term, it’s time to start finding a funding source for the tunnel that that was already studied for that area.

    • Frogger

      So is the tunnel that was studied off the table, or just in limbo because of lack of funding?

      • Chris Slatt

        According to the most recent Bike Project update (https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&chrome=true&srcid=0B2HOXRS-TxPYMzhiOWY3ZDktZjVmOC00NzUzLWE2M2UtZjgzMTdlMzRjZWI4&hl=en_US) the tunnel is now its own separate project (B-25) and not part of the rest of the Rosslyn improvements (A-10) which are currently working their way through VDOT. Also it says in the Rosslyn Esplanade study doc “A Custis Trail tunnel under N. Lynn Street is considered a possible future phase due to potential
        construction costs, constructability issues, and NPS approval.”

        So I’m thinking limbo due to funding / NPS approvals required / etc. I don’t have any specific inside information or anything though, so I could be wrong.

    • normal

      Instead of a tunnel, why no reroute the trail to cross dowstream of Lynn a little, past that intersection? It would make it much easier for cars to see cyclists and pedestrians crossing. They’d see them after they had turned right and were back to going straight. It would get the crossing out of that light cycle too (though require another, smaller one).

      • Bemused bystander

        Pls. explain “downstream of Lynn”.

  • G

    If Arlington truly wants to be bike/pedestrian friendly, the county needs to make it against the law to turn right on red. Normally turning right on red would not be a big deal, but we know that many drivers do not look right when turning, they only look left. As someone who runs to work every day, I experience drivers inching towards me while they look left as I’m running through crosswalks daily. You may say that I should make eye contact first, but this is usually not even possible because the driver will not look right. If I had to make eye contact with every driver at every intersection where they have a red light it would take me forever to get to work and would disrupt my workout more than stop lights already do as it is.

    Another thing that drivers do that really annoys me is rush to turn right in front of me (as they come up behind me parallel to my running path). The ones that don’t make it to the turn in time before I get to the intersection will honk at me even if I have a walk signal, and others will actually cut me off to the point where I would smash into their car if I continued running. When they do this I just smack the back of their car or trunk as they continue on their way to give them a little scare =)

    • brendan

      umm. no.

      look at some of the more bike-friendly cities – thousands of ways to do this better and without banning right on red turns.

      For one… Don’t have a 2-way bike path on a busy one way street. Perhaps disallowing right on red at that intersection alone would make sense, given that there is such a high volume of traffic and limited routing options, but applying that across the county is a worthless pursuit.

      • G

        New York City banned all right turns on reds unless there is a sign permitting you to do so.

      • Bemused bystander

        This 2-way bike path, one of the major crosscounty trails, runs next to this busy one-way street because at this particular spot there’s nowhere else to put it.

        • brendan

          ruh roh…not perfect but this would be considerably better and eliminate blind crossings.

          I’ll send Thes my survey and design bill tomorrow. ($423,400)

      • Greenbelt

        Montreal bans right on red in the city (on the island, technically). Works fine. Umm.. Yes.

        • brendan

          Portland, Austin, Ft. Collins, Boulder, Minneapolis — some of the most bike friendly cities in the country seem to do just fine without it. Unfortunately it requires some actual planning and not just throwing paint on the ground wherever you ‘feel’ like there should be a bike path.

      • soarlslacker

        Some intersections already have signs that indicate: NO TURN ON RED (S 23rd St and S Arl Ridge Rd) others say NO TURN ON RED WHEN PEDESTRIANS PRESENT (S 23rd and S Eads).

    • Ali

      I wouldn’t say ban all right turns on red but Arlington needs to at least be smarter about it. There’s been a rash of new NO TURN ON RED 7AM-7PM signs in my neighborhood at intersections where it’s never been a problem. One intersection near my house has an extended green in the opposite direction so cars have to wait several extra minutes for a green light for no reason. Because of the signs there’s increased competition between cars and pedestrians during a short light in which cars are turning both left and right. Putting those signs up is just asking for a collision.

    • Moof

      Err, roads exist to get places, not so that you can have an undisrupted workout. As for taking forever to get to work, you’re on a bike, how fast did you think you were going to get there? Classic biker excuses for why they don’t need to follow the same laws as the drivers who are supposed to share the road with them.

