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Thread: Who has rigth of way in ambiguous car/bike situations?

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    Default Who has rigth of way in ambiguous car/bike situations?

    Sorry if this has been addressed elsewhere. I have two situations that resulted in close calls:

    case 1: I was riding on a sidewalk and was about to cross an intersection in a marked crosswalk without a walk signal. The perpendicular street had a stop sign but traffic parallel to the sidewalk does not stop. A SUV traveling in the same direction as me was clearly intending to turn right at the intersection as he was in a right turn only lane and had his turn signals on. He overtakes me at the last minute and makes the turn right directly in front of me. I expected the motor vehicle to yield but I quickly braked and prevented a collision.

    case 2: I was riding on the W&OD westbound preparing to cross Wiehle . I stopped at the stop sign and when the traffic northbound cleared I started to go across westbound. A driver did a quick right turn on red from the parallel street and was annoyed that I was in the crosswalk blocking his way. He yelled that I should have waited for him before crossing.

    Question: How does traffic law decide who has the right of way in these cases? Is the Virginia law that pedestrians must not proceed into a crosswalks without regard to traffic apply in these cases? Or, is there an implied stop-look-listen requirement for pedestrian/cyclist traffic before entering any intersection.

    There is no need to repeat the prudent advise to always yield to vehicles big enough to kill. I'm just looking to understand the rules in these ambiguous cases so I can stockpile righteous karma when I yield to avoid inconveniencing a motorist even though I technically have the right of way.

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    Don't know about case 1, but I'd generally travel in the lane to avoid repeated crossings (but I'm aware there are other possible extenuating circumstances). My opinion on case 2 is that you're going to have to cross Wiehle when someone has a green, so there's a decent chance someone's going to get inconvenienced. As expected, I wouldn't expect traffic going straight on Wiehle to yield to me there, but FWIW I'm more willing to scoot out there when traffic is turning onto Wiehle from Sunset Hills. At some point that intersection will be redone (a bridge from what I hear).

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    In case 1, it's possible that had you collided, the police would have given you a ticket (see the Columbia Pike/sidewalk cyclist/driver crash aftermath thread here: http://bikearlingtonforum.com/showth...ault-on-report). The driver is supposed to yield right of way to users in the crosswalk, but at that time, you weren't in the crosswalk. It's possible, probably likely, that you would be ticketed for entering without regards to traffic.

    In case 2, you had already established yourself in the crosswalk after waiting for a clearing in traffic. The driver does not have right of way over someone who is in the crosswalk and has to yield to them. The driver has no case for his road rage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobco85 View Post
    In case 1, it's possible that had you collided, the police would have given you a ticket (see the Columbia Pike/sidewalk cyclist/driver crash aftermath thread here: http://bikearlingtonforum.com/showth...ault-on-report). The driver is supposed to yield right of way to users in the crosswalk, but at that time, you weren't in the crosswalk. It's possible, probably likely, that you would be ticketed for entering without regards to traffic.

    In case 2, you had already established yourself in the crosswalk after waiting for a clearing in traffic. The driver does not have right of way over someone who is in the crosswalk and has to yield to them. The driver has no case for his road rage.
    You should have right of way in both situations, with the caveat that, in situation 1, the car had started turning well before you were at the intersection, your entering the intersection would have been "in disregard of traffic". Note that the way the law in Virginia is written, the responsibility of the pedestrian to not enter "in disregard of traffic" does not change the responsibility of drivers to yield.

    Also note that any given police officer may not recall the law as deeply as some of us, so you're on your own there, unfortunately.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    Note that the way the law in Virginia is written, the responsibility of the pedestrian to not enter "in disregard of traffic" does not change the responsibility of drivers to yield.
    But since it's a contributory negligence regime, \_(ツ)_/

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    Quote Originally Posted by JennaV View Post
    Sorry if this has been addressed elsewhere. I have two situations that resulted in close calls:

    case 1: I was riding on a sidewalk and was about to cross an intersection in a marked crosswalk without a walk signal. The perpendicular street had a stop sign but traffic parallel to the sidewalk does not stop. A SUV traveling in the same direction as me was clearly intending to turn right at the intersection as he was in a right turn only lane and had his turn signals on. He overtakes me at the last minute and makes the turn right directly in front of me. I expected the motor vehicle to yield but I quickly braked and prevented a collision.

    case 2: I was riding on the W&OD westbound preparing to cross Wiehle . I stopped at the stop sign and when the traffic northbound cleared I started to go across westbound. A driver did a quick right turn on red from the parallel street and was annoyed that I was in the crosswalk blocking his way. He yelled that I should have waited for him before crossing.

