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unclejed
10-04-2012, 08:02 AM
While riding a CaBi in crystal city this morning, I received a $161 ticket from a motorcycle cop for riding through an intersection on the Walk Light. Officer Maplethorpe said that because I was not within the designated cross-walk stripes that I was a vehicle and therefore had disobeyed the light. This was at 23rd and Clark st in Crystal City where all lights are red when the pedestrian cross walk signal is on.

He said to avoid a ticket I would have to jump up onto the sidewalk and ride in the cross-walk. When I said I didn't want to be where pedestrians were walking he said that was my only choice and it was for my safety. I tried for sympathy by recounting the times I've been hit by cars this year and the near misses, he said if I rode in the cross-walk I would not have so many near misses.

Mark Blacknell
10-04-2012, 08:19 AM
Ouch.

For those interested, this is the relevant portion of the Virginia Code (http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+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.

jabberwocky
10-04-2012, 08:37 AM
Just to be clear, you approached a light in the vehicle lane, and while all 4 lights were red and the pedestrian crossing had the walk signal you proceeded through the intersection?

TwoWheelsDC
10-04-2012, 09:07 AM
Just to be clear, you approached a light in the vehicle lane, and while all 4 lights were red and the pedestrian crossing had the walk signal you proceeded through the intersection?

That's how I read it. I do this quite a bit and, in DC at least, have wondered if that's actually the intended protocol, particularly when there are bike lanes. The 15th St. cycletrack, for instance, instructs cyclists to cross on the pedestrian signal...although I suspect that it's one of those "illegal unless explicitly permitted" type of things. Even if it's not in strict accordance with the law, I feel much safer getting through the intersection before cars start rolling through, especially if it's an intersection with a lot of right-turning cars. Seems to me that if pedestrians have a signal to cross, a cyclist also would be safe to cross the intersection in the same direction, even in the travel lane. Although intersections that give peds lead time to cross are relatively rare, they are becoming less so, potentially making the OP's situation a more common occurrence...hopefully laws can be changed accordingly and explicitly allow cyclists to cross on a walk signal, even if they are in a travel lane or bike lane.

Dirt
10-04-2012, 09:38 AM
I'm just pleasantly surprised that someone in this area is doing some form of traffic enforcement these days. I've seen a small increase in the number of police officers doing some form of traffic enforcement over the last few months, but it still isn't anything that resembles consistent or effective. Local police seem to set up some kind of localized, temporary enforcement zone and hand out tickets in that one spot for a few hours, then go off and do other police things for the rest of the month. I do realize that local law enforcement has a much bigger job than just traffic enforcement. I'm sure those on traffic duty do more than just the occasional red-light trap too. I just don't see any of that.

Sorry about your ticket.

jabberwocky
10-04-2012, 10:04 AM
The issue is that legally, if you're in the vehicle traffic lane, you're vehicle traffic, not a pedestrian. So you need to act like it, which means obeying traffic signals, same as if you were a car. If you want to legally cross with the walk signal, you need to be riding from the sidewalk across the crosswalk (in which case you're legally a pedestrian).

I know all the safety considerations, and I know that most cyclists will run lights in this sort of situation (myself included), but legally I don't think you have a leg to stand on. Sorry. I'd recommend taking a careful look around for police officers next time. :p

unclejed
10-04-2012, 10:07 AM
I approached the intersection in the vehicle lane because there is no bike lane on that portion of Clark st. I stopped at the light to make sure the intersection was clear and then proceeded. I did not blow through the intersection like they do in DC.

Thanks for reminding me about the 15th st signs.

unclejed
10-04-2012, 10:09 AM
The issue is that legally, if you're in the vehicle traffic lane, you're vehicle traffic, not a pedestrian. So you need to act like it, which means obeying traffic signals, same as if you were a car. If you want to legally cross with the walk signal, you need to be riding from the sidewalk across the crosswalk (in which case you're legally a pedestrian).

I know all the safety considerations, and I know that most cyclists will run lights in this sort of situation (myself included), but legally I don't think you have a leg to stand on. Sorry. I'd recommend taking a careful look around for police officers next time. :p

Oh yea, this makes sense to me: get off the road and intimidate pedestrians in the cross-walk.

jabberwocky
10-04-2012, 10:16 AM
Oh yea, this makes sense to me: get off the road and intimidate pedestrians in the cross-walk.Waiting for the light like the other vehicles is also an option.

I'm not judging or anything. I would probably have done the same thing in that situation, in fact. I'm just pointing out that legally, you aren't allowed to run lights if you're in the vehicle lane.

DismalScientist
10-04-2012, 10:20 AM
Oh yea, this makes sense to me: get off the road and intimidate pedestrians in the cross-walk.

This is not the choice. The choice is "intimidate" pedestrians or behave like a vehicle, which means wait for the light to turn green.

Also, there is no distinction between a bike lane and a regular vehicle lane with regard to traffic lights.

eminva
10-04-2012, 10:30 AM
There is another option, which is to dismount, walk the bike to the crosswalk and walk the bike across like a pedestrian. Not intimidating, and within the letter of the law.


The issue is that legally, if you're in the vehicle traffic lane, you're vehicle traffic, not a pedestrian. So you need to act like it, which means obeying traffic signals, same as if you were a car.

This is right. Or, as the League of American Bicyclists has it, "Cyclists fare best when they act and are treated as drivers of vehicles." Come to a Confident City Cycling class to learn more!

Liz

jopamora
10-04-2012, 10:38 AM
Ouch, sorry about your ticket.

Tim Kelley
10-04-2012, 10:50 AM
Jed, welcome to the forum. Don't let all these posts pointing out how you weren't following the rules of the road discourage you!

I'm sorry to hear you got a ticket, but I'm very pleased to hear that ACPD is doing cyclist enforcement!

dasgeh
10-04-2012, 10:59 AM
I approached the intersection in the vehicle lane because there is no bike lane on that portion of Clark st. I stopped at the light to make sure the intersection was clear and then proceeded. I did not blow through the intersection like they do in DC.

Thanks for reminding me about the 15th st signs.

I believe that you're ok if you waited for 2 minutes. http://www.vabike.org/va-cyclists-can-now-run-red-lights/

Otherwise, sorry.

lordofthemark
10-04-2012, 11:29 AM
There is another option, which is to dismount, walk the bike to the crosswalk and walk the bike across like a pedestrian. Not intimidating, and within the letter of the law.


I sometimes do that in Fairfax, where there are some pretty intimidating intersections - do I actually have to move the bike onto the sidewalk first, or is it okay to ride to the edge of the crosswalk (out of the flow of traffic - shoulder say, with or without parked cars) and dismount there?

baiskeli
10-04-2012, 11:35 AM
As cyclists, we can instantly go from legally being vehicles to pedestrians and back again. It's really convenient, but it can get us in trouble sometimes. The law insists that we are one or the other at a given time.

unclejed
10-04-2012, 11:46 AM
"Laws work best when they are voluntarily heeded by people who regard them as reasonable. There arenít enough cops to coerce everyone into obeying every law all the time. If cycling laws were a wise response to actual cycling rather than a clumsy misapplication of motor vehicle laws, I suspect that compliance, even by me, would rise."

I have read John Forester and while his ideas appeal to my mind, sitting behind a car spewing exhaust offends my senses.

spiranthes
10-04-2012, 12:44 PM
What a horrible way to start the day. The ticket seems steep for the offense. I hope you appeal (http://virginiatrafficcourt.com/traffic-ticket-basics/traffic-court-appeals-continuances.html) it.

mstone
10-04-2012, 12:52 PM
This is right. Or, as the League of American Bicyclists has it, "Cyclists fare best when they act and are treated as drivers of vehicles." Come to a Confident City Cycling class to learn more!

