Cyclist Issued Warning by ACPD After Accident

by ARLnow.com September 2, 2011 at 10:00 am 26,106 306 Comments

A cyclist who collided with a vehicle last month at the dangerous intersection of Lee Highway and N. Lynn Street was issued a police warning, while still in his hospital bed, for failing to “obey a highway sign.”

The accident happened on the afternoon of Wednesday, Aug. 10. The cyclist said he was heading eastbound on the Custis Trail, crossing Lynn Street in Rosslyn with the green light, when a car quickly turned in front of him as he was traveling across the intersection. He slammed on the brakes but still hit the vehicle’s rear driver’s side quarter panel.

The cyclist, who did not want to be named, said that police followed his ambulance to the hospital, asked him to write a written statement, and then handed him a warning as soon as he had finished the statement. The warning was for failing to “obey a highway sign.”

As explained to the cyclist, he was culpable in the accident because he did not stop at a painted “stop” sign on the sidewalk just before the intersection. Further, he was considered a “cyclist” while on the trail, but became a “vehicle” when he entered the intersection, and thus did not have the right-of-way to oncoming traffic.

“You just can’t tell me that it’s all my fault for being hit,” the cyclist told ARLnow.com. “Naturally, if you’re a cyclist heading into an intersection, you’re not concerned with what’s below you but with what’s in front of you.”

The cyclist says he later found out that the driver who turned in front of him was not issued any sort of citation. As a result, not only will he be financially responsible for his own bills — the hospital bill for his hand, arm and shoulder injuries, plus the replacement cost of the $2,000 carbon fiber bike — but he may be held responsible for damage to the driver’s vehicle.

“That leaves me holding the bag. I have no recourse whatsoever,” he said. “Drivers have carte blanche.”

His situation is not unique in the area. The Falls Church News-Press reported over the weekend that a cyclist who was struck by a car and injured at the intersection of Great Falls Street and the W&OD Trail was charged for “disregarding a stop sign,” despite the fact that there were once signs at the intersections stating that bike trail users had the right-of-way.

As for the cyclist struck in Rosslyn, he says he’s now writing to county officials to try to lobby for some short- and long-term solutions for making the Lee/Lynn intersection safer for trail users.

“I go through it all the time and it is a very dangerous intersection,” he said. “Bicyclists take their lives into their own hands when crossing crosswalks.”

  • PikerShorts

    This should be good for about 75 cyclist vs driver comments. If it weren’t Labor Day Friday I’d say it would be about 120.

    • Anonymouse

      Ill start. As much as i support being able to bike around Arlington, bike riders in the area have gotten out of hand. Every day i see 50-100 “competitive” bike riders flying past my house or in the road on the way home from work. They take up entire lanes, cross intersections without stopping much of the time, and pretty much think that they have the road and sidewalks to themselves. Even when there are bike lanes you see them taking up entire lanes of traffic so they can ride side by side and “talk” to each other while ignoring the cars trying to drive. ROADS ARE DESIGNED FOR CARS!

      I cant speak for this specific situation, but its the “bike” culture in Arlington thats created these problems. And before i get jumped on… I AM an avid biker.

      • drax

        Now you can stop, because this is just another pointless rant that doesn’t enlighten the situation in the news item, or anything else for that matter.

      • Shell

        Non-Arlington Biker similar issue – East Potomac Park. Every stop sign there says Bicyclists must stop at stop signs too. I have NEVER seen a single cyclist stop at any of those stop signs. I love it when they take up the entire road too and then look ticked off at you over their shoulder if you are slowly creeping up on them in your car.

        • cyclist

          So does every car make a complete stop at every stop sign there?

          • Arlwhenever

            I jog/drive around East Potomac Park almost every day. There are literally a 1,000 bikes that run stop signs for every car that runs a sign. Bicyclists can’t read and bike advocates can’t count.

          • mark everline

            Unless a Car has come to a complete stop they have not stopped they have just slowed down. Early this summer (Feb to MayI commuted by bike from Fort Belvior area to my home in Arlington. I can count the number cars that acctually stopped a stop sign a one hand. Unless a driver saw another car arrive at then intersection going E/W vs N/S at the same time every they would just roll through the intersection. As Biker I did something similar difference is that I am about 200 pds of mass vs 2000 pds of mass.

          • Charlie

            No, they do not stop (another problem in Arlington) at every stop sign BUT if they don’t and hit someone or something or are seem by the PD, they are responsible. Dah . .

      • Jubes

        I’m with Anonymouse on this one. The other day near Virginia Sq I was nearly taken out by a biker rider hurtling down the sidewalk of Wilson like he was in the Tour de France. It took all my resolve not to push him off is bike.

      • Jeff Bloom

        Roads are designed for both bicycles and cars. If you don’t understand this you shouldn’t drive.

    • Bluemontsince1961

      I’ll say maybe 50 cyclist vs. driver comments by noon, 75-90 by 3 p.m., break 100 around 5 p.m. There are good and bad cyclists and drivers. Sometimes it seems there is more bad of both around town.

      • drax

        By 5? Nah, it’ll break 100 before lunch.

        • Bluemontsince1961

          You may be right.

        • Bluemontsince1961

          Yep, you predicted it better, it broke 100 before lunch. Maybe break 200 by 3 p.m.? We should get a betting pool going.

          • PikerShorts

            I’ll ping Bodog to set up a betting line for us.

          • drax

            Sure, bet against a certain number of comments. I can just post and post and post and it’s an easy win!

      • BrownFlipFlops

        What? The voice of reason? In a town that’s 80% entitled, type-A jerk, everything is everybody else’s fault. The same guy bombing through a light on a $10,000 Cervelo one day may be blowing through a stop sign, or turning right-on-red in his Audi without stopping, the next. Heck, he may even suit up for a run, stick earbuds in both ears, and do a no-look u-turn on the Mount Vernon Trail just to get a trifecta.

        • CW

          Don’t forget about blocking entire sidewalks with a dog on a leash while stopped talking on his cell phone and drinking Starbucks.

          • Bluemontsince1961

            Post of the day, CW – I see this happen quite a lot!

          • Jim

            Yeah, I once commented to a woman in Clarendon doing this that a shorter leash would be more considerate; and she immediately started yelling F-YOU, F-YOU at the top her lungs. I had to walk out into the street to keep going.

          • Bluemontsince1961

            Jim, I’ve witnessed the same thing on some of my walks around Arlington.

        • Bluemontsince1961

          See yesterday’s thread on drivers: http://www.arlnow.com/2011/09/01/arlington-drivers-not-as-accident-prone-as-d-c-drivers/; quite a few observations about nut-case drivers.

          My personal experience/observation is that there are plenty of crazy, rude, inconsiderate and clueless drivers, pedestrians and cyclists to go around. And you have a point, it may sometimes be that same character with the Crevlo, the Audi and the no-look-u-turn. Seems a lot of folks in this area are just plain inconsiderate, rude, self-entitled, type-A, me-firsters. This area is far more crazy and stressful than it was when I was growing up. People are just plain nuts.

          • Michael H.


            I’ve seen plenty of dangerous and illegal behavior from drivers, cyclists, runners, walkers and dog walkers. For anyone to claim that one particular group is the only group of scofflaws simply doesn’t match up with reality.

            I’ve seen plenty of drivers blow through red lights, not just stop signs. I’ve seen cyclists ignore stop signs. Many pedestrians seem to think that they have the right to jaywalk directly in front of road traffic so they will step out into the road, in the middle of a block, even though they can see a car or bike heading straight for them. They simply expect the car or bike to stop on a dime even though the nearest crosswalk is 50 yards away and the pedestrian can clearly see the car or bike heading down the road.

            As for the complaint that bikes are not allowed on the roads, that is not accurate. A bike is allowed on almost all roads in Arlington except for the GW Parkway and highways like 395 and 66, and perhaps a couple other local roads. Sometimes bikes will take the lane to prevent cars from trying to squeeze past them on a narrow street and force them into parked cars or the curb. But if several cyclists are riding side by side, that would be a different matter.

            I don’t understand the complaints that only cyclists ignore safety. Car drivers do this very frequently too. Every single day. Some drivers speed down local streets, far above what most would consider a safe speed. Others pull out of parking spaces and gun it without even looking to see if there is any other traffic in the road. Others pull out of alleys and parking lots while talking on their cellphones, completely unaware if there is any traffic nearby, whether it’s car, bike or pedestrians. There are a heck of a lot of people driving around while texting, websurfing or talking on their phones. And I’ve even heard (on a completely different forum) someone claiming that it’s safe to text on a phone while driving. Not from what I see every day.

      • Charlie

        When I am biking, I notice that I am not protected by metal like I am in a car so I am very careful and considerate. Another Dah.

    • Ernie

      Yes. But cyclists, me included, need to learn to slow down and watch for drivers.

  • Stu Pendus

    Won’t his bicycle insurance policy cover this? Oh…that’s right.

  • Josh S


    Also, I’ve missed any information on this – what is up with the website? It looks terrible. Is this something that is being worked on or is this supposed to be some sort of an upgrade?

    • FairlingtonD

      I’ve noticed the same thing. It does not look good at all.

    • Maria

      What’s different about it? It looks the same to me.

  • George B.

    As much as I am for cyclist safety, I can’t help but feel there’s a growing sense of entitlement and disregard for safety by the cyclists themselves.

    I frequently see cyclists ignoring stop signs and traffic lights. Many of them coming close to hurting pedestrians.

    While I feel the driver involved should receive a citation (as cyclists should always have right of way over a car), I agree with the police in giving this man a citation for ignoring a stop sign. They’re there for a reason.

    • Lulu

      I agree. On multiple occassions, I’ve been driving through an intersection, after stopping at a stop sign and see a cyclists barreling through without stopping at their stop sign. Fortunately I’ve seen them in time to stop, but their disregard for safety can be infuriating

      • Stu Pendus

        I agree. I walk across Key Bridge quite often on my commute home to Rosslyn. The east sidewalk on the bridge is heavily trafficked by both pedestrians and bikes. The bikes are incredibly impatient when weaving and passing pedestrians, they are so reluctant to break their precious momentum. I have had to dodge out of the way to avoid a head on collision with a riders who try to squeeze around other pedestrians. I’ve been brushed by handlebars as they go by. It might be time to consider speed limits on bikes when the sidewalk is occupied by pedestrians too. Something needs to be done.

        • CW

          Conversely, why don’t you pedestrians learn to STOP WALKING THREE WIDE on the bridge?

          I wish they could widen the sidewalks on the bridge or at least find some way to remove the bulb-outs for the lightposts.

          • Stu Pendus

            I’m on a diet. I’m trying.

          • CW

            LOL! Ok, so it’s not so much you as the big families and groups of students and tourists.

          • Stu Pendus

            Seriously though, bikes have the option to ride in the street if they think there are too many pedestrians on the sidewalk. Pedestrians do not have that option.

          • Bluemontsince1961

            If the sidewalk is being taken up like that, you can just about break the bank that it is one or the other. Maybe back hope they don’t need to, or are not taught….single file. Shoot, they taught “oldsters” like me to do that back in elementary school in the “dark ages”.

          • cyclist


            That’s not always a safe option though. I’m not going to ride in the street going over any bridge around here, for instance.

          • BrownFlipFlops

            I’m pretty sure if I decided to hop into the right lane on the Key Bridge to avoid the sidewalk, local drivers would review my choice negatively. Perhaps I’m not giving them the benefit of the doubt, though, and I might receive massive accolades for helping them drive less than 60 MPH on the bridge.

          • Stu Pendus

            But I have seen bikes inbound on Key Bridge in the afternoon rush. It’s rare, but the world did not end.

          • CW

            Yes, I have too. Usually angry old men who have been cycle commuting for 20+ years and would destroy a car with their bare hands given the chance.

