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Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com February 17, 2011 at 8:56 am 4,352 77 Comments

Illegal Immigrant Bills Killed in State Senate — Most of the bills that immigrant advocates spoke out against at a rally last week have suffered a quiet death in a state Senate subcommittee. The bills would have prevented illegal immigrants from attending public universities in Virginia and would have required citizenship checks for anyone arrested by police. [Washington Examiner]

Cyclist Gets Doored on Clarendon Boulevard — It’s a non-uncommon tale of woe from the cycling world. A bicyclist was riding in the bike lane on Clarendon Blvd when a parked motorist suddenly opened his door. A collision ensues. Police and medics are called. The next day, however, the injured bicyclist wasn’t able to get the driver’s insurance information from police. While this raises police procedure questions, there is also the larger question: Is there a way for drivers and bicyclists to share the road without injuring or cursing at each other? [TBD, Patch]

More: Native Foods Cafe Coming to Shirlington — This Craigslist ad seems to make it official. California-based vegan restaurant chain Native Foods Cafe will be opening their first East Coast location in Shirlington. Earlier, we reported that a restaurant that at least shared the same name was planning to open in the old Bear Rock Cafe space. [Shirlington Village Blog, Shirlington Village Blogspot]

Charlie Davies Signs with D.C. United — Soccer phenom Charlie Davies will be playing for D.C. United this season, on loan from the French club FC Sochaux. Davies is still trying to get up to full-speed after suffering serious injuries in crash on the GW Parkway in October 2009. The crash, which killed one female passenger, happened on the Arlington section of the GW Parkway, just past Memorial Bridge. [Washington Post, FanHouse]

Flickr pool photo by Philliefan99

  • Kevin

    Is there a way for drivers and bicyclists to share the road without injuring or cursing at each other?

    Come on ARLNow, do you have to blatantly troll your readers like this?

    • That sentence sets up the Patch article.

    • SoArlRes

      I’ll bite. This is an incredible town to be a cyclist — one of the many reasons it’s easy to love Arlington. That said, it is perilous to ride in the bike lanes sometimes due to road debris, car doors, delivery vehicles, and pedestrians trying to cross the street in spots of their own choosing. A lot of motorists that I’ve talked to who do not bike regularly seem to be unaware of these threats to safety, and tend not to care as much. Hope the rider and the police get this figured out.

    • OX4

      Seeing as how I was honked at on Eye St yesterday for simply biking in the right lane, I’d say no. I think the biggest threat to cyclist safety is that drivers simply don’t understand the laws for bicycling. Which makes sense really – the people who drive aren’t interested in learning the rules that apply to cyclists. I haven’t taken a drivers test in years, but I would that the departments of motor vehicles need to focus on teaching drivers not only the laws for cars, but cycling as well.

      • Westover

        The rules for bikes are the same for cars when they are on the street, so maybe you should take that course again. Both sides have a lot to learn in this town, and pretty much every other town in America.

        • OX4

          Maybe you should read my comment again. I was being honked at, I was not doing the honking.

          • Westover

            You sure you were really not doing anything wrong? Sure he was not just letting you know he was there before going around you? Again, both sides need to learn the rules, just had a bicyclist cut across two lane of traffic on Washington Blvd this morning right in front of me before he ran a red light.

        • mehoo

          I think you misunderstood him, he wasn’t saying the rules are different for cyclists.

      • Rob

        I don’t know biking rules of the road… but based on every cyclist I’ve ever seen there are NO rules to the road. I lived (Rosslyn) and worked (Clarendon) in Arlington and would walk to and from work. My slow pace gave me a lot of visibility to what goes on. I had more close encounters with dudes on bikes than with cars.

        • mehoo

          You haven’t seen me then. I’ll wave on my way in tomorrow.

    • MB

      I’ll (as author of the linked article) take blame for that one. It was a followup to another story that produced a rather contentious set of comments in which many of the participants weren’t at all interested in sharing, but getting the others out of their way.