    Question: How does traffic law decide who has the right of way in these cases? Is the Virginia law that pedestrians must not proceed into a crosswalks without regard to traffic apply in these cases? Or, is there an implied stop-look-listen requirement for pedestrian/cyclist traffic before entering any intersection.

    There is no need to repeat the prudent advise to always yield to vehicles big enough to kill. I'm just looking to understand the rules in these ambiguous cases so I can stockpile righteous karma when I yield to avoid inconveniencing a motorist even though I technically have the right of way.
    Case 1: The law as shown under Code 46.2-924 should apply here:
    "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."

    Case 2: The WOD crossing at Wiehle is NOT part of the Wiehle/Sunset Hill intersection. It is a dedicated crosswalk that vehicle travelling either Wiehle NB or turning right from Sunset Hill (the road adjacent to WOD) must yield right of way. The language "No pedestrian shall enter or cross an intersection in disregard of approaching traffic." can possibly apply here, but I do not see this holding up for anyone making a right turn from Sunset Hill. Furthermore, once you are in the mid-island at this crosswalk, you are STILL in the crosswalk, which means SB Wiehle traffic MUST yield right of way. I see many that seem to be hesitant or perhaps not realizing that they have the right of way and can continue to cross.

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    Quote Originally Posted by f148vr View Post
    I see many that seem to be hesitant or perhaps not realizing that they have the right of way and can continue to cross.
    I think many hesitate because they think they'll be run down by someone in an SUV looking at their phone, regardless of right of way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mstone View Post
    But since it's a contributory negligence regime, \_(ツ)_/
    Right, both could get tickets, then you'd be screwed on recovery. The question was about right of way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mstone View Post
    I think many hesitate because they think they'll be run down by someone in an SUV looking at their phone, regardless of right of way.
    Fair enough. And of course I do not advocate crossing *any* roads indiscriminately, even when there's a "walk" signal. The point I'm making is that it seems the decision of whether one can cross at a crosswalk is being made by motorists, and by how much they want to be "inconvenienced". This is usually not an issue at a traffic light or stop sign, where most know that one has to stop. The SAME law also requires motorists to yield right-of-way at crosswalks, but yet motorists seem to treat this as discretionary activity, only to observe it at their own leisure. I am comfortable enough on a bike where I try to raise this awareness to motorists on crosswalk laws "assertively", but without jeopardizing my or anyone else's safety.

    More often than not, I observe the scenario where a motorist stops at a crosswalk, those crossing wave and "thank" them for letting them cross. While this gesture may seem appropriate to some, it actually sends a very wrong message to motorists. It gives the impression that they are giving up their right-of-way when they actually DO NOT have one to give. I don't think most motorist with a green light at an intersection wave thanks to those sitting at the red light for letting them drive through the intersection.

    As a cyclist in an urban setting, I always think about what message I am sending to others around me, such as aforementioned example. I do not blow through stop signs, intersections, and traffic lights when others are present and right-of-way needs to be established. Taking of right-of-way is what usually piss off motorists the most. I do not ask nor want special treatments from motorists, but will acknowledge only when they GIVE UP their right-of-way. The bottom line is that if both motorists AND cyclists all have a better grasp of giving, taking, and understanding of right-of-way, it would perhaps slightly lessens the need for this constant car-bike debate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by f148vr View Post
    ...More often than not, I observe the scenario where a motorist stops at a crosswalk, those crossing wave and "thank" them for letting them cross. While this gesture may seem appropriate to some, it actually sends a very wrong message to motorists. It gives the impression that they are giving up their right-of-way when they actually DO NOT have one to give. I don't think most motorist with a green light at an intersection wave thanks to those sitting at the red light for letting them drive through the intersection...
    Where I will acknowledge a driver stopping to allow me to cross is where I was not yet physically in the crosswalk and therefore the driver was not "required" to yield to me. Others don't like drivers doing this either. Seems like your can't win for losing.

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