          • cyclist

            You should buy a bike and get more exercise. 😉

          • Stu Pendus

            I have an old Huffy but I need to replace the banana seat.

          • SomeGuy

            No doubt. Pedestrians (many tourists I presume?) don’t seem to understand that others might want to pass while they’re ambling along taking up the full width of a sidewalk/path.

          • WC

            It’s called a sideWALK, not sideBIKE.

      • NOVApologist

        They will probably add another traffic light just for cyclists, as they have done at Lee Hwy and N. Scott St.

      • DR

        I agree. Just yesterday I was stopped at a stop sign and a cyclist went barreling by me and ran into my passenger side mirror. She kept going through the stop sign and didn’t even stop to fix my mirror which she had pushed forward. It was ridiculously ignorant.

        Most cyclists in this area have horrible manners on the road and I have no sympathy for any of them getting a citation. More of them should be ticketed so they learn to obey traffic signs before they get hurt which will eventually happen the way most of them ride.

        • YellowSubmarine

          Well said! I agree!

    • BrownFlipFlops

      The problem is, there’s a light at that intersection, too. If there’s a stop sign, and I need to go down there and check, it’s one of the little mini-stop signs. Which one takes precedence? I’d say the light does, every time. Ambiguous signage is stupid, though.

      • cyclist

        Not a sign. Painted on the trail.

        • BrownFlipFlops

          Thanks. I was pretty sure there was no stop SIGN there, but didn’t want to violate the high standards to which we ArlNow commenters hold ourselves, and speculate wildly about something I was not sure about.

        • AJ

          a stop sign is a stop sign, whether it’s painted on the trail/roadway or nailed to a post. the cyclists argument that he shouldn’t be held responsible for being oblivious to his surroundings is absurd.

          also, if you’re cycling on the trail, you obey the signage on the trail. the light at the intersection is for traffic on the road.

          • 5555624

            So if no cars are on Lynn Street, all you need to do is obey the Stop painted on the trail and then proceed across, regardless of the light?

      • Charlie

        Your safety takes precedence. Another DAH.

  • Steve B

    What’s absurd is that more cyclists don’t get cited for failure to obey traffic signals/signs.

    • jeff

      Ah… No kidding. I don’t drive often – usually Metro to work… But when I drive, I don’t fail to see a bicyclist weaving in and out of the lanes, becoming a pedestrian when convenient (like when crossing against a red signal, using a sidewalk, or using a pedestrian crosswalk), then back to a motorist that demands to be allowed to merge and take up a lane as if a motor vehicle… And don’t get me started on bicyclists on the Mt. Vernon trail, they think they own that too and that solo runners should be in the grass…

      • YellowSubmarine

        Arg! The Mt. Vernon trail! The last time I was on that trail I was with a group, in the parking lot of Roosevelt Island when a cyclist stopped to pre-emptively yell at us about dogs on the trail. That was the last time I used that trail. I guess they’ve won that battle… but the WO&D isn’t much better. Is there some constant cycling race going on that I’m not aware of? Do cyclists have to go as fast as they possibly can ALL THE TIME? I’m a jogger, too, and I don’t feel the need to blow past pedestrians when they’re on the trail. Sheesh… too many Dc-over-achiever-types, I guess.

      • cyclist

        Don’t get me started about cars parked blocking the trail and joggers running in the bike lanes on the street or running on the wrong side of the trail with headphones on and the dogs with long leashes and the slow walkers walking side by side blocking the whole trail and…

        There are jerks everywhere.

        • PghBigDog

          Yes. There are jerks everywhere. Pedestrians have the right of way on the bike trails. Get with the program. Walkers are under no constraint to walk either fast or slow. It is incumbent n the bikers to yield to them.

      • anotherlocal

        Jeff, I couldn’t have said it better myself. Cyclists follow rules of the road when it suits them and pedestrian laws when it suits them. If they at least picked one of those – fine. But they can’t have both and essentially do anything they want! It’s hazardous to the other cyclists on the road (because it makes the whole population look bad), pedestrians (because they can be barrelled over), and drivers (because they can hit or get hit by bikes and aside from this ARLnow story, from the cases I’ve seen personally it’s almost always the bikers’ fault!). There definitely needs to be more enforcement of bike laws in this area – they are out of control and have no respect for others’ safety.

  • Lulu

    I agree. On multiple occasions, I’ve been driving through an intersection, after stopping at a stop sign and see a cyclists barreling through without stopping at their stop sign. Fortunately I’ve seen them in time to stop, but their disregard for safety can be infuriating

    • BrownFlipFlops

      Get a lawn chair, and sit at that intersection. Count the cars that “roll” the right turn on red. There’s plenty of blame to go around.

  • charlie

    good example of over signage-itis that Arlington has.

    if there is a stop sign, you do have to stop. even if it is at a traffic light. it is quite confusing.

    similar to the “must dismount” signs — no law on that but there is a sign telling you.

    and lastly is the excess of pedestrian crossings and signs — state law does not give the pedestrian the right to just buzz across — they must first not impede the flow of traffic.

    bad bad signage

    • Clarendon

      Here is the code:

      § 46.2-924. Drivers to stop for pedestrians; installation of certain signs; penalty.

      A. The driver of any vehicle on a highway shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian crossing such highway:

      1. At any clearly marked crosswalk, whether at mid-block or at the end of any block;

      2. At any regular pedestrian crossing included in the prolongation of the lateral boundary lines of the adjacent sidewalk at the end of a block;

      3. At any intersection when the driver is approaching on a highway or street where the legal maximum speed does not exceed 35 miles per hour.

      B. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection A of this section, at intersections or crosswalks where the movement of traffic is being regulated by law-enforcement officers or traffic control devices, the driver shall yield according to the direction of the law-enforcement officer or device.

      No pedestrian shall enter or cross an intersection in disregard of approaching traffic.

      The drivers of vehicles entering, crossing, or turning at intersections shall change their course, slow down, or stop if necessary to permit pedestrians to cross such intersections safely and expeditiously.

      Pedestrians crossing highways at intersections shall at all times have the right-of-way over vehicles making turns into the highways being crossed by the pedestrians.

      C. The governing body of Arlington County, Fairfax County, the City of Fairfax, the County of Loudoun and any town therein, and the City of Alexandria, may by ordinance provide for the installation and maintenance of highway signs at marked crosswalks specifically requiring operators of motor vehicles, at the locations where such signs are installed, to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians crossing or attempting to cross the highway. Any operator of a motor vehicle who fails at such locations to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians as required by such signs shall be guilty of a traffic infraction punishable by a fine of no less than $100 or more than $500. The Commonwealth Transportation Board shall develop criteria for the design, location, and installation of such signs. The provisions of this section shall not apply to any limited access highway.

      • Narlington

        Is a cyclist a perestrian or are they they own vehicle? That is the question. In DC cyclists are not supposed to be on the sidewalk, and must be on the road therfore a cyclist must obey all road signs. even the ones paint on the ground.

        • cyclist

          This is a combined sidewalk/trail, with a crossing controlled by a walk signal, and cycling on the sidewalk is legal there anyway. Confusing for everyone.

          In DC, bikes are only banned from sidewalks in the downtown area, btw.

        • 83b

          That’s not quite correct. In DC cyclists are only banned on the sidewalks in the central business district. Sidewalk riding is perfectly legal throughout most of the district (though, obviously, often inadvisable).

        • Funny

          Cyclists are NOT pedestrians. They are vehicles.

          • Stu Pendus

            And in the same vain, all these accidents only involve bikes and cars, not pedestrians. I cross that intersection frequently as a pedestrian. I have never felt at peril from cars because I follow the walk signs, but always also check that the cars see me and make eye contact as well. Cyclists rarely take that extra amount of time to communicate their intentions to drivers. It’s just like being at a 4-way stop. Even though I know who has the right of way, I’m not going to go blasting across the intersection without some eye-to-eye with the other driver(s).

            This intersection has gained a reputation as being dangerous, but not necessarily for pedestrians. It seems the issue is with bikes, and I think they contribute to their own problems quite a bit.

          • cyclist

            Yep, eye contact is my personal rule. I value my life. I’m always amazed at cyclists who, even if they don’t care about being rude, also don’t seem to care about being dead.

      • jeff

        A cyclist is NOT a pedestrian.

      • jeff

        § 46.2-100. Definitions.

        “Bicycle” means a device propelled solely by human power, upon which a person may ride either on or astride a regular seat attached thereto, having two or more wheels in tandem, including children’s bicycles, except a toy vehicle intended for use by young children. For purposes of Chapter 8 (§ 46.2-800 et seq.) of this title, a bicycle shall be a vehicle while operated on the highway.

        Pedestrian is not defined in the motor vehicle code. Therefore it’s proper to look at a dictionary definition:

        pe·des·tri·an   [puh-des-tree-uhn] Show IPA
        1. a person who goes or travels on foot; walker.
        2. going or performed on foot; walking.
        3. of or pertaining to walking.

      • charlie

        clarendon: thanks. don’t disagree. HOWEVER, there is one simple line that proves my point about pedestrian safety:

        “No pedestrian shall enter or cross an intersection in disregard of approaching traffic. ”

        don’t cross unless you can make it across — which is NOT what it is like in places like California where the ped CAN interfere with traffic.

        • Clarendon

          That phrase “in disregard…” is part of the confusion.

          My 92 year old mother has a hard time walking fast as do people on crutches, with little kids or whatever. If they used the rule of not starting unless they can make it without “interfering” they would hardly ever be able to cross the street.

          I believe the law is clear that a car who sees a pedestrian in a crossing must yield. The law gives the car several choices of how to implement a yield:

          “The drivers of vehicles entering, crossing, or turning at intersections shall change their course, slow down, or stop if necessary to permit pedestrians to cross such intersections safely and expeditiously.”

          • charlie

            it is chicken and egg. i agree that once in the crosswalk people have to stop their cars. BUT they shouldn’t get INTO the crosswalk until they can cross. for us it is easy. for a 92 year old. hope she can walk down to a light to cross. or wait for me to escort her across.

  • FairlingtonD

    In Fairlington and Park Fairfax, I rarely see cyclists obey any traffic signs (read stop signs). Thankfully, it’s fairly easy to see cyclists coming, but there have been a number of near misses.

    • BrownFlipFlops

      How about me? I’ve been obeying all stop signs in Fairlington and Park Fairfax for over 20 years. Do I have to keep paying for everyone else’s sins?

      • AJ

        how are you paying for anyone’s sins?

        • BrownFlipFlops

          Read the thread. Imagine you obey lights, stop at stop signs, warn people when you pass them, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera, and catch endless grief about “scofflaw cyclists,” anyway. If you don’t get that, ride a bike around here for a little bit, and take notice of the overtly aggressive stuff people pull, just because they hate this group called, “cyclists.”

          Don’t worry about me; I can take it. I get very tired of the well-used set of broad brushes that get pulled out on occasions like this, though.

  • Tom M.

    Did the cyclist disregard a stop sign? Yes. End of story.

    • darren

      No. There’s no stop sign. There’s stop-writing on the pavement, and i don’t see that as an approved design in the MUTCD (engineer design guidance on signs and such).

      Here’s the streetview — http://maps.google.com/maps?q=n+lynn+st+and+lee+highway,+arlington+va&hl=en&ll=38.899007,-77.0709&spn=0.000004,0.004812&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=50.910968,78.837891&vpsrc=6&t=h&z=18&layer=c&cbll=38.899016,-77.070758&panoid=5R5RppFc7Orpa5sUNi0x9g&cbp=12,292.59,,1,13.39

      And green light would trump sign (and definitely pavement writing)

      • kitcat

        semantics aside, it’s a section of government property reading, “STOP.” And, it’s an intersection. It would behoove most of not in cars following regular traffic patterns to stop at intersections and cross when safety permits..dare I recommend stopping and looking both ways even if there is a walk signal. While less convenient, and whether it should be different in a perfect world, I’m astonished at the number of pedestriant and bikers who prefer to risk injury.

