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WillStewart
10-25-2011, 09:37 AM
Heading east on the WO&D this morning in Falls Church, a woman and her dog heading West entered the crosswalk after all the cars stopped, so I entered the crosswalk as well. Unfortunately, the car on the East side commenced forward motion as I was just about in front of her. No time to stop, so as she hit me, I rolled up on the hood and rolled off the front-right of the car and down roughly on the pavement. Bike helmets (properly adjusted and secured) are a very good thing...

No obvious injury besides a scraped elbow, everyone who stopped recommended I sit down. I was shook up, not unlike getting body-slammed hard.

The bike (Rans V-Rex) is a little crooked in the seat/rack, though I saw no obvious frame bends or weld issues. The rear derailleur will need adjustment.

Have to run to a meeting now, more later.

jrenaut
10-25-2011, 10:42 AM
Glad you're okay. Hope your bike is, too.

JustinW
10-25-2011, 11:10 AM
Happy to hear that you are (mostly) ok. What did the driver say?

WillStewart
10-25-2011, 11:14 AM
To continue, I waited a good ten minutes to see if I had any aftereffects, which didn't seem to transpire. A couple of the other cyclists helped check my bike out. It's workable, though some adjustments will be required.

I had a blinking front light, an LED of approx. 80 lumens (and a 5 LED tail light with a eyecatching blinking pattern). I had ordered a NiteRider Minewt 600 (lumen) over the weekend as an additional light (helmet mount), so that may have been helpful this morning if I'd had it.

WillStewart
10-25-2011, 11:18 AM
Happy to hear that you are (mostly) ok. What did the driver say?

The driver is a young woman who was very apologetic and very concerned, tearing up at times. I'm going to do all the repairs I can to the bike myself first, before taking it to a bike shop. I consider this a learning experience for all involved, even the witnesses (who I have all the contact info for).

americancyclo
10-25-2011, 11:21 AM
I'm assuming you got her insurance information?
Which crossing was this at? All the smaller streets have giant neon signs that tell drivers to yield.

WillStewart
10-25-2011, 11:33 AM
I'm assuming you got her insurance information?
Which crossing was this at? All the smaller streets have giant neon signs that tell drivers to yield.

I have her contact info and license number. This took place at the Great Falls St intersection with the WO&D.

Interestingly enough, the driver in the lane closest to me had waved me on. I'm going to have to make adjustments to my assumption model with regards to obtaining eye contact or at least some level of awareness of all drivers involved.

rcannon100
10-25-2011, 11:40 AM
Yikes!

Had a similar 2 years ago. Around the Lincoln, at a cross walk, with three lanes of traffic stopped. I was the fifth bike in a pack of 5. A block away on Independence a traffic light turned green. The center car took that as her cue, released her brakes, and went straight into me.

I had a dayglo jacket, flashing LED lights, and a dayglo orange helmet. The cop, who was very nice, said "yeah, in motorcycle training, they train us that drivers never see you. Even when they are looking at you, they are actually just looking through you."

My lesson was - you can do absolutely everything right. Lights. Jacket. Ride with a pack. Cross at a cross walk. Confirm all cars were stopped. And still get hit. That actually depressed me quite a bit. It took a while before I regained my confidence in the saddle. I changed my route to reduce street crossings; when I cross I am now hyper careful.

If you get the 600 lumen light, please remember that while it may help cars see you, it also blinds your fellow bikers. After dark and when on the bike path, please set the light to steady, not flash.

jrenaut
10-25-2011, 11:43 AM
Interestingly enough, the driver in the lane closest to me had waved me on. I'm going to have to make adjustments to my assumption model with regards to obtaining eye contact or at least some level of awareness of all drivers involved.
That's something my mom drilled into my head as I was learning to drive - watch out for courtesy accidents. When someone waves you on, it means THEY aren't going to kill you. They aren't speaking for everyone else. I joke about how cautious my mom is on the road, but I can't count how many times something she told me years ago has kept me out of an accident.

americancyclo
10-25-2011, 12:20 PM
motorist "courtesy" angers me like nothing else. on a bike or in a car. Don't break the rules to be 'nice'. Rules of the road are meant to be followed!

zanna_leigh
10-25-2011, 12:29 PM
Don't break the rules to be 'nice'. Rules of the road are meant to be followed!

I couldn't agree more!! Had this conversation with Chris last week when we were crossing the George Wash Pkwy on the Mt Vernon Trail as the car closest to us waived us on and the car in the lane furthest hesitated to stop.

Glad to hear you're ok WillStewart!!

Dirt
10-25-2011, 12:56 PM
I'm glad you're okay. Also happy that there's no visible damage to the bike.

Keep in mind as you look at rear shifting adjustments that your derailleur hanger may be bent. If it is an aluminum, replaceable model, those are never the same after they've been bent and should be replaced.

Hang in there! You may be sore tomorrow. Resist the temptation to be completely sedentary. Move around a bit. It is your best defense from stiffening up and becoming mroe sore.

Pete

Pete

acc
10-25-2011, 01:04 PM
I am so sorry. Thank goodness you are generally ok. I learned the hard way too not to trust the driver in the second lane to stop. I know you will get right back on the bike, but that was the hard part for me. But reading your description it seems you've already ridden.

Best wishes, please let us know how you are doing,
ann

eminva
10-25-2011, 01:12 PM
I passed by there shortly after the accident. There were already so many people gathered around you (including other cyclists), I didn't stop because I wasn't sure what I could add. In retrospect, I could have offered to get witness names/contact info (glad you got that) -- so much for my great thinking on the spot.

Glad it appears there are not serious injuries. Another reminder that we can't be too careful.

Liz

WillStewart
10-25-2011, 01:16 PM
motorist "courtesy" angers me like nothing else. on a bike or in a car. Don't break the rules to be 'nice'. Rules of the road are meant to be followed!

Since all cars were stopped before and after I entered the crosswalk, I didn't think of this as a 'courtesy accident' scenario. I think of courtesy accidents as those where a driver in one lane (normally where cars are stopped) waving a person to cross the lane, followed by a car barreling down the adjacent lane plows into the person crossing.

I don't believe I broke any rules, if that's what you are suggesting. I was in the crosswalk with all cars fully stopped.

zanna_leigh
10-25-2011, 01:19 PM
I don't believe I broke any rules, if that's what you are suggesting. I was in the crosswalk with all cars fully stopped.

I was referring to drivers - I'll encounter drivers that waive me to go if I'm turning left at an intersection even though I don't have the right of way, and of course traffic in the other lanes are barreling straight ahead. That is a courtesy driver breaking the rules to be nice and creating a dangerous scenario for the biker.

WillStewart
10-26-2011, 05:24 AM
With a growing headache throughout the day, I decided to visit my doctor (an office full of doctors and RNs, really). I was told there were no more open appointments available, could I come in tomorrow? Then they would do an assessment and see if I needed to go to the emergency room. Dumbfounded, I asked the nurse "What would you do in my situation?" Her reply, "<pause> ... I don't know". So I went to the emergency room and had a cat scan - they saw no cats, so I'm ok. The doc said my headache will likely continue into today, and he has me on Tylenol.

