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Thread: Cyclist Hit by Car in Arlington

  1. #1
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    Default Cyclist Hit by Car in Arlington

    Hi everyone, since March 2013, I have been writing a blog about living car-free in Arlington,Va. I wish I could be introducing myself under better circumstances.

    On Thursday, 24 hours after a blog post "Can You See Me Now?" I was struck by a car whose driver was not looking for cyclists. Below is a link to my post about the accident. The driver was found to be at fault.

    And the good news is that the citizens who responded to me were kind and knowledgeable and the emergency vehicles and police responded incredibly fast.


    http://wp.me/p3v8dA-3h

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  3. #2
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    Wishing you a speedy recovery!

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    DismalScientist is offline I really need to log off the internet and go for a ride.
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    I'm sorry this happened to you and hope you are OK.

    From the way you described the accident, I am not surprised that the driver did not see you. At that time of the morning, the driver, wanting to turn right onto the onramp and looking to the left for traffic, is likely staring into the rising sun. No matter how brightly dressed and no matter your lighting, the driver can miss seeing you, particularly if you are close to the curb. (I am not minimizing the driver's guilt here.)

    Riding defensively and anticipating boneheaded behavior by drivers and other traffic is the key. Watch for signs that drivers may not realize where you are. Look to see whether drivers on sidestreets are looking at you. Look to see how front wheels are positioned to see whether a car might pull out in front of you. Don't assume that drivers will signal turns. Always look for places to take evasive actions if drivers do something boneheaded.

    Coming eastbound off the trail is also dangerous at this intersection. Right turning drivers will look left and not check the trail for cyclists and pedestrians who have a "green" crosswalk in front of the driver. If the driver is looking left, I will stop and wait for the driver to look at me before I cross Wakefield.

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    jrenaut is offline I really need to log off the internet and go for a ride.
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    Really sorry this happened. I hope your recovery is quick and easy.

    I agree with the Kelley's comment on the blog post - right on red should be illegal anywhere there might be pedestrians and cyclists.

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    PotomacCyclist is offline I spend all day thinking about bikes and talking to people on the internet about them.
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    Heal up soon.

    As for drivers turning right on red, I've seen many of them blow through those turns at high speed in VA/DC/MD. They don't even bother to look for pedestrians in the crosswalk, let alone cyclists or other cars. It really can be crazy out there at some intersections.

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    I may or may not have shone my headlamp into the face of drivers that I don't think are looking for me as they wait to turn on to the road which I am travelling. Occasionally.

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    Unfortunately, motorists frequently make right turns on red without stopping (sometimes without even slowing down). Its something to watch carefully for, especially in crosswalks (where many motorists make no attempt to look). I've personally had many close calls over the years. Its especailly dangerous when the road people are making a right turn from has multiple lanes. Any cars in the middle lane will block both your view of the far lane and people in the far lanes view of you.

    I ran into the side of a ladies car several years ago while crossing with the walk signal as she sped through a right turn on red. She was also on a phone, and the light had a "no turn on red" sign.

    The good news is that you are relatively uninjured, and you have a police report listing the motorist at fault. Getting hit by a car sucks, but if you are gonna get hit, those two things are about the best outcome you can get.

  11. #8
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    Default Before Sunrise

    DismalScientist,
    I understand what you are talking about with the morning sun in that spot. But actually at the time I was hit, the sun had not fully risen yet. So the driver doesn't get that excuse this time around.

    I agree with and practice defensive riding as you describe.

    The driver was nowhere near the intersection when I went to look for potentially hazardous drivers. My best guess is that she came to the intersection with enough speed that she was not in my line of sight or where I expected a vehicle stopped at the red light to be until it was too late.

    So unfortunately, there are times when all of our best methods as cyclists fail in the face of an inattentive driver.

    Thanks for reading and taking the time to write your reply.

    CFF

    Quote Originally Posted by DismalScientist View Post
    I'm sorry this happened to you and hope you are OK.

    From the way you described the accident, I am not surprised that the driver did not see you. At that time of the morning, the driver, wanting to turn right onto the onramp and looking to the left for traffic, is likely staring into the rising sun. No matter how brightly dressed and no matter your lighting, the driver can miss seeing you, particularly if you are close to the curb. (I am not minimizing the driver's guilt here.)

    Riding defensively and anticipating boneheaded behavior by drivers and other traffic is the key. Watch for signs that drivers may not realize where you are. Look to see whether drivers on sidestreets are looking at you. Look to see how front wheels are positioned to see whether a car might pull out in front of you. Don't assume that drivers will signal turns. Always look for places to take evasive actions if drivers do something boneheaded.

    Coming eastbound off the trail is also dangerous at this intersection. Right turning drivers will look left and not check the trail for cyclists and pedestrians who have a "green" crosswalk in front of the driver. If the driver is looking left, I will stop and wait for the driver to look at me before I cross Wakefield.

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    dasgeh is offline Queen of Family Biking & All Things Kidical
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    This sucks, but I'm so glad you're ok. WABA has a handy guide to help in these situations: http://www.waba.org/resources/crash_faq.php . Please report it to them, as well, as they'll keep track for advocacy.

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    Additional comment: I'm not familiar with the intersection your accident happened at, but I've found that at intersections, its almost always better to be out in the lane with the other vehicles. At least that way you're in a place where motorists are looking for and expecting traffic. Crosswalks adjacent to busy intersections are, IME, one of the most dangerous places on the planet to be on two wheels. Too much traffic from too many directions, and nobody is obeying the law and nobody is paying any attention to the crosswalks.

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