      I can report that the ACPD has followed up on the issue, but I’ll leave it to the cyclist to decide how and when to share more.

      (And thanks, ARLnow, for the link).

      • The Noze Bros

        Lots of trolls here too Mark. I wonder what these comments would be like if Scott used Facebook Connect, instead of anonymous sign in.

  • kc

    Nice picture. I’ve seen a red-tailed hawk a couple times in the last week in the Iwo Jima neighborhood.

  • CrystalMikey

    Really excited for the upcoming MLS season. Vamos United!

    • V Dizzle

      Do they look better overall compared to last year? I’ve only followed a few years, and the roster is full of names that I don’t know.

      • CrystalMikey

        They’ve made some decent moves, and I’m excited to see what Ben Olsen will do in his first full as coach.

      • Chad

        If Charlie Davies can return to form he will have a great season. Huge signing for DC United in my opinion.

  • Southeast Ben

    Isn’t that a recycled Morning Notes Picture? Can we get some new photos?
    How much longer will MLS be around?
    Was the door opened on the bicyclist intenionally?

    • Are you thinking about this one? http://www.arlnow.com/2011/02/01/morning-notes-158/

      Same nest, same photographer, but different photo.

      • Googla

        Nice photo!

    • notahoo

      i’ll bite on the mls: it seems to be working (new teams getting added, value of teams going up, demographics seem good). Perhaps you should try out a DCU game – the games are really fun, not too bad on the wallet and (i realize i’m in the minority here) RFK is fun to watch a game in (bouncing stands, metro access, beer pricing not too bad) plus one side of RFK is “loud” and the other is more family freindly.

    • Overgrown Bush

      Actually, MLS is expanding and getting TV revenue now. DC United has been plagued by a corrupt DC government. I’ve personally seen three mayors promise them a soccer specific stadium, only to not follow through. Just about every other team in MLS have new, soccer only, stadiums and that is how the league is making money.

  • Stew Magnuson

    What do they mean by “Native” foods? Do they think Native Americans were vegans?

    • V Dizzle

      FACT: Native Americans only ate meat.

    • Googla

      No. I read the Native Foods webpage and saw no claims that the food is supposed to be “Native American.”

    • mehoo

      Native doesn’t have to mean Native American.

  • Lalaland

    Why didn’t the police get the car driver’s information? Seems like some major oversight on their part.

    • LyonSteve

      Maybe they can check their license plate reader on the cruiser?

  • lily

    I’m a fairly serious cyclist and I do not ever use the bike lanes on Clarendon Blvd. Between the high speed of traffic, drivers getting in and out of parking spaces, and clueless pedestrians, bikers are taking their life in their own hands. If I ever have to bike down that way I use the back streets around Key Blvd, and recommend that everyone else do the same.

    Actually I never understood why there has to be on-street parking on Clarendon in the first place. There are a gazillion parking garages in the area, and the on-street parking does nothing but clog the roads and muck up traffic flow — for cars and bikes alike.

    The speed of traffic is probably higher on Washington Blvd but I feel much safer biking there because it’s easier for cars to go around me, and there’s no chance I’ll be doored by an oblivious moron.

  • Let me preface this with the fact that I’m an avid cyclist.

    From the presented facts, it is the cyclist at fault and THEY are the ones responsible for paying any damage to the PARKED vehicle. The cyclist should have been issued a ticket.

    • MB

      Please show your work for the benefit of the class.

      • I stand corrected.

        Operators are supposed to yield to oncoming traffic before opening doors. So getting “doored” is usually the parked vehicles fault. An already opened door makes it the moving vehicles fault.

        • Westover

          So it is about timing. The moment the door is unlatched it is open, so if the swinging door smacks the bike in the butt/rear tire as it goes by, the car is at fault, but if the bike runs into the inside of the door as it is being opend the bike is at fault…. This one could be argued in court all day long.