I had continued biking to work after the accident, which I neglected to mention earlier. I left the bike U-locked in a locked bike parking cage in order to make it home and to the ER within a reasonable amount of time (an in case my headache became exacerbated by exertion or if I started getting dizzy from a delayed concussion). Will be working from home today, to recuperate.

Arlingtonrider
10-26-2011, 06:37 AM
An urgent care center might be a good alternative. For those in or near Arlington, there's a new one that I think is at the intersection of Columbia Pike and Glebe called "Simplicity". Arlington TV did a feature on it, and it looked pretty good.

I was very sorry to hear about your accident. I hope you feel better soon!

CCrew
10-26-2011, 07:11 AM
I don't believe I broke any rules, if that's what you are suggesting. I was in the crosswalk with all cars fully stopped.

*Technically* you're not a pedestrian and you had a stop sign and they didn't which makes it your fault. So if you proceeded with stopped cars you didn't wait for clear traffic.

Now that said, we all do it, and cars stop where there are no stop signs and many of us are guilty of proceeding. I know I do. But if you tried to file an insurance claim against the driver I wouldn't be surprised if the carrier claims contributory negligence.

Regardless glad you're ok and on the mend.

txgoonie
10-26-2011, 08:28 AM
An urgent care center might be a good alternative. For those in or near Arlington, there's a new one that I think is at the intersection of Columbia Pike and Glebe called "Simplicity". Arlington TV did a feature on it, and it looked pretty good.

I went there after my bike accident. Long wait (even though I was the only one there) but good care once I got in there. You also leave with a good stack of paperwork, which is helpful for insurance/legal needs. Since they took my insurance, I only paid $15.

A friend who lives in N. Arlington and has had multiple cycling incidents has gone to Old Dominion Urgent Care and highly recommends them.

It's super important, if you think that anything could possibly be wrong after a bike incident, to get yourself checked out as soon after as possible and have record of it. Urgent care is a great option.

americancyclo
10-26-2011, 08:34 AM
I don't believe I broke any rules, if that's what you are suggesting. I was in the crosswalk with all cars fully stopped.

I was trying to admonish the cars for trying to be 'nice'. Sorry I wasn't more specific. Also, what Zanna Said. I think WillStewart was completely in the right.

americancyclo
10-26-2011, 08:39 AM
*Technically* you're not a pedestrian

Technically, according to the Code of Virginia, he IS a pedestrian.

§ 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.

CCrew
10-26-2011, 09:32 AM
Technically, according to the Code of Virginia, he IS a pedestrian.

§ 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.

Yeah, but even as a pedestrian he was required to wait for a walk light or clear traffic.. While the crosswalks are signed to tell cars that they need to stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk, it doesn't mean that you can just arbitrarily enter one and claim that you had the right to be there and the world needs to stop.

And let's not even go that he has the same rights yet still has to yield to peds ... that's an oxymoron

dasgeh
10-26-2011, 10:39 AM
Yeah, but even as a pedestrian he was required to wait for a walk light or clear traffic..

CCrew, I'm afraid you're incorrect on the law, and it's important for cyclists to understand the law.

As shown below in bold, pedestrians (and cyclists) may not enter an intersection "in disregard of approaching traffic". Sounds like WillStewart was appropriately regarding approaching traffic. (I admittedly don't know the intersection, so don't know if there was a light or other "traffic control device").

WillStewart, glad you're ok. Hope this all turns out ok.

§ 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.

MCL1981
10-26-2011, 12:20 PM
He followed the law to the letter. As stated, he has the rights of a pedestrian in that cross walk. And he did stop and wait for it to be clear before proceeding. The driver of the car started moving again while he was already in the crosswalk. A cut and dry accident that she clearly felt terrible about, but none the less, her fault 100% for not looking before she leaped.

In my other reply about lights and intersections, I said this and I'll say it again here...

In my previous life before moving here when I was a firefighter/EMT, I was the O&M guy for the warning lights and sirens on the trucks so I know a thing or two about this concept. Front and rear facing warning lights won't do jack at an intersection. You need lights that face sideways to accomplish anything. So either the light is on your helmet and you look left and right to make it happen, or you install side facing lights on the front of the bike. I'll be doing the latter using actual fire truck type warning lights just for giggles, it is going to be ridiculous. And regardless of what you do, you still need to slow being prepared and able to stop at the intersection to positively acknowledge that there is no cross traffic or that traffic sees you and has granted you the right of way. If you blow through an intersection (cross walk or not) without slowing/stopping to confirm it is clear and someone runs your ass over, I have no sympathy for you.

In this case, he did everything right. Slowed, stopped, waited, traffic was confirmed stopped. Other people also did the same. Began crossing. Car abruptly moved forward from a stop while in the middle of crossing because she wasn't paying attention. Other than attaching side facing warning lights, some things will always be unavoidable hazards.

CCrew
10-26-2011, 03:02 PM
He followed the law to the letter. As stated, he has the rights of a pedestrian in that cross walk. And he did stop and wait for it to be clear before proceeding. The driver of the car started moving again while he was already in the crosswalk. A cut and dry accident that she clearly felt terrible about, but none the less, her fault 100% for not looking before she leaped.

In this case, he did everything right. Slowed, stopped, waited, traffic was confirmed stopped. Other people also did the same. Began crossing. Car abruptly moved forward from a stop while in the middle of crossing because she wasn't paying attention. Other than attaching side facing warning lights, some things will always be unavoidable hazards.

Cars had no traffic control device at that intersection. Trail has a stop sign. Entering the intersection because he was expecting that all the cars would STAY stopped was an oversight and from a culpability standpoint means that he DID enter the intersection in disregard of approaching traffic.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again.. Cars stopping at these intersections are more of a safety hazard than cars actually maintaining speed as they are allowed because they give cyclists the impression that they are within their rights to cross when in reality they aren't.

What I'll bet happened here? A group went across and just as they cleared the intersection Will entered thinking that he had the right to cross. The cars saw the first group cross and didn't look for additional ones. And apologizing was a mistake that any first year lawyer would slap her for.

The laws you cite are 100% valid for an approaching vehicle when a pedestrian is already in a crosswalk. It does not mean that there can then be an endless procession of people crossing and then claiming they are complying with the letter of the law.

MCL1981
10-26-2011, 03:16 PM
Cars had no traffic control device at that intersection. Trail has a stop sign. Entering the intersection because he was expecting that all the cars would STAY stopped was an oversight and from a culpability standpoint means that he DID enter the intersection in disregard of approaching traffic.

Incorrect. It was a crosswalk. Additional signs or traffic control devices are not required. See the above quoted laws. Traffic is required to yield to the crosswalk, period. And traffic did indeed actually do it. The ped/cycle traffic also did indeed obey their own stop sign and proceeded once vehicle traffic had indeed yielded. The accident happened when the driver didn't see him still in the crosswalk and began to proceed through from their previous stop. Everyone did everything right. The driver just didn't see him among the other people and though it was clear to proceed. 100% the drivers fault.

CCrew
10-26-2011, 03:26 PM
Incorrect. It was a crosswalk. Additional signs or traffic control devices are not required. See the above quoted laws. Traffic is required to yield to the crosswalk, period. And traffic did indeed actually do it.

