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And if there had been a cyclist-ped incident, the authorities would've complained that the event was too big to do on such a narrow trail.

Virginia FTW!

I've been riding the Reston Century for about 10 years. Something like this happens *every* year. Reston Bike Club warns participants about it in their event literature. And at many intersections (Harmony Church & Rt 7 in Hamilton, for example), it really is a good idea to STOP.

And gentlemen, it is a century RIDE. NOT a race. I don't expect the cops to get it right, but WashCycle should know better.

I do agree with you that Loudoun sees bike events as an annoyance at best, tickets when they should warn, ignores drivers behaving dangerously (not many that I saw, fortunately), and not as a "come visit Louodun" opportunity.

Obviously, cyclists could avoid getting ticketed for failing to stop at a stop sign if they stopped. I rode out to Purceville on the W&OD that day and saw police cars at some road crossings and stopped when I did.

Question: were cyclists ticketed for running signs on roads, or signs on the W&OD? (Part of the century must have been on the W&OD because i saw lots of riders with green wristbands used for the century.) I was once ticketed for running a stop sign on the W&OD in Hamilton and successfully challenged it on the grounds that where the trail crosses a road is not an "intersection" under the motor vehicle code and so I couldn't be charged to failure to stop at a stop sign at an intersection. Judge wasn't happy but said the law didn't apply.

To echo Thomas's comment, the Reston Century organizers did tell participants that this happens every year - and they had a large sign at the Hamilton rest stop warning cyclists to make a full stop at Lovettsville because police were out writing tickets. It's unfair, but the Idaho stop is not recognized in VA, and the Reston Century organizers tried their best to give participants warning. I also agree that it wouldn't make sense to do the whole ride on bike trails.

A small portion of the century was on the W&OD, but most of it was on quiet country and suburban roads.

There were cops stationed at many intersections, including ones crossing the W&OD. I couldn't initially figure out if they were there for safety reasons -- i.e., seeing a cop car parked at an intersection makes everyone slow down -- or if they were actually ticketing anyone.

When we got to the intersection in Hamilton (Rt 7), bike club volunteers were standing in the middle of the intersection warning folks that the police were out ticketing people.

There were about two hours of torrential downpours in the afternoon, and you can be sure that the cops weren't going to leave their dry warm vehicles to ticket anyone during those.

It is a shame that the Loudon police couldn't have seen this as community building opportunity rather than as a money-making venture.

Also, I agree with Thomas above that it's a ride, not a race. There certainly were a few time-trial types with their (prohibited) aero bars and adult sippy cups who passed us, but for the most part, I think most participants were generally out for a nice ride in the country.

We always gave courtesy waves of "thanks" to all cars who stopped and to the cops sitting in their cars at the intersections, and slowed down and said hello before passing joggers/slower riders on the W&OD.

It does sound like a retribution for not "being hired," which of course is code for not being paid more to do their actual jobs. Perhaps it's something the organizers should bring up with the Sheriff. Do an endorsement in the next Sheriff's election and do a questionnaire. Probably also worth offering to have the officers participate in the ride too and offer to lend one or two a bike so they can gain a better appreciate for the ride.

If they keep up with their nonsense then respond in kind by everyone stopping and everyone walking up to them offering a donut in hand. It will sound a loud message. But do that as a last resort.

I can confirm that they were stopping riders at at least one intersection: http://goo.gl/maps/UUFRC

One very generous rider had pulled over and was warning others about the cops and the stop sign.

I had to stop because of passing traffic, but several riders ahead and behind me were ticketed.

"Race" is how it was described to me, but I will correct it.

Really? The Police werent reflective, werent leaders, and judicious and didnt support a progressive social activity?..

Really?...

This is just another manifestation of The Big Sort. Places like DC will continue to grow more friendly to people who like things like bikes and walkable living. Places like Reston will continue to grow more hostile to those interests. And as that distinction grows more stark, more people who hate sprawl will move closer in, and more people who love it will move out to places like Loudon.

At the end of the day, people who like to live in shitty places will tend to congregate there; those who don't, won't.

Also, because these people misunderstand the causes of their diminishing quality of life, they'll always throw resources into the wrong fight. Worst recession in four generations? Better slash public sector spending. Commute making your life a living Hell? Time to crack down on cyclists.

You probably picked the wrong example. Although the promise was never fully realized, Reston was supposed to be a mixed-use community less dependent on cars than conventional suburbs.

I still remember the first time driving out there as a kid (passing many, many farms on the way) to visit family friends in the new community of Reston. Reston was a pretty big deal at the time.

I don't object to the police ticketing cyclists for failing to stop, but I do object to their complaint that they weren't hired. There are too many cases of this sort of soft extortion. The worst recent one is a man who refused to hire police as security for his hotel, and now finds himself facing asset forfeiture.