        • speonjosh

          Semantics? Semantics has nothing to do with it. It’s hard, cold, physical reality. There is no “stop sign.” The word stop is painted on the pavement, and well away from the actual intersection, indicating that it pertains to the crossing sidewalk, not the crossing street.

          The fact that the bike apparently hit the car is a little more sturdy evidence to stand on in terms of making some sort of judgement about who was at fault. However, it would really depend on whether or not the cyclist had entered the crosswalk before the car made the turn. If the bike is in the crosswalk, I would submit that prudent and responsible operation of the car would prohibit beginning your right turn, even if you’ve got the green light.

          • ArlGirl

            You know – I rode by that section of trail this evening – and if you’re heading from the Mt. Vernon trail toward the Custis trail, the “Stop” on the road is actually scraped off….

          • Charlie

            Cyclists are supposed to dismount before crossing an intersection . . .anyone heard of that? Some people would rather be right than alive. Oh well.

  • Aaron

    The cyclist t-boned the car. Period. Ignore for the moment whether he had the right of way or not; how fast was he going (or how unattentive was he pedaling) if he didn’t have time to observe or yield for a car turning in front of him?

    You’d think someone who sank $2k into a fancy bike would take better care of his investment…

    • Eponymous Coward

      So, if a pedestrian jumped out in front of a motorist, would we say the same? ‘how fast was he driving (or how unattentive) if he didn’t have time to observe or yield for a pedestrian crossing in front of him?’ Much of the criticism here seems to reflect values about which form of transportation is more important or more entitled to use limited infrastructure.

      Tom M. above has this right. A stop sign is a stop sign. The whole “you’re a ‘bike’ on the path but a ‘vehicle’ in the intersection” thing is a red herring. The cyclist who *really* got screwed is the second guy mentioned in the post, where the signage changed, depriving cyclists of the right-of-way. When that happens on the roads, there are usually “new traffic pattern” signs posted. (Insert sub-thread on signage proliferation here)

      • Aaron

        If a pedestrian jumped in front of a motorist? That has this situation completely reversed. As described above, the car turning right on a green light “jumped out in front” of the bicycle, who collided with him, into the driver-side rear door, presumably because the bicyclist was not under control (which he presumably would have been if he had stopped or even slowed when entering the crosswalk in the first place).

        If the car had a head-on collision with a bicycle or a pedestrian in the crosswalk, it would in all likelihood be entirely the car’s fault.

    • CK

      It’s the cyclists on the $2k+ bikes that are the problem – they ride oh-so-fast on their fancy carbon-frame bikes with a big ego & a HUGE sense of entitlement. I’ve seen them disregard traffic signs, weave in & out of pedestrians, and have a complete disregard for their safety & the safety of others. I’m a cyclist and after years of riding on the trails around Arlington, I have come to learn that it’s better safe than sorry. The cyclists riding the Mt Vernon Trail after work (bike commuters) are the worst! Just slow down out there people!

      • G::TheNativeArlingtonian

        The price of the bike and what they are wearing makes little difference and is irrelevant. I see plenty of 20’s something chicks in their dresses and flip flops cycling around Arlington that have no clue how to control a bike or what the rules of the road are. They endanger everyone including other cyclists.

        The real issue is just bad riders/drivers who don’t think of other people when they are out on the road. They are all in a hurry to get nowhere fast and think the other guy is the problem. That intersection is clearly a dangerous one and one that is ill marked. The one thing I will say in defense of the cyclist is that he couldn’t kill the driver, but the reverse sure hell could have happened. The citation on the part of the ACPD was overkill and unnecessary. This doesn’t sound reckless on anyone’s part, just really poor judgement on both parties.

        The influx of new riders on the streets is going to continue and proper education and manners need to be increased for everyone. The only other thing I can say is for everyone that is ranting anti-bike all the way… take one or two days and bike to work or the store or to a friend’s house at different times of day and see what your experience is like. We all drive cars so we have that perspective… getting out on the streets of Arlington on a bike can be a real eye opener.

      • CW

        +1…I ride 25 year old steel and my top speed is no lower than those guys…sure they can sustain it longer but it’s irrelevant to this discussion.

        • CW

          Meant this to be +1 to nativearlingtonian…

    • Bob

      The cyclist stopped at the stop sign line on the pavement and waited for the light to turn green. The bike trail is riding east against traffic. That dumba$$ design is not cyclists’ fault. When the walk signal comes up, the cyclist begins to cross. He has three lanes to cross starting at 0 mph. The motorist is exiting GW Parkway or 110, traveling at 35 mph until the traffic light, wherein he slows and then accelerates from 10mph to 15 through the right turn in the lane furthest from the cyclist’s starting point. It’s very easy to see how the car could be in front of the cyclist all of a sudden even with the cyclist going less than 10mph by the time he reaches the left edge of the third lane.

  • Don Ager

    I’m glad he got ticketed!
    “…you’re not concerned with what’s below you but with what’s in front of you.” this is BS, what cyclist doesn’t look ahead at the pavement to look for potholes, cracks, etc.
    I know drivers screw up quite a bit, but I’ve seen way too many cyclists run red lights, cut in between cars putting themselves and others at risk. They need to stop thinking they are priviledged and obey the traffic laws. Share the road actually means share not “get out of the way I’m a cyclist”

    • CW

      Nice non sequitur you’ve got there. He crossed at a walk signal on a green light.

      • jeff

        Too bad he didn’t walk his bike across the street. The second he entered the intersection, he became a vehicle.

        • D’oh

          If he’s a vehicle travelling eastbound on Lee, then he’s going the wrong way on a one-way street at every intersection in Rosslyn. Should he get a ticket for wreckless driving at every crossing? What about the crossings further west where there are bike signals for riders traveling in that direction? Considering the cyclist a vehicle in this case is completely absurd.

          I cross that intersection everyday on my bike. There are two lanes of traffic turning right in front of you. Considering that you have to be aware of that, as well as look to the right for any car drivers running the red light, looking down would be suicidal.

          I wish people would stop pretending that car drivers, cyclists, pedestrians, rollerbladers, and whoever else is more law-abiding than the other. The simple fact is that when you’re behind the wheel, you’re protected by 2 tons of steel, while pedestrians and cyclists are not.

          • Elle

            … you’re protected by 2 tons of steel, while pedestrians and cyclists are not.

            And therefore should take that much more caution not to slam into 2 tons of steel. This cyclist didn’t take that caution and slammed into a vehicle.

            There is bad behavior in every mode of transportation, but cyclists here are going for broke… or the maillot jaune.

  • Sal

    After a different sort of bike-car crash a couple years ago, the Arlington cop (who said he knew the driver) came out to Fairfax hospital where the ambulance had taken me, took my statement, and still wrote it up incorrectly, basically putting the entire blame on me. Had to have an attorney get involved to get the driver’s insurance company to back down!

  • Joe L

    I drive where this happened every day, and it is a HORRIBLE situation. They cyclists supposedly have the right of way, like pedestrians (I guess), but they are coming very fast, and from a hidden part of the trail, so it is almost impossible for the cars turning right to see them. I’m surprised there are not more accidents there. The way it is set up right now just doesn’t seem to safely control the situation.

    • Anonymouse

      How hard would it be fore the cyclists to stop and LOOK first. They have the right away AFTER they stop. Not before.

      • BrownFlipFlops

        How about you stop your car at all green lights before proceeding through the intersection? It would be safer, and you’d have the right of way AFTER you stopped.

        Doesn’t make a lot of sense, does it?

        • Josh S

          It’s been a while since I’ve been on that stretch of trail, but I used to ride it regularly. I don’t remember exactly the combination of signs, etc for bikes at that particular intersection. But it wouldn’t make much sense to have a stop sign for bikes on the trail if there is also a pedestrian stop/walk indicator light there. Wouldn’t the bikes just obey that sign? Why stop if the light is flashing “walk?” I mean, yeah, you gotta look to make sure the cars are actually letting you go, but to stop just to stop? Doesn’t make sense. Farther west on the trail, where bikes are coming down a long hill, it makes sense to put stop signs so as to get them to slow down and be in control. But the section right at Lynn is flat.No need to stop just to stop.
          Also, Joe L says this section of trail is hidden at this point. For bikes going west bound, yes, they come from a hidden section of trail, although it is uphill there and hard for bikes to really be going fast there. But the accident and citation that are the subject of this posting involved a biker going eastbound, in which case the trail is right in front of the drivers – they can see it for several hundred feet. Hardly hidden. Also, the intersection is so busy with bikes and peds, it’s hard to see how a car could ever really use the – “oh, he came out of nowhere” excuse here.

          • SomeGuy

            Josh S, this is a rare occasion on which you and I agree.

            (Except regarding how fast I can come up that hill, because I’m like Alberto Contador in the Pyrenees. Perhaps a “No Turn On Red” would improve safety though.)

          • speonjosh

            Like I said, it’s been awhile since I rode there so I can’t exactly remember what the elevation changes are. Entirely possible to be going quickly westbound thru the intersection, although as I recall worries about cars making right turns and dealing with other peds and bikes always kept me slow in that direction.

            As I remember a little better, I do remember stopping at the painted stop word, but only when the light was also red. You can lean again the pole there. But if the light is green, you’d be crazy to stop there – you’d never make it through the intersection.

        • Eponymous Coward

          I think this will help:

          It shouldn’t matter who has the right-of-way. If everyone who uses the mode of transportation I don’t use simply stopped at intersections to ensure they yielded to people who do use the same mode of transportation I use, everyone would be safer.

          • BrownFlipFlops


    • f u bikers

      cyclist do not have the, ‘right of way.’ they are a vehicle and as such have to obey traffic laws. get your facts straight ass clown.

      • drax

        They’re on a trail there, one that is also functioning as a sidewalk, so it’s not so clear, ass clown.

        • arlcyclist

          f u bikers hasn’t taken his meds yet this morning.

          • ArlGirl

            I bet he’s fat too

          • D’oh

            And angry he couldn’t get his McDonald’s breakfast at 9:31.

          • Anonymouse

            And yet F u bikers is right. Bikers dont get a free pass on traffic laws just because they dont have a motor. If they are in the street they are a vehicle. Also… any biker that rides right into the street from a sidewalk or trail without stopping and looking is a complete moron who has no consideration for others lives, much less their own, and shouldnt be allowed to ride.

            2 bad this guy didnt get a ticket instead of just a warning.

    • I think it’s perfectly reasonable for a driver not to expect something behind his/her vehicle to travel 20-30mph in a crosswalk….and I bike down that stretch a lot.

      • CW

        Behind? The road is westbound only there and the cyclist was going eastbound. If he was coming from behind the driver, we’ve got bigger problems here.

  • metro

    As someone who rides the Custis Trail every day to go to work, this cyclist is a moron. Of course you stop or at least slow down at each of these intersections on the Lee Highway hill so you can see what’s coming. And he’s the one that hit the car, not the other way around, so of course he’s at fault.

    And the comment about what’s below you vs what’s in front of you? WTF? If he was looking in front of him, he might have seen the POLICE CAR that he ran into. I think they probably need to make everyone that buys a bike take that WABA cycling class where they teach you how to ride.

    • CW

      This is not the same accident. Perhaps you should read a little more carefully. The guy on the hill who rolled into a police car that may or may not itself have been breaking traffic laws was a different incident.

  • steve

    They need to more vigorously enforce traffic laws against cyclists. They ride like maniacs with total disregard for traffic laws.

    • Jen

      Who is this collective “they”? Every cyclist out there?

  • Joseph

    Sorry, this is about lazy police. They don’t want to take responsibility for controlling auto traffic because it’s too difficult. If the cyclists would stay off the roads, it would make things a lot easier for the police.