Vehicles are required to stop for a ped in the crosswalk. That we agree on. The thing is, Ped #2-10 that enters the crosswalk does so in disobedience of the traffic control device (the stop sign). They're only depending on the grace of god that the traffic remains stopped.

Now red lights and walk signals? You're 100% correct. That wasn't the case here.

Think about it. If what you say is true, then an endless succession of pedestrians spaced 20 feet apart can legally hold up traffic forever. That isn't the spirit of the law. The spirit is that a vehicle has to stop for a ped in a crosswalk if the ped is there and the car is approaching. The car isn't required to stop because someone *might* cross after them.

Now lets look at this in a different fashion.
Traffic was stopped. That means most likely that there was a previous pedestrian that crossed, and was afforded the right of way by law exactly as you've cited. But subsequent pedestrians are actually in disobediance of the traffic control device (the trail stop sign) if they subsequently enter the intersection. By all measure of the law, someone approaching the intersection as a ped should then wait for traffic to clear and then proceed. If a car then approaches, they indeed are afforded protection under the law and you are 100% correct. The problem is that peds see stopped traffic, and they think that they can simply proceed. Given the stop sign they cannot.

elcee
10-26-2011, 03:54 PM
If the forum can't agree what proper behavior is at this intersection, what chance do ordinary drivers and cyclists have?

This is a real problem with roads where explicit ("Stop" sign, crosswalk) and implicit (courtesy stop) signals conflict. Same case as Lee/Lynn - what exactly does a "Stop" sign mean for pedestrians and cyclists when there's a traffic signal as well? Adding more signs isn't the answer. Maybe taking them away is: witness the experiments in Europe where some intersections have no signs or lights at all, and drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians all have to negotiate who goes when.

Can't work in America? Just look at Manhattan, where cars routinely make right turns through crosswalks filled with pedestrians. Everyone manages to make it through. I don't have statistics, but I'll bet the accident rate is pretty low.

Of course, this depends on cars slowing down to a pace where everyone can make eye contact. It would probably require some significant road re-engineering and major driver education.

CCrew
10-26-2011, 03:59 PM
If the forum can't agree what proper behavior is at this intersection, what chance do ordinary drivers and cyclists have?

Can't work in America? Just look at Manhattan, where cars routinely make right turns through crosswalks filled with pedestrians. Everyone manages to make it through. I don't have statistics, but I'll bet the accident rate is pretty low.

So very true. And your analogy is correct, Go into DC on any day and you see vehicles turning through the crosswalks. It somehow works.

dasgeh
10-26-2011, 04:00 PM
CCrew - I believe you are incorrect in 2 important respects:


Vehicles are required to stop for a ped in the crosswalk. That we agree on. The thing is, Ped #2-10 that enters the crosswalk does so in disobedience of the traffic control device (the stop sign).

(Assuming there is a stop sign there, and it meets the definition of a "traffic control device in VA Code, which I haven't researched) The stop sign requires that the cyclist stop. He did. He proceeded. He did not disregard approaching traffic as he proceeded, because traffic was stopped.


If what you say is true, then an endless succession of pedestrians spaced 20 feet apart can legally hold up traffic forever. [...] The car isn't required to stop because someone *might* cross after them.

The situation here and my interpretation of the law would not allow for an endless succession spaced 20 feet apart to hold up traffic. If peds were spaced so much apart, the first peds would completely pass the cars, making it safe and lawful for them to proceed, before the next peds would be in the intersection. On the other hand, if there are, say, 10 peds walking together, once the first enters the intersection, yes, the cars should remain stopped until all cross. Do you disagree that is the lawful result?

In this case, it seems that ped entered, cars stopped. While ped was still in the crosswalk, cyclist stopped and proceeded to enter the crosswalk. Some cars remained stopped. One did not. The one that did not was not yielding the right-of-way to the cyclist crossing such highway. The driver of that vehicle did not "stop if necessary to permit pedestrians to cross such intersections safely and expeditiously".

The reason I think it's important to discuss what the responsibility of drivers is here because we're probably all drivers and we may be victims of or witnesses to accidents. As a cyclist, I don't trust drivers to know and follow the law. But when I drive, I try to follow the law, so I like to know it. And I hope that if I have the bad fortune to be a victim or witness to drivers violating the law, I'll be equipped to help law enforcement evaluate the situation in compliance with the law.

CCrew, I only hope that when you're behind the steering wheel or a witness/victim to an accident, you don't act on your incorrect interpretation of the law.

MCL1981
10-26-2011, 04:23 PM
Ditto. Vehicle traffic is required to yield to the crosswalk. The stop sign for peds/bikes is irrelevant to the vehicle traffic. If crosswalk peds/bikes are at the crosswalk, the traffic is required to yield to them. They are not required to yield only to one at a time. If there is a line of 20 peds and bikes with no gap for a vehicle to pass through safely, then yes, vehicle traffic will be waiting. 20ft is more than enough of a ped gap for a car to pass through. Your understanding and interpretation of crosswalks is quite flawed.

And regardless, Will DID stop. And he did proceed once vehicle traffic yielded. And the vehicle traffic started again while he was still in the crosswalk. It is 110% not his fault no matter how you try to misinterpret the law.

CCrew
10-26-2011, 04:35 PM
We'll agree to disagree. With a Ped AT the crosswalk the vehicles have no duty to stop. Pedestrian IN the crosswalk they do.

By both of your definitions I can ignore walk signals and stop signs and be in the right if I'm merely in the proximity of a crosswalk and vehicles simply have to wait for me to make a decision..

"If peds were spaced so much apart, the first peds would completely pass the cars, making it safe and lawful for them to proceed, before the next peds would be in the intersection."

And I'm sure that's what happened here. Vehicles were stopped for another person, and Will assumed they were stopped for him and proceeded into the intersection.

ronwalf
10-26-2011, 05:29 PM
By both of your definitions I can ignore walk signals and stop signs...

The definitions he gave were quoted from VA law. They do not let you ignore walk signals (that's elsewhere), and stop signs on the trail do not change the duty of approaching drivers. I'm not sure why there's such a difficulty in interpreting this clear section of law, other than that it so plainly contradicts the everyday behavior of drivers.

MCL1981
10-26-2011, 05:44 PM
With a Ped AT the crosswalk the vehicles have no duty to stop. Pedestrian IN the crosswalk they do.
I think you're drawing a line where there isn't one. Someone standing at the curb waiting is in the crosswalk. People are are not required to step out in front of cars to get them to yield.


By both of your definitions I can ignore walk signals and stop signs and be in the right if I'm merely in the proximity of a crosswalk and vehicles simply have to wait for me to make a decision..
Walk / Don't walk signals are a totally unrelated matter in a different section of the law.


And I'm sure that's what happened here. Vehicles were stopped for another person, and Will assumed they were stopped for him and proceeded into the intersection.
That is not what happened here at all. He has detailed what happened twice and that isn't even close. They both entered at the same time and passed eachother in the middle. This is so cut and dry, I don't understand why you're trying so hard to make it his fault when the law in both spirit and text is so clear.

americancyclo
10-26-2011, 09:52 PM
Cars had no traffic control device at that intersection.
The cars do have a traffic control device. It's the yield sign found in the MUTCD Section 2B.12 In-Street Pedestrian Crossing Signs (R1-6, R1-6a). the ones that are ay all the w&od crossings near falls church. The ones that were stolen last year. I'd love to get some clarification from a lawyer, cop, and judge about this. It's almost as contentious as the GW Parkway crossing by memorial bridge.