Note that means "don't worry, everybody has an airbag and the insurance is contrib neg"...

Greenbelt
10-04-2012, 02:28 PM
OK I'll be the contrarian here.

I'm not impressed with this bit of enforcement at all. Unless unclejed was riding too fast or recklessly (which is not all that easy to do on a CaBi), it seems pretty gratuitous and nitpicky.

I'd rather the police target truly unsafe driving (or cycling), like speeding and running through lights after they change red and turning right on red without stopping or looking into the crosswalk.

Jumping out in front of a green light with the pedestrians is often safer for me, and if they ticket me, so be it. I'd rather be safe, and not get run off the road at the far side of an intersection.

jabberwocky
10-04-2012, 02:33 PM
I'd rather the police target truly unsafe driving (or cycling), like speeding and running through lights after they change red and turning right on red without stopping or looking into the crosswalk.I don't disagree with you, but lets not kid ourselves; most traffic enforcement has nothing to do with safety and everything to do with revenue.

Yeah, the expensive ticket sucks. But he's unlikely to win trying to fight it, because what was done was actually against the law. I have a few lights on my commute that I habitually run (some for safety reasons, others because they are sensor operated and lightly trafficked). I'm not gonna complain if I get a ticket though, because, well, it is against the law.

Tim Kelley
10-04-2012, 02:35 PM
OK I'll be the contrarian here.

I'm not impressed with this bit of enforcement at all. Unless unclejed was riding too fast or recklessly (which is not all that easy to do on a CaBi), it seems pretty gratuitous and nitpicky.

I'd rather the police target truly unsafe driving (or cycling), like speeding and running through lights after they change red and turning right on red without stopping or looking into the crosswalk.

Jumping out in front of a green light with the pedestrians is often safer for me, and if they ticket me, so be it. I'd rather be safe, and not get run off the road at the far side of an intersection.

In the end, I don't think we know the whole story for either side really. Maybe Jed was riding too fast. Maybe Jed was just going to get a warning but then got mouthy with the officer and ended up getting a ticket instead?

If you break the law in front of a police officer, what do you expect them to do? Just look the other way? I know that regardless of my mode of travel I always pay more attention to my speed and following of the rules if I see an officer.

TwoWheelsDC
10-04-2012, 03:28 PM
OK I'll be the contrarian here.

I'm not impressed with this bit of enforcement at all. Unless unclejed was riding too fast or recklessly (which is not all that easy to do on a CaBi), it seems pretty gratuitous and nitpicky.

I'd rather the police target truly unsafe driving (or cycling), like speeding and running through lights after they change red and turning right on red without stopping or looking into the crosswalk.

Jumping out in front of a green light with the pedestrians is often safer for me, and if they ticket me, so be it. I'd rather be safe, and not get run off the road at the far side of an intersection.

Concur. The most vulnerable road users (peds and cyclists) need to consider their own safety first, the safety of others second, and the law third. Drivers have to do this too, but the law is written from a car-centric perspective and takes into account the safety needs specific to cars, so all three considerations are met at the same time. Current laws, however, do not properly address the growing interaction between peds/cyclists and drivers, and the unique needs of more vulnerable road users. When laws catch up to reality and are consistently enforced, then I'll be more willing to obey them when cycling/walking. But until then, my own safety comes first, whether an officer is present or not.

eminva
10-04-2012, 03:43 PM
Just a reminder -- we've discussed this fully in other threads -- but DC, Maryland and Virginia are all contributory negligence jurisdictions. Therefore, if you are involved in a crash and you are not 100% in compliance with the letter of the law (car centric though it may be), you may not be able to recover any damages for your injuries and you may also be subject to legal action for others' damages -- even if the other party was mostly or nearly entirely at fault.

Some people understand this and take a calculated risk, and that's fine, but I want to make sure any newcomers are aware of this local quirk in liability law.

Liz

mstone
10-04-2012, 03:57 PM
If you break the law in front of a police officer, what do you expect them to do? Just look the other way?

That's what they do for people intruding on a crosswalk when stopping, turning right on red without stopping, entering the intersection when it is not clear so they can turn left after the light is red, parking police cars in bike lanes, speeding through intersections, and all the other lawbreaking that is socially acceptable for cars and incredibly dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists. So remind me again why something that isn't posing a danger to more vulnerable road users should be an enforcement priority? Just so a bike organization can try to claim a moral high ground? Pedestrian and cyclist safety rules get essentially zero enforcement from police, and "bike safety" pushes result in disproportionate enforcement against cyclists--which is absurd and does nothing to increase public safety. Look at what actions result in dead people, and target those instead of targeting things which piss off motorists and don't affect public safety.

I let your "this is great!" comment pass, but then you asked...

unclejed
10-04-2012, 03:58 PM
In the end, I don't think we know the whole story for either side really. Maybe Jed was riding too fast. Maybe Jed was just going to get a warning but then got mouthy with the officer and ended up getting a ticket instead?

If you break the law in front of a police officer, what do you expect them to do? Just look the other way? I know that regardless of my mode of travel I always pay more attention to my speed and following of the rules if I see an officer.

Sorry Tim, but I was riding a CaBi within the limits of safety and, as I reported earlier, I stopped at the light (not for the two minutes) prior to proceeding. Mouthy? The officer was pulling out his ticket book as soon as he stopped. Personally, I think he pulled me over because I was easy to catch [CaBi]. Although, he asked me for my registration (?)

mstone
10-04-2012, 04:01 PM
Just a reminder -- we've discussed this fully in other threads -- but DC, Maryland and Virginia are all contributory negligence jurisdictions. Therefore, if you are involved in a crash and you are not 100% in compliance with the letter of the law (car centric though it may be), you may not be able to recover any damages for your injuries and you may also be subject to legal action for others' damages -- even if the other party was mostly or nearly entirely at fault.


That's not actually what the law is. That's the de facto state of affairs given the cost of lawyers, but the de facto state of affairs is also that regardless of whether you think you're compliant with the law your ability to recover damages is basically out of your control. I'm skeptical that the odds of getting money after being hit by a car are statistically different depending on riding style--so then we fall back to wondering what riding style makes you less likely to have to test those statistics.

Tim Kelley
10-04-2012, 04:10 PM
That's what they do for people intruding on a crosswalk when stopping, turning right on red without stopping, entering the intersection when it is not clear so they can turn left after the light is red, parking police cars in bike lanes, speeding through intersections, and all the other lawbreaking that is socially acceptable for cars and incredibly dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists. So remind me again why something that isn't posing a danger to more vulnerable road users should be an enforcement priority? Just so a bike organization can try to claim a moral high ground? Pedestrian and cyclist safety rules get essentially zero enforcement from police, and "bike safety" pushes result in disproportionate enforcement against cyclists--which is absurd and does nothing to increase public safety. Look at what actions result in dead people, and target those instead of targeting things which piss off motorists and don't affect public safety.

I let your "this is great!" comment pass, but then you asked...

I support enforcement of laws as they apply to all modes of travel. If a car makes a right on red without stopping right in front of a office, I expect the officer to give a citation. If a pedestrian jaywalks right in front of officer, I expect the officer to give a citation. My point is that I'm glad to hear that ACPD is doing their job and enforcing laws. I'd like to see a greater police presence at lots of intersections!

