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Thread: Beware: Open season on cyclists at the Intersection of Doom

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    Default Beware: Open season on cyclists at the Intersection of Doom

    I got hit there this morning at about 8:30. I was going eastbound and had the white walk signal. It was white when I arrived, so I was moving when I entered. The car that hit me had blocked the intersection and waited for several pedestrians to cross then pulled forward and hit me on my right side. I went down. There were several cyclist witnesses. The driver stopped and apologized and admitted fault--that she had been in the intersection after it turned red for her and then entered the crosswalk and hit me while I had the white walk signal.

    This is what makes me mad: A cop saw the entire thing. He agreed that she had blocked the intersection and failed to yield in the crosswalk. We're all in agreement on the basic facts. He wrote a report and facilitated the information exchange. But he didn't give her a ticket--he just called it an unfortunate accident! Why is the cop even there if he won't cite drivers who break the law and hit cyclists (or pedestrians)?

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    Quote Originally Posted by kcb203 View Post
    I got hit there this morning at about 8:30. I was going eastbound and had the white walk signal. It was white when I arrived, so I was moving when I entered. The car that hit me had blocked the intersection and waited for several pedestrians to cross then pulled forward and hit me on my right side. I went down. There were several cyclist witnesses. The driver stopped and apologized and admitted fault--that she had been in the intersection after it turned red for her and then entered the crosswalk and hit me while I had the white walk signal.

    This is what makes me mad: A cop saw the entire thing. He agreed that she had blocked the intersection and failed to yield in the crosswalk. We're all in agreement on the basic facts. He wrote a report and facilitated the information exchange. But he didn't give her a ticket--he just called it an unfortunate accident! Why is the cop even there if he won't cite drivers who break the law and hit cyclists (or pedestrians)?
    I hope you're ok. If you have any injuries or damage, I'd contact an attorney (who will probably advise to not post publicly, and definitely don't say you're ok or your bike is ok until you've had time/attention). Cory Bilton and Bruce Deming are great.

    This is so frustrating. ACPD has gotten a lot better in recent years. That said, they still have a ways to go.

    The most important thing, for insurance, etc, is that the report clearly sets fault with the driver. ACPD seems to think that when there's a collision and the report sets fault with a driver, particularly a driver who seems to feel bad, that there's been enough "punishment" for the driver. Ugh. It's not too late for the driver to be cited. Honestly, I'd email (police@arlingtonva.us, if you don't have the contact for the captain of that district), report what happened, and ask for an explanation. I don't know if there's much hope of changing this incident, but you might help the next person.

    And I was almost hit at the same intersection at 9:30am today -- no police around, and no traffic in the intersection -- the first car in the right lane went when we had the white walking symbol and he had the lighted no turn; the driver was chatting on his cell phone. In 6 years of commuting through this intersection, I have never seen enforcement during the evening commute. Not once.

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    Digging around the concept of "right of way", I came across this link:

    https://www.dmv.org/how-to-guides/in...ght-of-way.php

    The last section stood out to me:

    The law does not give anyone the right of way on the road. Instead, it states who is required to yield the right of way in certain instances. It is also the responsibility of the driver to do everything possible to be safe and avoid a collision.

    Here are some other right-of-way tips you should keep in mind:

    Never assume what another driver on the road is going to do.
    Never insist on taking the right of way.
    Yield whenever it is needed to be safe.
    Make eye contact with other drivers at intersections when possible.
    Try to anticipate the actions of other drivers whenever possible.

    I suspect the bullet "Never insist on taking the right of way and Yield whenever is needed to be safe" is problematic with some cyclists as I've seen plenty of entitled riders out there.

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    I hope you are okay and that you get to resolve your case in a favorable way.