    That’s why they pin this on the cyclist. They want other cyclists to stay off the road, so the police don’t have to deal with this sort of thing (and people asking why various Arlington intersections are like the Wild West).

    The police already feeling sensitive in the fact their (collective) laziness led to a fumbled signature drive last summer, and then to multiple criminals hitting bank after bank this summer–with one prolific one eventually getting caught. Cars aren’t going anywhere, but cyclists might go away if they think they can get hit without any recourse.

    • K

      You’re an idiot.

  • Ballston

    The citation was deserved. It is about time Arlington started cracking down on cyclists. Maintain control of your vehicle (cycle or car).
    I have had cyclists cut in front of me many times this summer. My fear is that if I can’t stop in time I will be at fault.

    • bobco85

      I agree with you. As a cyclist (and cycling advocate), I think that we need to be held more accountable. The reason cyclists continue to do illegal things is that there is no enforcement. I don’t have a problem with increased enforcement because it’s not going to change my cycling habits (I don’t do stupid things when cycling).

      Though I think the stop sign painted on the ground part is bull, the cyclist hit the car when he should have been looking for cars that might enter the intersection (just like any pedestrian or driver would also have to do). The driver did not help the situation, but I think this is a lesson for personal responsibility for that cyclist (I don’t care for his sob story).

      • CW

        You post makes no sense. You want to further your “advocacy” by holding a cyclist accountable for crossing a street with a green light AND a walk signal and missing the faded word “stop” on the ground, which you yourself state is “bull”? Then you want to blame the cyclist, who was crossing the better part of 40 feet of road, for not being able to react to a car that had to move literally 5 feet to get from the corner, at a dead stop, into Lynn St., which it did probably by flooring it and moving faster than any cyclist can accelerate?

        You can go advocate for someone else.

        • CW

          I guess I should add that, to be fair, the timing of the green light going the other way is important. How long was it green? Had it just turned? That makes a difference.

        • bobco85

          I apologize for the ambiguity in my statements. I think the stop sign (written on the ground, harder to see than on a signpost at eye level where it should be) part is bull. I see no need for a citation based on that.

          The part where I lose being on the cyclist’s side is how the collision occurred. I find it hard to believe that crossing the street from where he was that he was unable to see a car coming (I pass through there on bike fairly often). The fact that he hit the car near the back part of the vehicle (rear driver’s side panel) while going at a fast enough speed to get injured and break the bike makes me think that he (the cyclist) was going too fast through the intersection to be able to stop. If my hypothesis is true that the cyclist was going too fast, I feel that goes into his personal accountability as a cyclist entering a dangerous intersection in that he did not slow down. I don’t find him 100% responsible for the accident, but probably 80%. The driver gets the other 20% because he was passing in front of the cyclist and could have looked before turning to see if anyone was/would be entering the crosswalk.

          My agreement was really with the “It is about time Arlington started cracking down on cyclists.” statement. Whenever having discussions with anti-cycling people, the problem that cyclists rarely get ticketed always comes up, and I agree with them on that point.

          We may disagree on this issue, and that is okay. I will still advocate for cycling, but I feel that the cyclist could have done more to prevent this accident.

          • Richard Cranium

            I’m sorry, you sound far too rational and level-headed to be involved in this discussion. Please either begin lobbing random, ad hominem attacks at other posters and throwing out sweeping generalizations aimed at an entire state or demographic group, or move along.

            Thank you.

  • ARL

    I have a friend that got hit by a car while jaywalking and broke her pelvis. She was in a wheelchair for 3 months. She got a citation while laying in her hospital bed. Her response – this sucks but I was doing something illegal so it is my responsibility.

    I only have the cyclist’s side of the story here, so I have no opinion as to whether he is right or wrong. The fact remains, though, that there is a stop sign so it is the responsibility of any cyclist to STOP at a STOP sign.

    • BrownFlipFlops

      “The cyclist said he was heading eastbound on the Custis Trail, crossing Lynn Street in Rosslyn with the green light…”

      If the cyclist’s account is accurate, I don’t think this is as cut-and-dried as someone running a stop sign. According to the cyclist, he had a green light.

      • CW

        Exactly. People seem to not understand that there are levels and levels of confusing signage going on here. 1) The green light controlling traffic, 2) the walk signal, and 3) the old, faded word “stop” that somebody happened to paint on the ground.

        How is someone who is not a legal scholar supposed to disambiguate this?!

        • YellowSubmarine

          What about the signs (on the trails) that say that cyclists should yeild to pedestrians?

          Are those signs confusing?

          The message is as clear as day to me, but I have a handful of stories of crazed cyclists yelling at walkers/joggers because they have to apply their breaks and can’t mow us down while attempting to pass. That leads me to believe that the only ones who are confused are the cyclist.

          • CW

            I’ve never seen a sign telling me to “yeild” and I’ve certainly never had to apply my “breaks”.

          • YellowSubmarine

            My point exactly!

          • Bluemontsince1961

            Signs?!?! The mindset of some drivers/cyclists/pedestrians in this area is either: 1) Sign?!?! Nah, that is just suggestion; 2) Sign?!?!? We don’t neeeeeeeed no stinkin’ signs! Some drivers have similar mindsets when it comes to using turn signals. Ditto some dog walkers who don’t clean up after their “little darlings.” I’ve seen signs on the trails that state clearly “clean up after your pet”. I’ve seen the reactions of some dog owners when cyclists, runners or walkers call them out on not cleaning up after their pet. U-g-l-y! And yes, I’ve seen some crazed cyclists – SOME – show the very behaviors you mentioned. And I’ve seen some crazed drivers yell at cyclists/joggers/pedestrians who didn’t cross a street (with the light) fast enough. We just have a lot of rude and self-centered jerks living inside the Beltway.

          • cyclist

            So these cyclists are yelling because they want pedestrians to leave the trail so they don’t have to pass them, or what? Doesn’t add up. Cyclists routinely just pass people, no big deal. I suspect there was more to the story. Pedestrians walking on the wrong side of the trail most likely.

      • drax

        That’s what makes it so confusing. He had a green pedestrian light, but according to the cop, he was legally not a pedestrian once he entered the intersection, but another vehicle. Normally, bikes are supposed to follow the same rules as cars, but this is on a bike trail that is also a sidewalk at that point. I guess the only answer for cyclists to be completely within the law is to dismount and walk there.

        How a stop sign applies to an intersection that is controlled by a light is beyond me. Seems that if the light has priority, and you’re yielding to traffic going both directions as you are there, you’d almost never have a legal chance to cross.

        • CW

          Yes. The cop’s statement makes NO sense. According to that logic, either 1) a bicycle is not allowed to cross a street (because cars can’t cross the street there) or 2) the car was at fault for turning into the path of an oncoming “vehicle”.

          All this crap is why I ride in the road whenever possible. I have nearly had my life taken in cycle lanes and crosswalks too many times. Tailgate me, I don’t care.

        • Carol_R

          He would only be considered a pedestrian if he walked his bike across the road. Anytime a bicyclist rides his bike across a road he is considered a vehicle. He cannot hide behind laws for pedestrians. The pedestrian laws assume that a person cannot be moving at 30 miles per hour like a bike can but someone who is walking.

      • brian

        Unless they put in a pedestrian light, the green light is for west bound traffic BECAUSE THE ROAD IS ONE WAY WEST BOUND.

    • drax

      How many cyclists, or anyone else for that matter, are aware that there is a stop sign there, since there’s also a light? How many are aware that they are required to stop, even with a green light? How many of you were aware of that?

      It’s an ambiguous and confusing situation.

      • Stu Pendus

        Ignorance is no defense.

        • drax

          Didn’t say it was.

          I’m just saying that there are alot of smug people here who think it’s easy to navigate that intersection when it’s not. And even if you don’t care about the legalities, we should all care about the danger to lives and property. Fix the ambiguity.

          • Just the Facts

            The problem with the ambiguity argument is that if an intersection is so confusing and the signs and lights are so ambiguous, then that would call for extra caution and not entering the intersection until it was clear. Just riding into the intersection willy nilly because you are confused by the sign is an inherently dangerous act.

          • cyclist

            I’m not confused by the sign – I didn’t see the sign. It’s on the pavement.

          • othersideoftheriver

            You didn’t see the sign on the pavement because there IS no sign on the pavement. It’s been abraded off.

          • othersideoftheriver

            And to clarify: I took the above picture Sept. 2 around 3 pm. All of the google street view images clearly have the “stop” on the sidewalk, so sometime between then and now, the painting has been removed.

          • CW

            Abraded off?!!! Take a closer look:


            It’s not been abraded off…it’s been painted over!! The existing sign was the word “STOP” with the sidewalk as a background. This is a solid which rectangle.

            The plot thickens!!!

            Unfortunately, only a picture taken the day of the accident would be relevant.

          • othersideoftheriver

            No, CW, it was scratched off. But you’re right — only a picture taken the day of is relevant. Still, I doubt it’s a pack of cub scouts out there obscuring the painted “stop” by whatever means, which hopefully means better signage for all transportation media crossing this intersection.

  • pissed off runner

    Lets talk about how much cyclist endanger people on the trails as well…I’ve been hit twice in the last year by a cyclist, shooting the gaps between joggers, pretending the custis jackson is a time trial for the tour de france.

    • Jen

      I run and bike on trails around here. As a cyclist, I always call out to people when I’m passing them and try to pass them safely. But it’s often difficult when people have headphones on and don’t hear the “on your left” that I’m yelling. I also have to dodge people walking/running on the wrong side of the path. As a runner, I try to stay to the right to make passing easier.

      We can all use the trails safely if people just pay attention and try to be respectful of each other.

      • SomeGuy

        Nicely stated, Jen. And you’re right that there’s often no way to warn walkers/runners on the trail who are blaring the latest from Ke$ha on their headphones.

        If everyone obeys the protocol of hugging the right side of the trail except when passing, while also being respectful and NOT oblivious to all that surrounds him/her, we can all enjoy the trails safely.

      • Kirk

        The headphones in the ears of joggers/walkers is definitely a problem, though I have seen bikers with them on, too.

        The bigger problem is that cyclists routinely go far faster than the 15 MPH speed limit. Someone is going to be killed, it is only a matter of time.

        • cyclist

          Where’d you get that speed limit? Is it in the law or posted on the trail?

          • Kirk

            I had read that somewhere. A quick Google search tells me that the “recommended” speed on the W&OD trail as of 2006 was 15M MPH. Capital Crescent trail does have a 15MPH speed limit, as does the Mount Vernon trail. I’ve never seen any posted on the trail, there probably should be. In any event, I routinely see cyclists going far too fast for these multi-use trails. I’m a cyclist, too.

          • Kirk


            “The following regulations apply to bicyclists on designated trails in George Washington Memorial Parkway, according to the National Park Service:

            The speed limit for bicycles in 15 mph”

          • BrownFlipFlops

            I see the 15 MPH speed limit mentioned in articles, but I’ve never seen a primary source document on it. I think you should ride in control on multi-use trails, but I’ve been looking for an actual, first-hand codification of this thing for years. I think it’s just a mythical rule that has been repeated enough to gain a little perceived legitimacy.

            I realize the CCT limit is actually written down somewhere, if not posted.

        • NOVApologist

          Per VDOT:

          “Bicyclists are not permitted to wear earphones in both ears while riding a bicycle.”

    • CrystalMikey

      Same here fellow runner. I wanted to get a shirt made that had “this isn’t the tour de mt. vernon” on my back.

      • sam

        You got that right! They should be on the GW Pkwy instead!

        • AJ

          there’s the small problem that bicycles aren’t allowed on the GW pkwy from mt. vernon to the beltway, per federal regulations.

          • sam

            Wait, so the bikers have to be on the same path as the joggers? Unbelievable. Next thing you’re gonna tell me is something else, just as incredible, like that other folks on the path can’t hear these Lance-wannabes letting others know they’re passing because the joggers are wearing headphones and lost in their own exercise-induced zone. I mean, get off the trail! And the street, too!