          • Take it down a notch

            The person opening the car door was impeding the flow of traffic. This is a clear violation of the law.

        • GMo

          In Germany during your drivers test if you do not look out to the left to check for cyclists prior to opening your door when parking: instant fail.

        • Bender

          A bicycle coming from behind the vehicle is not “oncoming traffic.”

          • If you are making a distnction from a car and bicycle, then you are incorrect. They are one and the same with repsect to traffic.

    • Thirsty

      If the operator of a parked car opens her/his door and hits a moving vehicle (e.g. a car), the operator of the parked car (or her/his insurance company) is responsible for any damage to the moving vehicle.
      TGEoA, following that rule of the road, I am not sure how you conclude a cyclist in traffic, in motion, is responsible for being hit by a car door?
      The cyclist did not run into a parked car (for which he would be responsible) but was hit by a door by the operator of the parked car.

  • Fairlington

    I was rather put off earlier this week when I was driving past a cyclist who insisted on riding on the line between the right lane and the BIKE lane, and not actually in the bike lane, so I still had to move over for him. I’m all for protecting cyclists and having dedicated lanes, but cyclists need to recognize that especially on a busy street, they need to stay IN those lanes!

    • MB

      Read above. Cyclists are not required to ride in the bike lane by law, and there can be plenty of reasons not to (again, read above – debris in the lane, getting out of the door zone, etc.)

      So you had to move over – just like every other time you pass a vehicle. That’s what all of us have to do.

      • Westover

        If the bike lane is available and the bicyclist is not maintaining the speed limit they are not supposed to be in the regular lanes. Not sure the statute but it exists.

        • mehoo

          Good source – http://www.vdot.virginia.gov/programs/bk-laws.asp

          I saw laws about staying to the right, but not specifically about bike lanes.

          • Westover

            “•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.”
            Right edge or curb would indicate the bike lane to me. I thought that there was a clarification bill about it last year, maybe it died in committee.

          • “as safely practicable” is the key phrase. That’s why I always ride out of the edge of door range, even if there is a cycle lane.

        • charlie

          i think you would be hard pressed to find ANY statute that says bicyclists have to “maintain the speed limit”. There are only a handful of roads that actually have MINIMUM speed requirements. And there are NO laws that say everyone must go the “speed limit”. In fact that is one of the problems — it is a speed “LIMIT” — not a speed REQUIREMENT.

          i too am an avid biker and bike commuter. I never ride in bike lanes — too dangerous. I ride on Fairfax Dr and Glebe Road and just take my lane. I don’t ride Wilson, Clarendon, Washington or Lee — way too tight for all to survive.

          • mehoo

            He didn’t say bikes have to go the speed limit, he said “if” they aren’t they have to stay to the right.

          • charlie

            meehoo, mehopes you aren’t an english teacher.

            there is no law about vehicles “maintaining the speed limit” regardless if a bike lane is available.

            few bikers can maintain 25 mph, much less on some of our huge hills.

            impeding the flow of traffic, I agree with that, but it is NOT the same as “maintainig the speed limit” — 25 is hard, 30 is harder, and 35 is nearly impossible for 99.9% of bicyclist.s

            and if the county were to being to enforce the “impeding traffic law” I hope they start with all the Prius owners. and not the true environmentalists — the bicyclists.

          • mehoo

            Um, yeah, once again, Charlie, nobody is saying there’s a law to maintain the speed limit. That would, as you note, be absurd for bikes. You are the one who still isn’t getting the original comment.

            Let me translate it into plain English for you:

            Are you on your bike? Yes? Okay, are you going as fast as the cars? Probably not. Okay, in that case, you should be in the far right, in a bike lane if it’s there. But if you are going as fast as the cars, you are allowed to go in the middle of the lanes with them. I wouldn’t though.

          • Westover

            Minimum Speed Limit: No person shall drive a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic. �46.2-877 (�1)

          • JD32

            Bikes aren’t a motor vehicle. Are you intentionally being this obtuse?

