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ACPD Ramps Up Traffic Enforcement for New School Year

by ARLnow.com — September 2, 2011 at 2:06 pm 1,687 29 Comments

With Arlington Public Schools back in session next week, the police department is reminding drivers to obey traffic laws, especially when kids are walking to and from school.

To help hammer home that message, police officers and sheriff’s deputies will be conducting “high visibility enforcement” around school zones next week.

Here’s the police press release:

The Arlington County Police Department, in conjunction with the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office, will be out in force next week as the 2011-2012 school year begins.  Officers and Deputy Sheriffs will be conducting high visibility traffic enforcement in and around the school zones throughout Arlington County starting on Tuesday, September 6, 2011.  This will also coincide with the 3rd Annual Virginia Bicyclist and Pedestrian Awareness Week to emphasis the need to share the road with vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists.
Drivers are reminded to:
  • Obey speed limits which may change during school zone times.
  • Avoid distracted driving and keep your attention on the road.
  • Watch for students walking and riding bikes to school.  Remember, we all share the road.
  • Don’t pass a stopped school bus loading or unloading passengers.
  • Have all occupants wear their seatbelts.
 Students, bicyclist, and pedestrians are reminded to:
  • Cross the street at marked crosswalks and never against a red light.
  • Look before you cross and follow the direction of the school crossing guards.
  • Dismount from your bicycle and walk it in a crosswalk when crossing a street.
  • Always walk on designated sidewalks or paths never along the side of a road.
Arlington County will have variable message boards placed along the roadways reminding citizens of the start of school and to drive safely.  With a little prevention, all drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians can arrive at their destinations in a timely and safe manner.
  • Tabby

    Hammering the message home.

  • CW

    Oh, what good timing…”bicyclist” (singular, sic)…are reminded to cross at marked crosswalks and never against a red light. But you will get a ticket if a car plows into you while flying through a turn.

    Protect and serve…what a joke…

    • Aaron

      Hate ACPD all you like, but the idiot that got ticketed in the other discussion plowed into the side of a vehicle. He did not get plowed into.

      • Louise

        But he had a green light . . . i.e. right of way . . . are you saying that if I drive through a green light, and a car turns into me, then I’m at fault?

        • Aaron

          No, I’m saying that if you’re a pedestrian and a car turns in front of you and you continue moving on that same path and you end up wrecking yourself by running head-on into the side of a moving vehicle, you are probably at fault.

          Now put yourself on a bicycle and it amounts to the same thing.

      • R.Griffon

        But the description of that accident made no sense as written. It said that he was crossing WITH the green light, and the police said that while crossing he had to observe the rules as a vehicle, meaning that he had the same rights as a vehicle. A vehicle crossing an intersection WITH a green light has the right of way. Any vehicle turning across the path of the green light (as the one he hit apparently did) must yield to traffic going straight through the light. And yet the police gave HIM a warning.

        Am I missing something? Because I don’t get it. I think someone needs to draw a picture (and no, that pixelated Google Map pic doesn’t count).

        Also, just because you get hit doesn’t mean that you cannot be at fault. If you run a red light or pull out in front of moving traffic you may well be the one who gets hit, but you are still at fault.

        • CW

          The problem is that it was a one-way street. So there was no green light that the cyclist could see. When the article said “crossing with the green light” or whatever the exact verbiage was, there was in implicit “which was facing the other direction”. All that was visible to the cyclist was a walk signal and the painted “stop” on the trail. So that is part of what made this an odd situation.

          • R.Griffon

            Ahhhhh. Now I see. Well then isn’t it the car’s fault then? Cars turning left or right on a green must yield to traffic in crosswalks. I guess the fact that he was RIDING the crosswalk is his issue, and since both were at fault they just gave him the warning.

            As for small painted stop sign, that’s well and good, but it is NOT an official roadsign and cannot be enforced as such. They can’t legally enforce it unless it’s a “real” sign (regulation size & composition).

          • CW

            Is that true? Can you provide a cite for that? If so, I’m pretty sure the fellow issued the ticket would be very happy to see it, seeing as to how it’s that painted thing that he got a ticket for disobeying.

          • R.Griffon

            I can’t point to it, no, but I’d think there HAS to be a law establishing what constitutes an official road sign and what does not. Otherwise the state could staple a piece of paper to a telephone pole, write “Stop” on it, and write you a ticket for not stopping. There’s a reason why all Stop signs (and others) are the same size, shape, color, etc.

            Also, it’s not even located on a roadway at all. It’s a pedestrian and bicycle trail.