  • WestoverChick

    Laws for BICYCLING and WALKING in VA

    • WestoverChick

      And just a follow-up, I was always told that the pedestrian had the right of way BUT to also STOP and look both ways before crossing a street. Do you know how many people I see walking to and from the metro that just cross streets without even looking to see if a car is coming?!?! Yes, the pedestrian does have the right of way but be smart, make sure the car actually STOPS. Cause right of way or not, it is better to take the couple of seconds to stop than to be be put up in the hospital for a few months.
      Where has common-sense gone?!?!?

      • drax

        Pedestrians do not have the right-of-way until they are actually crossing a street. They can’t just jump out in front of cars and expect them to stop on a dime. The law is clear on that, and of course it makes sense anyway.

        • WestoverChick

          But that [They can’t just jump out in front of cars and expect them to stop on a dime.] is exactly my point – THEY DO EXPECT THEM TO!
          People (walkers/bikers/drivers) expect everyone to watch out for them rather than being responsible for themselves.
          Take responsibility for your own actions people!

      • stevis

        Exactly. The laws of humans may be with you as a pedestrian, but the laws of physics aren’t.

  • CW

    What do all of these collisions have in common? Contradictory signage. Green light, walk signal, and old, faded word “stop” painted on the ground. And no body of law to disambiguate them and say which takes precedence. One should not have to be an attorney to understand when he or she cannot ride his or her bike through an intersection.

    The dedicated cycle lights up the trail help, but even in those cases the county has still not removed some of the painted “stop signs” on the ground. There was an accident at one of those lights just a couple weeks ago.

    There are a couple attorneys around here who are strong advocates for cyclists. I am surprised they have not pressed the county on these issues. I wouldn’t be surprised if this guy ends up suing the county for the misleading and contradictory signage.

  • Me

    Here’s what I suggest. During morning rush bikers should walk their bikes single file across the cross walk. I’m guessing after the snarled traffic that results, the County will be down there in a hurry to make some changes at that intersection.

  • daveyp

    The cyclist’s comments are outrageous and self-righteous.

    Here’s an outrageous statement of my own: I’m all for banning cycling in Arlington all together. I could go on 2 European vacations with my wife for what you jackasses pay for a damn bicycle. Get over yourselves and spend your money on things that matter or, maybe, just maybe, donate. If you are rich enough to pay that kind of money for a bike I’d hope you’d be smart enough to obey the laws when your life is on the line.

    • Chris


      • YellowSubmarine

        A bit snarky, but makes the point!

    • cyclist

      How much did your car cost, dave? My bike cost less than $500. By riding it to work and around town, I avoided buying a second car. I could have bought a few dozen bikes, and a vacation, for what many jackasses around here pay for a car.

    • SomeGuy

      daveyp, please clarify what value your comment adds to this discussion.

    • arlcyclist

      Dude get a grip. Ban bicycles in Arlington? Yea, that’s a rational statement. “Spend your money on things that matter”? Please enlighten me as to what constitutes proper spending, Dave. Please do go to Europe and notice in countries like the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Germany, England, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, Poland, etc., etc. the bike is far more ubiquitous than any city in the United States and the health and quality of life of the people reflect that.

      I fully agree that the cyclist isn’t free of blame in this situation but your viewpoint on the matter is obtuse, especially at a time when Arlington and DC are expanding CaBi to allow more cyclists the option to ditch their car and enjoy the conveniences cycling has to offer.

    • drax

      Please take a long, long vacation somewhere, dave. Anywhere that’s not around us. Take all the time you need.

    • 5555624

      Really? You can go on two European vacations with your wife for less than $400 — less than $200 a trip? (My bike cost less than that, but I figured I’d be generous and round up.)

      If we’re gong to ban cycling in Arlington, though, let’s make a little more effort to make things safer — let’s put drivers (we’ve banned cyclists) who don’t Stop for stop signs and run red lights in jail for one year. Traffic would cease to be a problem in about a week. (Remember, that includes the nimrods who don’t stop when making a right on red, too.)

  • Chris

    If cyclist and predestines would stop constantly disregarding the presence of 2 ton vehicles this sort of thing wouldn’t happen. It might not be fair, but anything large enough to run me over and kill me deserves my attention. He’s right “Bicyclists take their lives into their own hands when crossing crosswalks.” Drive defensively, be alert and when in doubt yield. No tears shed over this spilt milk, or should I say carbon fiber.

  • drax

    Looking at Google Street View, there is no stop sign there. There is a “stop” painted on the trail. It stops short of the intersection and appears to be telling cyclists to yield to pedestrians coming across from the south. It doesn’t look like it controls going across Lynn St. I’ve never noticed it before.


    • Josh S

      Wow! Snow! I forgot about that stuff…..

    • Josh S

      By the way, does anyone know how long it takes Google to update their street view pictures? I was in traffic with the street view car on the 14th st bridge the other day and am wondering when I can go to see if I made the cut….

  • Mick Way

    As a cyclist and one who uses that intersection a lot I’m leaning against the cyclist’s side. I agree that once you enter a roadway you are a vehicle unless you dismount and walk your bike across making you a pedestrian. He also must have been riding at a pretty good clip. Obviously faster than his brakes could handle. We cyclists take our chances when we break the rules (and we do it all the time) so if we get nailed we have to take our medicine.

    OTOH I am really tired of pedestrians who walk 2, 3, 4 abreast on a mixed use trail. Move the eff over!

    There. I’ve offended everyone. You’re welcome.

    • cyclist

      I don’t think it makes sense to call someone a vehicle when they are using a trail crossing controlled by walk signal and used by pedestrians. Unless, as you said, you’re required to dismount. Which I don’t think is the law. The problem is that this is functioning as both a sidewalk and trail at that point.

      That said, I am very careful at that intersection (and otherwise) for my own safety and everyone else’s, to protect my legal situation in the event of a collision, and to improve the reputation of cyclists. In that order.

  • Alexandrian

    Common sense in America is obviously dead.

  • RS

    As a cyclist, I find it very confusing how to cross at this intersection. If I have a green light allowing me to cross but also have a stop on the ground telling me to stop, then at what point is it OK to cross? There is always a steady flow of traffic turning right at this intersection. With the stop sign and right turning traffic you would never be able to cross if you are yielding to cars during the duration of the green light signal. Arlington County has some serious issues along this stretch of the Custis Trail. I feel for the cyclist issued a warning due to confusing signage.


    Lots of credit to Arlington Police for this. No surprise that the entitled cyclist feels he should have no fault at all. Hopefully this is a message to all cyclists that they do not OWN THE ROAD OR TRAILS

    • cyclist

      The cyclist was crossing with a green light (the walk signal) and a car with a red light hit him. Yet somehow you think that adds up to the cyclist’s sense of entitlement?

      • speonjosh

        You obviously haven’t been to the intersection. Or read much of the thread. It’s one way westbound. The car had a green light. The bike (and peds) cross on the walk signal.

    • SomeGuy

      As taxpayers, they do in part own both the roads and trails.

      I think I get what you’re trying to convey, but your flagrant bias and generalizations lead me to dismiss it.

    • arlcyclist

      Yes, thank you ACPD and ARLnow, as a cyclist I appreciate this “message” because how else would I have ever realized that I don’t in fact own the road and trails? Or as you say, OWN THE ROAD OR TRAILS

  • arlwhat

    FTFA: “Naturally, if you’re a cyclist heading into an intersection, you’re not concerned with what’s below you but with what’s in front of you.”

    And just as naturally if you’re a driver you’re concerned with what’s in front of you rather than what’s behind you and so far to the left that the chance of even catching an upcoming biker in the rear view mirror is about nil.

    Sorry dude – you should have been more aware that east bound cars might be making left turns there and kept your speed down.

    • arlwhat

      The road is westbound only at that point? Whoops, my bad.

      • cyclist

        Yep. So the only conflict is with cars turning right from the other direction. This cyclist was going east and the cars are turning right facing him, so visibility wouldn’t be a problem.

        Cyclists and ped going west, however, are really hard to see from the cars.

        • arlwhat

          And in typical Arlington driver style there’s a high probability that they weren’t signaling their right turn. Still doesn’t fully excuse the biker from charging through there at a speed to high for them to avoid a collision. With the po-po apparently starting to enforce the treatment of cyclists as vehicles when they’re mounted and in a roadway (crosswalk or not), there’s a lot of people who are going to have to adjust their expectations.

  • Johnny Utah

    These freaking bikers are annoying. Get out of the road! We have enough idiots in cars driving around town, we don’t more slow moving idiots to worry about. And quit biking to work, you are in the way.

    • cyclist

      So you prefer that they all drive to work instead? Then they’d be in your way alot more.

      Suck it, Johnny. I’ll ride to work on my bike all I want, and sometimes I’ll be in front of you in the road. You’ll have to deal with me just like you have to deal with idiot cars and idiot pedestrians. It’s life in the big city.

      • Johnny Utah

        well then i’m going to run you over in my humongous SUV

        • arlcyclist

          Johnny, isn’t it almost time for you and your mommy to head out to pick up your school supplies? Next week’s right around the corner!

        • ArlGirl

          I bet you’re fat too.

          • ArlGirl

            Johnny Utah that is.

          • Johnny Utah

            quit calling everybody fat. And for the record..i’m not!

          • ArlGirl

            It’s just typically angry, unhealthy, fat people who get cranky at cyclists and drive “humongous SUVs” Are you compensating for something sweetie?

          • cyclist

            You fit the profile of a fat-ass perfectly, Johnny.

          • Dirty biker

            Yup. Fat. And wearing brown flip flops. Yah know what Johnny? I have a nice sharp ring just for SUVs like yours. Come on. Dare you, get within reach…

  • C Mc D

    Here’s where I always fail to understand. If bikers are “vehicles” (as the officer asserts on the ticket) then bikers are entitled to use the roads, not get passed, etc…. Basically we then move at 12-20 MPH. Which stinks for drivers. Please note: I’m not suggesting this is viable.

    However if Bikes are pedestrians, then they are entitled to use the sidewalks, paths and presumably all the protections that would naturally accompany this at crossing (e.g. right of way in crosswalks, etc..).

    Of course, a little bit of common sense would just fix everything. Tragically that’s never been the case in Arlington, perhaps even in the case of this citation.

    Finally, as full disclosure, I’m a 30ish rider of a “$10K” Cervelo (It was far short of $10K, I assure you) and a “$300” Scattante hybrid. I also drive a car. The biker in me would like to note: that I always stop at the intersection in question as it’s dangerous to all, and generally make every effort to be respectful and courteous. But I certainly have been known to ride down the right lane of Lee Hwy at 6 AM on a Sunday on my way out a longer ride. By and large respect begets respect, courtesy begets courtesy. And while I’ve had a few run ins here and there, there’s been nothing substantial. So while there are DEFINITELY aggro bikers who are complete and utter nobs (Conte’s ride on Military being just the biggest example), and drivers too, they tend to be the exception not the rule.

    Oh, and in the interest of full accuracy, I drive a Lexus (not a red Audi).

    • BrownFlipFlops

      Clearly, you need to upgrade the wheels and gruppo on your Cervelo, then! …and get rid of that Lexus!

      Courtesy begets COURTESY? WHAT?? That flies directly in the face of the accepted practice of dividing ourselves into arbitrary identity groups and screaming at each other.

      • Bluemontsince1961

        +10, BrownFlipFlops

  • JamesE

    If a cyclist gets hit in Donaldson Run does he make a sound?

    • Richard Cranium

      There aren’t any cyclists in DR. Those damn jet skiers, however, are a huge problem!