      • G

        I run to work, not bike. And honestly, I’d much rather run on a dirt path or road than paved roads and sidewalks, but that is practically non-existent in Arlington aside from a few small stretches along bike paths in the parks.

        What do you mean when you say: “you’re on a bike, how fast did you think you were going to get there?”

        I run, and still, I get to work faster than the buses driving along the same road. Would be even faster if I didn’t have to deal with all those pesky traffic lights, and cars. During the last snow storm I got home many hours faster than most of the cars, and

        I have a car myself, I just don’t use it to get to work. I save money on parking or public transport, and stay in shape. Arlington should follow London’s lead and charge drivers congestion fees during the work day.

    • John Fontain

      G said: “If I had to make eye contact with every driver at every intersection where they have a red light it would take me forever to get to work and would disrupt my workout…”

      I nominate this quote for the “Most obnoxious thing in Arlington” thread in the Forums.

      • G

        Thanks! Let me just say, it may seem like no big deal to you and others to just be defensive and wait for cars to wave you on if you only work out once and while, but after many years of running every day it gets extremely annoying to have to do this when you clearly have the right of way.

        • John Fontain

          “it may seem like no big deal to you and others…if you only work out once and while”

          Another classic!

        • KArlington

          I run and bike commute daily/weekly and find it SO much more annoying to be seriously injured or dead than to interrupt my workout.

          Law or no law, right or no right, cars are bigger than people. Ignore that reality at your own peril.

  • Stew Magnuson

    I saw a cop once (years ago) going after motorists who were coming over the Key Bridge, turning right onto Lee and cutting off pedestrians and cyclists.
    Can’t hurt to have more of this kind of enforcement.

    • ZoningVictim

      Yeah, every time a ped/cyclist gets hit they do that for a few days.

  • Jeff

    There is no excuse for hitting a cyclist, but a second, major problem is cyclists not understanding how to share the road just as much as drivers don’t. Unless the cyclist had dismounted her bicycle, she was just as much in the wrong. Cyclists MUST follow TRAFFIC signals, not pedestrian signals, while riding their bikes. Assuming the cyclist was riding her bike when hit, she actually could have (and should have) been ticketed for failing to obey a traffic signal.

    Regardless of who was right and wrong, both cyclists and drivers need to be cognizant of each other and how to share the road. I’m glad the cyclist wasn’t seriously hurt.

    • http://thankyouforseeingme.com Kat

      Good points Jeff! All laws must be enforced. Just because a cyclist is more “vulnerable” does not mean they aren’t responsible for following the rules of the road. Not everyone is lawless but it would help to raise the level of visibility on the street for everyone out ther and include bicycle education in our driver’s ed programs. It’s how I learned after getting a ticket on my bike and also being involved in an accident with a cyclist riding illegally through a pedestrian crossing. Both unnerving situations that educated me 100%.

    • Frogger

      Actually, Arlington specifically times the pedestrian signal at the westbound crosswalk for Lynn at the Mt. Vernon Trailhead/Custis to change to “walk” before the light turns green, the intention, I believe, being to give trail users a head start so that the right-turning cars going toward Key Bridge will be forced to wait for the stream of riders and walkers. Are you telling me that bikers are supposed to ignore that signal unless they get off their bikes? I question whether your legal analysis is right (or whether the county would want to enforce it given their intention behind advancing the timing of the walk signal. Even if your analysis is right, I question whether it would improve safety, since a non-yielding car can hit both walkers, bikers walking, and bikers biking. From a practical standpoint, most bikers riding on a trail are not going to get off and walk for a crosswalk. And if they do, the process of mounting and dismounting can make for wobbly riding during the transition, especially for less experienced riders, and would probably increase bike/bike accidents and increase the number of falls.

      • Jeff

        Yes – according to Virginia law, “Every person riding a bicycle on a highway shall be subject to the provisions of the Code of Virginia section on motor vehicles and shall have the rights and duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle unless a provision clearly indicates otherwise.” Additionally, “Bicyclists must obey all traffic signs, signals, lights, and markings.”

        While a car can hit anyone at any time, regardless of who was following the laws, in this particular situation, had the biker followed Virginia laws, the accident would not have occurred. That being said, it still does not make it “OK” for the driver to hit the biker, nor does it absolve the driver of shared blame.

        The cyclist’s recap of the situation leads me to believe she did not stop as she approached the intersection and the red light. If the driver did even take the time to look, my best guess is with her fast approach on a bicycle, she was out of the driver’s field of view until it was too late to stop.

