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Rootchopper
01-10-2011, 09:13 AM
This morning as I passed under the Beltway in Old Town Alexandria on South Royal Street, I was greeted by a big electric highway sign saying: Bicycles Must Stop at Stop Signs. Strictly Enforced. The sign was pointed toward the underpass so that none of the motor vehicles could see it.

Well, it was 25 degrees out and there weren't exactly teeming hoards of scofflaw cyclists about. I wondered what genius in Alexandria's police department decided to spend tax payers money on this.

I also wondered why the sign was oriented such that drivers of motor vehicles could not see it. Perhaps, Alexandria's finest think that only cyclists run stop signs. So, to test that theory, I counted the cars that came to a full stop at the stop signs along the length of Royal Street. The answer: I lost count after a dozen because not a single car came to a complete stop. Not a one. Only a Dash city bus came to a stop before I rejoined the Mount Vernon Trail on the north end of Old Town.

I hope the good folks of Old Town feel safer now.

paulg
01-12-2011, 09:25 AM
I saw this sign too. I also noticed the one set up at the North end of Old Town again just facing the trail and not the road.

Does anyone know why the signs were put up at this time? Have there been complaints or accidents?

I rode through today and it seems they've taken the signs away, so they were only shortlived or maybe just moved somewhere else. Maybe the snow had something to do with their removal.

My experience of riding the mount vernon trail through Old Town is that I follow the Idaho stop and what I find sometimes is that if I stop for a car that has arrived at the intersection first they will wave me through first. Doesn't happen every time but maybe there is still some goodwil amongst us road users.

ChrisJ
01-19-2011, 02:08 PM
Thats better then the US Park Police horse crew riding 2 wide on the side walk after Consition heading south around 11am today. Thanks officers.

PrintError
01-19-2011, 02:42 PM
Root: I was waiting for a riding partner to meet me at an intersection with a stop sign with a right hand turn to leave our parking lot, and make the long ride home from work. I was there about 15 minutes waiting on the yellow-striped center lane, standing over the frame, very clearly waiting and not attempting to ride on or make the right turn.

I started counting.

In that 15 minutes, well over 100 cars passed me. I stopped counting at 100 because it was getting too funny.
4 actually came to a complete stop. A few came close, but only 4 actually physically STOPPED.
9 rolled down their window to ask if I needed to turn ahead of them!!! (I counted these separately from the stoppers)

More people were concerned with where I was trying to go - despite me not trying to go anywhere - than were actually concerned with obeying the law.

We cyclists aren't the problem. :)

acc
01-19-2011, 03:20 PM
Amen, Brother.

txgoonie
01-20-2011, 10:50 AM
I was out running the MVT this morning. When I came to the intersection in front of the Old Town Sport and Health, I saw two cyclists coming down Madison. There is a stop sign on Madison and a crosswalk for trail traffic, but, running defensively, I slowed to see what they were going to do. (I was wearing reflectives and a headlamp, so no way they didn’t see me.) Instead of stopping, they blew the stop sign and turned onto the trail. Not a big deal - it was 6 am, no cars, and none of us were going very fast (although a wave or “thank you” would have been nice.) But if we’re talking about following rules, they certainly didn’t.

It made me think of this thread. Perhaps, if there was a complaint it came from a pedestrian, not a driver. Would better explain the placement of the sign. I have seen lots of near misses and altercations between bikes and peds at the intersection of King St. and Union. People (often tourists) tend to amble across the street, and bikes just wanna get on through. My experience with cars, both on bike and foot, mirrors paulg. With a stop sign on every block, drivers generally aren’t in a hot hurry around there.

Still, of all the bad behavior to call out and methods to do so, seems pretty weird.

CCrew
01-20-2011, 05:19 PM
Saw one on the W&OD today and had to chuckle. Big light up construction sign on trail near Reston.... PAVEING AHEAD They need to stay asphalt guys and step away from the spelling :)

PrintError
01-20-2011, 06:32 PM
Saw one on the W&OD today and had to chuckle. Big light up construction sign on trail near Reston.... PAVEING AHEAD They need to stay asphalt guys and step away from the spelling :)

I laugh at that every morning, hehe. Funny thing is, they haven't been paving in that area for months now, and they've even moved the equipment!

brendan
01-21-2011, 10:50 AM
...It made me think of this thread. Perhaps, if there was a complaint it came from a pedestrian, not a driver. Would better explain the placement of the sign. I have seen lots of near misses and altercations between bikes and peds at the intersection of King St. and Union. People (often tourists) tend to amble across the street, and bikes just wanna get on through. My experience with cars, both on bike and foot, mirrors paulg. With a stop sign on every block, drivers generally aren’t in a hot hurry around there....

Slightly off topic, but my most mortifying/dangerous near miss of a pedestrian while cycling (that is entirely my own fault) was this:

A normal Saturday long loop ride out C&O (returning W&OD later in the day). Riding perhaps a tad over the 15mph limit on the Dummy, refrains of "<ding> <pause>, 'on the left'" for miles while passing joggers/pedestrians/other cyclists. At some point I approached a jogger going my direction plus some oncoming pedestrian traffic going the other way. When I see it isn't really safe to pass yet, I slow down and wait - I don't like threading the middle in general, especially not on the Dummy. So, I pulled the brake to slow down and postponed the normal <ding> and vocal notification since it's possible I could end up behind the guy for a while.

Only, I find I am not slowing down.