      • Bluemontsince1961


  • Greenbelt

    No right turn on red. Works in Montreal. Should be the law here, at least in rush hour. Right turn on red was originally introduced as a suburban/rural convenience for drivers, in areas where there aren’t pedestrians mostly. To many pedestrians and bikes in cities for it to work. No right turn on red ==> problem solved.

    • CW

      Indeed. Of course montreal also has distinct, curb-separated bike highways that run along the sides of the roads as well – cool stuff. But I agree. If the traffic control device isn’t being used to control traffic (by requiring people to obey it), then what is its function?

    • cyclist

      Except this is a problem with cars turning right on green. I may have misspoken earlier (that’s how confusing this intersection is).

      • Clarendon

        When you have bike lanes, it sets up something that drivers of cars are not accustomed to in terms of turning right (on green). Basically, the drivers that are in the right car lane don’t realize they are actually making a right turn across another vehicle travel lane (the bike). It’s like if the were making a right turn from the left side lane. They don’t even look because they are not used to it.

        • cyclist

          Exactly. It’s a screwed-up situation in many ways.

          My proposed solution is to move the crossing down the road, closer to the bridge, so all traffic is perpendicular to it, with more time and better sight lines for everyone.

          • Arlington County Board

            Thank you for the suggestion, but we have been studying this for years and already have a plan in place. We are going to move the bridge down the road, closer to the crossing, to improve sightlines. $15 million bond referendum to follow.

        • speonjosh

          This doesn’t make sense. It’s a crosswalk. Drivers turning right should be looking for peds already. It’s not especially complicated that the intersection would also include bikes. How often do you see a bike making a left turn from the left turn lane?

          • Clarendon

            Bikes move much faster than pedestrians.

            Cars do (or should) check for pedestrians but I think most just check to make sure the roadway is clear where they are turning. I’ve been closely ‘brushed’ by cars making right as a pedestrian crossing the street. Sometimes the car sees the pedestrian and tries to beat them to the pavement and they usually win.

            With a bike lane, it is a vehicle travel lane so the bikes are not expected to stop at the intersection and are travelling quite fast, so the car not only should check the pavement they want to turn onto but beside them and behind them on their right (in the bike lane) – but they don’t often do that because they think they are in the right lane and there is no vehicle to the right of them but that isn’t true if a bike lane is there.

  • Cyclist Also

    Just because you’re on a bicycle doesn’t mean you get to run stop lights or signs. If he can’t read what’s painted on the road (which I find easier to do on my bike than in my car, actually), then he should catch a cab instead of attempting to travel in this world on his own.

    Oh, and when you’re the one who failed to obey the traffic laws, it is “entirely your fault.”

    • Arlington Bug

      Agree. I don’t mind sharing the road with bikers in general but do mind when they don’t obey the traffic laws when they are riding on the road.

      Another case in point was the other day when I was traveling east on Washington Boulevard near the Giant and a man with his son in tandem and two teen girls on separate bikes behind him were riding on the road during the beginning of afternoon rush hour. They were riding past cars as we stopped and then when the green light went were passed by the same cars. They were over to the right but causing a great deal of concern for those of us not wanting to hit them while not hitting a car coming in the opposite direction. As I looked back in my rearview mirror while crossing the Clarendon Boulevard intersection I was appalled to see that they all had stopped all the way to the right—in the right quarter of the right lane– and the dad was clearly signaling that he wanted to take his trio across the traffic to make a left turn onto Clarendon Boulevard. Stupidity. If you are on the road, obey the traffic signs.

  • Russ Allison

    The only legitimate and fair approach to integrating cycling with motorized traffic is to create a unique set of rules (laws) governing bike riding on roads, and to separately train, test and license cyclists in the same manner as licensing car drivers. Otherwise, we are truly making up the rules as we go along. What if the cyclist who was hit and given a warning was an undocumented alien? Hospitals already cover these people’s injuries for free, but how could damages to the car be resolved? What if the cyclist were 12 years old? Arlington already allows cyclists on sidewalks, and that’s where this unfortunate cyclist was riding when he was hit. I know that intersection and motorists just don’t look for pedestrians to come sprinting through a crosswalk at 30mph. Until we require motor vehicle drivers to treat cyclists in the same way they treat each other, AND require cyclists to get licensed and abide by a strict code of conduct, then the cyclists cannot be held to the same code as two-ton, 200hp cars. This is why there are rules requiring boats under power to yield to sailboats in shipping lanes. Cyclists, like sailboats, cannot navigate the road with the same instant power and speed as a car. This is why cyclists find it very difficult to obey all the traffic laws as a car. And this is why car drivers perceive that cyclists are being arrogant.

    • cyclist

      Interesting argument, except you could throw pedestrians into the mix in part of it, since they cross streets. You want all pedestrians to be licensed to walk and insured?

      Overall, the law covers alot of these situations already.

      • NatureBoy

        Barefooted pedestrians should not have to be licensed !

      • Russ Allison

        I disagree. Current and skimpy laws covering cyclists simply state that a cyclist is responsible for obeying the same laws as motor vehicle operators. There are very strict and proliferous laws covering pedestrian right-of-way. Cyclists who jump back and forth between road-going and pedestrian sidewalks are the most vulnerable because the motor vehicle operators cannot classify them as one or the other. That’s why the guy in this article got hit. He was classified as a pedestrian. I know of what I speak as a long-time member of the League of American Bicyclists, MABRA, WABA, PPTC, the National Capital Velo Club and the father of national champion cyclists. The laws governing cyclists on the road were written as brief adjuncts to traffic law, and not as a means of separately governing a whole new class of self-propelled road users. That is the core and root cause of the problem today.

        • D’oh

          NCVC! Woot!

        • cyclist

          Yeah, I agree that the pedestrian-vehicle thing is a problem. I just mean the specific situations you mentioned were likely covered.

    • BrownFlipFlops

      Er, but you don’t have to have a license to sail a sailboat. Yet, they’re given consideration under the nautical right of way rules.

      I’d whip out Bowditch before I hopped in a sailboat and tested the, “rules requiring boats under power to yield to sailboats in shipping lanes,” theory, too. The rules are a little more nuanced than that, and the inclusion of a shipping lane makes it even more complicated. Ask anyone who’s crossed the path of a car carrier in the main channel on the Chesapeake Bay in a sailboat.

  • cyclist

    Having cyclists stop at at that intersection, yielding to all traffic, effectively closes it to cyclists, unless they dismount or ride when cars are yielding to a pedestrian, because there’s almost never a time during the day when cars aren’t going across that crosswalk.

    • Oh no

      God forbid you ever have to stop for a moment and put your feet on the ground. Good heavens we can’t have that.

      • cyclist

        I just made a comment, I didn’t say I wasn’t willing to do it. Don’t overreact.

  • JS

    It’s threads like this that truly depress me – the level of discourse here is disappointingly low.

  • ArlGirl

    Side note – and what most drivers today don’t know – is that about 100 or so years ago – it was CYCLISTS who advocated for the creation of better paved roads in the US. So, you’re welcome drivers, and as appreciation for cyclists advocating all those years ago – feel free to go off on us at the drop of a hat, get angry when we choose to burn carbs instead of gas, save money, help the environment and battle America’s obesity epidemic.

    • Johnny Utah

      i bet you’re still fat though.

      • ArlGirl

        See – that doesn’t make sense. If I was complaining about cyclists being in the way of my driving – then – okay – you could count on me being fat. But if I’m pointing out the benefits of cycling – it’s a logical guess that I am probably pretty active in the athletic community – and thus not fat. That’s the logical and intelligent deduction. Another quality you seem to lack. Intelligence.

        • Johnny Utah

          I’m in love…you wanna go out sometime?

          • Careful

            Jonny – I would bet that she is not fat, but really ugly, so be please careful. She also seems like a type C personality – ones who think they are “hard driven”, but are really not and completely not successful in anything and are basically drags on society.

          • ArlGirl

            Geeze careful – sorry to burst your bubble – but I’m actually a contributing member of society and probably not on welfare like you.

          • cyclist

            I would say people who drive around and take up too much space, getting fat and unhealthy, spewing pollution and consuming precious fuel because they’re too lazy and stupid to have the self-reliance to get around with their own two legs are drags on society.

            But that’s just me. I’ll wave to you as I ride home today and you’re stuck in traffic, again. I plan to ride behind ArlGirl and watch her perfect, Lycra-clad, athletic, slim derriere while you and Johnny honk angrily at each other and the stress of traffic slowly eats at your soul as well as your body, you breathe fumes, and get fatter as you creep home from your job, carrying the paycheck that a car payment and gas will take a big chunk out of.

            Happy Friday!

          • Stu Pendus

            Project much?

          • SomeGuy

            I think we could form a nice peloton behind ArlGirl with that description of the view.

          • cyclist

            Why do you think I like cycling so much?

      • cyclist

        Let’s see, who is more likely to be fat, the girl on a bike or the guy in a big-ass SUV?

  • Bluemontsince1961

    Let’s see….

    1) Looney Cab drivers (especially DC cabs)
    2) Drivers with the cell phone glued to their ears while driving
    3) Drivers monkeying around with their blackberries/i-pods, etc., etc. while driving
    4) Loudoun County and Prince William County commuter buses
    5) Richard Petty wannabes coming up behind another car like a bat out of hell and passing like an F-18 being catapulting off a carrier (just trying to get in touch with their inner ridge runner)
    6) Drivers not using their turn signals
    7) Drivers that wait until the absolute last minute to merge when the merge lane runs out – and there is hardly any traffic blocking them
    8) “Speed Limit enforcers” driving at or under the speed limit in the far left lane, esp. 395, 496, 66, and 267
    9) Drivers that do not watch out for cyclists and pedestrians
    10) Drivers driving with headphones/earbuds
    11) Cyclists that do not watch out for drivers and pedestrians/walkers/runners on trails/sidewalks
    12) Cyclists that do not watch out for cars and hit them
    13) Drivers that do not watch out for cyclists or pedestrians and hit them
    13) Cyclists that do not pay attention to, or obey red lights and stop signs
    14) Drivers that do not pay attention to, or obey red lights and stop signs
    15) Pedestrians that do not pay attention to, or obey red lights and stop signs
    16) Cyclists that go down trails at breakneck velocity, trying to get in touch with their inner Lance Armstrong
    17) Runners/Walkers/Cyclists who can’t hear others because they are wearing headphones/earbuds
    18) Walkers/Runners that spread out umpteen numbers abreast on sidewalks and trails, blocking people from passing them and get an attitude when someone says “excuse me” or “passing on the left”, etc.
    19) Walkers with way too long leashes for their dogs letting their dogs wander all over the trails/sidewalks and get an attitude if someone requests that they shorten the leash.
    20) Walkers with way too long leashes for their dogs letting their dogs get in the personal space of others that may not want a strange dog getting in their personal space
    21) Cyclist/runner/walker for whatever reason decides not to move for the other one or two and get into a big argument on the Custis or W&OD trail (I’ve seen it happen quite a few times on my walks on both)
    22) Dog owners that do not clean up after their “little darlings” poop in the grass beside the Custis or W&OD trails or actually on the trail itself (seen that on my walks, too)

    Let’s face it, their are rude and inconsiderate folks in all categories. However, I’ve also seen a lot of courteous, considerate and respectful folks in all categories, too.

    • BrownFlipFlops

      By golly, I think you’ve pretty much created a template I can cut-and-paste into these things in the future.

      • Bluemontsince1961

        Might be easier to call it the everybody-pissed-off-at-everybody else template. Just copy, paste, and customize to fit the discussion.

  • Russ Allison

    You have to ask yourselves: when you were in driver ed, or when you were taking your first written driver’s test, how much of that training and testing involved dealing with cyclists on the road? Little to none for me. This is why motorists in the US have no means of dealing with a cyclist other than to ignore them (because they obviously shouldn’t be on the road) or harrassing them. Cyclists on the other hand are taught that safety means pissing off motorists, because when you are seen and the driver has to think about getting around you, then you are safe. It is the low-profile, meek cyclist, riding in the gutter, that gets hit because he’s invisible to a motorist.