        • Theakston

          Jeff read the f’ing article!!… she was riding on the trail next to the flow of traffic that had the green light (Lynn St) when the driver who had the red light (66 ramp) did a turn on red right into her.
          She was going with the green light (And the crosswalk light). Your arguments make no sense whatsoever.

          • Jeff

            Theakston, the cyclist specifically states that the driver was making a right turn on red. Perhaps you should “read the f’ing article.”

            Apparently some of the others have explained in the comments, at that particular intersection, the pedestrians are given a walk signal before any of the lights turn green.

          • Theakston

            She was crossing Lee (on Lynn) which had the green – not crossing Lynn – which you seem to be thinking.

          • think

            Jeff,
            your reading of the law is incorrect. She wasn’t on a highway, and she was following the law. She followed the signal – a go for bikes on the trail.

        • http://blacknell.net/dynamic/ MB

          Jeff, I believe your reading of the law is incorrect. VA Code § 46.2-904 says:

          “A person riding a bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, motorized skateboard or scooter, motor-driven cycle, or an electric power-assisted bicycle on a sidewalk, shared-use path, or across a roadway on a crosswalk, shall have all the rights and duties of a pedestrian under the same circumstances.”

          Note that it does not say that cyclists must dismount (or that those in electric wheelchairs must rise) and walk as pedestrians. It says that those “riding a bicycle” have “all the rights and duties of a pedestrian.” So, given the plain language of the Code, the obvious gap between accepted practice and your interpretation, and the fact that you wouldn’t find anyone in ACPD who shares your interpretation, I think it’s pretty plain that a cyclist riding across this intersection in the crosswalk is within the bounds of the law.

          • Mickey

            I stand corrected. Thanks for the information.

  • JT

    I’ve been riding through this intersection and the one at Ft. Meyer Dr. and Lee Hwy. on the Custis Trail twice-a-day every weekday for over 10 years. Both have designated crosswalks and walk signals but both are still extremely dangerous. The very simple solution for both these intersections is to make both them No Right on Red with a Red X Signal BUT THEN to have a Green Arrow for cars that gives them time to turn that is separate from the time for the bikers and walkers to cross. Why the County/State can’t just install some new traffic signals is beyond me.

    Those who are trying to blame the biker clearly never walk or bike and have apparenty never walked across a street in a designated cross walk when there is a walk signal. If all of us bikers and walkers drove, traffic for you would be a lot worse. So stop blaming us.

  • JamesE

    Share the road yeah yeah, but cars and bikes just don’t mix on high volume roads. How do we fix this? Tunnels under every major intersection and sell the wall space for ad revenue, problem solved. Maybe even make retail space inside of them for burger and cupcake joints.

  • caroline

    It doesn’t sound like this was a turn on red scenario… the cyclist had a walk sign for the crosswalk, and the car had a green light as well. If the driver of the vehicle had scanned to the right for oncoming pedestrians and cyclists, and he/she had come to a stop at the intersection prior to making the right, it should have been fairly easy to sight the person in the pathway. However, if the driver was assuming he/she had the right of way due to the green light (as recounted by the young lady involved in this incident), it’s possible that he/she didn’t really take the time to come to a stop and scan prior to making the turn. Can any of you admit to not being guilty of doing so at some point in your driving history? I’ve certainly done it a number of times, and stories like this make me a much more cautious driver now.

    • Jeff

      The cyclist stated the driver was turning right on red. Apparently, there is a time delay between when the walk signal appears and the drivers are given a green light. Unfortunately, it is Virginia law that cyclists must follow traffic signals rather than pedestrian signals.

      • caroline

        sorry about that, there was actually a comment left by the cyclist that was struck on monday regarding this intersection, and in that case the light was green.

        with regard to cyclists following traffic signals, doesn’t that only apply if they’re actually in the road? if they’re in the crosswalk, it seems logical that they would follow whatever signals the crosswalk is providing them.

        • Jeff

          It would seem to make sense that if you’re in a crosswalk, you’re given the same allowances as a pedestrian, but unfortunately, VA law does not allow for that. As long as you’re riding the bike, you’re required to follow all laws that applies to motorists (meaning you can also get a DUI while on a bike!).