CCrew
10-27-2011, 05:09 AM
I think you're drawing a line where there isn't one. Someone standing at the curb waiting is in the crosswalk. People are are not required to step out in front of cars to get them to yield..

Wrong. Crosswalks are in the roadway. They are not part of the sidewalk. Therefore your standing on the trail does not provide you the legal justification you seem to think you have.

Legal Definition of a Crosswalk | Pedestrian|
"That part of a roadway at an intersection included within the connections of the lateral lines of the sidewalks on opposite sides of the highway measured from the curbs, or in the absence of curbs, from the edges of the traversable roadway; and in of the lateral lines of the existing sidewalk at right angles to the centerline. (b) Any portion of a roadway at an intersection or elsewhere distinctly indicated for pedestrian crossing by lines or other markings on the surface."

According to Section 3B.17 of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), crosswalks serve the following purposes:

"Crosswalk markings provide guidance for pedestrians who are crossing roadways by defining and delineating paths on approaches to and within signalized intersections, and on approaches to other intersections where traffic stops. Crosswalk markings also serve to alert road users of a pedestrian crossing point across roadways not controlled by traffic signals or STOP signs. At intersection locations, crosswalk markings legally establish the crosswalk."

americancyclo
10-27-2011, 06:46 AM
Crosswalks are in the roadway.

CCrew is right about this one, but I think the confusion comes with the language in the VA Code. It says "at" crosswalks in all the language. I understand this as being on the side of the road, but not yet "in" the roadway, preparing to enter the crosswalk.


Therefore your standing on the trail does not provide you the legal justification you seem to think you have.

I'm curious about this one too, since I would assume that the trail is continuous. If you are in the crosswalk, you are still on the trail. How does that play in to the situation?

MCL1981
10-27-2011, 07:17 AM
The MUTCD is irrelevant. It is not motor vehicle or pedetrian law. It is guidebook for road design and markings. It is no more applicable than book you buy in the bike shop on biker's responsibility.

A person at the curb waiting to cross is at the crosswalk and requires traffic to yield. The law is written very clearly in that manner and there is enforcement action by the police to back it up. You're still making up law and procedure that doesn't exist.

mstone
10-27-2011, 07:54 AM
Wrong. Crosswalks are in the roadway. They are not part of the sidewalk. Therefore your standing on the trail does not provide you the legal justification you seem to think you have.

Legal Definition of a Crosswalk | Pedestrian|
"That part of a roadway at an intersection included within the connections of the lateral lines of the sidewalks on opposite sides of the highway measured from the curbs, or in the absence of curbs, from the edges of the traversable roadway; and in of the lateral lines of the existing sidewalk at right angles to the centerline. (b) Any portion of a roadway at an intersection or elsewhere distinctly indicated for pedestrian crossing by lines or other markings on the surface."

According to Section 3B.17 of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), crosswalks serve the following purposes:

"Crosswalk markings provide guidance for pedestrians who are crossing roadways by defining and delineating paths on approaches to and within signalized intersections, and on approaches to other intersections where traffic stops. Crosswalk markings also serve to alert road users of a pedestrian crossing point across roadways not controlled by traffic signals or STOP signs. At intersection locations, crosswalk markings legally establish the crosswalk."

Please also check relevant judicial precedent. I believe that the courts have found that there is a clear intent by the legislature to allow people to cross the street, and it is not the case that people have to risk their lives by stepping into the street before cars need to yield. That flies in the face of your argument that a stream of pedestrians can hold up traffic forever. The answer is: yes, they can. The other possible interpretation is that a stream of cars can keep pedestrians from crossing forever. The precedent is that pedestrians have a higher right (and in practice there is not generally a solid stream of pedestrians so this is not an undue burden on motorists).

Note also that regardless of that precedent, any argument that a car can start from a stop while a pedestrian is actually in an intersection and then run into the pedestrian is completely unsupported by the law.

JeffC
10-27-2011, 08:36 AM
Will,
glad you are feeling better. I have only had two accidents, both of which involved me falling and were caused my own stupidity or recklessness but even those minor mishaps can shake and cut you up, you are just so unprotected on a bike.

I know the Falls Church City/Great Falls, W&OD intersection extremely well as I live about 1 mile from there. I don't usually take it in the morning (take Park St and Little Falls) but do more often take it in the evening. I would actually prefer for the cars to just go through until it is clear. I usually do exactly what you do, wait to make eye contact with both drivers, usually one stops first. It does get more difficult with less daylight. I usually take it going west in the evening and then turn briefly onto Great Falls and then make a right turn a block later up Virginia Avenue. I have had a few close calls there.

For those of you who really hate the Falls Church City crossings, you could instead get off the W&OD at Little Falls St, make a right on Park, left on Virginia, cross Rte 7 and then wind your way down Virginia and Sherrow through some other side streets and pick up West St briefly before headed through another residential area and then picking up the trail on the other side of Rte 7 but before the Shreve crossing. It definitely does not save time but I think it has less of those crossings. I'm not doing justice to all the turns so study a map and you'll see what I'm describing.

americancyclo
10-27-2011, 08:50 AM
you could instead... 435

I think that's the route you're trying to describe. I wouldn't personally go that way, but I'm ok with the crossings. Ride them daily.

JeffC
10-27-2011, 09:01 AM
Yes Americancyclo, that is the route, I'm not so great at attaching those maps with the specified routes. Not having to do the crossings in Falls Church, except the Great Falls one where I get off but only reading about accidents on them probably gives me a bad perspective on them. I'm sure most do fine with them. I have also found that taking the same route over and over again can get tedious so breaking it up with some deviations away from the trail can be nice.

americancyclo
10-27-2011, 09:13 AM
I have also found that taking the same route over and over again can get tedious so breaking it up with some deviations away from the trail can be nice.

On my weekend errand rides, I tend to favor Park for that exact reason.

WillStewart
10-27-2011, 09:14 AM
...any argument that a car can start from a stop while a pedestrian is actually in an intersection and then run into the pedestrian is completely unsupported by the law.

That is what this all boils down to, and I'm surprised that there has been any debate on that point.

As mentioned previously I went into the ER Tuesday afternoon as I was experiencing a headache that was growing in intensity and pressure. A cat scan showed no cats ;), but the dr. said my headache would likely continue well into the next day. It did indeed, tapering off in the late afternoon, gone by bedtime. Telecommuting helped me to to take it easy and recuperate.

I am a bit sore and achy, but was ready to get back in the saddle today to ride the bike from the office to Bikes@Vienna (modest 8.5 mile ride) to make the necessary adjustments (recumbent with crooked seat and rack, plus shifter tweaks, and misc), except for the amount of rain forecast and my desire to keep my healing abrasions dry (plus I need to be at a 6pm community meeting in Loudoun and I work in Arlington, so timing would have been an issue).