In this situation, I do agree that perhaps a hefty fine was a bit overkill and a simple warning may have been more appropriate.

jabberwocky
10-04-2012, 04:10 PM
That's what they do for people intruding on a crosswalk when stopping, turning right on red without stopping, entering the intersection when it is not clear so they can turn left after the light is red, parking police cars in bike lanes, speeding through intersections, and all the other lawbreaking that is socially acceptable for cars and incredibly dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists.Just as a data point, I've seen Fairfax PD enforcing crosswalks along the W&OD several times around Reston over the years (by which I mean warning and ticketing cars that fail to yield to people crossing or blocking the crosswalk while stopped). So it does happen.

Tim Kelley
10-04-2012, 04:14 PM
Sorry Tim, but I was riding a CaBi within the limits of safety and, as I reported earlier, I stopped at the light (not for the two minutes) prior to proceeding. Mouthy? The officer was pulling out his ticket book as soon as he stopped. Personally, I think he pulled me over because I was easy to catch [CaBi]. Although, he asked me for my registration (?)

I was pointing out that we don't know the whole story. What you've told us is that you ran a red light.

Plenty of people here would agree that going through a red light can be more convenient and would even be safer in some situations, however, doing it in front of a police officer seems like a bad idea if you don't want to get a ticket.

Riley Casey
10-04-2012, 04:18 PM
Another vote for doing the SAFE thing first - for all stake holders. I expect that most of us have found many circumstances in that the path that creates the greatest safety for us as cyclists is to be in the pedestrian space. This is not synonymous with intimidating anyone. Its simply staying as far away from large, fast moving, often indifferently operated machinery as possible. As Greenbelt mentioned the traffic law enforcement resources must indeed be plentiful in Arlington that they can be squandered in this way. Cyclists I suppose aren't as likely to lead the police on a high speed chase with the news copters hovering. I see this as a matter of triage. The police enforcement should, I would think be focused first on those things that create a hazard, be it speeding, J walking, running stop signs, any number of things. This on the other hand, no matter the statutes that can be cited, seems to fall below the threshold for that triage.

Jason B
10-04-2012, 04:20 PM
Yeah, the expensive ticket sucks. But he's unlikely to win trying to fight it, because what was done was actually against the law. .

I wouldn't be too sure about that. I recently spent a day in traffic court for an expired license. I unfortunately was one of the last cases to be called, so I essentially sat through about 50 cases. I was blown away by how many cases were thrown out, or reduced for cases ranging from excessive speeding to blowing stop signs. Using the pedestrian cross with a bike is wrong but honest, semi-misunderstood mistake. I would roll the dice and try to get this excessive fine thrown out or at least reduced to a manageable amount. This all depends if traffic court is worth your time.

dasgeh
10-04-2012, 04:28 PM
You may have grounds to challenge the amount of the fine. I believe in DC, fines for bikes are capped at $15 or $50 (I looked it up for a friend a while ago and just can't remember, though in his case the cop had charged him the car fine, so the ticket was invalid). It's worth looking around and seeing if the cop screwed that part up.

jabberwocky
10-04-2012, 04:31 PM
You may have grounds to challenge the amount of the fine. I believe in DC, fines for bikes are capped at $15 or $50 (I looked it up for a friend a while ago and just can't remember, though in his case the cop had charged him the car fine, so the ticket was invalid). It's worth looking around and seeing if the cop screwed that part up.Crystal City is in VA though. I would be totally unsurprised if the VA fine was that high. Worth looking into, I suppose.

mstone
10-04-2012, 04:40 PM
Just as a data point, I've seen Fairfax PD enforcing crosswalks along the W&OD several times around Reston over the years (by which I mean warning and ticketing cars that fail to yield to people crossing or blocking the crosswalk while stopped). So it does happen.

Yes, it's not completely unheard of. It is kind of sad that it's rare enough to be noteworthy.

txgoonie
10-04-2012, 04:43 PM
I'm sure if I got that ticket I'd be equally fired up about it, unclejed, as you are clearly a cyclist in the know. That said, there seems to be rather widespread, uh, liberal interpretation of traffic laws in Crystal City by CaBi users. It's probably attributable to ignorance more than anything else, but I wouldn't be surprised if there has been some squawking in that community about the CaBi program. It's understandable b/c Crystal City infrastructure royally sucks for bikes--between the one-way streets and inconsistent bike lanes, we're somewhat set up for failure. However, I can say that I'm tired of playing chicken with CaBi riders who, for example, are salmoning down Crystal Dr. south of 23rd rather than going around the block and down Clark St. to get to the station at Crystal Dr. & Potomac Ave or points south. Again, could be ignorance b/c people just don't know that that's technically how they should go if they want to travel southbound. But it's an unsafe situation for everybody and folks need to be edumacated that it's super uncool to do that to fellow cyclists. Issuing tickets is not what I would advocate doing to address it, but frankly I don't know what I would advocate to reach the CaBi audience.

If it's worth it to you, I would contest the ticket. Like others, I've sat in traffic court and even if you totally did what you were ticketed for but weren't a total pain to the officer, the gesture of showing up usually results in a reduction.

mstone
10-04-2012, 05:16 PM
A ticket for going the wrong way down the road is something I could get behind as it puts a lot of other people in danger (serving cars, oncoming cyclist with nowhere to go, etc). The problem arises when someone decides to "do something" and "teach someone a lesson" by targeting something easy but benign rather than something actually dangerous (but which requires more effort).

Tim Kelley
10-04-2012, 05:17 PM
So what's the strategy to fix the problem?

baiskeli
10-04-2012, 05:57 PM
Convince the judge that instead of being a vehicle pretending to be a pedestrian, he was a pedestrian pretending to be a vehicle, and should be charged with jaywalking for crossing outside the crosswalk, instead of running a red.

mstone
10-04-2012, 06:08 PM
So what's the strategy to fix the problem?

Don't just go along with pointless enforcement, push for enforcement against behaviors that cause death or injury to others.

OneEighth
10-04-2012, 06:38 PM
There are two separate issues.
The issue of the OP's ticket is his to sort out.
The question of how county resources are used and whether this sort of use indicates excess FTEs in a tight budget climate is an entirely different (and political) matter. If you are so inclined to change enforcement priorities, go after the funding for the activity you don't like. ie, talk to the County Board. Perhaps with special emphasis on that board member who is focused on a certain upcoming Tuesday in November. And, don't forget, Arlington has a Sheriff whose officers provide what is arguably a duplicative service when it comes to traffic enforcement.
And, know your edges.
This is general advice and does not necessarily reflect my views on enforcement or on the OP's issue specifically. Just food for thought.

Jason B
10-04-2012, 06:40 PM
So what's the strategy to fix the problem?
Personally, I can't have it both ways. I can't expect cars to treat me with respect as a car as I move into the lane, and at the same time cruise into the pedestrian wallk as a back alley to skip a red light. Gaining the respect of car drivers totally out ways the minute wait, so personally i'll wake up earlier....but I still say, the fine is way too high, and i would try having it reduced.

OneEighth
10-04-2012, 06:49 PM
One more thought (blame the snarky geese)---my suggested approach is applicable in other situations, say regarding how a federal agency such as NPS uses appropriated funds for enforcement efforts or for rumble strips and signs at road/trail crossings.
Don't get me started on how FOIA can come into this.

mstone
10-04-2012, 07:11 PM
Personally, I can't have it both ways. I can't expect cars to treat me with respect as a car as I move into the lane, and at the same time cruise into the pedestrian wallk as a back alley to skip a red light. Gaining the respect of car drivers totally out ways the minute wait, so personally i'll wake up earlier....but I still say, the fine is way too high, and i would try having it reduced.

