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Cyclist hit on WO&D trail today (Sunday)
CREATED: 09/12/10 by wombat REPLIES: 4
wombat's ravatar wombat    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 269
Cyclist hit on WO&D trail today (Sunday)
POSTED: 9/12/10 5:27 PM

Reminder to everyone to be safe and:
(1) always wear a Road ID. (
(2) obey all the rules of the road
(3) assume all drivers cannot see you

Today I witnessed a cyclist getting hit by a car. Cyclist was traveling eastbound on the WO&D trail and the 'walk' sign was green at the intersection. A car traveling north ran a red light and tried to make a right hand turn, hitting the cyclist. The car immediately stopped and the passenger called 911 while I asked the cyclist if he had a Road ID, ID, cell phone, anyone we could call. Fortunately the cyclist (Kevin) was conscious and could give us his wife's name and phone number. Within minutes police and EMS were on the scene.

I overhead the driver admitting fault to the police (triathlete in me was pleased at this while the lawyer in me silently screamed at her stupidity in admitting liability). When the police were taking my witness statement, they asked whether or not the cyclist had stopped at the posted stop sign and if he was riding or walking his bike across the intersection. I noted that the cyclist had not stopped, but that the pedestrian walk sign was green/in his favor and that the driver had run a red light. Despite these facts, I fear the cops might ticket the cyclist for failure to stop at a posted stop sign (even though there was a pedestrian walk sign in his favor).

So everyone, please be careful out there. And observe the stop signs along the WO&D trail, even if the pedestration walk sign is lit.

urbanlumberjack's ravatar urbanlumberjack    JOINED: 3/25/09    POSTS: 143
RE: Cyclist hit on WO&D trail today (Sunday)
POSTED: 9/12/10 6:59 PM

I'm fairly certain that those aren't legal stop signs and thus you can't get ticketed for ignoring them.

vatriathlete    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 685
RE: Cyclist hit on WO&D trail today (Sunday)
POSTED: 9/12/10 8:23 PM

stay safe out there and remember, ALL DRIVERS ARE TRYING TO HIT YOU. so plan accordingly.

bsull184's ravatar bsull184    JOINED: 2/6/10    POSTS: 283
RE: Cyclist hit on WO&D trail today (Sunday)
POSTED: 9/12/10 8:57 PM

Yikes. If you hear anything about what happens, let us know. I've always wondered what the rules are for those crosswalks with stop signs at the start of the trail. That section is the major reason I never ride on it.

PotomacTriathlete2009's ravatar PotomacTriathlete2009    JOINED: 9/19/09    POSTS: 532
RE: Cyclist hit on WO&D trail today (Sunday)
POSTED: 9/14/10 8:13 AM

I think the rule is that cars are supposed to yield to cyclists in the crosswalks but everyone seems to be confused by the stop signs on the trail. One time when I was near Dunn Loring, a car stopped to let me pass. I thought she had the right of way so I was stopped too. I heard the driver behind the woman shout out that the cyclists had a stop sign so drivers have the right of way.

The City of Falls Church tried to clear up the confusion this summer by installing yield signs in the middle of the crosswalk that faced the drivers coming from each direction, not the cyclists. These yield signs were located in the center of the road. There were about 4 of these signs located at intersections with the W&OD in the Falls Church city limits. Someone stole all of those yield signs shortly after they were installed. Could be teenagers. But it could be an angry driver or drivers who thought the yield signs were "outrageous" or something. Because of the substantial value of the signs, the theft is classified as a felony, with the perpetrator facing something like 10 or 20 years in prison, if he/she/they are ever caught and convicted.

It's not only the drivers (and cyclists) who get confused by the stop signs on the trail. Some police officers in local jurisdictions have been known to have a flawed understanding of the rules as they apply to cyclists and bike-car interactions. On the WashCycle blog, some local cyclists have reported that certain police officers have commanded them to move out of areas where bikes clearly are allowed.

Just for safety's sake, I would always recommend that people treat the stop signs as actual stop signs, simply because most of the drivers will refuse to yield. They speed up through those areas and there's no way many of them could ever stop in time to avoid hitting you if you were in the crosswalk at that moment. It won't be of much help to say that the driver is supposed to yield if you're lying on the pavement with a broken neck or leg. Some drivers do look out for cyclists. But it only takes a minority of drivers to make those intersections potentially dangerous to cyclists, runners and walkers.

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