Thanks to all for their support and encouragement :)

CCrew
10-27-2011, 09:17 AM
The MUTCD is irrelevant. It is not motor vehicle or pedetrian law. It is guidebook for road design and markings. It is no more applicable than book you buy in the bike shop on biker's responsibility..

I guess VDOT's is irrelevant too. http://www.virginiadot.org/business/resources/Marked_20Crosswalks_20Final_20Guidelines_2012-14-05.pdf

Not to mention: Section §46.2-924B of VA law states: “No pedestrian shall enter or cross an intersection in
disregard of approaching traffic." which means that you can't just arbitrarily assume that you can step out and have the right of way.

There have been several attempts to change 46.2-924 to make vehicles STOP vs yield, as judicial leanings have determined that the "yield" is subject to driver interpretation.

I'm not making up law. You refuse to admit that your intrepretation of a crosswalk is flawed. The curb is not legally the crosswalk. Feel free to cite legal prescedent.

I suggest you look at 46.2-100 for the definition of crosswalk before you get carried away.

"Crosswalk" means that part of a roadway at an intersection included within the connections of the lateral lines of the sidewalks on opposite sides of the highway measured from the curbs or, in the absence of curbs, from the edges of the traversable roadway; or any portion of a roadway at an intersection or elsewhere distinctly indicated for pedestrian crossing by lines or other markings on the surface

acc
10-27-2011, 09:39 AM
Thanks for letting us know how you are progressing. Sounds like everything is going as well as can be expected. I'm sorry about your head, glad you sought medical attention. You are pretty darn tough.

Happy riding,
ann

americancyclo
10-27-2011, 09:40 AM
I am a bit sore and achy, but was ready to get back in the saddle today

Glad you're on the mend!

baiskeli
10-27-2011, 09:46 AM
I had a dayglo jacket, flashing LED lights, and a dayglo orange helmet. The cop, who was very nice, said "yeah, in motorcycle training, they train us that drivers never see you. Even when they are looking at you, they are actually just looking through you."

Yep. Saw this TV show recently:

http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/brain-games/

Episode 2 - "Pay Attention" - was about how our brains screen out all kinds of information, especially visual information. A driver may literally not process you in his/her brain even if his/her eyes do.

Essential to know if you're a cyclist.

MCL1981
10-27-2011, 11:02 AM
The law says AT the crosswalk, not IN the crosswalk. And the enforcement by police on the matter backs up my points. If someone is standing at the curb waiting to cross, vehicle traffic must yield. End of story. You can go on and on all your want. Your interpretation is still incorrect and not in line with precedent either. And your entire interpretation of what happened in this incident remains to be incorrect.

CCrew
10-27-2011, 01:54 PM
The law says AT the crosswalk, not IN the crosswalk. And the enforcement by police on the matter backs up my points. If someone is standing at the curb waiting to cross, vehicle traffic must yield. End of story. You can go on and on all your want. Your interpretation is still incorrect and not in line with precedent either. And your entire interpretation of what happened in this incident remains to be incorrect.

§ 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.

You are on the curb: You are on a SIDEWALK. Cars do not have to stop or yield.
Step off the curb: You are on a CROSSWALK. Proviided you did not disobey a traffic control device and you were already IN the crosswalk when a car arrived the law applies.

Trail is controlled by a stop sign. Road only has an informative "Yield to Peds IN crosswalk" which is the law anyway. You go through the stop in front of a car and it's paramount to running a red light, whether the cars are stopped or not. Many here can tell you that the cops enforce that. That's the letter of the law. Step out and get into the inteersection before a car comes, and yes they have to stop.

Now, the spirit of the law can be construed differently, and barring you posting case law that says the letter of the law is wrong then this horse is dead.

dasgeh
10-27-2011, 02:19 PM
@WillStewart - I'm so glad you're healing up well.


@CCrew - The actions of the driver in this accident (per the facts we've been told) were unlawful. First, our dear injured friend was IN the road, so clearly on the crosswalk, at the time of the accident, so he clearly had the rights of a ped. Second, the section of VA Code that applies to how a driver should behave isn't governed by 46.2-904, but by 46.2-924. The pertinent part of that section reads "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;". Third, the driver in question was in an interior lane (not next to the curb), and was stopped when WillStewart entered the intersection.

So to recap - cyclist in the road, clearly on the crosswalk, clearly a pedestrian crossing a highway at a clearly marked crosswalk; driver goes from stopped to moving, clearly not yielding the right of way.


@ Everyone else -- I'm starting to get the impression that CCrew is alone in his resistance to logical interpretation of the law. I don't like arguing with brick walls, especially if everyone agrees that the brick wall is wrong on this point. So unless someone speaks up in CCrew's defense, I think I'm going to let all of the very good arguments and links to Va Code stand on their own. I'm also going to hope that if I'm injured in a crash, CCrew isn't the only one nearby to help talk to the witnesses/cops.

CCrew
10-27-2011, 02:19 PM
Will, let me say, that the discussion here wasn't in regard to pinning blame on you, just as an interpretation of the applicable laws. I hope that you're well, and that you and the bike are back riding soon.

CCrew
10-27-2011, 02:21 PM
@ Everyone else -- I'm starting to get the impression that CCrew is alone in his resistance to logical interpretation of the law. I don't like arguing with brick walls, especially if everyone agrees that the brick wall is wrong on this point. So unless someone speaks up in CCrew's defense, I think I'm going to let all of the very good arguments and links to Va Code stand on their own. I'm also going to hope that if I'm injured in a crash, CCrew isn't the only one nearby to help talk to the witnesses/cops.

Or that no one else wants to get piled on like I have. :p

Funny though, I have 1/2 a floor of lawyers here at my disposal. They agreed that by the letter of the law I am correct. The *spirit* of the law however it could go either way in a courtroom. One of the problems with many cyclists though is that they interpret the law to their best advantage.

And considering I put 40k miles a year on a car and 13k so far this year on a bike without being dead (or having a collision with other than deer) I didn't just fall out of the back of the turnip truck.

WillStewart
10-27-2011, 02:24 PM
CCrew, several here, including myself, can't understand why you are beating a dead horse. "Yield to Peds IN crosswalk" describes exactly the situation I was in. The stopped car should not have begun moving forward, penetrating the crosswalk when a pedestrian was already in the crosswalk.

Since neither you nor the rest of us are lawyers (or judges), I think we've aired our opinions to the point of saturation.

baiskeli
10-27-2011, 02:55 PM
As I understand it, the law basically follows common sense anyway.

"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;...

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."

And a bike using a crosswalk is a pedestrian, legally.

So, if you're about to cross at a crosswalk, you wait until it's safe - so a car won't run you down because it didn't have time to stop. If you're already in the crosswalk, cars must yield - and not run you down.

So cars have the right of way until a pedestrian is in a crosswalk, and then the pedestrian does. And both must use proper judgment to protect themselves and the other party.

If, like in this case, a car doesn't appear to be moving or moving fast enough to be a hazard, you can cross and then it must yield.

But I'm no expert.

DismalScientist
10-27-2011, 03:36 PM
@WillStewart Of course it is beating a dead horse. Just like we are doing in the other thread.:rolleyes: BTW, glad to hear you are healing well.