          • Greg

            So cars can legally drive on the sidewalk? I think you need to cite a source here. There are some holes in your logic.

      • cyclist

        No, I could be wrong, but I think the law says, or at least implies, that cyclists can use sidewalks and crosswalks unless local laws specifically forbid it.

        • cyclist

          Actually, I see that MB cited the law above, which is very clear. Thanks MB!

      • 5555624

        Can you quote this “Virginia law” you keep referring to? While that is true for cyclists riding on the street, this cyclist was on a shared-use path. Look up Code § 46.2-904, which says if they are on a shared-use path or in a crosswalk, they have the rights and duties of a pedestrian. The cyclist had a “Walk” signal and was proceeding across the intersection, in the crosswalk.

  • Lou

    I like watching cyclists go down that strange gravel road that runs next to the trail and then come back up when they realize it’s not the trail.

  • This chick is probably the only law abiding cyclist

    “so even if you’re following the laws and traffic signals”

    WHICH NONE OF YOUR OTHER CYCLIST F-ING BUDDIES DO

    • lisa

      If no cyclists followed the laws and traffic signals, we’d all be dead. Idiot.

      • This chick is probably the only law abiding cyclist

        If you keep running red lights, ignoring bike lanes, and not stopping at stop signs….it probably won’t take long for that extinction to occur.

        • JT

          So you want us bikers and walkers to drive instead? How crowded do you think that will make the roads? I work in law enforcement, so don’t suggest to me that I don’t follow the laws when I am biking. And watch your faux bad language and your manners.

        • lisa

          i dont run red lights, i ride in the bike lane when one exists, and i stop at stop signs. none of the people i ride with violate any of these laws. stop making sweeping generalizations about cyclists. just as there are instances of bad driving habits amongst the total population of drivers, the same can be said about cyclists. the vast majority of us are extremely aware of how vulernable we are compared to cars, so we do respect the rules of the road.

          • This chick is probably the only law abiding cyclist

            Do you mean sweeping generalizations like this:

            “Drivers really just do not look for bikers or pedestrians”

            ?????

            How about instead of knee jerk reaction, you ponder how many bikes and cars actually share the roads every day and how little accidents there really are. ESPECIALLY AS A RESULT OF A CAR.

          • lisa

            oh i’m sorry, i must’ve missed where i made that statement in my previous comments. could you kindly point it out for me?

          • This chick is probably the only law abiding cyclist

            The chick involved made that comment. but none of you bikers would ever be caught making sweeping generalizations right!?

          • lisa

            before you start attacking someone, id recommend you sit and think about what you’re about to write. i never said there aren’t bad cyclists, and i never said there aren’t cyclists that don’t break the rules. heck, i didn’t even assign blame to cyclist or driver for this incident. the only request i’m making is that you not assume that because someone is on their bike that they’re definitely breaking all traffic laws. it’s a ridiculous statement to make that we all, as most of us are pretty concerned with preserving our welfare.

          • cyclist

            LOL! The guy makes a sweeping generalization about…sweeping generalizations! Awesome!

            Dude, you need to get out of your metal box and ride a bike, you’ll feel better and your brain will clear.

  • This chick is probably the only law abiding cyclist

    “So you want us bikers and walkers to drive instead?”

    I’D LIKE YOU TO FOLLOW THE RULES…..LIKE ALL DRIVERS HAVE TO DO.

    “I work in law enforcement, so don’t suggest to me that I don’t follow the laws when I am biking”

    ohhhhhh. I forgot that anyone who works in law enforcement is immune performing illegal acts.

    • lisa

      so you’ve never exceeded the speed limit? i’m going to call bull on that one.

      • This chick is probably the only law abiding cyclist

        When a speed limit is exceeded, Drivers run the risk of being ticketed

        How many tickets to bikers are being handed out do you suppose?

        Lets ask MR. LAW ENFORCEMENT…

        • lisa

          i wasn’t asking what the risk was for speeding. i was asking if you can honestly say you have never ever violated the rules of the road.

          and plenty of cyclists are ticketed. we don’t get ticketed for exceeding speed limits since most of us don’t possess the physical capability of doing so on bike, but there are plenty of cases where we’re ticketed if we do roll through stop signs on the W&OD.

    • JT

      You are pathetic.Go away.

