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View Full Version : Cyclist Ticketed for Getting Hit At Custis/Lynn Intersection



RideTheWomble
09-02-2011, 10:15 AM
Arlnow.com has posted a story about a cyclist who was ticketed for getting hit by a turning car (http://www.arlnow.com/2011/09/02/cyclist-issued-warning-by-acpd-after-accident/) at the infamous Lynn/Custis/MVT intersection. Expect serious anti-bike vitriol in the comments.

Comment Team, Assemble!

baiskeli
09-02-2011, 10:38 AM
Is there really a stop sign there? I've never once noticed it.

Are we really supposed to stop for it?

It's ambiguous and confusing, and it should be fixed.

My new policy is to never cross there except on the green part of the walk signal, so I should be okay anyway, legally and bodily.

OneEighth
09-02-2011, 10:42 AM
As I understood it, the cyclist here crossed with the walk signal and was still ticketed for failing to stop before crossing. This is a similar set-up to what you see on the W&OD where there are stop signs at intersections that also have walk signals.

Dirt
09-02-2011, 10:45 AM
The comment about "once you enter the intersection you become a vehicle" is not exactly right either. It isn't legal for "vehicles" to drive in the cross walk across the street.

OneEighth
09-02-2011, 10:49 AM
Yeah, there is some seriously questionable judgement here and is, frankly, a very bad precedent with serious implications for everyone who uses the trail.

jrenaut
09-02-2011, 10:50 AM
The comment about "once you enter the intersection you become a vehicle" is not exactly right either. It isn't legal for "vehicles" to drive in the cross walk across the street.
It's like the law is perpetuating the common driver complaint that bikes are cars when they want to be and pedestrians when they want to be. The law randomly chooses when to consider a bike a car and when to consider it, I don't know, a target?

baiskeli
09-02-2011, 11:08 AM
The comment about "once you enter the intersection you become a vehicle" is not exactly right either. It isn't legal for "vehicles" to drive in the cross walk across the street.

Exactly - even if bikes are vehicles on the street and subject to vehicle laws there, this is a joint bike/pedestrian trail crossing controlled by a walk signal that can't really be used any other way. Saying you're a vehicle there makes no sense.

Dirt
09-02-2011, 11:23 AM
Yeah, there is some seriously questionable judgement here and is, frankly, a very bad precedent with serious implications for everyone who uses the trail.
And people wonder why I call out "We're all gonna die!" as I enter that intersection EVERY SINGLE DAY????

To be completely fair, there are a remarkable number of cyclists who cross that intersection carrying way too much speed with their faith that having the green light will somehow protect them.

Simply having the correct attitude (for instance: assuming that no car sees you and that they will definitely not stop before hitting you) can definitely increase one's lifespan in the Rosslyn Death Zone. It takes two to tango. Cars should obey the rules and cyclists should show some sense of caution and self preservation.

That being said, the last few years I have seen a significant reduction in the number of times I've been hit at the Rosslyn intersections. It has not, however, completely eliminated them. I was hit almost 2 years ago by someone running the red light near the Marriott and last winter I had to take a dramatic swing to avoid someone running the red light going toward Key Bridge. My rather substantial hip put a similarly substantial dent in the sliding door of a minivan as a result. The frequency is less though, for which I'm happy.

americancyclo
09-02-2011, 12:07 PM
I just tried to read some of the comments on that article, and now my head hurts.

jrenaut
09-02-2011, 12:13 PM
I just tried to read some of the comments on that article, and now my head hurts.
Remember, it is a scientifically proven fact that a person's IQ is reduced by 25-40% while they are in the process of leaving a comment on a blog post. Those people aren't REALLY that dumb. Mostly.

Tim Kelley
09-02-2011, 12:14 PM
I just tried to read some of the comments on that article, and now my head hurts.

I read too many articles that end with comment sections like this. Just make sure you don't get sucked in (http://xkcd.com/386/)! It never goes anywhere or gets any better.