Personally, I have not witnessed much "respect" for anyone on our roads, so I'm not going to reduce my safety in hopes that someone will deign to give me some. Your reference to leaving early so you don't have to save a minute trivializes the very real decisions we all need to make about our safety. It is a quite rational decision to decide that crossing an intersection during the red cycle is safer than getting mixed up in traffic when the light turns green, regardless of how much time it takes or saves.

Driving to work this morning I had multiple encounters with bad drivers, including a guy who passed me on a double yellow because I was driving too slowly (the speed limit) through a residential neighborhood that has a lot of ninja road joggers, another that honked because I wouldn't move into a dangerous position to facilitate his illegal turn, and multiple people so engrossed in texting that they didn't notice signal changes. Had I been on a bike this morning instead of a car, any of those incidents could have been much more dangerous--and no imagined halo of righteousness would have protected me. We don't need to be treated the same as cars, because motorists treat each other like crap and we're too vulnerable to play that game.

vvill
10-04-2012, 08:28 PM
I find myself agreeing with those that say it's a ridiculous enforcement and fine, considering what sort of behaviors (vehicle, bike, etc.) one witnesses on a daily basis in and around DC. The officer saying "it's for your safety" (paraphrasing from original post) is particularly irksome. It'd be more palatable if the officer said "Gotcha! Easy money." and rubbed their hands together.

At the same time, I do watch myself whenever I see any sort of police officer or vehicle. I don't agree with all the laws but if there's a possibility of enforcement I will be extra careful.

washcycle
10-04-2012, 09:43 PM
1. Check the fine. As someone else noted, the fines for bike infractions are often less than for cars, and I would not be surprised if a police officer didn't know that. In DC fines are lower, but I don't know about DC.

2. In some place, but not here, cyclists are allowed to go when the ped light is green (the LPI or leading Pedestrian Interval). WABA actually suggested that such a provision (http://www.thewashcycle.com/2011/12/waba-supportsrecommends-changes-to-pedestrian-safe-streets-act.html) be added to a DC law recently. It's a reasonable policy, but probably won't become law in Virginia any time soon.

dbb
10-05-2012, 05:13 AM
I think the significant observation here is the existence of variable emphasis on enforcement. The other day I observed a PP officer standing in front of the Jefferson (by the jersey barriers) when a stretch hummer limo parked in the "no stopping/standing" area right in front of the memorial. In spite of the clearly marked policy, the officer allowed the limo to park as it was there 15 minutes later when I passed through that area again.

vvill
10-05-2012, 08:49 AM
stretch hummer limo

Musta been an ELITE VIP.

dasgeh
10-05-2012, 08:52 AM
So what's the strategy to fix the problem?

I'm assuming you mean to the broader problem, not this specific ticket. There's lots of good advice on that already (e.g. are you sure it wasn't 2 minutes).

1. Smart use of discretion in enforcement. In the situation that started this thread, a warning would have been more than appropriate.

2. Better infrastructure that makes sense for bikes. E.g. in Crystal City, wouldn't it make sense to have a 2-way cycle track on Crystal Drive, and give bikes in the cycle track a "yellow" for pedestrians when cars have red -- in other words, have bikes yield to peds crossing in the crosswalk with the light.

3. Fix the obvious problems with the laws. Some that come to mind: fines for bikes (if VA Code isn't like DC's), clarify rights and responsibilities with respect to unsignalized crosswalks, allow bikes to follow LPIs, even when they're in the roadway.

Dickie
10-05-2012, 09:09 AM
Personally, I have not witnessed much "respect" for anyone on our roads, so I'm not going to reduce my safety in hopes that someone will deign to give me some. Your reference to leaving early so you don't have to save a minute trivializes the very real decisions we all need to make about our safety. It is a quite rational decision to decide that crossing an intersection during the red cycle is safer than getting mixed up in traffic when the light turns green, regardless of how much time it takes or saves.


That's a shame. As a whole I find far more drivers respecting me than not. However it is much easier to squawk about the bad ones. Every day I witness drivers yield to me, give me space, make eye contact and smile, wait to pass, etc. Of course there are always jerks in world, those that crowd me, yell, or honk, but I find in comparison it is rare. Of course I do understand it takes just one jerk to end my life, but isn't that the same for anything we do? Riding in traffic is a choice we have all made and with that choice comes consequences. We have chosen to be the minority so it is up to us to earn our respect. If breaking the law is the only way you feel safe in traffic as a cyclist you might have made a poor choice, for each time a cyclists breaks the law my life as a cyclists gets less safe. The original thread was about a ticket, one which I feel was disproportionate in fee and more likely warranted a warning. However, the law was broken, the reason why is an important topic but is no defense.

jabberwocky
10-05-2012, 09:13 AM
That's a shame. As a whole I find far more drivers respecting me than not.Same here, and I ride in the land of self-entitled jackasses (aka Great Falls VA). :)

As for running red lights, I personally think too many cyclists do it as a matter of habit and try to justify it as a safety decision. Its true that there are certain lights and intersections that I find it best to run them (usually by waiting to a certain point in their signal pattern where you know what traffic will be doing). But most lights I find I'm better off waiting like any other vehicle.

thecyclingeconomist
10-05-2012, 09:43 AM
As for running red lights, I personally think too many cyclists do it as a matter of habit and try to justify it as a safety decision.

I try to always stop at any intersection where there are visible cars. Yeah, it takes longer, but the key to being safe is being visible and riding predictably. Cyclists that don't signal, ride blindly through intersections, weave through lanes, do half-crossings while trying to stay up on their fixies... they all put every cyclist at risk because cars do not respect cyclists due to their highly unpredictable (and often unsafe) behaviors while in a motorway. I get WAY more angry at bad cyclists than I do drivers. They give the rest a bad name. It only takes one bad apple to spoil the bunch right?

Only once has a driver actively done a "road-rage" on me... and it's on video. If he'd hit me, I'd be able to take him to court and probably get a pretty significant ruling against him.

Now, do I respect the letter of the law at all times? No. I'm to blame for getting a driver/other cyclist irked here and there too. (Though I do always try to apologize when I realize that I cut it too close, or made someone nervous.) By no means am I the picture of cycling perfection (according to the League of American Bicyclists safety instructor courses) when it comes to always being courteous to other riders/motorists. The lights/stop-signs that I regularly do a roll-through are definitely unjustified based upon any safety excuse... I do it because I don't want to stop and have to get started again. I don't have 150 horsepower at the whim of my toe. My max measured power output in a red-lined sprint is 2hp (around 1500 watts). If I could leisurely accelerate from 0mph to 20mph in 2 seconds, then I'd always stop. But, I do it knowing that it is not the law, it is a calculated risk. If I got into an accident, I'd be screwed, even if it wasn't "all my fault" (as pointed out earlier in this thread). If I got a ticket, I'd be screwed.

Tim Kelley
10-05-2012, 09:45 AM
Yeah, it takes longer, but the key to being safe is being visible and riding predictably.

Be a PAL! www.BikeArlington.com/PAL

GuyContinental
10-05-2012, 10:37 AM
I'm in the crowd of folks that will drift a light/stop (if safe) but totally, completely expect to get a ticket if I'm caught doing so (one day the Reston - Herndon section will absolutely get me one). What's bad news is that since I ride more than I drive, I occasionally have to fight the same impulse while in a car! Not quite sure why it's intellectually any different to roll Highland & Lee in a car vs a bike at 5am, but I would NEVER do so in a car (I've had 1 speeding ticket in my life- 10 years ago*...)

