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Thread: Required to dismount in crosswalk?

  1. #1
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    Default Required to dismount in crosswalk?

    Hello! My daughter and I did Bike to Work Day today in Arlington. When we were approaching her school, we were told by the crossing guard that my child had to dismount in the crosswalk but I did NOT have to. (FWIW, there were no cars and no pedestrians within sight.) She said it was the school's rule. We were on a regular road--not school property.

    So, I have two questions:
    1. Is it legal for cyclists to ride through a crosswalk without dismounting? (Assuming we've checked for oncoming cross-traffic and pedestrians, etc.)?
    2. If it is legal for cyclists to ride through a crosswalk, can the school demand that she dismount before crossing a crosswalk on a county road?

    Thanks for your input, advice, and wisdom!

  2. #2
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    1. My understanding is that it is completely legal in all local jurisdictions for cyclists to ride through crosswalks (though in that case in addition to checking for cross traffic, they should also give right of way to the pedestrians crossing with them in the crosswalk, as they would on a sidewalk)

    2. I have no idea what the situation is for a school regulating the behavior of kids off of school property. That would be about school rules and their limits, not local traffic law.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    1. My understanding is that it is completely legal in all local jurisdictions for cyclists to ride through crosswalks (though in that case in addition to checking for cross traffic, they should also give right of way to the pedestrians crossing with them in the crosswalk, as they would on a sidewalk)
    +1. It is also my understanding that even where there are signs instructing cyclists to dismount and walk at crosswalks (such as those at ramp crossings along MVT), they are not legally enforceable.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post

    2. I have no idea what the situation is for a school regulating the behavior of kids off of school property. That would be about school rules and their limits, not local traffic law.
    I suspect this is where the rule falls since it is perfectly legal to bike in the crosswalk around here. You should contact the school and ask them if this is an official school rule, the crossing guard's policy, or something else. You can also email/tweet/call Arlington County and ask them. They're usually really responsive.

    I suspect the school may say it's a safety issue and if your daughter wants to ride to school, she needs to obey the crossing guard. Last I checked obeying a crossing guard IS required, although the law doesn't address bikes from what I see, just cars and vehicles on the road. Someone with more legal background would need to give you better insight. http://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/t...ction46.2-834/

    Some of the "regulating behavior outside of school" falls into a legal grey area too, but not sure this is one of the issues that's worth a fight...

  5. #5
    mstone is offline I really need to log off the internet and go for a ride.
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    Our school has the same policy. It's stupid, but who has the energy to fight all the stupid these days?

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    The elementary school in my neighborhood asks everyone inside the crossing-guard zone to dismount. I prefer to think of it as a good, common-sense recommendation where there are a zillion kids running around in every direction, rather than a "rule" or "regulation."

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  9. #7
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    I would add to all of this that you should let the kid know that this rule only applies to school crossing guards. There are still people out there who believe that cyclists are required to dismount when in a crosswalk.

  10. #8
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    dkel brings up a good point: it totally depends on context. If there are no pedestrians around, I don't think anyone should be asked to dismount. But if you're crossing with a crowd, especially children, it's much safer and more courteous to just walk your bike.

  11. #9
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    In Maryland, there is a drafting error in the motor vehicle law that makes it advisable to dismount, in certain circumstances, when in a crosswalk.

  12. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crickey7 View Post
    In Maryland, there is a drafting error in the motor vehicle law that makes it advisable to dismount, in certain circumstances, when in a crosswalk.
    Some background on this:

    http://www.thewashcycle.com/2016/07/...crosswalk.html

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