With the increase in Capital Bikeshare stations around the area and the nicer weather, I have noticed more bikes being ridden on the sidewalks. Just yesterday, a woman rung her bike bell at me because she wanted to get by me in a particularly narrow sidewalk. Is there anyway ARLnow could do an article on local bike rules/laws as a reminder to those new to biking in the area?
Observe how many bicyclists you see stopping for red lights, wimmer. Or how many come to stops at stop signs. Then get back to me.
You’re lucky it was a CaBi person. They actually tend to be the more reasonable and prudent cyclists.
Our local Lance Armstrong wannabes have actually killed pedestrians who get in their way.
Nothing wrong with riding your bike on a sidewalk in Arlington.
I don’t think Arlington has an ordinance that prohibits bikes from being ridden on sidewalks. State law allows it but also allows a locality to prohibit it if the following condition is met- “Signs indicating such prohibition shall be conspicuously posted in general areas where use of roller skates and skateboards, and/or bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility devices, motorized skateboards or scooters, motor-driven cycles, or electric power-assisted bicycle riding is prohibited.” I have yet to see any signs like this in Arlington. The state law can be referenced here:
That being said, cyclists should use good judgment and yield the right of way to others when riding on a sidewalk.
Whether you agree with it or not, bicyclists can actually use the sidewalk in Arlington (not in Alexandria though).
In fact, there’s no helmet law for those over 14 (which is odd).
The one law that makes the most sense is a dooring law, which doesn’t exist in Arlington. Tragic.
Arlington is a VERY bike friendly area. Bicyclists have an unbelievable amount of freedom.
My advice, if that sidewalk episode really upset you, stay off the trail.
Yup – perfectly legal. Bike riders have the option of “behaving” as pedestrians or traffic. Only when doing one or the other, they should observe the appropriate laws and common sense precautions, which is where things usually go off the rails. So if riding on a sidewalk, do so at a reasonable pace (I’d say no faster than a person might jog if there are pedestrians near), cross at crosswalks, and ALWAYS yield to pedestrians for safety and pure common courtesy. And if you’re gonna ride in the street, then you may do so proudly, but darn well follow the rules. Stop at stop signs, don’t run red lights, and signal before you turn. And out of courtesy, either keep pace with traffic or move WAAAY over to the far right.
Now if we could just do something about all of those joggers in the streets…
OP: also note that the offending bell might not have been meant in the spirit of “get the heck outta my way,” but rather the “I’m here … please don’t make any sudden turns as I pass” as intended by most bikers when passing pedestrians.
“Our local Lance Armstrong wannabes have actually killed pedestrians who get in their way.”
Why do you continue to misrepresent this accident? why do you call a 62 year old on a $200 bike a “Lance Wannabee”.
This happens so rarely I know exactly the accident you are talking about. Yet compare this to the number of byclists killed by drivers. which we hear of almost weekly.
Perhaps if more bicyclists obeyed traffic laws there would be fewer accidents and fatalities?
Food for thought (RE: dooring ETC):
In Europe (Germany specifically), most cities have the bike lanes adjancent to the pedestrian walkway. If you can visualize from the store front to the street:
- Loiter area for window shoppers, tables, cafes
- a Two way walkway for pedestrians
- a one or two way bike path, sufficiently wide for bicyclists
- space for trees, plants, road signage
- Parking space for cars
- road way for cars
I think putting the bike lanes in the road is dangerous for both the bikers and the autos.
I disagree with the idea that CaBi are more reasonable and prudent than the full-time cyclists. The “Lance wannabes” are more competent. Perhaps they break the rules more often, but they are also much better at interacting with cars. The CaBi riders appear to be amateurs who like to take up the whole traffic lane, rarely watch where they are turning, and randomly switch between road and sidewalk.
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