      • Bemused bystander

        OK, people. Everybody get off their high horses. Stop. Wait for a green light. Then look both ways. Look again. Then proceed very carefully and courteously, staying within all lines. And smile.

        • suzy

          But then the yahoo in the BMW behind you will honk loud and long because you’re slowing him down by actually coming o a complete stop and being careful!

  • ARCA_Neighbor

    This is very sad story. I’m so sorry to hear that County is not starting to make improvements in the above mentioned intersection to make it safer for citizens.

    As a citizen and taxpayer of this County, I’m appalled that the County is wasting money for unwanted, unsafe and wasteful projects like Ridge Rd/Meade St (see here: http://t.co/i8VfIaj), where there were no accidents reported in decades and where the County is building circular driveways and giving land for free to a couple of private owners. What a waste! I wish I could have power to transfer money from this failed project into much needed safety improvements for bikes and pedestrians at N Lynn intersection.

  • Jack

    I was at a stop light looking left, a guy was walking his bike across the cross walk from the right I didn’t look. Hit him, totaled his bike. Totally my fault. Car was fine. The moral of the story is write or wrong the guy in the car is probably not going to end up flat on the asphalt. Bikers have to be more vigilant and safer then cars. It is the bikers responsiblity no matter who is right. And in my experience it has A LOT more to do with idiot bikers giving all bikers a bad name. Bikers police thyselves. Because like rock beats scissors, car beats bike. Deal with it and protect yourselves. Don’t complain about the idiots. We are all idiots.

    • Ricardo

      +1. Rock beats scissors, car beats bike. Well said.

      (I wish it were not so, but that’s how it is.)

  • Skeptical

    Having nearly been mowed down while crossing the street by bicyclists blowing through 4-way stop signs I think they need to follow the rules of the road without special consideration. If the sign says walk, then walk. I can just imagine how the bicyclists “respect” the pedestrians who might also be crossing the intersection. NOT.

    • normal

      So when the sign switches to a little hand, does that mean everyone should stick their right palm out in front of them?

    • Mcleaniac

      I wonder how “Jack” and others above would respond to your complaint. I assume they would tell you that bike beats walker, so next time you should just be “more vigilant and safer” than people on bikes. Deal with it and protect yourself. Write or wrong…

    • Mcleaniac

      And as for my own response: it is clear from your comment that you are familiar neither with the rules of the road nor the intersection in question. If you are interested in educating yourself, you can scan the other comments to learn that cyclists crossing at that intersection may lawfully cross without dismounting and walking. If you are interested in uninformed conjecture based on your own irrelevant experiences at stop signs, by all means carry on.

  • Burger

    I am sort of curious about this email.

    It says here bike isn’t fixed – but if it was the driver’s fault shouldn’t his insurance be paying for that. If the driver’s insurance isn’t paying for it then it was likely determined it was her fault and now she is writing an email in the attempt to garner sympathy.

    But, it could be the time period hasn’t gone on long enough for her bike to be fixed and i fully admit that could occur and it is the driver’s fault.

    Just the way she put her makes me wonder because she says she is undergoing medical treatment. If she was unable to ride her bike because she was hurt I would think she would say that in the email “I am still hurt, but even if i could my bike is still not fixed” type of email.

    • brendan

      county should give her a free bike-share loaner bike… they’re pretty nice, at $1,200 bucks a pop.

  • HS

    It’s just a bad intersection for biking. Regardless of right-of-way, I still get the heebie-jeebies every time I go through it … all I’m thinking in that intersection is how I can avoid the car if they do keep going (and they regularly do).

  • CK

    I rode this trail last night, and had to yield to several cars turning right on red – even though I had a walk signal. – at this very intersection. Too many people only look to the left to make sure that no cars are coming, and then whip around the corner, before they realize that the crosswalk is full of pedestrians, cyclists, etc. Of course too many cyclists & pedestrians think that they’re completely safe if the signal says walk. I am a very cautious rider, especially at busy intersections, but I’ve had many close calls…and see a lot of cyclists making poor decisions and crossing against the light and taking unnecessary chances. Cars AND bikes need to just slow down and be more alert!

    • CK

      Sorry, that should’ve been “turning right on green”, not red. The motorists were ignoring that pedestrians & cyclists had a walk signal and were in the crosswalk. But it happens both ways – people are in too much of a hurry!