I think baiskeli has summarized this correctly. When I (rarely) drive, I often slow and sometimes stop at such crosswalks because my experience as a bicyclist leads me to conclude some of my "colleagues" are sometimes reckless. I worry that this might be misinterpreted as a courtesy stop, leading to potential collisions with other drivers if the cyclist/pedestrian crosses. What do you suggest is appropriate driver etiquette in this situation?

dasgeh
10-27-2011, 04:47 PM
Since neither you nor the rest of us are lawyers (or judges), I think we've aired our opinions to the point of saturation.

Actually, I am a lawyer. Just padding my post count...

mstone
10-27-2011, 07:24 PM
Not to mention: Section §46.2-924B of VA law states: “No pedestrian shall enter or cross an intersection in
disregard of approaching traffic." which means that you can't just arbitrarily assume that you can step out and have the right of way.


You seem to misinterpret "disregard of approaching traffic" to mean that you can't cross if a car is present. If the pedestrian notes that the car is stopped at the crosswalk, he has fulfilled his duty to exercise care and may reasonably assume that the car will remain stopped while he is in the intersection. Please refer to PHILLIPS v. STEWART 148 S.E.2d 784 (1966) which holds that even if the car is merely slowing the pedestrian may assume that the car is properly yielding the right of way.



I'm not making up law. You refuse to admit that your intrepretation of a crosswalk is flawed. The curb is not legally the crosswalk. Feel free to cite legal prescedent.


You're not making up law, you're making up fact. The pedestrian was in the intersection when the stopped vehicle started moving. The curb has absolutely nothing to do with this.

mstone
10-27-2011, 07:25 PM
Funny though, I have 1/2 a floor of lawyers here at my disposal. They agreed that by the letter of the law I am correct. The *spirit* of the law however it could go either way in a courtroom. One of the problems with many cyclists though is that they interpret the law to their best advantage.


Since we don't have access to those lawyers and we don't have any idea what you actually asked or how you presented it, that line of argument is somewhat akin to "I know I'm right because I got a message from god telling me I was".

consularrider
10-28-2011, 03:07 PM
CCrew's discussion has been very useful, because this was one of the points the Arlington Police Chief was making during our discussion at the Lynn/Lee crossing in September. That's the way he and the other Arlington Police officer were interpreting the law. Distressingly, he was also saying the cyclist who enters the intersection before a car turning from the same street for a left or right cross/left or right hook, could also be found at fault (made no sense at the time or after further reflection). That was the situation of the cyclist struck there in August who received a warning ticket from best anyone could tell.

eminva
10-28-2011, 08:11 PM
CCrew's discussion has been very useful, because this was one of the points the Arlington Police Chief was making during our discussion at the Lynn/Lee crossing in September. That's the way he and the other Arlington Police officer were interpreting the law. Distressingly, he was also saying the cyclist who enters the intersection before a car turning from the same street for a left or right cross/left or right hook, could also be found at fault (made no sense at the time or after further reflection). That was the situation of the cyclist struck there in August who received a warning ticket from best anyone could tell.

This is a good point and I had the same impression from the meeting. To paraphrase, I understood his position to be that the cyclist is in the best position to avoid an accident, and thus the onus is on the cyclist to do so. I think unfortunately it doesn't matter what the statute says if the first line of enforcement takes this attitude.

Although I am admitted to practice in the Commonwealth (and I know I'm not the only one), I have been loathe to wade into this debate, because traffic law is so far from my area of expertise and interpretation of any statutory provision hinges on so much beyond the plain language. I noticed that one of the speakers at the WABA summit next Thursday will be an attorney who is addressing the legal rights of cyclists. For anyone attending the event, it might be worth putting the question we've been debating to him, if he is taking questions.

Liz

Arlingtonrider
10-28-2011, 08:42 PM
Bruce Deming, the Virginia lawyer speaking at the WABA summit, is well worth hearing for anyone who can manage to attend. He is very knowledgeable and experienced in personal injury law relating to bicyclists, and I think is working on a book about it. I understand from a mutual friend that he is also an accomplished mountain biker. WABA sponsored a great program that I attended a couple of months ago with three excellent bike lawyers from the area, and Bruce was one of them. These guys know each other and share their courtroom experiences, so when they talk you get expertise gleaned from many sources. I wish I could attend the summit but I can't. I hope those who can will take advantage of the opportunity.

DismalScientist
10-28-2011, 08:55 PM
Am I to interpret this as saying that I must anticipate potential bonehead maneuvers by drivers before entering the crosswalk even when the light indicates I have the right of way? Furthermore, these anticipated bonehead maneuvers can commence even after I entered the crosswalk? Ouch... Ride defensively everyone.

acc
10-29-2011, 06:54 AM
Although I am admitted to practice in the Commonwealth (and I know I'm not the only one), I have been loathe to wade into this debate, because traffic law is so far from my area of expertise and interpretation of any statutory provision hinges on so much beyond the plain language.

Liz[/QUOTE]

According to the little card in my wallet I can practice law but in reality having me represent you would guarantee your swift conviction, a long stay as a guest of the state, and quite likely your deportation even if you were born and raised in Arlington County. That being said, the discussion/presentation at the Death Zone last September left me with the following take away point that I immediately had tattooed on my forearm for easy reference:

The cyclist is always wrong.

Argue or don't argue the *finer* points of the law. Paranoia and the belief that every driver exists in a vegetative state has kept me alive so far.

Please make it stop raining,
ann

elcee
10-29-2011, 12:20 PM
Am I to interpret this as saying that I must anticipate potential bonehead maneuvers by drivers before entering the crosswalk even when the light indicates I have the right of way? Furthermore, these anticipated bonehead maneuvers can commence even after I entered the crosswalk? Ouch... Ride defensively everyone.

Actually, that's my mantra when I drive as well.

WillStewart
10-30-2011, 07:50 AM
Just found out last night that the young woman driver is a cycling enthusiast herself, and was hit by a car once as well. She's being reallly hard on herself.

Mark Blacknell
10-31-2011, 09:52 AM
Perhaps interesting to those playing along at home:


593 S.E.2d 201
267 Va. 458
Howell RUSS
v.
James DESTIVAL.
Record No. 030892.
Supreme Court of Virginia.
March 5, 2004.


Edward L. Weiner (Lawson D. Spivey, III; Weiner & Associates, on brief), Fairfax, for appellant.
Julia B. Judkins (Trichilo, Bancroft, McGavin, Horvath & Judkins, on brief), Fairfax, for appellee.
Present: All the Justices.
KINSER, Justice.

The sole question in this appeal is whether a jury instruction stating that a bicyclist has a duty to refrain from entering or crossing an intersection in disregard of "close or approaching" traffic is an inaccurate statement of law. In light of the plain terms of Code 46.2-924(B), we answer that question in the affirmative and thus conclude that the circuit court erred in granting the instruction.