    • Bluemontsince1961

      When I took Drivers Ed and took my written test, there was nothing about dealing with cyclists on the road. The only VA law I can recall during that time (1972) was that VA law then indicated cyclists had to obey stop lights and stop signs the same way as cars/buses/trucks, and had to dismount and walk their bikes across major traffic intersections (example, Wilson & Glebe, Columbia Pike & George Mason, etc.).

  • N. Arlington

    How hard is it to look both ways before crossing a street? Just because you have the right of way doesn’t mean that opposing traffic sees you, knows your intent, or even cares. I see so few cyclists ever use hand signals or motorists use turn signals here. And the pedestrians, earbuds jammed in their ears and eyes glued to a cellphone, who cross the street whenever and wherever they want, whether there’s a crosswalk or a walk signal or not, with no clue whatsoever that they’re about to become a hood ornament…

    The county would earn a ton of revenue if the police would start enforcing traffic laws against motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians because no one group seems to behave better than the others. With enough tickets and citations I bet the stupidly placed signs and ambiguous laws would get fixed real quick, and people might learn how to share the roads, sidewalks, and trails better.

    • Bluemontsince1961

      @N. Arlington, +100

    • R.Griffon

      > start enforcing traffic laws against motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians
      > because no one group seems to behave better than the others

      Exactly. What I’d really like to see are (at LEAST) a few weeks of equally ruthless enforcement on all three.

      Drivers: Slow down. Stop at a stop. Yield to pedestrians when making a left or right on a green and at marked crosswalks. And stay off your damn phone.

      Pedestrians: Cross at crosswalks ONLY, and with the lights.

      Cyclists: Act like a car or act like a pedestrian. Just pick one. And stick with it. And my personal peve – use the friggin’ bike lanes where available, unless you’re within ~ a block of your left-hand turn. That’s why they’re called BIKE lanes. Not car lanes, not stroller lanes, not horse ‘n buggy lanes. BIKE lanes. Y’know … for bikes.

      • speonjosh

        I always dig the “start enforcing” or just plain ol’ “enforce” the law line of reasoning.

        Makes me warm and fuzzy inside to see that our county is filled with so many geniuses who are looking out for the rest of us.

  • Westover Leftover

    I guess I am not the only person at work today with not much to do.

  • The Arlington Bicycle Advisory Committee will be holding its September 12th meeting at this location to discuss how to make this crossing safer. Please see details here:


  • arlwhat

    I know! Let’s issue a $2M bond referendum to build a bike tunnel through the area!

    • SomeGuy

      That might be the first bond referendum in 15 years that Arlingtonians would pay attention to before blindly voting “yes.”

      • drax

        So you’ve polled every single voter about every single referendum? Or you’re just self-centered and think that anyone who votes differently from you must be stupid and unthinking?

        • SomeGuy

          Yes, drax. That’s what I did. Every single one of them.

          I answered your question. You want to explain the dickish attitude? Or are you just doing as you said you would in the comments above?

          “I can just post and post and post…”

          • drax

            Your comment was the dickish one. You implied that those who vote for referenda just blindly vote for them without thinking. Dickish to everyone who ever voted for one.

          • SomeGuy

            drax, if you would contend that every Arlingtonian who votes for a bond referendum fully understands that which he/she is voting for, despite said $5+ million bond referendum being distilled into 3 sentences or less, then I will not try to refute you.

          • drax

            Maybe that’s your problem – you don’t read about things on the ballot until the day you show up and vote and read the 3-sentence description. In other words, you assume everyone else is as dumb and ill-informed and lazy as you are. We’re not all like you.

            And then there’s the problem that your statement applies equally to all voters, including the “no” voters. But that didn’t enter into your head either.

          • SomeGuy

            Right. I’ll just keep referring to your comment above for an explanation of your subsequent posts.

            “I can just post and post and post…”

          • arlwhat

            He did? Well then, SomeGuy, I’ve voted yes on some and no on others. Stop being a dick.

            This directive paid for by Arlingtonians For Willful Misinterpretations And Wild Hyperbole.

      • arlwhat

        Want to put some money on that one?

  • Richard Cranium

    What is the speed limit for bikers and joggers in kid-free dog parks? Inquiring minds want to know.

  • darren

    I look forward to seeing every pedestrian and jogger complying with this, carefully coming to a complete stop at the ‘stop’ even when they have a green signal telling them to proceed too.

  • kc

    I may have missed it in all the comments, but didn’t see it noted that the west side of the intersection (the direction the driver was headed) has a sign posted on the pole that holds the stoplight that says “Right turn yield (in red) to persons in the crosswalk.”

    • CW

      There is ambiguity as to whether it was a right turn on red. The story says the light was green, some other people seem to state from somewhere that it was a right on red.

      • drax

        It’s actually green for the cars, which are turning right across the crosswalk–with a green walk signal at the same time for the pedestrians and bike trail running parallel to the cars.

        You can see how this would be a problem.

        • Stu Pendus

          Like every other intersection in the world? The difference being here is where all the bikes go. They create the problems, always trying to dart in front of cars, so they can tell people how they passed a car. Yay me!!! Except this guy got caught, and the law will deal with him appropriately.

          • speonjosh

            Yeah, he got caught all right – slammed into a car and ended up in the hospital. The valorous and heroic cop “dealing with him appropriately” simply followed the ambulance to the hospital and wrote the big bad bicyclist a wittle warning. Bad biker! the cop said in his most authoritative voice!

        • CW

          @drax – no, I know who it’s green for; I’ve gone through that intersection many times on a bike and in a car (and running too!). But what I’m saying is that it’s not clear what color the light was at the time this accident happened – did a car come flying off the highway at 60 mph and bank a hard right, or did it take a right turn on red from a stop? Or did it roll through a red light and turn right?

  • Happy1

    I’ve never felt compelled to post a comment before but this warrants it…..I agree that there are drivers, pedestrians and cyclists that all mistakes out there…. but in my experience in the past several months, I am appalled at the lack of adherence to road rules and safe practices by cyclists in Arlington. So many without helmets, that blast through red lights, weave in and out of the bike lane, don’t stop at stop signs, don’t signal for turns….if you want to be on the road, then follow the rules. I have seen so so many situations recently where a cyclist could easily have been injured – i’m sure it most cases – the car wins from sure size….follow the rules and wear your helmets please……it ensure your safety and I can only imagine the grief a driver will feel (irregardless of fault) when a cyclist is injured.

  • Annoyed

    From what I have experienced all over northern Virginia is a general ignorance of the rules of the road…especially with cyclists. They want to be a car when it’s convenient I.e.: “share the road” but a pedestrian when convenient I.e. Blow throw red lights in the crosswalk. I always try to be respectful of cyclists but have NEVER found them to follow the rules of the road. If you are on your bike you are a vehicle! Do not pass people in the same lane, stop at stop signs, get out of the crosswalk. If you want to have the right of way, get off your bike and walk it! I wish there was a cycling license so people would be forced to learn the rules FOR THEIR OWN SAFETY as well as the sanity of drivers.

  • D1

    Here’s the code he was cited under (then, look at the photo of the marking):

    § 46.2-830. Uniform marking and signing of highways; drivers to obey signs; enforcement of section.

    The Commonwealth Transportation Board may classify, designate, and mark state highways and provide a uniform system of marking and signing such highways under the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth. Such system of marking and signing shall correlate with and, so far as possible, conform to the system adopted in other states.

    All drivers of vehicles shall obey lawfully erected signs.

    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.

    (Code 1950, § 46-184; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-173; 1970, c. 163; 1976, c. 184; 1979, c. 604; 1981, c. 585; 1989, c. 727; 1994, c. 280; 1997, c. 881.)

  • reasonable doubt

    Regardless of you cyclist bias (a lot of irrational vitriol here), it may be worth taking a look at where the sign is actually painted. It’s painted on the blacktop where the trail meets the sidewalk, at least 20 ft before the edge of the curb. Objectively, it implies that cyclists should stop for pedestrians and other cyclists heading North-South on Lynn St. For that matter, there is nothing at the corner that suggests that pedestrian ROW does not apply. The county’s argument might be less thin had the stop sign been painted on the sidewalk AT the corner and a sign posted that says something along the lines of “pedestrian traffic must yield to vehicles turning right.” Wow, now that I look at that in print, the precedent the county is setting really does seem shortsighted.

  • Laws of physics

    Last time I checked, the laws of physics still apply when a 30 lb bike meets a 2,000 lb car, the car wins every time. Riding a bike in an urban area requires vigilance and yes, sometimes you have to watch out for idiot drivers. The alternative is having your bike destroyed, your arm in a sling (or worse) and a ticket. “I had the right of way” is a pretty silly epitaph for a tombstone.

  • Frank King

    There is no need to point fingers, when it comes to observing traffic rules neither cyclists nor motorists behave properly. From my observation, no more than one in ten comes to a full stop at a stop sign. Everyone in the DC area seems to have decided that a red octagon is a yield sign, but many do not even know how to yield.

    The fact is too many come from the same population of people motivated by aggression and selfishness no matter what vehicle they choose to operate. In this particular case it is likely that both driver and cyclist failed to look around and make allowances for other users of the roadway.

    However, given the vulnerability of cyclists, their poor judgement is self-correcting, so law enforcement should spend their time ticketing the more numerous motorists that actually threaten the lives of others rather than following a cyclist to the hospital to issue a warning.

  • LPS4DL

    The next time you encounter a bicyclist while you are driving, watch the cyclist closely. It won’t take long before you see the cyclist break a traffic law, or perhaps several traffic laws. I know because I have watched them for the past few years, on Lee Highway and elsewhere. I can understand why they are so lawless. The Arlington area is not conducive to cycling. There are many hills which make it difficult. The weather is inhospitable in the summer with the high heat and humidity mixing with the heat from the autos and the exhaust fumes. And in the winter there is snow and ice to navigate. Still, if a person wants to cycle through town they must take full responsibility and obey the traffic laws. The police need to start enforcing traffic laws on cyclists. Waiting to write a citation after an accident is fine, but it won’t stop the problem of lawless cyclists. Step up enforcement before there are more cycle accidents.

    • 5555624

      The next time you encounter a driver while you are cycling (or driving), watch the driver closely. It won’t take long before you see the driver break a traffic law, or perhaps several traffic laws. I know because I have watched them for the past few years, on Lee Highway and elsewhere. I can understand why they are so lawless. The Arlington area is not conducive to driving. There are many hills which make it difficult. The weather is inhospitable in the summer with the high heat and humidity mixing with the heat from the autos and the exhaust fumes. And in the winter there is snow and ice to navigate. Still, if a person wants to drive through town they must take full responsibility and obey the traffic laws. The police need to start enforcing traffic laws on drivers. Waiting to write a citation after an accident is fine, but it won’t stop the problem of lawless drivers. Step up enforcement before there are more car accidents.

  • Dirty biker

    I have a 50mile RT commute on the Custis an WO&D trails that involves crossing 9 major 4-lane roads and 28 minor roads. Over time I have seen it all- bad behavior by cyclists, runners, walkers and cars. Of those only cars have a (daily) opportunity to kill me. The last/first 1 mile of my trip is on a (completely unavoidable) 4 lane parkway in Londoun Cty. They ABSOLUTELY take the cake for driving assholery. I cruise at over 25 mph (on streets, not trails) well to the right yet I’ve been yelled at, nearly swiped, cut off, had stuff thrown at me and felt generally scared witless. If I had a sidewalk I’d absolutely use it. If I had a bike lane I would absolutely use it. I have neither.