          • Westover

            Yet they are required to follow the same rules as a motor vehicle while on the road, so your point is?

          • mehoo

            No, I read and understand the law. So you’re the one being obtuse, but apparently not deliberately.

          • MC

            I’m sure people of many different persuasions would like to legislate some kind of absolute rule that will make someone right and someone at fault, but such attempts will always fail to be realistic when faced with the wide range of real world scenarios. Many rules don’t deserve to be written at all, than only breed righteousness and disdain.

            The key issue is that cars travel at certain speeds, at or even above the speed limit traffic permitting. Pedestrians and people getting out of their cars travel at a range of speeds (depending on how hurried or type-A they are), much slower. Self powered bicycles also travel at a range of speeds from above the speed limit or at least faster than traffic, to barely faster than someone pushing a stroller.

            My advice to cyclists who want to be safe is: stay in the cyclist lane when available, but don’t try to compete with cars on your journey home. It’s lazy on your part to travel so fast that you don’t have enough awareness and reaction time to response to people who are is a less frantic orbit than you might be. Fast moving speed boats need to yield to slower moving sail boats — they same should apply to cyclists and people who aren’t driving cars.

        • Dave

          Incorrect. This law exists in some states but not in Virginia. Cyclists can choose to use a bike lane or not.

      • +1

        Bikes do not have to stay in the bike lane. I usually ride on the edge of it outside of door range.

    • SoArlRes

      Fairlington, appreciate your point of view from a stable, wide tire, four wheeled vehicle that can accelerate and stop with little effort thanks to great leaps in automotive technology. However, as I pointed out above, there is frequently debris (rocks, bolts, etc) in the bike lanes, which makes riding over there on a bike similar to driving through the potholes on Columbia Pike in a car.

      • mehoo

        Rocks, bolts, broken glass, potholes that a car would barely notice but could destroy a bike wheel…

    • mehoo

      Well, perhaps he was, like, afraid of being doored?

      • Flame Away

        Why have bike lanes at all, then?

        • Overgrown Bush

          They just need to be a little bit wider.

        • mehoo

          So you won’t have to ride in the car lane and have jerks behind you honking and screaming and throwing stuff at you because they think they own the road.

  • GoVegArlington

    Thanks for the confirmation — SO EXCITED about Native Foods opening in Shirlington. Keep us posted on details about when, exactly, it’s scheduled to open!

  • Flame Away

    There is “at fault,” and there’s Darwin. Many cyclists act like they own the road, zipping through stop signs and red lights with barely a glance. From my experience watching cyclists (and being one), if you’re riding that fast down Clarendon Blvd that you need medical attention from slamming into a door, you’re probably the same one who ignores the rules of the road if they’re inconvenient for you.

    • Overgrown Bush

      Have you ever walked into something stationary? It can hurt. Imagine hitting something stationary going 10 mph. Might very well require medical attention…

      • Flame Away

        Sure I’ve banged a toe in the middle of the night or a shin on an unseen step, but a broken wrist?

        I’m not saying it’s right to door someone, and if the door-er is at fault than that person should pay. However, from my experience with the way I’ve seen cyclists ride around here I’m going to think the cyclist maybe could’ve avoided this by being more aware of his surroundings.

        My mototcycle safety class taught me: ride like you’re invisable, because a lot of people drive like you’re not there.

        • Overgrown Bush

          “My mototcycle safety class taught me: ride like you’re invisable, because a lot of people drive like you’re not there.”

          When I ride my bike, I do just this. I don’t trust anyone, because they are likely not watching, not paying attention, or don’t care. If I rely upon others for my safety I’m dead.

          That said, I was just saying a bike going a modest 10 mph hitting something stationary could still cause an injury in need of medical attention. A face hitting pavement at that speed is likely to smart!