    • JimPB

      Caution and acting to prevent collisions are wise. But the frequency with which C (above), others and the media report collisions and near misses when vehicles are turning right on red and the driver’s attention is directed to traffic coming from the left make a persuasive case for a change in law, e.g., end the right turn on red at corners where a vehicle turning right would transverse a crosswalk, or allow such right turns only when there is a green right turn signal.

      Note: Right turn on red was initiated when there was a gas shortage as a gas saving measure. Saving gas still saves money, but the need for saving by having right turns on red is diminishing as dependence on petroleum powered vehicles decreases and automatic engine stop and start (the engine shuts off when a vehicle is braked to a stop, the engine restarts when the accelerator is pressed) becomes omnipresent on petroleum powered vehicles.

      And further thought needs to be given and appropriate actions taken to prevent bicycle-vehicle collisions. I’ve seen and experienced unnecessary dangers produced by drivers. I’ll also seen bicyclists putting themselves at risk, e.g., bicycling across Chain Bridge on the line between the two directions of vehicular traffic, bicycling up the vehicular road from Chain Bridge (limited forward visibility for drivers, no shoulders) to Glebe, weaving from side to side to pass vehicles stopped at a light, thereby effectively disguising themselves from even attentive drivers who then unknowingly could move their vehicles left or right and sideswipe the bicyclist or who could turn in front of a bicyclist.

      AND:
      What works to prevent bicycle-vehicle collisions in countries where a lot of bicycles and vehicles share the roadways, e.g., some European, some Asian countries.

    • We fear change

      Actually the law states yield to peds in crosswalk. So, if you aren’t in the crosswalk, or have passed them as they drive through the crosswalk then they are obeying the law FYI. Maybe it is the law that people should be asking about. It is not like this in MANY other states.

  • Bob

    When I was in Ocean City, New Jersey for a visit, everything had changed quite a bit from when I was there as a young boy. There were stoplights, of course, but there was also all of the yellow pedestrian crosswalks all along just about every road. That was new to me. So I slowed down and enjoyed it.

    When I was in D.C. a couple of months ago, in my car, around Penn. Ave. the stoplight arrow turned green (left arrow), so I went ahead. Yet the green left arrow wasn’t for me (cars), it was a green go for the bikers to go ahead. How was I supposed to know about this new “thing”? I had no idea about it.

    All I have to say is just slow down in your car. Period. Oh, and watch out for MD and DC drivers — they’re the worst. I’ll always be in front of you and I will see you at the next light, lane, etc. LOL! “Go fast, get nowhere fast”.

  • Carol_R

    Easy and cheap solution is just not allow right turn on red at that intersection.

  • Poet

    an old poem..

    Here lies the body of William Jay
    He died defending his right of way
    He was right, dead right, as he sped along
    But he’s just as dead as if he’d been wrong

  • Tom Smart

    Whenever I know I’m coming to a busy intersection like this, I always cross to the other side of the street, before reaching the corner in question, so I am not faced with crossing a corner where there is a chance that someone turning right on red might hit me. Is it a pain? Yes, of course it is. But I’d rather be alive than right.

  • Charlie

    Bottom line . . . I agree . . . .
    I would rather be very careful and very alive than very correct and very dead.

  • brian

    I do my best to make eye contact with drivers or at least notice their intentions.

    Not many people do that and just ride blindly.

    If the driver was looking left and she came flying out into the intersection that was her fault. She shouldn’t be entering that intersection without having the driver see her.

    Especially since she appears to NOT have been there for the changing of the lights.

    She just road through as she approached the intersection.

  • SUe

    It’s runners too! I run that route down from Clarendon and have almost been run over a few times a week. I am super vigilant. I don’t jump out as soon as the ‘walk’ sign comes on. The cars coming up from 66 turning towards the Key Bridge shoot out at the green light and ignore the pedestrian right out way (on a WALK sign). They also turn right on red without looking. It is the worst area for safety. I am a marathon runner and cover a lot of ground and that is by far the dangerous place I encounter in all of my runs over the Metro area.

