Road Closed After Bicyclist Struck by Car

by ARLnow.com November 7, 2011 at 2:41 pm 6,308 70 Comments

(Updated at 3:35 p.m.) North Quincy Street was shut down this afternoon between Washington Boulevard and 11th Street — a block from Arlington Central Library and Washington-Lee High School — after a bicyclist was struck by a car.

Initial reports suggest the cyclist was alert and conscious, but suffered a head injury. She was transported to a local hospital.

The road was shut down for about half an hour while police investigated the incident.

The striking vehicle’s windshield was partially shattered as a result of the collision, and a box of mints — presumably from the victim’s pocket — could be seen resting on one of the windshield wipers. It’s unclear whether the driver of the striking vehicle will face any charges.

  • Steamboat Willie

    That stretch of N. Quincy Street is like a game of Frogger. Until the police start enforcing the speed limit and yield to pedestrian/biker crosswalks, it won’t change.

  • Rick

    Two bad accidents in that area today. Sent in pics of a bad accident at quincy and Fairfax this morning…

  • Wilbur

    Isnt that the section where the geniuses removed all the lane lines because sometime in the future they are going to repave (but in the mean time creating a dangerous situation)

    • YoBimbo

      Not sure about that… But I do know they removed the lane lines on George Mason near the Army National Guard Readiness Center, and people really have a problem figuring out where to drive. I mean, really. It’s troubling how hard it is for people to drive without lane markings.

    • Brandon

      I think you’re referring to the section that run through Cherrydale north of 66. I think the bike lane and all the lines are still there in the section near the Library.

    • Donna

      Where you’re thinking is further up, between Lee Hwy and the high school area that they took all of the markings off the road.
      It’s ridiculous really. I ride that street twice a week and it’s un-nerving because motorists don’t often give courtesy to cyclists.

      I hope this girl is okay.
      I ride my bike 2-3 times a week, all around Arlington and sometimes I think I’m taking my life in my hands.

    • charlie

      yes and no.
      they removed all the parking on the east side to put in a bike lane.
      by removing the parking it made the street wider and increased speeds.
      it is all Maryland drivers speeding up quincy, military, chain bridge and 193 to get back to Maryland.
      need a toll at Glebe and Chain Bridge Road

      • drax

        No, the drivers increased speeds.

        • charlie

          since they all drive automatics, wouldn’t that mean it is “automatic” and thus the car increased the speed?
          most people have no clue what speed they are going. just smash that left foot down and let them truckers roll….

    • UnlimitedCustoms

      Yes. They made the left/straight lane left only, causing backups heading north on Quincy at the light. There was/still is ample room to merge. This causes less cars to make it through each light cycle on Quincy.

      The others above are correct, the same thing was done at Quincy/Military/Lee.

      It appears the geniuses at Arlington DOT have done the same on Lorcom lane. The dedicated right turn lane onto Nelly Custis is now gone. Are these people accountable to anyone?

      • CW

        Ahh, I don’t head down Lorcom much, but last time I did I saw a strange sign telling drivers to “Use Turn Signal” at what looked to be a pretty normal right turn. Is that why – there used to be a dedicated turn lane?

  • Rick

    This part in particular has lane lines

  • Rick

    Judging by the accident scene, it would appear that the driver, headed southbound towards Ballston, struck a cyclist heading east on Washington. The way her car and wheels were pointed make it unlikely she turned into the bike, but im sure we’ll find out what happened soon enough.

    • JimPB

      Yes, I hope ARLNow.Com has an update that communicates the police report.

      • MB

        Unless one of the people involved in the crash gives ARLnow a copy of the report, we won’t be seeing it here.

        Unfortunately, ACPD doesn’t make its crash reports available to the public.

        • jan

          Why is that? Is the info available via Freedom of Information Act?
          Could it be to avoid ambulance chasers?

          I once had several police in my backyard, with guns drawn, approach an apparent subject.

          I called ACPD the next day to get information and they refused

          • DeeDub

            If an accident occurs and no one goes to the hospital or it doesn’t exceed a certain dollar figure, there is no report. As this person was, no doubt, taken to the hospital, there would be a report.
            I frequently ride through that intersection and always say a little prayer as I pass through. The northbound side on Quincy is even worse than this side. There’s a lane squeeze pitting car v. bike for space.

          • MB

            Arlington’s police department, along with Alexandria and Fairfax, doesn’t believe that it has to share much information with the public – so it doesn’t.