Howell Russ, the appellant, filed a motion for judgment against James Destival, the appellee, claiming damages for personal injuries allegedly sustained as a result of an accident that occurred at the intersection between Braddock Road and Prestwick Drive in Fairfax County. Russ was riding a bicycle westbound along a path that runs adjacent to Braddock Road and, as he proceeded across Prestwick Drive, he was struck by an automobile driven by Destival.1

Braddock Road is a four-lane highway divided by a median strip. Prestwick Drive is a two-lane street that provides ingress and egress to a residential neighborhood and has a posted speed limit, according to Russ, of 25 miles per hour. As Destival traveled along Prestwick Drive and approached the intersection between these two roads, he came to a stop sign and white "stop line" at the end of Prestwick Drive. According to his trial testimony, Destival stopped his vehicle behind the white line but then "eased" his vehicle forward, beyond the white line, to within six to eight feet of the eastbound lanes of Braddock Road in order to see oncoming traffic more clearly. He intended to turn left and proceed westbound on Braddock Road. When he accelerated forward to cross the eastbound lanes to the median, he heard a yell and a "large thud." Destival admitted that he never saw Russ before the impact.

Russ testified that, as he approached the intersection in question, he saw Destival's vehicle come to a stop beyond the white line "but not in the path of the bike path." He stated that Destival's vehicle "roll[ed] through the stop sign and stop[ped] just before the end of the bike path." Russ admitted that he never stopped his bicycle before crossing Prestwick Drive in front of Destival's vehicle.

During argument on jury instructions, Destival offered Jury Instruction Q, which stated:

A bicyclist has a duty to use ordinary care when he is riding on or crossing the hard surface of a highway:
(1) to keep a lookout for motor vehicles;
[593 S.E.2d 203]
(2) to refrain from entering or crossing an intersection or the hard surface of a highway in disregard of traffic which is close or approaching in such a manner that a reasonable person would not attempt to enter or cross; and
(3) to step or move from his course into a place of safety if it reasonably appears to him that he is in danger of being struck by a motor vehicle.
If a bicyclist fails to perform any one or more of these duties, then he is negligent. Destival had modified the instruction from its original version to include the word "close" in subsection 2.

The circuit court granted the jury instruction over Russ' objection, and the jury returned a verdict in favor of Destival.

Russ filed a motion to set aside the jury verdict and enter judgment in his favor, or in the alternative, to grant him a new trial. The circuit court denied Russ' motion. This Court granted Russ an appeal limited to the following assignment of error:
The court erred in its rulings regarding the jury instructions on the appropriate law, and further in failing to grant the plaintiff judgment notwithstanding the verdict on these grounds.
A. The court erred when it approved defendant's Instruction Q, as modified by the defendant, as it was an inaccurate and misleading statement of Virginia law.

As Destival correctly argues, the sole issue before us is whether Instruction Q was a correct statement of Virginia law. Any question about whether that instruction was applicable to the facts of this case is not encompassed within the assignment of error. Thus, we will confine this opinion to the narrow issue raised by Russ' assignment of error. See Wolfe v. Board of Zoning Appeals, 260 Va. 7, 14-15, 532 S.E.2d 621, 624-25 (2000) (we do not consider arguments that are not the subject of an assignment of error).

Russ' contention that Instruction Q was an inaccurate statement of law focuses on the insertion of the word "close" in subsection 2. He contends that the instruction as modified altered the provisions of Code § 46.2-924 establishing a pedestrian's right-of-way and that the jury was thus presented with an inaccurate legal standard regarding his duty of care.

The relevant provisions of Code § 46.2-904 state that "[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."2 A pedestrian's right-of-way vis-a-vis a vehicle is set forth in Code § 46.2-924(A):
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;3
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 thirty-five miles per hour.

However, Code § 46.2-924(B) states, in pertinent part, that "[n]o pedestrian shall enter or cross an intersection in disregard of approaching traffic." This latter provision is determinant of the issue in this appeal.

Subsection 2 of Instruction Q informed the jury that a bicyclist has a duty to refrain from entering or crossing an intersection in disregard of traffic that is either "close or approaching." The addition of the word "close" altered the statutory duty of a bicyclist. The provisions of Code § 924(B) require a bicyclist to refrain from entering or crossing an intersection in disregard of "approaching traffic." The statute does not include traffic that is "close." To state in a jury instruction that a bicyclist must refrain from entering or crossing an intersection in disregard of traffic that is "close," i.e., stopped, runs afoul of the plain terms of Code § 46.2-924(B) and a pedestrian's right-of-way established in subsection A of that statute.

Contrary to Destival's argument, this Court's decisions in which we have used words such as "near," "in close proximity," "close," or "dangerously near" in describing those vehicles that a pedestrian should see and heed do not support a different result. In Hopson v. Goolsby, 196 Va. 832, 839, 86 S.E.2d 149, 153 (1955) (quoting Hooker v. Hancock, 188 Va. 345, 356, 49 S.E.2d 711, 716 (1948)), we stated that "if a person having a duty to look `carelessly undertakes to cross without looking, or, if looking, fails to see or heed traffic that is obvious and in dangerous proximity and continues on into its path, he is guilty of negligence as a matter of law.'" Accord Carson v. LeBlanc, 245 Va. 135, 140, 427 S.E.2d 189, 192 (1993); Cofield v. Nuckles, 239 Va. 186, 190, 387 S.E.2d 493, 495 (1990); Straughan v. Nash, 215 Va. 627, 632, 212 S.E.2d 280, 283 (1975). Elaborating on a pedestrian's duty to keep a lookout for vehicles, we explained that "[t]he duty of looking is based on the wisdom of seeing whether traffic is approaching, where and at what speed" and "[i]f looking discloses approaching traffic, then the right to proceed is to be tested by whether a person of ordinary prudence would attempt it." Hopson, 196 Va. at 839, 86 S.E.2d at 153 (citing Rhoades v. Meadows, 189 Va. 558, 562, 54 S.E.2d 123, 125 (1949)). These cases and the others cited by Destival emphasizing a pedestrian's duty to see and heed "approaching" traffic are consistent with the directive in Code § 46.2-924(B) requiring a pedestrian not to enter or cross an intersection in disregard of "approaching traffic." They do not alter a pedestrian's duty in that instance.

Thus, we hold that Instruction Q was not an accurate statement of Virginia law and that the circuit court erred in giving the instruction to the jury.4 Accordingly, we will reverse the judgment of the circuit court and remand this case for further proceedings.

Reversed and remanded.

Notes:
1. Russ was towing a trailer in which his three-year-old son was riding.
2. In light of the statute, we will use the terms "bicyclist" and "pedestrian" interchangeably.
The term "crosswalk" is defined as "that part of a roadway at an intersection included within the connections of the lateral lines of the sidewalks on opposite sides of the highway measured from the curbs or, in the absence of curbs, from the edges of the traversable roadway; or any portion of a roadway at an intersection or else-where distinctly indicated for pedestrian crossing by lines or other markings on the surface." Code § 46.2-100.
3. The pictures introduced into evidence demonstrate that there was not a marked crosswalk at the intersection of Braddock Road and Prestwick Drive.
4. We express no opinion regarding whether Instruction Q without the modification applies to the facts of this case or whether, in a new trial, the circuit court should give such an instruction to the jury.

WillStewart
10-31-2011, 02:35 PM
Mark, I believe what you've posted addresses all the aspects of this particular thread quite completely.

CCrew
10-31-2011, 03:44 PM
Looks to me that it was a case that was remanded to the lower court on appeal due to a faulty jury instruction. Will be interesting to see how people claim that it bolsters their argument here..Because until it got remanded, the cyclist had been found negligent.