In this specific case, I'd be righteously indignant as well and probably try and fight it. BUT at the end of the day a law that makes some objective sense, even if under a stupid interpretation, was broken so I'd suck it up and chalk it up as a cost of riding (offset by what I save in not driving!)

*OK, there was that damn camera on 395 downtown but that was just revenue bs so I don't count it)

Steve O
10-07-2012, 10:36 AM
Riding a CaBi bike in Crystal City is a definitely a hybrid between being a car and a pedestrian. I likely would have done the same thing.
Given that the CaBi bikes are probably better off crossing on the ped signal, perhaps it would serve all populations to add a bike traffic signal at some of those intersections to coincide with the crosswalk signal. This would clear bikes out of the way of right-turning cars, keep bikes off the crosswalks mingling with peds, help overall flow, and make everyone feel safer.
Let's do it.

creadinger
10-07-2012, 07:56 PM
Since our apartment overlooks this intersection I feel like I can offer some information about this area.

1) This summer it seems like every two weeks or so there'll be a motorcycle cop who sits on the corner of 23rd and Clark St waiting to pounce on people in an extremely target rich environment. It must be a huge boon to the AC budget. He may get more than 15 law breakers in an hour. Most of the infractions are speeders or red-light runners on Rt. 1, but occasionaly there's something else worth going after.

2) Clark St. sucks! It's two narrow lanes with parallel parking on each side. There's a bike lane, but the road is so curvy that cars and buses round off the corners through the bike lane. Drivers on Rt. 1 consider it to be a highway and Clark St. is an extension of that. There's a ton of hotels in the area and the hotel shuttles, Super Shuttles and taxis race through there on their way to the airport or coming back from it. When the hotels are full there's a lot of clueless pedestrians walking around and often walk into the street without looking. There's a lot of defense contractors and other people that work in the area and they routinely fly down Clark St. on their way to work. There's also a lot of semi-blind driveways to the left and right to get into parking garages and hotels. When I drive through there to get into the garage under our building, a-holes in big luxury cars routinely tailgate me or aggressively change lanes because I actually drive a reasonable speed. My wife and I ride down Clark St. a lot on our way to the grocery store and it is chaos most of the time. On a slow, lumbering CaBi bike you're not too far off from being a sitting duck. I would not blame anyone for trying to get ahead of the chaos by going through the light with the peds. $161?! Is that what they charge cars too? I always thought it was more like $90 for running a red light. Sorry about that.

I hate Clark St. and I'm glad I don't have to ride through the 23rd St. intersection daily. Is there another way to go? Cross Rt. 1 to ride down Eads?

chris_s
10-08-2012, 11:00 AM
Rumor has it Clark/Bell is getting a Northbound cycle-track as part of the two-way conversion, at least between 12th and 20th - possibly farther.

DCAKen
10-09-2012, 11:02 AM
I do it because I don't want to stop and have to get started again.

This line of reasoning always makes me roll my eyes. Why are you on a bike if you're going to complain about the effort of pedaling? Would you accept this excuse from a driver who rolls through a stop sign or light to conserve gasoline?

creadinger
10-09-2012, 11:02 AM
Rumor has it Clark/Bell is getting a Northbound cycle-track as part of the two-way conversion, at least between 12th and 20th - possibly farther.

What's going on with the conversion? When is it supposed to take place? Sorry I'm out of the loop on future plans.

Tim Kelley
10-09-2012, 11:03 AM
Things could be worse: http://grist.org/list/this-poor-guy-got-a-1550-ticket-for-biking-in-new-york-city

A $1500 ticket...

GuyContinental
10-09-2012, 11:31 AM
This line of reasoning always makes me roll my eyes. Why are you on a bike if you're going to complain about the effort of pedaling? Would you accept this excuse from a driver who rolls through a stop sign or light to conserve gasoline?

Not that I totally disagree and do not condone ever blowing a stop fully, but I recently tried coming to a full, foot-down stop at every intersection on my commute. It was nearly 20 minutes slower than my fastest time (tailwind and lucky on the Elden, Maple, Gallows and Lee lights) and fully 10 minutes slower than my median. Heck of a workout too. Now there are a LOT of minor/major stops between Courthouse and Sterling (like 40 when you include private property) so this may be a special case, but still.

Riding for sport- totally ridiculous to complain about the speed ramp and extra exercise; riding a long way just to get home- less ridiculous to add up the time implication.

JeffB
10-09-2012, 02:02 PM
Why Bicyclists Hate Stop Signs. (http://socrates.berkeley.edu/~fajans/pub/pdffiles/StopSignsAccess.pdf)

TwoWheelsDC
10-09-2012, 02:17 PM
Why Bicyclists Hate Stop Signs. (http://socrates.berkeley.edu/~fajans/pub/pdffiles/StopSignsAccess.pdf)

Interesting read...I noticed that they used the familiar "cyclists can see better" reason for Idaho stopping. While I believe this to be accurate, I would love to see it quantified in some way, like comparing typical levels of situational awareness between drivers and cyclists. Maybe the authors of this piece could do some follow-on research.

consularrider
10-09-2012, 02:21 PM
Interesting read...I noticed that they used the familiar "cyclists can see better" reason for Idaho stopping. While I believe this to be accurate, I would love to see it quantified in some way, like comparing typical levels of situational awareness between drivers and cyclists. Maybe the authors of this piece could do some follow-on research.
I'd have to say the young woman riding ninja with earbuds (and, gasp, not helmet) up Wilson Blvd from Courthouse through Clarendon on Sunday evening had absolutely no situational awareness. Blew through red lights even when there was a car and pedestrian starting through the intersection.

creadinger
10-09-2012, 02:22 PM
If you stopped and put your foot down at all 17 of the stop signs 200 ft apart from each other along Royal Street going N-S through Alexandria you'd get a heck of a work out, but it would also take about an hour and effectively ruin any idea of a nice relaxed cruise on your bike. Oh and you can forget about fun too. If this were heavily enforced you'd also have a lot more cyclists riding on N. Washington St (GW Parkway) through Alexandria simply because it does not have many stops at all comparatively. I'm sure that is something drivers would NOT want however.

I would probably be interested in seeing a small scale urban style race where people actually have to come to a full stop at every stop sign/red light. Any partial stops would result in a time penalty. An anti-alley cat race if you will. I think it would go to the best sprinters, but those with some endurance that could sprint 10 times in a row from a full stop. The best part about this race is that it wouldn't break any laws.

dasgeh
10-09-2012, 03:13 PM
I would probably be interested in seeing a small scale urban style race where people actually have to come to a full stop at every stop sign/red light. Any partial stops would result in a time penalty. An anti-alley cat race if you will. I think it would go to the best sprinters, but those with some endurance that could sprint 10 times in a row from a full stop. The best part about this race is that it wouldn't break any laws.

Wouldn't it be won by the same set who win crits?

But more importantly, the point about the role of stop signs in traffic calming is an important one. If urban planners use stop signs (or stop lights) to calm traffic in order to create routes that are safer for bikes, then they should take into account how bikes respond to that traffic calming measures. Wouldn't it be great to see an intersection where cars have a four-way stop, but bikes always have the right of way?

ShawnoftheDread
10-09-2012, 03:18 PM
If you stopped and put your foot down at all 17 of the stop signs 200 ft apart from each other along Royal Street going N-S through Alexandria you'd get a heck of a work out, but it would also take about an hour and effectively ruin any idea of a nice relaxed cruise on your bike.

What I find interesting about that street is that the one corner on Royal in all of Old Town that doesn't has a stop sign is the one that's next to a playground and a preschool.

jabberwocky
10-09-2012, 03:27 PM
The issue is that, generally intersections are 4 way stops because visibility isn't good enough for people to go through without stopping. I just don't see it working well.