  • soarlslacker

    VDOT Does some thiings that defy all logic. At the intersection of S Glebe and S Eads a block from Rt1 there is a Metro Bus Depot and across Glebe there is a Metro Bus Parking lot (no buildings). There was no crosswalk anywhere at this intersection for many years, yet everyday 100s of Metro employees must cross Glebe to get from the Depot to the fenced lot and back again. VDOT finally put up 3 cross walks. There is no crosswalk between the two Metro locations, but there are 3 crosswalks there so a Metro employee has to cross 3 times and wait through 3 lights, instead of 1 time with 1 light. The other two parcels of land are the Arlington Cty Waste Water Treatment Plant which are fenced and have no pedestrian entrances in that area. What fool traffic engineer saw that intersection and said “lets make it as difficult as possible for the Metro employees to cross between their properties. The Metro employees make one crossing just like they did before there were any crosswalks. They cross Glebe where there is no crosswalk. It is fortunate that they wear the bright vests. VDOT could have installed one cross walk, not 3 and solved a simple problem. They wasted money and failed to protect pedestrians.

  • mikelynn

    Bicyclists are required to dismount and walk bikes through an intersection. She should have been ticketed- sorry no sympathy here.

    • Theakston

      That is utter BS there is no such law…..why do some people keep making this up!

      • ZoningVictim

        The way I read the statement at the link below, you are incorrect.

        Bicyclists may make left turns as either motorists or pedestrians do. To make a pedestrian left turn, the bicyclist should continue straight across the intersecting road, obey the traffic signals, turn left at the corner, and proceed as usual. Bicyclists may also dismount and walk in the crosswalks of the two intersecting roads. If traffic control devices specify the method of crossings, these directions must be followed. Please refer to the examples shown here:

        From here: http://www.virginiadot.org/programs/bk-laws.asp

        • Theakston

          may…not must!
          Plus that little sentence is part of a convoluted section on the various options for making a left turn….which is completely irrelevant to this accident.
          OK we know you don’t like cyclists but there is no need to make up laws all by yourselves!

    • Alexandrian

      No they’re not, except at crossing at GW Parkway.

  • Barcroft Gal

    I experienced the same situation at the intersection of Lee Hwy and Washington Blvd, at the crossing for the W&OD. I was in the crosswalk and had the walk sign. The car to my left saw the green light and turned right, driving through the crosswalk. Luckily I stopped just in time.

    To add insult to injury, two other cars having witnessed the near accident decided to make the right turn as well blocking my crossing.

    Drivers don’t pay attention. I’ve stopped for pedestrians had the right of way at the intersection of Fairfax Dr and Glebe Rd, only to have cars behind me honk their horns in disgust. Why are we all in such a hurry?

    • AshtonHeights

      The spectacle of cars blaring their horns at other drivers who actually do the decent and legally mandated act of yielding to pedestrians is one of the most disgusting human behaviors I witness regularly. I saw a guy the other day at the 10th/Irving intersection honking and screaming obscenities (with his window open) at a car that yielded to a group of people walking across 10th street.

  • YTK

    Well, sorry about that accident, as the driver COULD have looked first before proceeding. However, when some imbecile on a bicycle rides full speed (VERY fast) down a narrow SIDEWALK and just barely misses people walking and/or waiting for the bus, on that sidewalk, without slowing down (Sunday, Aug 14 in front of Columbia Pike Library on Walter Reed) — that person (female) needs to have their bike confiscated – maybe to give to that poor unfortunate who WAS obeying the rules but nevertheless wa struck.

  • Pingback: Google Maps Bike There…for a safer, healthier, happier world. :-) | In Praise of Sidewalk Cycling

  • Claytron9

    As an avid biker, but also a conservative biker (in that I realize the laws of the road are with me, but the Laws of Physics are not…), I find the argument(s) interesting that bikers should walk, or ride on the sidewalk, or ride only in the bike lane… that they are vehicles, etc….. Well, if Bikes are to be vehicles, they should ride down the MIDDLE of each lane, and cars should NEVER be allowed to pass (except with dotted yellow, 2 lanes, etc…). This means everyone goes 12-15 MPH on average. Not a great or practical solution.

    The other, more reasonable solution is that drivers (and I drive often too) pay a little more attention, pass when safe and reasonable, and cut people a break. That said, we know this is not going to happen, so you have no choice as a biker (or ped), but to be conservative, enforcing (and perhaps, berating) when opportunities occur, and trying to live and let live. Be safe out there. And happy trails.

  • Jim

    Why would anyone ride a bike if they have to walk it across every intersection? If we are going to start creating illogical laws instead of creating systems that work we might as well have car drivers get out and push their car across the intersection too.

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