OneEighth
09-02-2011, 12:27 PM
Before we get too off topic, what can be done to get rid of stop signs and stop lines at intersections that have a walk/ride signal? Think about it. You don't see stop signs and traffic lights together at intersections on the road. It doesn't make any sense.
WABA?

RideTheWomble
09-02-2011, 12:30 PM
Exactly. The intersection is regulated by conflicting signage and signals. It's dangerous enough, without all the ambiguity.

Mark Blacknell is having an on-site visit there this month. If I remember correctly, he has invited County officials. Anyone else know the details?

RideTheWomble
09-02-2011, 12:31 PM
Sorry. Did I say signage? Perhaps I dignified a faded word, painted on the sidewalk as an afterthought, too much with that verbiage.

Tim Kelley
09-02-2011, 12:47 PM
Mark Blacknell is having an on-site visit there this month. If I remember correctly, he has invited County officials. Anyone else know the details?

Please see this thread: http://bikearlingtonforum.com/showthread.php?1112-Crossing-Lynn-Street-and-Lee-Highway-How-Can-We-Make-It-Safer-for-Cyclists-and-Peds

Everyone is invited!!

gregbilling
09-02-2011, 12:51 PM
I'll be at the September 12th Arlington BAC meeting representing WABA. Hope to see (and meet) many of you there!

Have a great and safe weekend!
Greg

Tim Kelley
09-02-2011, 01:36 PM
FYI--I heard from one of the Transportation Engineering & Operations guys and he said that all the "STOP" legends painted on the Custis Trail should have been removed yesterday.

Can anyone confirm this?

He wasn't sure who had put them in, whether they were installed by VDOT when the trail was built or later put in by the Parks & Rec department. If you do see any more "STOP" legends painted on the trail let me know. We're also looking into who put the miniature stop signs on the that section of downhill too.

mstone
09-02-2011, 01:39 PM
Exactly. The intersection is regulated by conflicting signage and signals. It's dangerous enough, without all the ambiguity.

What ambiguity? Is there some legal standing that I'm not aware of for a word painted on the sidewalk that conflicts with a traffic control device? Just assume it's graffiti and move on.

RideTheWomble
09-02-2011, 01:43 PM
What ambiguity? Is there some legal standing that I'm not aware of for a word painted on the sidewalk that conflicts with a traffic control device? Just assume it's graffiti and move on.

You're right, of course. The word painted on the sidewalk (which make have been removed, see above) enables the old, "HE RAN A STOP SIGN SO HE DESERVED THE TICKET/TO GET KILLED/WHAT HE GOT," argument, though.

Dirt
09-02-2011, 05:36 PM
http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6200/6107329866_2cf81cc063_b.jpg
By the way, this is the stop sign the dude got busted for running. It was removed a while back.

PotomacCyclist
09-02-2011, 08:03 PM
So if the sign had been painted in Egyptian hieroglyphics, we would be expected to read that too?

americancyclo
09-07-2011, 09:34 AM
Dirt gets a photo credit on ARLNow, and the idiocy in the comments section continues!

http://www.arlnow.com/2011/09/06/stop-removed-from-bike-trail-at-lee-hwy-and-lynn-street/

jabberwocky
09-07-2011, 10:18 AM
I've always wondered about intersections like that (where there is a signal as well as a stop sign). I also wonder whether its legally ok to ride through such intersections when the walk signal is lit (as opposed to walking). I know I tried to figure it out a few years ago, but I couldn't find anything definitive in the Virginia code at the time.

DaveK
09-07-2011, 10:35 AM
I've always wondered about intersections like that (where there is a signal as well as a stop sign). I also wonder whether its legally ok to ride through such intersections when the walk signal is lit (as opposed to walking). I know I tried to figure it out a few years ago, but I couldn't find anything definitive in the Virginia code at the time.