I'm sympathetic to arguments that a lot of tickets are stupid, and it probably shouldn't be a great enforcement priority, but all the "cyclists just SHOULDN'T have to stop at lights or stop signs" banter is profoundly irritating to me. Its the same self-entitlement that causes so many issues when it comes from drivers, but its somehow ok when cyclists do it.

creadinger
10-09-2012, 06:52 PM
The issue is that, generally intersections are 4 way stops because visibility isn't good enough for people to go through without stopping. I just don't see it working well.

I'm sympathetic to arguments that a lot of tickets are stupid, and it probably shouldn't be a great enforcement priority, but all the "cyclists just SHOULDN'T have to stop at lights or stop signs" banter is profoundly irritating to me. Its the same self-entitlement that causes so many issues when it comes from drivers, but its somehow ok when cyclists do it.

I agree with you here simply because of numbers. Right now there aren't enough cyclists that you really have to worry about crashing into another cyclist at a 4-way stop intersection if you blow through it or roll through it. If the current numbers of cyclists and cars was flip-flopped such that there was significant bike traffic everywhere and only a few cars, intersections would be crazy with cyclists blowing through going all directions. It would be chaos unless the vast majority of them were made to follow the rules through enforcement.

jnva
10-09-2012, 07:14 PM
It would be chaos unless the vast majority of them were made to follow the rules through enforcement.

You mean like this? :-)



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4phFYiMGCIY&feature=youtube_gdata_player

creadinger
10-09-2012, 08:09 PM
Haha! It's no wonder they don't paint lane lines there. Sheesh! It's like watching schools of fish. Wow.

thecyclingeconomist
10-09-2012, 08:57 PM
Man... talk about reshaping what I was writing.

I am a 365 commuter; boy, I sure do hate pedaling...

:mad:

dasgeh
10-10-2012, 08:42 AM
To be fair, I meant (but didn't type) that only the cyclists on one street should have the ultimate, don't have to stop, right of way.

But a better general rule would be an Idaho stop. Or just redefine what "stop" at stop signs means for bikes: instead of 100%, foot down, not moving for a full second stop, redefine stop as, say, less than 5 mph with the ability to come to a complete stop. In other words, make it legal to do what most bikes do: slow down so that they can look around and yield/stop if need be, but not totally kill their momentum if no one is around or if they can safely roll up to an intersection while the other traffic clears.

jabberwocky
10-10-2012, 08:51 AM
But a better general rule would be an Idaho stop. Or just redefine what "stop" at stop signs means for bikes: instead of 100%, foot down, not moving for a full second stop, redefine stop as, say, less than 5 mph with the ability to come to a complete stop. In other words, make it legal to do what most bikes do: slow down so that they can look around and yield/stop if need be, but not totally kill their momentum if no one is around or if they can safely roll up to an intersection while the other traffic clears.I'd be fine with something along those lines. Basically make it say that they need to stop if there is other traffic (obey the normal right-of-way laws regarding who proceeds at a 4-way stop) but if the intersection is clearly empty they can slow to 5mph and treat it as a yield. I just don't like the idea of cyclists blowing intersections at full speed; I don't think thats safe.

And yeah, the whole "must unclip and put a foot down for 3 seconds for it to count as a stop" interpretation is bullcrap. As far as I'm concerned, if I slowed to 4mph, checked the intersection, yielded properly to any other traffic and went, I stopped.

vvill
10-10-2012, 09:00 AM
Agreed (to the last 2 posts).

JimF22003
10-10-2012, 09:31 AM
For a bit of perspective on the "Idaho Stop" law, and why it makes sense in Idaho, here's a ride I did the weekend before last while visiting my Dad:

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/229451225

Everything is laid out in one-mile squares. When you roll up to a stop sign you can usually see that the "traffic" is clear for at least half a mile in either direction. When you're in town there's usually enough traffic that you have to act like normal traffic in this area anyway, but it sure is nice when you're out in the boonies (most of the place consists of boonies, BTW)...

TwoWheelsDC
10-10-2012, 09:37 AM
For a bit of perspective on the "Idaho Stop" law, and why it makes sense in Idaho, here's a ride I did the weekend before last while visiting my Dad:

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/229451225

Everything is laid out in one-mile squares. When you roll up to a stop sign you can usually see that the "traffic" is clear for at least half a mile in either direction. When you're in town there's usually enough traffic that you have to act like normal traffic in this area anyway, but it sure is nice when you're out in the boonies (most of the place consists of boonies, BTW)...

Having been born and raised in Idaho, in a town that didn't get a stop light until after I'd left for college (also in Idaho...), I can verify the accuracy of this post.

Tim Kelley
10-10-2012, 09:41 AM
Having been born and raised in Idaho, in a town that didn't get a stop light until after I'd left for college (also in Idaho...), I can verify the accuracy of this post.

I spent some years as a kid growing up in North Dakota--I remember when we got a stop sign in town. That was an exciting day on the prairie!

dasgeh
10-10-2012, 09:55 AM
My proposal is a bit different than an Idaho stop, for just that reason (visibility). I'll call it a Virginia stop. And face it, it's what most drivers do, too, unless they see a cop around (no, I'm not suggesting this for cars). You slow to a roll that could easily become a stop, and then go when it's your turn. It just prevents cops from spitefully giving you a ticket because you didn't put your foot down.

rcannon100
10-11-2012, 10:42 AM
Ticketing cyclists seems to be going around - are the police forces facing budget shortfalls????

Falls Church Police reportedly ticketing cyclists on the WOD (or how to discourage patrons to your businesses)

http://fabb-bikes.blogspot.com/2012/10/falls-church-police-ticketing-w-cyclists.html

vvill
10-11-2012, 11:45 AM
http://fabb-bikes.blogspot.com/2012/10/falls-church-police-ticketing-w-cyclists.html

Ugh. I guess the sign should read "STOP. May or may not be required by law".


Another reason for me to enjoy the freewheelin' Custis, and then hop off the W&OD as soon as I get a chance.

mstone
10-11-2012, 12:12 PM
Ugh. I guess the sign should read "STOP. May or may not be required by law".


Another reason for me to enjoy the freewheelin' Custis, and then hop off the W&OD as soon as I get a chance.

Just another illustration of why the existing law was fine, and the illegal signs just screw things up.

dasgeh
10-11-2012, 12:58 PM
Another reason for me to enjoy the freewheelin' Custis, and then hop off the W&OD as soon as I get a chance.

But the Custis has the Stop at the Marriott parking lot, and that random stop sign mounted high up on a light pole before you get to Scott Street (heading East). That's my favorite. It's not really near the ground and not really near the intersection. And it's mini.

bobco85
10-11-2012, 02:19 PM
What about the stop signs at every crossing on W&OD along Four Mile Run Drive between Columbia Pike and Shirlington Road? It's very weird having 3 different sets of traffic devices to deal with: 1) the stop sign, 2) the crosswalk signal, and 3) the stoplight. I find myself legally/illegally going through on a red light, red hand, but after stopping for the stop sign, and legally/illegally going through on a green light, walk signal, but not stopping for the stop sign.

I read recently on this forum that the stop signs will be addressed in an upcoming meeting (and hopefully removed), but am still wondering about 1) the legality of passing through the intersection at any given time and 2) who has right-of-way in the various situations.

