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A local biker contacted Abrams Landau after being struck by a car in Sterling Virginia and being issued a Traffic Court Summons at the hospital. As the local biker was headed West on the W&OD Trail from Herndon toward Sterling Virginia, he came to Sterling Virginia and then two lanes of motor vehicles heading South toward Route 28 (Sully Road) in Loudoun County.

There was no traffic in the first two lanes, so the cyclist crossed safely to he center grass and paved strip. the car in the first Southbound lane stopped and waved him and another cyclist to proceed. The other cyclist proceeded safely to get back on the W&OD Trail, however the local biker was struck broadside in the 4th lane by a car that never saw the athlete or his bicycle. The local cyclist was taken to the emergency room after this "T-bone" crash with fractures, lacerations and permanent injuries and scarring. However, the police officer charged the biker. Citing the lack of certain reflectors; lights during the evening ride and failure to wait for both lanes of Southbound traffic to stop and signal that it was safe to proceed, the Virginia law enforcement authorities charged the bike rider after the crash.

The lesson to be learned is that a cyclist should make sure that ALL lanes are clear before leaving the island or safety of the median strip. If you are not waived through and making eye contact, then think twice about cycling across the road. Just because you are following the W&OD Trail, it does NOT mean you have the right of way or superior rights when crossing the lanes of motorized traffic. Your bicycle commuting time, training ride or recreational spin make take longer, but your odds of returning safely should be your primary focus. Be alert, be smart and cycle safely.

2 Comments

  1. Gravatar for Bruce Wright

    Another lesson is that Virginia's crosswalk law needs to be strengthened. Currently motorists are only required to "yield" to pedestrians (and bicyclists) in a crosswalk. Also, in some states motorists on multi-lane roads are required to "stop and remain stopped if a pedestrian (or bicyclist) is in their half of the roadway." See info about New Jersey's new crosswalk law:

    http://wwbpa.org/action/new-jersey-stop-at-crosswalks-law/

    Here in Virginia there have been several recent attempts to strengthen the law, and each year proposed changes get closer to passing. Cyclists can follow this year's legislative session at www.vabike.org.

  2. Gravatar for Doug Landau

    Bruce,

    Thanks for the information. Having just returned from New Jersey where I saw a number of cyclists along 9W and leaving Tenafly over the Thanksgiving holiday, it just seems that the laws and motorists are more attuned to "sharing the road." Please let me know of future changes in the laws here in the Commonwealth, as bike commuters too often wind up on the wrong side of accidents and altercations.

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