            More here – http://connectionnewspapers.com/article.asp?article=338832&paper=59&cat=104

            I think it’s a shameful lack of transparency and accountability in a County that is otherwise very open to the public. There doesn’t, however, seem to be much interest on anyone’s part to do anything about it.

          • charlie

            as much as I love ACPD (and some in particular) …
            a police report should not be public. it is not well written. it will have errors. it can be used in court.
            us busy-bodies do not need to know everything and put our sticky little fingers on every single thing the County does.

      • MashiMashi

        In places where the police give details of the accident, people can learn from the incident, and, as in Toronto, press to make changes to laws that could prevent such incidents. Example: http://www.treehugger.com/bikes/another-cyclist-gets-right-hook-its-time-sideguards-trucks-north-america.html

    • drax

      Was the slip lane involved?

    • bobco85

      I would wager that the cyclist was probably riding on the sidewalk going east on Washington Blvd. The fact that the left pedal on the bike is bent and there is a dent on the left side of the basket shows that the left side of the bike was impacted. I think the side of the handlebars was what caused the impact on the windshield. I seriously hope the cyclist was wearing a helmet, because this could easily have killed her.

      Once we find out who did what (cyclist running a red, vehicle running a red, etc.), we can assign blame.

  • kbn

    As a pedestrian, I’ve almost been hit by a car on N. Quincy many, many times. I’m a new Arlington resident, but I thought (and the signs suggest…) that pedestrians have the right of way at crosswalks.

    • JamesE

      If you are in the crosswalk yes, don’t just jump out in front of a car, it will usually win.

      • kbn

        Yeah, I never jump out because, while I’d love to sue said car for a lot of money, I value my life slightly more. But even when I’m already in the crosswalk they keep barreling by, yelling expletives or honking. Same thing happens at stoplights, where the [email protected]#%(* drivers run red lights.

        • Bluemontsince1961

          @kbn, as a long time resident of Arlington, you are sadly finding out that when you are a pedestrian (or a driver/jogger/cyclist for that matter), even if you obey the laws and practice good safety, you take your like into your hands around here with these looney drivers. I can remember a different era with far more courteous and safe drivers……I can also remember when gas was 30 cents a gallon for regular!

    • Maria

      Do a search on this site for other stories related to cars/pedestrians/cyclists, and you’ll see literally hundreds (or more) comments that deal with the whole issue of which of the groups is filled with the most jerks/idiots/inconsiderate people. Or just check back here in a while as it’s sure to happen yet again.

      • charlie

        does that make their opinions wrong?

  • yep

    I’ve seen so many people just start walking in the crosswalk with their headphones on not even paying attention or looking out for oncoming cars. Don’t assume that the cars see you just because you start walking in the crosswalk. I’ve been driving at night several times where I can’t even see the person dressed in all black walking into the crosswalk.

    • kbn

      You’re definitely right – and if someone’s being a stupid pedestrian, I have little sympathy. But I usually cross N. Quincy during the day at 9th Street, where you can see the cars and pedestrians for a few blocks and the crosswalks have the fluorescent yellow warning signs.

      • Brandon

        And still most cars won’t stop to let pedestrians cross there.

    • Whatever

      On the other hand, I live a block from this stretch of ridiculousness, where many times in the middle of a day, I’ve been halfway across Quincy Street (while pushing a large red jogging stroller) and people still don’t stop. I’ve taken now to jumping up and down and waving at times, and that still doesn’t work.

      They need to install the flashing lights crosswalks like they have near Ballston Mall or Lee-Harrison Shopping Center. This has been a bad stretch for years, and every time the county engineers come out they report back that the volume of traffic doesn’t support any changes.

      Well this year, we’ve had one person killed and now another person hit in this two block stretch. What will it take to spur the county to action.

      • Burger


        way to play on sympathies. The incident that killed the woman walking her dog had nothing to do with the cross walk nor was it near this incident. of course, what is the standard for a bike in a crosswalk?

        And, unless, you feel the need to increase taxes to an extraordinary amount to pay for flashing signs at a relatively average walking area just do what most pedestrians should do…get off their phone, stop texting and pay attention to their surroundings.

        • Deb

          The county needs to place the timed-walk lights at this intersection….it is by a high school…many kids cross at this intersection as well as at the one on the other side of W&L.

        • GMB

          VA Code says bikes have the same rights and responsibilities as pedestrians in crosswalks.

          I would be happy to see the police start a visible, public campaign enforcing all of the traffic laws in Arlington. Give us the reputation as the place where you can’t speed and you have to put down your phone.