Tim Kelley
10-12-2012, 08:08 AM
What about the stop signs at every crossing on W&OD along Four Mile Run Drive between Columbia Pike and Shirlington Road? It's very weird having 3 different sets of traffic devices to deal with: 1) the stop sign, 2) the crosswalk signal, and 3) the stoplight. I find myself legally/illegally going through on a red light, red hand, but after stopping for the stop sign, and legally/illegally going through on a green light, walk signal, but not stopping for the stop sign.

I read recently on this forum that the stop signs will be addressed in an upcoming meeting (and hopefully removed), but am still wondering about 1) the legality of passing through the intersection at any given time and 2) who has right-of-way in the various situations.

A signal always trumps a sign. If you're crossing in the crosswalk, follow the crosswalk signal. If you are crossing in the road, follow the stoplight.

dbb
10-12-2012, 08:33 AM
In the last Arlington Bike Advisory Committee meeting, Dave Kirschner indicated he met with the manager of the W&OD to eliminate stop signs at the signalized intersections along the W&OD. In those cases, it will eliminate having to remember what is trump.

http://bikearlingtonforum.com/showthread.php?3174-Arlington-Bike-Advisory-Committee-Notes-Oct-2012&p=33296#post33296

unclejed
12-05-2012, 12:25 PM
I went to traffic court today regarding my being ticketed for "Failure to obey traffic lights" back on October 4.

I pleaded no contest and asked the judge to replace the ticket with a warning since I am now riding in the pedestrian cross-walk as instructed by the officer. The judge told me to go see the prosecutor. The prosecutor asked for the officer's account of the incident to which he said that I passed two stopped cars and went through the intersection on a red light. I countered that I was going through the intersection on the walk signal and that all motorized traffic was stopped at the 4-way red light and thing the officer objected to was that I was not in the pedestrian cross-walk. The prosecutor looked at the officer and said I should go see the judge, the officer said the judge told us to come see you.

The prosecutor asked if I had any other violations on my driving record, I said no. He offered me two options: 1) plead guilty and let the judge decide or 2) plead guilty to disobeying a highway sign and receive 3 points on my license. I said I was riding a bicycle, so how could I get "points" on my drivers license? He told me to go see the judge.

Back with the judge, there was a bit more back and forth about the walk sign and needing to ride in the cross-walk. The judge fined me $50 which is suspended for 6 months and will expire if I'm not cited again during that time. In VA, the violation for Code 46.2-833 is awarded 4 points on a drivers license. I paid my $61 court fee and left.

Unlike the W&OD stop sign incident, where the prosecutor challenged the officer on the legality of the stop signs, I found a very cut and dry legal system that treats bicycles as motorized vehicles.

I ride through the same intersection, crossing on the walk signal as I have done for the past 2 years, only now I ride between the pedo lines...4 feet to the right of where I rode before. Does that make me safer? Does that make me a better biker?

rcannon100
12-05-2012, 12:46 PM
WOD Stop Signs

So Northern Virginia Regional Parks put up a vid of their 5 year strategic plan. It has a very odd scene in it - one scene of the WOD (the WOD is a NVRPA park) - where a cyclists blows through the stop sign. I posted the NRPVA video on my blog Windy Run (http://windy-run.blogspot.com/2012/12/w-strategic-plan-2012-2017-bikedc.html) and summarized some of the information -- but noted how peculiar it was that the only pic of the WOD contained a cyclists blowing through the stop sign.

Well that version of the video is down. NVRPA has replaced it with a new vid. And guess which scene got changed? And as if to make the point - the cover image for the video is now that new scene of cyclists on the WOD (this time not blowing through a stop sign)


http://youtu.be/yeWmerd6MlI

TwoWheelsDC
12-05-2012, 12:57 PM
I went to traffic court today regarding my being ticketed for "Failure to obey traffic lights" back on October 4.


The prosecutor asked if I had any other violations on my driving record, I said no. He offered me two options: 1) plead guilty and let the judge decide or 2) plead guilty to disobeying a highway sign and receive 3 points on my license. I said I was riding a bicycle, so how could I get "points" on my drivers license? He told me to go see the judge.

Thanks for update. I think I've read this before about points...seems strange, because there's no law that says you have to have a DL to operate a bicycle on the road. IIRC, DC does not give points for bicycle infractions, but my memory is fuzzy.


I ride through the same intersection, crossing on the walk signal as I have done for the past 2 years, only now I ride between the pedo lines...4 feet to the right of where I rode before. Does that make me safer? Does that make me a better biker?

My suggestion for the future is to just filter up to the front of the waiting cars (which is legal) and wait for the light. I don't mean that as a judgment on your previous decision to go through the red, it just seems like the best of the legal options. Transitioning from road to sidewalk to road presents its own dangers, including pedestrians and being less predictable (be a PAL!) for drivers.

Tim Kelley
12-05-2012, 01:03 PM
I ride through the same intersection, crossing on the walk signal as I have done for the past 2 years, only now I ride between the pedo lines...4 feet to the right of where I rode before. Does that make me safer? Does that make me a better biker?

Dear Diary: 2130

Thanks for the follow up--it's great to hear about the process, and I'm glad they didn't come down too hard on you!

Crossing in the crosswalk, 4 feet to the right of where you rode before, now makes you a law abiding cyclist! And you'll be more attentive to where you are positioned when going through a red light in front of a police officer.

unclejed
12-05-2012, 01:10 PM
My suggestion for the future is to just filter up to the front of the waiting cars (which is legal) and wait for the light. I don't mean that as a judgment on your previous decision to go through the red, it just seems like the best of the legal options. Transitioning from road to sidewalk to road presents its own dangers, including pedestrians and being less predictable (be a PAL!) for drivers.[/QUOTE]

The officer thought that even filtering was illegal (he said I passed two stopped vehicles). And why would I want to be sitting in front of vehicles that can accelerate from a red light faster than a CaBi? My experience is that this behavior invites conflict with cars. The officer recommended that I stick to the cross-walk, that is what I'm doing now.

Tim Kelley
12-05-2012, 01:15 PM
My suggestion for the future is to just filter up to the front of the waiting cars (which is legal) and wait for the light. I don't mean that as a judgment on your previous decision to go through the red, it just seems like the best of the legal options. Transitioning from road to sidewalk to road presents its own dangers, including pedestrians and being less predictable (be a PAL!) for drivers.

The officer thought that even filtering was illegal (he said I passed two stopped vehicles). And why would I want to be sitting in front of vehicles that can accelerate from a red light faster than a CaBi? My experience is that this behavior invites conflict with cars. The officer recommended that I stick to the cross-walk, that is what I'm doing now.[/QUOTE]

There is some information on passing cars here: http://www.waba.org/resources/laws.php

I would rather be in front of a line of cars, rather then beside them, because I feel more comfortable taking the lane than sharing the lane.

KLizotte
12-05-2012, 01:50 PM
So Northern Virginia Regional Parks put up a vid of their 5 year strategic plan. It has a very odd scene in it - one scene of the WOD (the WOD is a NVRPA park) - where a cyclists blows through the stop sign. I posted the NRPVA video on my blog Windy Run (http://windy-run.blogspot.com/2012/12/w-strategic-plan-2012-2017-bikedc.html) and summarized some of the information -- but noted how peculiar it was that the only pic of the WOD contained a cyclists blowing through the stop sign.

Well that version of the video is down. NVRPA has replaced it with a new vid. And guess which scene got changed? And as if to make the point - the cover image for the video is now that new scene of cyclists on the WOD (this time not blowing through a stop sign)


http://youtu.be/yeWmerd6MlI

In the situation pictured, it really seems like the stop signs should be facing the cars with caution signs posted on the trail. The cars pose more of a menace so they should have to stop (I know, heaven forbid we inconvenience drivers).

jabberwocky
12-05-2012, 01:56 PM
In the situation pictured, it really seems like the stop signs should be facing the cars with caution signs posted on the trail. The cars pose more of a menace so they should have to stop (I know, heaven forbid we inconvenience drivers).The issue is that sightlines for cars freaking suck along most of the W&OD. You can't see cyclists approaching the intersection unless your front bumper is practically in the trail. The trail would need to be redesigned in a lot of places for that to be remotely feasible.