@Oboe, two points, one, I haven't really found them squandering bicycling as a commute--if anything, regional entitites [largely] seem to be encouraging it. And two, there is board bipartisan consensus that the debt is a big problem and getting spending on a sustainable course is imperative--including throught cuts and revenues.

There is a universal consensus that long term debt is a big problem. Unfortunately, it's dwarfed by the immediate problem of the recession. Our stupid adherence to short-term austerity measures hasn't been quite as catastrophic as Europe's, but we've still done a pretty good job of shooting ourselves in the foot.

As far as the cosmetic support for bicycle commuting, that's all well and good, but when push comes to shove (and it will) bikes will be the first thing to go.

Although the promise was never fully realized, Reston was supposed to be a mixed-use community less dependent on cars than conventional suburbs.

Well, sure. And Cabrini Green was supposed to be a new kind of public housing complex that was less squalid than the existing ghettos full of dilapidated rowhouses.

:)

@oboe

Exactly right...just look at Toronto. All it took was a change in the mayoral administration to start wiping the city's bike infrastructure literally off the map.

@oboe I saw cyclists getting ticketed in Hamilton which is in Loudoun County, over twice as far from DC as Reston is. Reston is in FFX county, not mentioned in this report. I wouldn't bash Reston for being the host of the ride, nor for being a cultural desert. They're not doing too bad for what they have out there.

Also heard from a volunteer that the RBC has had issues multiple years getting buy-in from the surrounding towns for allowing the ride. Sometimes insisting on electronic signage that cost them upwards of $3000 for an all-volunteer, little-to-no profit event.

@Oboe, Europe's adherence to austerity is the result of ignoring their debt problems for a long time under the belief that it wouldn't matter under their EU. The reality of trying to adminster a single monetary policy among various degrees of fiscal policies was a house of dominoes set to fall at any economic retraction. The problem is, to restore faith to the situation they created, they need to show fiscal discipline in order to resolve confidence issues. Or, in other words, they used up their spend more chits that you seem to espouse as the solution. Ergo, sometimes tough medicine is the best medicine (that, and we're caught more between changing of industry associated with globalization and overinvestment in one sector than we are in a recession).

Anwyay, what infrastructure are they going to take away? What are they going to repaint over bike lanes? Sillyness. Of course it's this mentality that scares away people from taking our points seriously. For instance, we should be making the argument that investing in bike infrastructure reduces our costs to mass transit and highway infrastructure--thereby freeing up more precious DOT/state DOT funds in the future. I think we do some of that and then get lost in personal pet peeve issues (environmental, economic, social, etc). Singular focus, singular outcome.

@oboe "when push comes to shove (and it will) bikes will be the first thing to go." When push comes to shove , gas prices though the roof as in gas cut off from the middle east. Then there will be no choice but public transport and biking etc.
When push comes to shove it's not what it cost to build public transport biking etc. but what it cost by not having it that will kill us.

@david,

My guess is that most suburban places in America will double down when push comes to shove, and dig themselves further in the hole.

@T,,

The European problem is essentially that monetary policy is being set by Germany, to the detriment of countries like Greece and Spain. The situation in the US is similar only in that the phantom specter of inflation is being raised to prevent short term action.

If the US is like a family, it's like a family that has $300k in student loan debts, so Dad decides to save money by quitting his job to save on gas and clothing.

Man, a bike blog going into European monetary policy. Only in DC.

I am so effing proud.

@oboe - as pointed out to you, Reston Bike Club sponsors the ride, it starts in Reston Town Center, but most of it is in Loudoun County. "Tour de Loudoun" would be a more accurate, albeit annoyingly cute, name.

@americancyclo - yes, I've been yelled at in past years by residents for messing up "THEIR" roads with our bikes and our "unsightly" chalk arrows (really). There's a % of the population that would complain if the ride was 100 miles of circling the RTC pavillion.

Fortunately, saner heads of so far prevailed, and I encounter many residents of western FFX and LDN counties who are friendly, courteous, and welcoming.

In college, our fraternity house had a budget line for purchasing tickets to the Fireman's and Police Beneavolant Assoc balls/holiday parties. RBC may have to find a Loudoun County entity to be a cosponsor/beneficiary to get some cooperation.

As to the EU monetary policy-biking nexus, those European countries with the highest use of bicycles are also those with the best economies, or at least lowest chances of default. Coincidence?

So is there ANY law which you think should apply to cyclists? Did you make any more of an effort to substantiate the hearsay than you did to verify the nature of the event?

Asuka, can you re-ask those questions without sounding like an asshole? If you do, I might try to answer them.

As to the EU monetary policy-biking nexus, those European countries with the highest use of bicycles are also those with the best economies, or at least lowest chances of default. Coincidence?

If we looked at the US as we do the EU, we'd see the same trends: in general, the "productive" economies have the highest bike use. The "welfare" economies (e.g. the cotton belt) have the lowest.