  • Frank

    That’s nice my grandma can swing by to get his bike.

  • Wilbur

    This is near where a jogger and a dog were run over last year

    • Andrew

      not really…

  • Don Ager

    Wondering if the bicyclist didn’t obey the traffic light?

  • North A-Town Snob

    “It’s unclear whether the driver of the striking vehicle will face any charges.”

    Umm, what if they bicyclist was at fault? Is it unclear whether they will face any charges too?

    I know bikes vs. cars is an ongoing battle on this website, but if it wasn’t for me being what I think is a fairly attentive & good driver, and as such avoiding seemingly near daily collisions with bicyclists who ignore laws that apply to them as well, we would have seen multiple stories of me running over bikers on this website. And yes, I am a person who stops for the pedestrians in the mid-block crosswalks…did so this morning on Fairfax Dr in Virginia Square and the car behind me laid on their horn and whiped around me nearly hitting the person. Generally, I think both drivers and bikers need to do a better job around here.

    • Quoth the Raven

      It’s that exact move that drives me absolutely nuts. Saw a woman pushing a stroller almost get taken out by an ass who did the same thing. I’m not just stopping in the middle of the road b/c I feel like it – perhaps there is a reason I’m stopping!

      • jan

        happens to me all the time.

        • YoBimbo

          Yep. It happened at 15th & Quincy not too long ago. A car stopped for some kids to cross Quincy, and a huge pickup truck nearly rear-ended it. The driver laid on his horn, so I honked back at HIM. (I was at the stop sign on 15th waiting to turn right onto Quincy. Dude gave me the finger. Amazing.

      • Bluemontsince1961

        That’s very true, Raven. I’ve seen and experienced the same thing.

      • CW

        Most dangerous places for that 1) any bike/ped crossing on the GW parkway and 2) crossing Wilson in front of the Ballston Gold’s Gym.

        If, at either of these places, well-intentioned drivers stop to let me cross, I often wave them on if traffic is flowing because the odds of someone blasting around them while I am in front of them crossing and then hitting me as I step into the second traffic lane are practically 100%.

        • bobco85

          @CW: I frequently walk around Ballston, and I didn’t even realize there was a painted crosswalk in front of the Ballston Gold’s Gym until I checked it on Google Maps! Trying to cross there would be suicidal! The crosswalk is at a curve in the road, and there are no signs indicating a pedestrian crosswalk. What a terrible place to put a crosswalk!

          • CW

            Yeah, I somehow stupidly managed to do so for over a year. In retrospect, I’m not sure how I’m still alive. I had greater faith in crosswalks back then.

  • Teacher

    It appears from the parking decal the driver involved was or is a Fairfax County Teacher, or related to one.

  • Lawsuit

    Judging from the photo of the bike, this could have been a deliberate accident by a cyclist looking for an insurance payoff.

  • What time did the accident happen?

  • CW

    Independent of this particular accident, I’d just like to offer a friendly reminder that everyone should be extra alert tonight, whether behind the wheel, on foot, or riding. This first night when it’s truly dark for the entirety of the evening commute can often be a dangerous one.

  • Don Ager

    Is the road open yet?

  • bred

    This is not related to this particular incident, but after living in this neighborhood for more than 20 years all I can say if you are walking BE VERY CAREFUL! I was nearly rundown by some a-hole who was making a left turn from the right-hand lane, at high speed (with other cars in the left turn lane), from Randolph onto Fairfax.

  • Alma

    I am shocked at several of these comments. Anyone driving an auto needs to be aware that it is a lethal weapon. Bikes are not lethal to cars. I don’t care if the biker was at fault. The penalty for being at fault is not personal injury. People driving cars need to be careful. I walk on sidewalks daily for 2-3 hours. I am shocked at the poor driving habits I see here. Drivers need to be conscious that they can kill someone. How will that feel? Can getting somewhere 15 seconds early really be worth a human life? And bikers need to watch out for themselves. Apparently there’s a lot of road rage out there. (And bikers, it would be nice if you were more polite to us pedestrians. I’ve been close to being hit lots of times, and at 60, I’d rather not be injured.)