And considering it was a Supreme Court of VA decision remanding it he got found negligent at several lower levels to boot.

MCL1981
10-31-2011, 04:51 PM
The situation is not even remotely the same. But none the less, being found negligent at several lower levels is meaningless with the faulty jury instructions. So point is moot.

Based on the limited description provided in this briefing, his argument for appeal is absolutely correct. You can't just modify the law to be more fitting for your court case. As for who was right and who was wrong, it could go either way. I think they were both wrong. The driver was wrong for not yielding to the cyclist. The cyclist was wrong for assuming a car stopped at a stop sign was indeed waiting for him to pass by and blowing through the intersection on that assumption. They should both be assigned blame and be kicked out of the court for wasting our time and money. This is nothing at all like the OP's accident.

Mark Blacknell
10-31-2011, 07:30 PM
The certainty in this thread is quite something.

CCrew
11-01-2011, 03:11 AM
The certainty in this thread is quite something.

Amen. Especially given previous threads about how "contributory negligence" works.

I was just certain someone wouldn't be able to read that and would use it to justify their own preconcieved notion. I was right :)

Not that I really have any skin in the game anyway. I come through that area at 3:00am and blow every stop at about 20mph :p Every time I cross a crosswalk I do hear the angels sing and even the rabbits stop for me. :)

Arlingtonrider
11-01-2011, 06:37 AM
Can anyone provide any general insight as to how contributory negligence is applied in Virginia and/or DC, as a practical matter? (Recognizing that every case is different, not a legal opinion, etc.)

CCrew
11-01-2011, 07:04 AM
Can anyone provide any general insight as to how contributory negligence is applied in Virginia and/or DC, as a practical matter? (Recognizing that every case is different, not a legal opinion, etc.)

From Nolo:
"contributory negligence
A doctrine of common law that if a person's own negligence contributes to causing an accident in which that person is injured, the injured party can't collect any damages (money) from another party who caused the accident. Because this doctrine often ended in unfair results (where a person only slightly negligent was prohibited from recovering damages from a person who was much more so), most states now use a comparative negligence test instead, in which the relative percentages of negligence by each person are used to determine how much the injured person recovers."

VA, MD and the District by law use contributory negligence vs the less stringent (and more realistic) relative negligence benchmark. In essence, if it can be proven that you in any way didn't do something correctly even 1% it negates your ability to win a tort claim. And that "prove" part is abnormally broad reaching.

Generally how it's handled:

http://www.contributorynegligence.net/

Arlingtonrider
11-01-2011, 07:23 AM
Thanks. That was my understanding as well - I was hoping to be wrong.

Mark Blacknell
11-01-2011, 07:32 AM
From a 2007 VA Supreme Ct. decision (Estate of Moses v. Sw Va Transit Manag., 643 S.E.2d 156 (Va., 2007)) involving a plaintiff who crossed a street outside of a crosswalk, and was struck by a bus:


"We have stated the principles of law that define contributory negligence and its determination on many occasions. "Contributory negligence is an affirmative defense that must be proved according to an objective standard whether the plaintiff failed to act as a reasonable person would have acted for his own safety under the circumstances." Jenkins, 269 Va. at 388, 611 S.E.2d at 407; see also Sawyer v. Comerci, 264 Va. 68, 74, 563 S.E.2d 748, 752 (2002); Ponirakis v. Choi, 262 Va. 119, 124, 546 S.E.2d 707, 710 (2001); Artrip v. E.E. Berry Equip. Co., 240 Va. 354, 358, 397 S.E.2d 821, 823-24 (1990). "The essential concept of contributory negligence is carelessness." Jenkins, 269 Va. at 388, 611 S.E.2d at 407; Sawyer, 264 Va. at 74, 563 S.E.2d at 752; Ponirakis, 262 Va. at 124, 546 S.E.2d at 711; Artrip, 240 Va. at 358, 397 S.E.2d at 823-24.

"The issue whether a plaintiff is guilty of contributory negligence is ordinarily a question of fact to be decided by the fact finder." Jenkins, 269 Va. at 389, 611 S.E.2d at 407; see also Sawyer, 264 Va. at 74, 563 S.E.2d at 752; Hot Shot Express, Inc. v. Brooks, 264 Va. 126, 135, 563 S.E.2d 764, 769 (2002); Ponirakis, 262 Va. at 125, 546 S.E.2d at 711. "The issue becomes one of law for the circuit court to decide only when reasonable minds could not differ about what conclusion could be drawn from the evidence." Jenkins, 269 Va. at 389, 611 S.E.2d at 407; see also Hot Shot Express, 264 Va. at 135, 563 S.E.2d at 769; Love v. Schmidt, 239 Va. 357, 360, 389 S.E.2d 707, 709 (1990).

Contributory negligence consists of the independent elements of negligence and proximate causation. See Karim v. Grover, 235 Va. 550, 552, 369 S.E.2d 185, 186 (1988). Proof of a plaintiff's negligence alone is insufficient to establish contributory negligence, even if the plaintiff is negligent per se, as we explained in Karim:

When a defendant relies upon contributory negligence as a defense, he has the burden of proving by the greater weight of the evidence not only that the plaintiff was negligent, Burks v. Webb, Administratrix, 199 Va. 296, 307, 99 S.E.2d 629, 638 (1957), but also "that his negligence was a proximate cause, a direct, efficient contributing cause of the accident," Whitfield v. Dunn, 202 Va. 472, 477, 117 S.E.2d 710, 714 (1961); accord Powell v. Virginian Railway Co., 187 Va. 384, 390-91, 46 S.E.2d 429, 432 (1948). Thus, while the violation of a statute regulating traffic constitutes negligence,

it does not necessarily follow that such negligence will as a matter of law prevent a recovery by the plaintiff. There must be a causal connection between the violation of the statute and the injury, otherwise the violation is immaterial; and unless it is shown that the plaintiff's violation was a proximate or concurring cause which contributed directly to his injury, he is not thereby barred from a recovery.

Powell, 187 Va. at 390, 46 S.E.2d at 432; accord Bray v. Boston, etc., Corp., 161 Va. 686, 692, 172 S.E. 296, 298 (1934); Lavenstein v. Maile, 146 Va. 789, 801, 132 S.E. 844, 848 (1926).

Ordinarily, the issue of proximate cause is a question of fact for resolution by a jury. It becomes a question of law for decision by a court only when reasonable minds cannot differ about the result. Litchford v. Hancock, 232 Va. 496, 499, 352 S.E.2d 335, 337 (1987).

CCrew
11-01-2011, 07:52 AM
And another where a cyclist ran into a minivan and the driver of the minivan won on contributory negligence and it was subsequently overturned:

http://www.courts.state.va.us/opinions/opnscvwp/1090193.pdf

Clearly it can go in a lot of directions when it goes to court. What we've not seen in any of these cases however is what was the ultimate outcome when tried again by the lower courts.

MCL1981
11-01-2011, 08:41 AM
Both of which are also nothing at all even closely similar to the OP's accident.

CCrew
11-01-2011, 09:08 AM
Both of which are also nothing at all even closely similar to the OP's accident.

Nobody said they were. They were just examples as to how contributory negligence plays out.