Stop signs at crosswalks. Do you yield to cars?
Where the W&OD crosses many a road as many of you know there are stop signs for the trail users. Technically, trail users are required to stop, and yield to road users. Road users are required to yield to anyone in the crosswalk.
Most drivers I see will be nice to yield to the trail users. If I see traffic coming up, I usually wave the driver on. The times I dont is if there are cyclists behind me, fearing they will blow the stop and get crushed.
For most of the trails this isn't a big deal, but for crossings around the GW parkway and MVT drivers yielding creates a very dangerous situation. As a driver and cyclist I've seen cars go from 50 to 0 and almost get rammed from behind, or one driver in a lane yields and the cyclists starts to cross and cars in the other lane don't stop and almost hit the cyclist. How can a situation like this be made safer for everyone?
Natural selection -- let the cars take care of the nimrods on the trail who refuse to stop. (This is also the solution for cyclists who run red lights.)
Making it safer involves common sense and that's no longer common. If there is a STOP sign, then stop -- whether you're a driver or a cyclist. Just slowing down or a "rolling stop" (and that's akin to "a little bit pregnant") doesn't cut it. That said, on the MVT, if there are no cars or a sufficient gap, I don't stop. but I always plan on stopping. If there are cars, I stop. If a car stops and motions me across, I usually motion for it to go ahead. (I don't trust the cars in the other lane to stop.) I rarely ever actually dismount and walk my bike across,
Before proceeding, after stopping, look both ways. If the road is one-way, as a cyclist, you can ignore one direction, although I see drivers ignore one-sway streets all the time. (Yes, daily.) As a driver, the trails are two-way, so a cyclist can be coming from either direction. All to often, a drier making a right doesn't look to the right. (In fact, I assume they will not, whether I am on my bike or walking.)
You mention the W&OD and MVT, but the Custis Trail is where cyclists blow though intersections and drivers, especially at Lynn Street, don't even bother to look at the crosswalk when they're making a right on red.
Saw someone get naturally selected today. Not a pleasant experience for anyone involved. It was at an intersection where someone was questioning why there was any enforcement at all. I guess that answers the question.
I always yield to cars, unless they stop and wave me on. This ONLY works if all other lanes of cars have no traffic or follow suit in the same manner. I always give a hearty thumbs up and cheery "Thank you!" to return the thoughtful gesture.
I don't mean to be blunt. Well, yes I do but it's early and I am undercaffeinated and upset that a cyclist is hurt. I have a simple approach.
I don't want to die on a bike.
That means I ride within my limits.
I use my own judgment at an intersection no matter how many times I hear "clear."
I am always ready to stop at an intersection. And yes, this slows me down a lot -- tough.
I will lay my bike down if I have the slightest doubt about whether a car is coming up on me too fast and what looked clear a moment ago suddenly looks iffy.
I don't tangle with things bigger than I am.
(Hooking up the caffeine bolus now)
Please watch yourselves.
All fair statements.
Originally Posted by acc
I don't think any of us can say we've never rolled a stop, or in retrospect done a boneheaded maneuver. And Ann's right... You can't trust anyone but yourself to determine what's safe.
As to cars. They don't have to stop in most cases especially on the W&OD. There are a lot of very courteous drivers however that will. That can be deceptive in that unless you can be sure that ALL lanes involved are stopped proceeding can still render the accident your fault. When I first started commuting I saw a guy hit in just that fashion. Two lanes of traffic stopped and someone in the rear of the line was inconvenienced and cut right around the stopped cars hitting the rider. As a result I will frequently wave on a stopped or stopping car. It's not fun seeing a fellow rider down and even less fun being that rider. I've beaten enough statistical odds in my lifetime that I try not to tempt too many any more.
I have no experience on the MVT or GW Parkway.
On the Custis I always obey the bicycle traffic signals (and stop at Quinn), but coming outbound I look over my shoulder at N. Oak Street even if I have the green light to make sure I don't get right hooked.
On the W&OD -- At a minimum, I do a rolling stop and am always prepared to come to a full stop. In Falls Church, there are a lot of intersections and some of them have little traffic so if I can go through with a rolling stop, that's what I do. When motorists stop and motion me through, I check the other direction and if clear, I proceed. If not clear, I'll wait and often the oncoming motorist will see the first guy stopped and come to a stop, too.
Not sure what can be done to make it safer. I've long thought that public safety officials need to do a better job of educating the public about what those zebra-stripey lines across a street mean (and not just limited to places that are trail crossings, the same holds true in marked crossings across the city and suburbs).
I stop at the red lights. I come very close to stopping at the stop signs. If there are obviously no cars or cross traffic, I'll roll through. I come close to getting rear-ended almost every day on the Custis trail when I stop at signs and red lights.
Change "almost every day on" to "most of the time when I ride" and that describes my experience, too.
Originally Posted by Dirt
Just the other day, I was waiting for traffic -- not on the Custis Trail -- when someone rolled up behind me. Obviously impatient, I told him to go ahead. (I've seen this nimrod before and he routinely runs red lights.) He zipped right out and almost got hit. The driver looked at me and I just shrugged my shoulders and shook my head.
The GW parkway situation is the scariest. Someone died a few months ago because a car slammed on the brakes and the car behind went off the road and took a jogger out.