    • North A-Town Snob

      Really!! A bicyclist who does not follow the laws and as such causes an accident can be extremely lethal to a car and it’s driver. If the biker is at fault and causes the car in trying to avoid the collision to wreck with other cars, telephone poles, or perhaps a pedestrian, well I think you should care if the biker was at fault for causing this. It is completely feasible and most likely has happened where a biker has gone through the windshield and injured a driver. A friend of mine hit a small deer one night that went through his windshield causing him some injuries…easy to say that could have been Joe Bicyclist through his windshield…and in a worst case scenario you could argue that the biker could kill someone. And I’d say the windshield and front hood of the car in today’s incident would show that the biker can do damage. Bottom line, everyone, including the bikers, should be more careful and follow all traffic laws.

    • Burger

      People driving cars should pay attention but pedestrians and bikers generally not acting to the level of awareness they need given what happens if they are hit by a car.

      Most pedestrians are not paying attention. I was driving yesterday going from Chain Bridge Road onto Glebe and had a green arrow to turn right and almost hit a woman jogging because she assumed it was her right of way to across the intersection.

    • Rick

      That is just about the worst thing I’ve ever read on here

  • Novanglus

    Be careful labelling the bicyclist the “victim” until all the facts are known. It’s likely true, but I’d love it if ArlNow remained one of the last bastions of journalistic integrity.

    • Ann


  • charlie

    near a high school. near a library.
    walk everywhere everyone. be car free.

    im staying in my car and plan to be brain-injury-free.

  • Merrit

    Can anyone explain why the write-up included the followingin, “and a box of mints, presumably from the victim’s pocket?” Is this really relevant?

    • It’s visible in a photo so we thought it should be explained.

  • Carol_R

    It’s unfortunate that we don’t have all the pertinent facts as relate to this accident.

    In general, I am unsympathetic to bicyclists. I realize that a few (and I mean only a few – maybe 5% or less) obey traffic laws but it seems that almost 95% routinely run red lights daily, weave in and out between cars, don’t wear helmets, bike at night with no headlight wearing all black, etc…

    I have yet to hear of any bicyclist getting a ticket for egreciously disregarding traffic laws and basic safety regulations.

    It’s gotten to the point that it seems bicyclists feel entitled to disobey traffic rules and then complain about cars who don’t accomodate them.

    • Andrew

      Any studies to prove your 95% of people that are running red lights while wearing all black and no helmet without a light at night?

      Let’s not generalize. It does not help anyone or anything.

    • ArlingtonNative

      Correction … Cyclist have been cited for “egreciously disregarding traffic laws”.
      The cyclist who hit a car coming down the Custis trail towards Key Bridge was ticketed …
      Oh wait, that was because the car he hit was an ACPD cruiser!
      *Insert snarkiness here*

    • GMB

      I don’t know where you see cyclists, but on my commute, I’d say few cyclists (5%) blatantly flaunt laws (like running red lights), another 15% ride in a way I’d call unsafe (no helmet, speeding up to crosswalks). I’d guess around 70% ride safely, obeying MOST laws (but, e.g. rolling through stop signs, not coming to a complete and total stop), and 10% adhere to the letter of the law.

      I’d say drivers are worse — a good 25% flaunt laws (texting while driving, completely running stop signs, illegal turns and uturns, excessive speeding), 25% drive in ways that are unsafe (roll through crosswalks without looking, get distracted by the phone or radio, make unsafe lane changes). Most of the rest — 45% of total, I’d say — are safe, but don’t obey the letter of the law (5 miles over the speed limit, don’t always use turn signals, make the occasional call/text, don’t come to a complete stop at every stop sign) and only 5% obey the letter of the law.

      The problem I have is that a driver is piloting a large steel box. If that large steel box hits a person who isn’t protected by another steel box, the damage can be tragic. Yes, cyclists and pedestrians can cause damage as well, but the stakes are just lower. That doesn’t make it ok for cyclists and pedestrians to act in ways that are blatantly unsafe, but it does suggest the best place to efforts to change behavior (through enforcement and education).

  • charles

    Yes, ARL, was the biker wearing a helmet? You missed an opportunity to convey a useful message.

    • asheryuki

      Preach it Charles,

      A major pet peeve of mine – especially now with the Bike Share. WEAR YOUR HELMETs people.

      Think of it this way – your fabulous hair or your life – which do you choose?

      Saw a dog run out in front of a cyclist (got wedged under her tire) and she went head over heels over the handlebar.

      No matter how careful you are being, anything can happen.

  • Tabby

    ArlNow, a lot of Arlington residents had a horrid commute last night–by rail and by bus. I was on a 16Y that was backed up badly because of a gas leak near GW (have not seen anything about this in the news).

    Normal commute = 20 minutes. Last night = 2 hours

    Could not find anything about it on WTOP, here, WAPO…


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