MUTCD Section 4D.34 -


STOP signs shall not be used in conjunction with any traffic control signal operation, except in either of the following cases:

A. If the signal indication for an approach is a flashing red at all times, or
B. If a minor street or driveway is located within or adjacent to the area controlled by the traffic control signal, but does not require separate traffic signal control because an extremely low potential for conflict exists.


The painted "stop", in addition to not being a valid traffic control device, is in conflict with the signal, in which case the operations of the signal take precedence. NVRPA needs to examine this section as it relates to the W&OD...

eminva
09-07-2011, 10:45 AM
I also wonder whether its legally ok to ride through such intersections when the walk signal is lit (as opposed to walking).

As much as the turning motorists hate the mad dash by cyclists across Lynn Street, I imagine it would drive them even more batty if we all took the time to dismount and walk our bikes across the intersection.

Liz

jabberwocky
09-07-2011, 10:58 AM
As much as the turning motorists hate the mad dash by cyclists across Lynn Street, I imagine it would drive them even more batty if we all took the time to dismount and walk our bikes across the intersection.Agreed. :) I've just always wondered, if push came to shove and it ended up in court, which way it would go. My old commute was down the 7100 trail and W&OD so I crossed a lot of trail/road intersections. I've heard people opine that "walk" means walk, implying that it isn't ok to ride through at speed even if you have the signal. I couldn't find anything in the Virginia code definitive either way though, at least back when I looked.

I definitely grew to hate some of the intersections. The 7100-New Dominion trail intersection holds a special position of hatred in my heart, even with the signal there.

americancyclo
09-07-2011, 11:18 AM
I've heard people opine that "walk" means walk, implying that it isn't ok to ride through at speed even if you have the signal. I couldn't find anything in the Virginia code definitive either way though, at least back when I looked.

46.2-904 says

"No person shall ride a bicycle ... on a sidewalk, or across a roadway on a crosswalk, where such use of bicycles ... is prohibited by official traffic control devices.

A person riding a 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. "

Which I understand as, 'there are no signs prohibiting riding a bike through the crosswalk, so it's ok!' but then again, I'm not a lawyer.

mstone
09-07-2011, 11:40 AM
Agreed, the "you have to walk your bike through the intersection" meme is the result of hazy half-remembered rules told to drivers when they were in elementary school.

I'm somewhat appalled, but only mildly surprised at the level of idiocy on the arlnow site.

Isn't it hilarious when drivers start ranting about cyclists and then claim that it's really all about the cyclist's safety? If they were really concerned about safety they'd just slow down and pay attention and we wouldn't have the problems. Like those idiotic W&OD stop signs -- sure, it's all about cyclist safety, and not about avoiding inconveniencing drivers by not putting stop signs on the cross streets.

baiskeli
09-07-2011, 03:43 PM
I also wonder whether its legally ok to ride through such intersections when the walk signal is lit (as opposed to walking). I know I tried to figure it out a few years ago, but I couldn't find anything definitive in the Virginia code at the time.

The code says you're the same as a pedestrian when you ride through a crosswalk. That implies that you can ride through it:

"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." 46.2-904

P.S. I see this has already been posted.

Jsnyd
09-07-2011, 05:42 PM
I almost got hit at this same location by a giant beer truck that right hooked me coming from the center lane. I was crossing Lynn going west towards the custis. I had the walk signal as I was approaching the intersection. I looked to see if there were cars turning and kept moving. No turn signal from the truck (that I noticed). I came inches from the grill of the truck. Didn't fall though. Luckily it was raining hard enough the I may have hydro planed around him.


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I am here: http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=38.889499,-77.091565

baiskeli
09-12-2011, 10:03 AM
I saw an idiot fly through that intersection today. The don't walk signal had already counted all the way down. Stupidity all over the place.

consularrider
09-12-2011, 01:09 PM
Must have been watching the same guy I saw enter the intersection heading east after the last second of yellow had counted down holding up the three cars that had just waited for an umbrella toting pedestrian to clear the crosswalk (she had put out her left hand to tell them to wait).

mstone
09-12-2011, 02:31 PM
to be fair, the "right to turn after red because you had to wait for a pedestrian" doesn't actually exist even if widely practiced. at busy intersections what's really needed more often is a pedestrian-only cycle, as much as that would inconvenience motorists.