Oboe:

This seems to have been an action of the Loudoun folks. Reston is actually located in Fairfax - Fairfax is committed to improving biking (esp in and around Tysons), has been striping new bike lanes, is building new trails, adding sharrows, etc. Reston also seems to be a fairly bike friendly place, and Herndon just announced a new bike plan. PLEASE do not confuse the transport politics of FFX with the far different politics of Loudoun.

We saw this Sheriff's officer three times. First a few miles before Hamilton at a T-intersection. Cars didn't stop to turn; bikes were flying down a wet hill trying to slow without skidding. The officer was at the intersection leaning out his window yelling at bikers like a mad-man. In town, a volunteer was stopping bikes at the intersection, then waving them on when it was clear. By then the officer had set up shop down the highway in a drive-way and was nabbing those who were waved around the corner but did so without stopping. It appeared to be one angry officer. All other cops were saw were friendly and helpful, including the state troopers.

I dunno - do you think you could stop incessantly mewling? You rail against vehicular infractions, yet are indignant to any attempted application of the law to cyclists. What use to be a blog about cycling has transformed into a militant, hypocritical, tone-deaf echo chamber, and your reaction to my question only underscores the truth of that observation.

I'm not indignant to any attempt to apply the law to cyclists. But I think it's bad to use enforcement of the law as a means for payback for an unrelated issue (not hiring county staff). And I generally think that, due to limited resources, enforcement - of driving or cycling violations - should be related to safety, not a show of force. Perhaps you disagree.

Your questions were rudely asked. And so is your unsubstantiated claim that I incessantly mewl.

And your claim that this blog has become militant or hypocritical is pretty over the top. You're going to need to provide some evidence of that. Show my specific quotes that back up such assertions, if you can.

This very post is an example. You're mewling about the police having the audacity to enforce the law, as if the law shouldn't apply to cyclists (a common theme on this blog). Yet, when drivers exhibit similar behavior, you trot out well-worn righteous indignation. Statements that question that hypocrisy and bias aren't "rude," though responding to them with crass name calling certainly is. Stay classy.

No I'm criticizing their reason for enforcing the law - which is "as payback for the event organizers" and about their choice of which laws to enforce and who.

If they were to target lightless night cyclists I would cheer them on. If they were to target all stop sign runners (both cyclists and drivers) at a notoriously unsafe intersection I would find that fair and reasonable. But to specifically target cyclists - and ignore drivers - during an organized ride to get even with the ride's organizers is not cool. How do you not see the difference between what you're accusing me of complaining about and what I state I'm complaining about.

In addition, I'd like you to find me one example of me complaining about drivers rolling through stop signs. One example of the righteous indignation you criticize me of.

It's not the question you ask that's rude, it's how you asked it. That's why I encouraged you to restate it. Your question reeked of accusation.

Every single time you comment on posts you react as though I've said something which I have not, and you accuse me of being someone I'm not. And you do it all with a holier-than-thou air that makes you appear like a grade-A world class asshole. If you don't want to be called an asshole, then don't behave like an asshole.

I mean, if this blog is so offensive to you - you can always stop reading. I won't miss you one bit.

You have absolutely no proof that this was done as a retaliation for anything - only hearsay which you have made no attempt to substantiate. Your confirmation bias is obvious, as is your hypocrisy, but that's par for the course on this blog. As for you "cheering" police whenever they attempt to enforce the law, how often have you done that? No, your reaction - like your argument - is indefensible, as made evident by the very nature of it. But hey - you've built a nice little bubble here, so I can understand why you'd devolve into calling people names whenever anyone dares to pierce it with a pin of rationality.

You have absolutely no proof that this was done as a retaliation for anything - only hearsay

I don't have proof, but I have more than hearsay. I have evidence. I have a witness. That's not hearsay. What I've offered you so far is hearsay, but I have evidence available - and I could probably produce it, by bringing the witness (who's eager as near as I can tell) forward to testify. But I only have one witness, which would not be enough if the police contradicted his story, which is why I prefenced my comments on it with "So, if all of this is accurate..." Because I did not want to create the impression that it was all incontrovertible fact. But I do have evidence.

If you're going to read a blog, perhaps you should actually READ it so that you understand the words on the screen. I can help you with the big words if you need help.

I reported what I was told. That evidence is as compelling as you choose to deem it. I take it that everyone here is smart enough to discount it accordingly. Perhaps I gave you too much credit.

as is your hypocrisy,

If you think I'm a hypocrite, make your case. Which two statements of mine, do you believe are in contrast? You throw out a lot of accusations, but absolutely no facts. Where I have taken two contradictory positions based on the persons involved?

As for you "cheering" police whenever they attempt to enforce the law, how often have you done that?

Several times. But sadly, they never enforce the night riding without lights, so I've never had the chance to cheer that.

your reaction - like your argument - is indefensible, as made evident by the very nature of it.

I don't think you could say something more meaningless if you tried.

do you think you could stop incessantly mewling?

BTW, when was the last time I participated in this kind of mewling in your opinion? I want to see how "incessant" it actually is.

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