    First. I agree with four things in all of this 1) drivers really don’t understand how exposed you are in a bike 2) This intersection is really poorly signed 3) there aren’t any “good” alternatives- I know from first hand experience that asserting my vehicular rights while obeying all traffic laws EB on Lee (even at dang near 40mph) does not make drivers any more happy than me sticking to the safer crosswalk and crossing with the “walk” signal 4) this dude was going too fast if he hit a car.

    For Cyclists:
    Don’t be an idiot. You will lose. Make eye contact and get on the same page as drivers and peds
    Don’t play human slalom, particularly at busy times, a nice “on your left” and some freewheel goes a long way in making friends
    Get out of drops or aero bars- the trails are NOT the place for time trials.
    When you use lights have respect for on-coming riders/peds it’s great that you have that slick HID set up, aim it low and flipping cover it up when oncoming trail users approach (no switch? Use your forearm or hand)
    If you want to draft, that’s cool but a) let me know that you are there; b) give room when overtaking other trail users c) back off when I signal, in crowded conditions or near crossings and d) take a turn up front now and again!
    Do NOT use a headphone in your left ear- you need to hear!

    For walkers and runners:
    Do you know how hard you are to see at night? Damn near impossible. Wear light colored clothing and (better) an LED
    Stay right and on the right side of traffic
    Three abreast creates a HUGE roadblock. I know that you want to chat but keep it tight and on the right
    Same as bikers- keep one ear free

    For Drivers:
    Biking is my mode of transportation- respect that. It actually takes me LESS time to ride than drive (which keeps me out of your lane on I66 and the toll road) The extra 5 seconds that takes to pass me might save my life
    Put the phone down! 9/10 incidents that I have are the result of a distracted driver- your little swerve, my month in the hospital
    Generally, chill out- I have obligations to obey traffic laws, so do you. I promise that drivers disobey just as many laws as cyclists do. The difference is that for you it’s an irritant, for us it can be life/death.

  • Me ke

    Left holding the bag?? Good I am glad he got cited.. He was wrong. He knows he is supposed to obey the traffic signs. He’s just pissed he got busted for it. Maybe other cyclists will show the same respect for vehicles that they demand from drivers

  • charlie

    when i bike to work i can tell immediately by how a car is being driven and who is driving it as to whether they will slow down or let me go on my bike. middle aged women: death is imminent; tradesmen: 50/50; over-powered cars: tease them but give way;

  • BAB

    Bicyclist hits hit the rear panel of a car it’s his fault seriously car was already turning look where you’re going!

  • Chook

    When operating a boat there is a bit of wisdom known as “the law of tonnage” A wise biker would know it.

  • whatch2

    ha. I think its kind of funny the cyclist is whining about the warning. How would he react if he got a ticket? Maybe the cop is at fault for showing a little empathy to the cyclist. This isn’t a “car vs cyclist” thing; this is a “people are so mean” thing. What’s also funny is the cyclist actually wants the motorist’s insurance to pay for his bike and bills after HE runs into the back of the car; which obviously entered the cross walk well before he did, and after HE ran a stop sign. People are idiots. Spend a little less money on carbon and take a few classes on personal responsibility. Stay classy America!

  • Twelve-Year Bike Commuter

    I’m confused. Can someone explain the law to me? There are several intersections with the Custis Trail that have a traditional walk signal, a new special bike-only green-yellow-red light, and an old-faded stop painted on the pavement. I thought the installation of the bike-only traffic light meant that the stop on the pavement had fallen into desuetude. If a bike has a green light (and a walk signal), are they still supposed to stop first because of the old faded stop? What if the stop is so faded it’s gone? Are pedestrians on the Custis Trail supposed to do the same thing as bikes? And if there isn’t a special bike traffic light on the Custis Trail (like Lynn St.), are bikes supposed to follow the walk signal? Are there any places where cars have both a stop sign and a green light?

  • Michael

    No one in the discussion so far has cited the most applicable statute, section 46.2-904, which includes the following statement: “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.”

    The alleged police statement that the cyclist counts as a “vehicle” when entering the crosswalk is not correct under Virginia law. “A person riding a bicycle … shall have all the rights and duties of a pedestrian,” not those of a vehicle. The police might still claim that the cyclist was reckless, as it might conclude that a pedestrian was reckless, and of course it might still blame the cyclist for not stopping at the stop sign, if that was a causal factor in the crash. But drivers in Virginia should recognize that cyclists are like pedestrians and thus must yield to them where possible.

    • Carol_R

      Cyclists are not like pedestrians when they’re riding in the rode and not on a sidewalk. Once he was in the rode he became liable to the same laws that cars have to obey.

      • Michael

        Hi Carol_R,

        You are mistaken. Read the statute. If the cyclists are in a crosswalk — as opposed to some other part of the road — then they are treated as pedestrians. I know that many people think what you do, and it sounds from this article that the police think so, but the statute is very clear on this point, as quoted above.

  • John

    I am happy to hear this. I am tired of these so called bikers taking up my space on the road, not even looking at traffic signs and thinking they have the right of way.

  • Carol_R

    I rarely see bicyclist ever stop at any stop signs and most don’t stop at red lights but just drive thru them if they can get away with it.

    When they’re on the road they should have to obey the law. I have never seen any bicyclist ticketed. And even in this case, this guy gets off easy with a warning. He should have been ticketed and have to pay a fine. His whining is pathetic.

  • Joe M.

    The Bicycle hit the Car? How could this possibly be anyone’s fault other than the Bicyclist?

    • ohmypolarbear

      “How can this be anyone’s fault but the cyclist’s?” I’m glad you asked:

      As Michael notes above, the status of a bike in a crosswalk is defined by statute, section 46.2-904: “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.”

      So turning vehicles should yield to all pedestrians AND cyclists in the crosswalk, and wait for the crosswalk to be clear before turning. This intersection even has an advance walk signal to get the pedestrians moving before the cars.

      The cyclist could therefore reasonably expect that a car approaching the intersection would slow down and yield to him, as a crosswalk user, before turning. Likely the driver underestimated the cyclist’s speed (very common) and tried to zip through before the cyclist, leaving very little room and time for the cyclist to stop, or react at all. The cyclist’s braking may have been enough, though, to turn it into a bike->car t-bone, instead of a much more severe car->bike t-bone.

      Regarding the recently-removed “stop” painted on the sidewalk:
      I have always interpreted that as a stop line, to keep the North/South walkway clear of waiting bikes/peds/strollers/whatever. As in, “stop here while you wait for your signal.” Certainly not “always stop here, even when the signal says go.” If the intention were “stop always” an octagonal marking would have been much clearer.

      The subsequent removal of the lettering after an ambiguous meaning was revealed leads me to believe that the designers intended it to be a “stop line” as well.

      • CW

        The best explanation so far. The only part you left out of your argument is explaining away the paradoxical “in disregard of approaching traffic” clause, which seems difficult to do, because, well, how far ahead is a pedestrian supposed to “regard” said traffic?

        Will you be working on behalf of the victim of this incident? Only half joking. If not, someone should be. Enough is enough with respect to ACPD citing cyclists every time in these incidents.

      • cyclist

        Yes on the painted stop line. I would never think of that applying to a crosswalk controlled by a walk signal.

      • brian

        Removal of painted STOP letters? I thought they were worn away/washed away by irene.

        You can’t enter an intersection doing 20 mph like what down the hill except not to T-Bone anything.

        cyclist’s fault.

      • Joe

        If I’m a pedestrian and there is a vehicle already turning across the crosswalk, and I run into it, It’s my fault, right?

        As a car driver, I have to yield to pedestrians at a crosswalk. But it seems like it is being said that I should now yield to bicyclists, who aren’t yet at or in the crosswalk, but who, based on my observation of their speed, will get there before me, assuming that they continue along their current path? That seems ludicrous.

        Yielding to vehicles who get there before me, is what people do in cars.

        I don’t particularly have an axe to grind for either side of this debate, but it seems like legally there isn’t great enough divorce between powered vehicles and unpowered vehicles. From My Experiences, bicyclists should be either treated as a car, or a pedestrian, but not both. Given what laws have been cited here, it seems like a bicyclist would be able to speed along a street, then when there is a redlight, veer 3 ft to the right, speed across a crosswalk, and continue like this all the way from point A to point B.

        Section 46.2-904, basically says that a bicyclist is a pedestrian, but bicyclists aren’t pedestrians. They can be going 20 or 30 miles an hour. They apparently can instantaneously go from being a “car” on the road to being a pedestrian, by hopping from the roadway up the curb to the sidewalk. It just seems like a recipe for disaster.

        • Undereducated

          This is the second poster that says it is ok for a bike (or pedestrian) to cross a street in a crosswalk against a red light. What’s up with that? Also, the cyclist should count their lucky stars that they only hit a car. Just think of the liability if instead they had hit and killed or maimed a pedestrian or other cyclist.

        • Landshark

          Yeah but that’s whats so great about riding a bike!

          (especially now that more people are riding, cyclists do need to be more respectfull and SHARE the roads and sidewalks)

        • The law treats cyclists in a crosswalk as a pedestrian, but the laws pertaining to red lights still apply. But that discussion is moot here because both the car and the driver had the green.

          • Undereducated

            Driver had the green light. Cyclist had either a white walk signal or a flashing amber hand, not a green light (one way street). Only the cyclist knows which and they aren’t talking. Either way, the signal must have indicated walk or don’t walk, not bike or don’t bike.

  • Bronx Native

    Why doesn’t Arlington County just ban all cars within its borders and be done with it. The hatred for cars and their drivers are evident throughout much of the County’s policies and programs.

    Of course, cyclists in Arlington County feel like they alone own the road. With the exception of the County’s ART buses and eagerly anticipated streetcars cyclists are given preferential treatment.

    I had never seen a police officer give a cyclist a ticket for disobeying a sign or running a red light; and apparently, it comes as a shock for a cyclist in Arlington County to receive a “warning” when their running a red light caused an accident.

    What would of happened if the cyclist plowed into and seriously injured a pedestrian? I am sure we would hear how it was the pedistrian’s fault because they should have known not to walk into the path of a speeding cyclist even though there is a stop sign the cyclist is supposed to obey.

  • Kirstin

    I used to live in Rosslyn and walk from Georgetown. Let me say, as a pedestrian, this intersection was ONLY safe to cross AGAINST the light (when one could see no traffic coming). The drivers all thought the green light was for them, and them alone.

  • Voice of Reason

    Amazing how much gratuitous venting there is here,
    how very little attention and focus on the specific incident!
    (No wonder flat-earthers like Bachmann & Perry & … can have traction.)-:

    1. crossing is an unusual one, in that
    1b there is only WB road traffic (crossing NB street)
    1c so that there is no **traffic light* for EB TRAIL/ped traffic,
    but just a Walk/Don’tWalk sign

    2. dubious is the legal status of a painted “STOP” on
    a sidewalk/trail –this is not a “stop sign”;
    2b and even the physical state of this marking is unknown
    at the incident time –a rider approaching the intersection
    at speed can hardly be expected to be looking DOWN at
    the ground vs. forwards at oncoming trail AND road traffic

    3. police interpretation (invention) that a cyclist becomes
    a vehicle user once on the road (even though continuing
    within trail marking and having been a trail user)
    begs the question “what road is the vehicle using?)
    and how it could possibly be expected for such vehicular
    traffic (if indeed this cyclist is such) could be going
    perpendicular to the only road present?!


  • Al

    This weekend a car made a left turn in front of me even though I had the right of way, but I am always on the lookout for drivers that are not paying attention for bikers. Whether I have the right of way or not, I will never beat out an automobile. I also see bikers blast through stop lights (in DC) and stop signs at Haines Point as if they don’t exist. We all have broken traffic laws in cars, on bikes and even while walking. I see it every day and have done so myself. So we need to stop all this righteousness crap. Funny, when I point these things out to my coworkers they back down from their rants about bikers. I guess they see the truth; we all break the law.


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