    I have been cycling for about 3 years and have come to learn that as a cyclist you are always the low hanging fruit. The law doesn't protect cyclists as it does with drivers and even pedestrians. I love speed and try to push as much as I can when parts of the trail are empty and on hills, but whenever I am approaching an intersection, even if I have the right of way, I slow down, and try to cross in the safest way, even if I have to get down off the bike sometimes. Even if I do that, I sometimes get close calls, but the chances I get into a bad accident goes down significantly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by f148vr View Post
    Digging around the concept of "right of way", I came across this link:
    ...
    What is with the victim blaming? Clearly, the driver had the responsibility to yield the right of way in this situation. It sounds like the police officer acknowledged this, but chose not to give a ticket (because, hey, not every law is enforced 100% of the time). The driver had stopped for other people crossing - it was reasonable to expect the driver saw that the pedestrians had the light and would see the cyclist in question, too.

    Quote Originally Posted by semperiden View Post
    I hope you are okay and that you get to resolve your case in a favorable way.

    I have been cycling for about 3 years and have come to learn that as a cyclist you are always the low hanging fruit. The law doesn't protect cyclists as it does with drivers and even pedestrians. I love speed and try to push as much as I can when parts of the trail are empty and on hills, but whenever I am approaching an intersection, even if I have the right of way, I slow down, and try to cross in the safest way, even if I have to get down off the bike sometimes. Even if I do that, I sometimes get close calls, but the chances I get into a bad accident goes down significantly.
    I hate when people do this. Slow down, I get, but in Virginia, there's no legal requirement to dismount (I won't comment on Maryland). It sends the wrong message to drivers. If someone were to do this at every intersection on the Custis, they'd endanger all of the cyclists behind them, because no one would be expecting this. At the intersection in question, people walking and biking get 10 seconds to start. If people dismounted, significantly fewer people could get through in that 10 seconds. Ugh.

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    "Sometimes" is the keyword here. I do it most of the time when I need to do a left turn and I have to change lanes with car traffic. I get to the sidewalk and cross as a pedestrian. I get it that it gives drivers the wrong message, but that's better than being in a hospital bed with no fault of my own and having to pay my own medical bills.

    I have never dismounted at the IOD, but do cross slowly. The drivers will try to run you over most of the time anyway, but you have more time to completely stop if you need to.

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    My go-to move to deal with the IOD's ever more frequent box-blockers is to swing out behind them during the LPI (at least if they are more than halfway to the Key Bridge side of Lee Hwy) on the theory they are less likely to back over me than run me down in the crosswalk as they attempt to avoid the wrath of the Lee Hwy drivers.

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    Go slow enough to take evasive (but not too slow in case evasive involves needing speed), don't proceed after the hand starts blinking, and have one hand ready at all times to raise the one-fingered salute if needed.

    If going westbound, I do like bentbike and go behind the box blockers, often then proceeding up Lee until the next block or the hotel instead of using the trail in order to avoid conflicts jumping back on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by f148vr View Post

    I suspect the bullet "Never insist on taking the right of way and Yield whenever is needed to be safe" is problematic with some cyclists as I've seen plenty of entitled riders out there.
    Right, Mr. Heisman.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kcb203 View Post
    I got hit there this morning at about 8:30. I was going eastbound and had the white walk signal. It was white when I arrived, so I was moving when I entered. The car that hit me had blocked the intersection and waited for several pedestrians to cross then pulled forward and hit me on my right side. I went down. There were several cyclist witnesses. The driver stopped and apologized and admitted fault--that she had been in the intersection after it turned red for her and then entered the crosswalk and hit me while I had the white walk signal.

    This is what makes me mad: A cop saw the entire thing. He agreed that she had blocked the intersection and failed to yield in the crosswalk. We're all in agreement on the basic facts. He wrote a report and facilitated the information exchange. But he didn't give her a ticket--he just called it an unfortunate accident! Why is the cop even there if he won't cite drivers who break the law and hit cyclists (or pedestrians)?
    This makes me mad, too. What is the whole point of the police officer being there if he wasn't going to enforce blocking the box or help protect people on bikes and foot. They really need to do a better job with the box blockers, who clog up the whole thing, not to mention creating dangers like you encountered. Arrrgh.

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