The intersection pictured (which is in Herndon) is actually a 4-way stop. Both cyclists and cars have stop signs.

DismalScientist
12-05-2012, 02:14 PM
In the situation pictured, it really seems like the stop signs should be facing the cars with caution signs posted on the trail. The cars pose more of a menace so they should have to stop (I know, heaven forbid we inconvenience drivers).


Cars always are more of a "menace." A rule based on the relative amount of traffic would say that stop signs (or, probably better, yield signs on the trail for minor streets) should be facing the direction with the least amount of traffic, be it the road or the trail. In Falls Church, the W&OD crosses many streets that have much less traffic than the trail.

ShawnoftheDread
12-05-2012, 02:38 PM
Even assuming stop signs are legal on MUPs (bear with me), how is that stop sign properly placed? Instead of being on the right side of the traffic lane, as it should be, it's on the left, completely on the other side of the "roadway."

baiskeli
12-06-2012, 01:29 PM
Even assuming stop signs are legal on MUPs (bear with me), how is that stop sign properly placed? Instead of being on the right side of the traffic lane, as it should be, it's on the left, completely on the other side of the "roadway."

Maybe it's meant to stop salmoning.

unclejed
12-06-2012, 02:47 PM
Dear Diary: 2130

Thanks for the follow up--it's great to hear about the process, and I'm glad they didn't come down too hard on you!

Crossing in the crosswalk, 4 feet to the right of where you rode before, now makes you a law abiding cyclist! And you'll be more attentive to where you are positioned when going through a red light in front of a police officer.

Tim, why do you see this as "guy runs red light in front of cop"? As I have explained before, this is a strange crossing with a 4-way red light and 4-way walk signal (see photo).

What the ticketing officer was saying is consistent with VA code section 46.2-904 which states "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."

My only dispute was this seems like a technicality, no real safety improvement. The prosecutor and judge had no patience for my arguments, thought you might get the difference.

2132

jabberwocky
12-06-2012, 02:50 PM
My only dispute was this seems like a technicality, no real safety improvement. The prosecutor and judge had no patience for my arguments, thought you might get the difference.The safety improvement is you're more predictable to other traffic. Motorists and pedestrians don't expect people to run a red light in the roadway, but crossing in the crosswalk with the signal is expected.

jnva
12-06-2012, 02:53 PM
I would have blasted past that cop on my electric power-assisted bicycle so he wouldn't have been able to stop me.

ShawnoftheDread
12-06-2012, 02:56 PM
The safety improvement is you're more predictable to other traffic. Motorists and pedestrians don't expect people to run a red light in the roadway, but crossing in the crosswalk with the signal is expected.

This. Also, if you're crossing at a four-way ped crossing but outside of the crosswalk, you're potentially impeding the movement of pedestrians crossing perpendicular to (in front of) you.

Tim Kelley
12-06-2012, 03:19 PM
Tim, why do you see this as "guy runs red light in front of cop"?

Why?

Because while I have sympathy for you as an individual (I understand that this is an odd intersection, and that going to court was probably a big hassle. Thanks for following up and reporting on how it turned out!!) I see one way to elevate the position of cycling in Arlington is through the enforcement of laws as they apply to all modes of transportation. I can't expect better enforcement of red light running as it applies to motorists if I'm not willing to accept enforcement of red light running as it applies to cyclists.

No offense intended towards you, if that's what you're feeling. I'm sure you are a very nice gentleman, and I encourage to you to take part in more discussion on this forum!

Mark Blacknell
12-06-2012, 03:46 PM
Side note: It's my understanding that, in Virginia, points are not to be assessed against your driver's license for infractions committed on a bike. I got this from a source who always knows what he's talking about, but we're having a hard time documenting the basis for it. It's been added to my "to do" list. In the meantime, if you get nailed for something that could involved points in Virginia, make sure you tell the Court Clerk to note that it was committed while on a bike (apparently there's a field in the system for exactly that).

unclejed
12-06-2012, 04:05 PM
Side note: It's my understanding that, in Virginia, points are not to be assessed against your driver's license for infractions committed on a bike. I got this from a source who always knows what he's talking about, but we're having a hard time documenting the basis for it. It's been added to my "to do" list. In the meantime, if you get nailed for something that could involved points in Virginia, make sure you tell the Court Clerk to note that it was committed while on a bike (apparently there's a field in the system for exactly that).

I did mention this to the clerk and she said that DMV assigns the points so I have to take it up with them. The prosecutor also was not aware of this point even though I pointed this out to him.

jwetzel
01-06-2013, 11:40 AM
Something I've always wondered about for if I ever get stopped by law enforcement whilst riding my bicycle is "Do I have to show a drivers license?" I sometimes don't have it when I am out riding, or I usually have a different government issued ID with me I could show instead. Would that limit their ability to assign points to a bicyclist?

PotomacCyclist
01-06-2013, 07:13 PM
A note about two-way traffic in that area:

Crystal Drive is in the process of being converted to two-way traffic for most of its length. The north section near Long Bridge Park could be converted by the spring. The middle section is already two-way.

The section between 23rd St. and 26th St. was repaved last year. That section was supposed to have been converted to two-way in 2012. But there was a delay with the signaling equipment for the new two-way traffic. That stretch of Crystal Drive might be converted to two-way sometime this spring, but as with any construction project, there could be further delays.

The section between 26th and 27th St./Potomac Ave. will also be converted to two-way traffic. 27th St. between Crystal Drive and Rte. 1 will also be converted to two-way traffic. But there is no time frame for this part of the project.

A mid-block HAWK signal will also be added on Crystal Drive between 23rd St. and 26th St.

http://www.crystalcity.org/area/transformation/two-way-crystal-drive

This will solve the problem of salmoning on Crystal Drive south of 23rd St. (By the way, I see A LOT of cars going the wrong way south of 23rd St.! So it's not just cyclists who are salmoning there.)

I'm not aware of any plans to convert Clark St. to two-way traffic in the near future, other than the north section between 12th St. and 14th Rd. (There are long-term plans to demolish the elevated section of Clark St. and convert the road to two-way between 12th St. and 20th St. But this project will likely not be started in the near future, if ever. Maybe in a decade? http://sites.arlingtonva.us/ccpc/street-improvements/south-clark-streetsouth-bell-street-12th-street-south-to-20th-street-south/ )

***
After the renovations, the only section of Crystal Drive that will remain one-way is the southern end, from Potomac Ave. to the Rte. 1/33rd St. "intersection". The southbound bike lane on Crystal Drive will extend past 23rd St.

There is also a separate plan to create a Transitway in Crystal City and Potomac Yard, in preparation for a streetcar later on. The map on the Arlington website seems to indicate that Crystal Drive would be converted to two-way for its entire length, but I don't think that's correct. I don't see how they can make the section at Rte. 1 two-way. Or they might create a new two-way track on the east side of Crystal Drive, using the space where the bike path is currently located. http://goo.gl/maps/pRqhb

http://sites.arlingtonva.us/ccpc/transit-improvements/crystal-city-potomac-yard-transitway/

Maybe more than you wanted to know. But all of these changes will affect bike and car traffic around 23rd St. in the near future.