This is what makes the near miss my fault: I froze up for at least a few seconds. I got confused and terrified all at once before I realized that it was only my rear brake that wasn't responding. By the time I was activating my front brake, I was inside a rather dangerous physics problem. Again, by that point I still had said nothing, because of wanting to wait for oncoming pedestrian traffic to clear before bothering the guy in front of me and now I was freaking out a bit and not sure what the next step was going to be.

It's hard to say exactly what transpired, but while I ended up slowing down not nearly enough and got pretty close to him while passing (just after the oncoming pedestrians cleared so I couldn't pass wide), there was no accident. I got lucky. In addition, the way the path is there, there were no bail options: water to the right and the oncoming pedestrians to the left. Once I was past him, I pulled over to the right when it was safe to do so, trembling and a bit panicked. I caught my breath and began to trace the brake problem.

As he came up from behind he said, *very* sternly, "you really have to tell pedestrians when you're passing". I apologized several times, said I normally do notify, told him my brakes had failed and I had panicked. I also said I was going to sort it out the brake issue before getting back on. He was angry, but rightly so, as I'd scared the crap out of both of us. I hope he believed me, I don't want to be *that guy* in his mind forever and the cause of additional "cyclists are reckless idiots" conversations for years to come.

------

Since I'm off topic, I guess I might as well finish, yes? :)

The immediate cause of the brake failure was the adjustment knob on the outside of the Avid BB7 brakes going missing. When you pop the knob off suddenly there's no tension on the spring and the cable pull doesn't do anything. They are very easy to pop off by hand. I thought of going back to look for it, but talk about needle in a haystack...so, the rest of the ride was front brakes only. With front brakes and a long bike, though, that wasn't too difficult to adjust to (plus the W&OD only has a few downhills to worry about). I ordered a couple of replacement knobs that night, and installed a replacement several days later.

Later, I was able to trace back what the proximate cause after examining the bike more closely at home. It turns out that the outer adjustment knob on the rear BB7 brakes rubs up against the left Freeloader bag on the xtracycle cargo frame when there's a certain amount of cargo in it. I'd been keeping a 2.5 gallon water bag on the left side because the summer had been so hot and I'd run out of water on the C&O far from a good water source once before on a 100+ day. After months of rubbing, the process created a hole in the freeloader fabric. Other folks who have purchased the same setup also reported the rubbing/hole (and suggested various solutions, such as installing a metal plate protecting the knob. I ended up adding layers of reinforced duct tape on the face of the bag that can touch the knob, which conveniently "fixed" the hole too and can be refreshed from time to time cheaply. :)

So, in my case: at some point the edges of the hole created by the rubbing finally caught the inner lip of the adjustment knob...and pulled it off, perhaps during a big bump of some sort.

Am I just assuming that's what happened? No, that's the only possible explanation. Because the knob never went missing! The edges of the hole pulled the knob off the brake assembly and *into* the inner pocket of the freeloader, *where I found it three week later* when cleaning all the junk that had accumulated since the last cleaning! Doh.

Brendan

PrintError
01-21-2011, 03:09 PM
I am going to tighten the knobs on my BB5s tonight! O_O

Rootchopper
01-23-2011, 07:49 AM
It's possible that the sign went up as extra protection for the kids walking to St. Mary's School which is a half block further down S. Royal. But the vast majority of SMS students appear to arrive by car and there is a police officer at the S. Royal intersection nearest the school.

I was told a while back that occasionally Old Town residents bitch about cyclists much like they bitch about people playing in the parks and making noise. They also bitch about the planes overhead and the power plant. All these things have been in evidence long before most of them moved to Old Town, but they bitch anyway. So the city makes a token effort to be responsive to them. How this can make for a Bicycle Friendly City award is beyond me.

A similar sign appeared a few evenings later on the GW Parkway just south of Old Town. It said "SNOW CONDITIONS". The skies were crystal clear at the time. Snow didn't start falling for 22 hours.

And they say they don't have enough money for snow removal on the trails.

acc
01-23-2011, 09:20 AM
Darn those kids playing in the park riding their tricycles. That will lead to two-wheelers with banana seats, then on to mountain bikes, BMX, and road cycles.
Tricycles: The gateway drug.

txgoonie
01-24-2011, 07:05 AM
The sign reemerged at the intersection I mentioned before - MVT & Madison St. Somebody is on a mission.

txgoonie
01-26-2011, 02:38 PM
Biking in the Fast Lane
Alexandria cops ticket cyclist for going 31 in a 25.

http://www.connectionnewspapers.com/article.asp?article=347773&paper=88&cat=104

acc
01-26-2011, 02:59 PM
All I could think was, wow that is some kinda fast. Very cool.
But seriously, enforce the 25 mph limit on the minivans, please.
And, at least I know the cyclist wasn't texting at the same time.

CCrew
01-26-2011, 05:04 PM
I need to scan it.. My son has the ticket he got here in Winchester - 36 in a 25. Paced by the cop and pulled over with lights and siren.

I went with him to court, because I didn't want to see him get points on his drivers license. Judge asked me what I thought. I told him that considering he wasn't in front of a TV playing video games i was actually impressed with the feat - I knew I couldn't do it where he had. And that it sounded that it was certainly not done in an unsafe manner.

Judge agreed, and dismissed it but the best part was that he railed the cop up one side and down the other for even writing the ticket.

StopMeansStop
01-30-2011, 12:18 PM
Good and bring on more enforcement!

I'm sick of cyclists blowing stop signs and causing accidents.