Jsnyd
09-15-2011, 02:08 PM
I agree with the pedestrian only cycle. There is a good 3 seconds of the pedestrian walk light before the green light but all that does is give pedestrians the jump on the intersection. Then traffic waits for the perfect gap to shoot through before looking if a cyclist is coming across.


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I am here: http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=38.845532,-76.949908

baiskeli
09-15-2011, 02:29 PM
Must have been watching the same guy I saw enter the intersection heading east after the last second of yellow had counted down holding up the three cars that had just waited for an umbrella toting pedestrian to clear the crosswalk (she had put out her left hand to tell them to wait).

Yep, same guy.

consularrider
09-15-2011, 02:29 PM
Sometimes I wonder if the extra three seconds at the start hurts more than it helps. In the morning rush when I turn left from the trail into the crosswalk, there are often cars in the right lane of the off ramp heading west who are cheating forward to turn right on red. More often than not, they are looking for a gap in the traffic heading north on Lynn and will rarely check to their right to see if there is a pedestrian or a cyclist starting to cross when the walk light is on while the traffic light is red in all directions.

Dirt
09-15-2011, 03:14 PM
That's really some of the biggest danger we face. The last 4 times I've been hit it has been just such a situation. The driver is looking in one direction and driving in a completely different one. A front flashy light in addition to a light that you ride by is a help with that.

eminva
09-15-2011, 06:37 PM
The driver is looking in one direction and driving in a completely different one.

When I was visiting my parents last month, my mother had a new Volvo that had a feature that alerted the driver whenever something or someone was getting too close to the car (or vice versa). My first thought was to sheepishly think how many alarm bells I might be setting off when lane splitting. On further reflection, maybe this technology, as it becomes more widespread on automobiles, can help save cyclists.

Liz

vvill
09-15-2011, 08:27 PM
Yeah I pretty much assume that if I am on the right side of a car that's turning right to join traffic that the driver will not look right far enough or satisfactorily enough to see me, as they're concentrating on the left. It's not really an issue in some places, but at this intersection the visibility is already bad for both drivers and cyclists.

baiskeli
09-16-2011, 12:13 PM
That's really some of the biggest danger we face. The last 4 times I've been hit it has been just such a situation. The driver is looking in one direction and driving in a completely different one. A front flashy light in addition to a light that you ride by is a help with that.

"The last" 4 times? You've been hit more than 4 times? Wow.

Dirt
09-16-2011, 12:41 PM
"The last" 4 times? You've been hit more than 4 times? Wow.
Yup. I've lost count how many times I've been hit. Probably 10 or 12 times in the last 5 years.

rcannon100
09-16-2011, 01:51 PM
I've decided not to get hit by cars anymore. Someone told me it was bad for my heath. :D

Dirt
09-16-2011, 02:21 PM
I've done a detailed study of the relative comfort of different car hoods and fenders. By far the most comfy is the 2010 or newer Toyota Corolla. I bounced onto and slid off of it sooooo smoothly. It was almost entirely not completely horrible.

I haven't been hit in a year. *Knock on wood-grained poly vinyl.* My plan is to keep it that way for a while longer.

baiskeli
09-16-2011, 04:34 PM
Yup. I've lost count how many times I've been hit. Probably 10 or 12 times in the last 5 years.

That's alot.

Dirt
09-16-2011, 08:39 PM
Too many....



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I am here: http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=38.860925,-77.199563

DaveK
09-17-2011, 12:25 AM
Yup. I've lost count how many times I've been hit. Probably 10 or 12 times in the last 5 years.

The second sentence explains the first. :)