    • Glebe Roader

      Yes, I love Darwin. Just because you have the “right” to do something doesn’t always mean it’s the smart thing to do.

    • mehoo

      How fast do you ride down Clarendon Blvd on your bike?

      On a bike, I’ll bet hitting a car door at 10 mph could cause a need for medical treatment. Do you go slower than that, all the way down the Blvd? I doubt it.

  • SouthArlJD

    That bike story scared me. I parked my car outside GMU Law School one day several months ago and glanced in the rear-view mirror, then opened my door and was shocked when a student on a bike ran into it. Turned out I couldn’t see him coming because there was a large truck parked right behind me. The kid jumped up and berated me six ways from Sunday as I apologized repeatedly and tried to explain that I just couldn’t see him. He was riding the far right of the lane, virtually hugging the line next to the parked cars, and had ridden quickly past the truck and swerved right back toward the line again as he began to pass me. He wasn’t really hurt beyond a few scratches, and he went on and on and on for so long and so hard about what an evil bitch I was for opening my door I finally lost patience and asked him what the hell he wanted me to do. I’d tried to give him my insurance information, offered to call an ambulance, replied “yes, that would be a good idea” when he threatened to call a cop, and eventually I decided he was just too invested in being a drama queen to actually want anything from me. At one point he told me I had to “take it back”, apparently meaning I should just time travel backward to make it so the incident had never happened.

    Later I thought about the incident and realized that he shared some fault. Perhaps I could have looked longer and more carefully behind me, but my view truly was obstructed. A cyclist coming down a bike lane should recognize that it’s possible a parked vehicle’s occupant may not be able to see him when there is another vehicle potentially obstructing the view. And why he was hugging the line next to the cars so closely didn’t make sense. I know it was to put distance between himself and traffic, but doing so makes it less likely the cyclist will be noticed, not more.

    • GMo

      Most experenced cyclists will watch the left side mirror for a face/person to avoid just this type of thing happening.

    • Bender

      **I thought about the incident and realized that he shared some fault**

      From your description, at best, he was guilty of contributory negligence (and possibly recklessness) and his actions were the proximate cause of running into you.

    • The Noze Bros

      That’s why I ride in the middle of the lane (actually about 40% in from the curb).

      When someone screams at me, I hand him this:

    • Undereducated

      The moment you turned off the car, you became a pedestrian. The bicyclist is considered to be in control of a moving vehicle. The pedestrian trumps the moving vehicle. And guess what, if you had been hit and killed, the cyclist could be charged with vehicular homocide. Cyclists would be well advised to do and insurance checkup. Most probably have no clue of their potential liability while riding. It is so democrat for the bicyclist to default to a “not my fault” mode. What I got from the story is the bicyclist believes that everyone should watch out for where they are going. I’m not buying that.

      • Overgrown Bush

        Not so sure of your first sentence and the law. For DWI, I believe you can be in the car keys in ignition, with the car off, and still be arrested for DWI. I would guess you have to separate from the vehicle to be a pedestrian.

        • Undereducated

          I’ll give that to you, but my point stands that if you are riding a bike and you hit a stationary vehicle or a person, in most cases your finger points back at you regarding responsibility. I walk on a trail daily, and more than once I have felt physically endangered by cyclists. I called my insurance agent and asked about what type of liability coverage I have as a cyclist. The answer was that if I hit someone while I am on a bike, I will be covered by my homeowner policy. I might also be covered if I rented and had a renters policy, but sans either of those types of insurance, it appears that a cyclist has no liability protection. And I was told my auto policy doesn’t cover me on a bike. Maybe someone can add to this, but if this is true, there are a ton of bike riders that are hanging out there from a liability standpoint. The cyclist in TBD article may be lucky he isn’t being asked to pay for damages to the car.

  • NomNom

    Arlington is ranked #30 on Bicycling Magazine’s top bike friendly cities!


  • Pingback: Well, this more than makes up for the small Feeds | Witch on a Bicycle()


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