            I’d imagine that these two issues together are why they gave him a warning rather than a proper ticket.

            But one thing I DID find:

            “No provision of this section relating to the prohibition of disobeying signs or violating local traffic signals, markings, and lights shall be enforced against an alleged violator if, at the time and place of the alleged violation, any such sign, signal, marking, or light is not in proper position and sufficiently legible to be seen by an ordinarily observant person.”

            Ref: http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+46.2-830

            Wasn’t it posted elsewhere that the “STOP” paint can no longer be read?

        • NOVApologist

          Also, since the cyclist t-boned the car and not vice-versa, that indicates the car established position first, which is one of the criteria in apportioning blame in a vehicle accident.

          • SomeGuy

            I’m a fan of the t-bone.

          • CW

            That’s not true in basketball.

            Did the car have its feet set? Did it establish position?

  • Question

    Are bicyclists expected to dismount their bikes to cross in a crosswalk?

    • Andrew

      No, but I think they are expected to be going slow enough to react to pedestrians/cars that are in the area.

  • Bender

    Students, bicyclist, and pedestrians are reminded to:

    •Dismount from your bicycle and WALK it in a crosswalk when crossing a street.

    • Bluemontsince1961

      I haven’t seen anyone dismount from a bike and walk it in a cross walk in a long time. When I was growing up, all kids were taught that was the law, we even had police officers come to school to tell us how to be safe bicyclists – and that was the first thing they told us after telling us to signal when we were turning (using the old hand signals drivers used for cars back when). But that was in the early 1960s – the “dark ages”.

      • Stu Pendus

        Hah, now the police have to spend their time warning kids about sexting. We’ve certainly come a long way in society.

        • Bluemontsince1961

          We sure have, and definitely not for the better in many ways.

    • CW

      Gues I should have read down a little further before starting my rant.

      Thanks, Bender, for pointing that out. I guess that is just the county’s official M.O. then. If a bike can’t be operating in traffic, walk it across the crosswalk. That’s their line then. Fair or not. Note that this would only apply in the few places (such as a big intersection where one road is one-way) where you can’t be in the road.

    • R.Griffon

      That’s only IF you choose to use the crosswalk.

      This is a point which a lot of people don’t understand. In VA, cyclists have the option of being treated as a vehicle in traffic, or as a pedestrian on a sidewalk/crosswalk. If you go the vehicle route, you must sit and wait for the green light and cross in the regular traffic lanes (or bike lane if available).

      If, on the other hand, you decide you want to cross during the red light, you must DISMOUNT, and WALK the bike across the crosswalk.

      Both are 100% legal. The problem is that many cyclists like to RIDE across the intersection in the travel lanes/bike lane during a red light (at least in my experience).

      • Bender

        That’s exactly right.

        You want to use the sidewalk, then you must follow pedestrian rules.

        You want to ride and go fast like a vehicle, then you must get off the sidewalk and use the road.

        It is called a sideWALK for a reason.

        • R.Griffon

          Let’s just be careful about the wording. VA law expressly allows riding bicycles on sidewalks (at least where not prohibited by local ordinance or signage). But while doing so, cyclists must always yield right of way to pedestrians. And I think it’s inferred that you must do so at a reasonable speed.

  • Sigh

    The plural of bicyclist is bicyclists!

    Scientist/scientists!

    Artist/Artists!

  • G Clifford Prout

    Everyone! NOW! Download the Trapster app to your phone and report all their speed traps.

    I’m certain they’ll be hiding under the Wash. Blvd. bridge over Columbia Pike right by Pentagon South Parking “protecting” all the school kids walking this freeway on ramp.

  • Chris M.

    Is there some kind of problem around here with cars running into kids at schools. I have not heard about this epidemic in Arlington.

  • charlie

    there is a VERY serious problem of cars NOT SLOWING DOWN in school zones. I drive thru several school zones and NO ONE ever slows and it makes me feel very vulnerable as a car.

    • Chris M.

      I guess I’m disagreeing with what constitutes a “VERY serious problem.” I’m not supporting cars speeding through these zone, but I have not heard about a lot of pedestrians, especially children, being hit in school zones. Appropriate security precautions, and the expenditures that result from them, should be risked based and not feelings based.

      • charlie

        i think the police are operating under the assumption that no injuries in school zones needs to be the accepted. so these efforts are preventative.
        it is like lifeguard training — we were taught that if you ever have to go into the pool to rescue someone then you aren’t doing your job as you should have seen the situation and prevented it from happening.

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