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More, more accurate data about bike theft and the grey market for stolen bikes might shed light on the bike sales figures. Unfortunately there seems to be next to none. My first hunch going in would be that thefts and resale spiked alongside the Lance-led sales jump at the shops, and itself has stronger legs than before, while the shops and the biz continue doing business as normal re sales, theft, law enforcement.

Re: Iris Stagner

indications were the incident was nothing more than an accident

Except a person was killed. All in all comes off a bit insensitive.

According to the linked article the time of the "accident" was 5:30PM. Sunset isn't for nearly 2 more hours. So the Sheriffs next statement,

the setting sun likely played a factor. is speculation.

Has the Sheriff already closed the book on this one?

In Los Altos, CA, cyclists were found to blame in crashes 74% of the time. The most common violation was "unsafe speed." 16 cyclists were blamed for this, but only 1 driver was.

Well, given that riding a bicycle on the streets is *extremely dangerous*, one could make the argument that *any* speed is "unsafe". Contrast that with driving a car: with today's safety equipment (e.g. air bags, ABS, etc...) one could drive 80 mph in a 40 mph zone and still be quite safe.

Nothing to see here...

Sales data:

I bet LBS are being hurt by Walmart at the low end, and by internet sales (perhaps esp for accessories) at the high end. I assume Walmart sales are included in the total sales number.

You mentioned that REI gave millions to non-profits but that you did not recognize anyone local on the list. Prince William Trails and Streams Coalition is a volunteer non-profit organization located in Prince William County and received a grant from REI to work on trails in Prince William County. PWTSC also supports the Bike to Work Day effort in Prince William County. Check them out at www.pwtsc.org

so who gets the complaints about the sign? is there any possible legal basis for it?

I'm not sure that flat LBS sales data applies to this area, at least not this year. Maybe it's just the pretty good weather, but volume of utility and commuting riders seems to be up quite a bit so far this year, although with better infrastructure in the suburbs and continued linkages in DC (ART, Met Branch), I think it could really boom. Maybe fewer racers and high-end sports buyers post recession, but it's being made up in commuting and everyday utility riding in my opinion. It's all about the basics, better lanes and trails, better lockups, more secure parking in buildings, more CaBI expansions. It may sound preposterous today, but I think in 10 years, with continued infrastructure improvements and truly getting some trails linked up, a 10 percent bike commute share (all or part of commute) in the inside-the-beltway DC area isn't that unrealistic. And would be very beneficial for the region to take pressure off the roads and Metro.

Do LBS make their profit on bike sales or on service?

Greenbelt: I agree it would be beneficial. I'd add some change in policy re the trains. You can't take a bike on MARC, Metro bans during rush hour, and security at the stations has been poor. A mixed transit/bike would be extremely efficient.

VEHICLES HAVE RIGHT OF WAY doesn't make anything clear. Which vehicles? Bikes are vehicles, too.

"But officer / NPS / signmaker, a bicycle IS a vehicle!"

This sign should be on the campaign poster for bringing sanity to bicycle regulations.

Over and over I'm seeing the same response from police and regulators, that "a bicycle is a vehicle and is subject to the same regulations and responsibilities" whenever the goal is to limit bicycle operation, but that fact clearly isn't being completely digested when it comes to any other aspects of road construction and use. "A bicycle is a vehicle" currently applies at the convenience and discretion of true vehicles such as private cars - and that has to change.

I'd hate for a crash to have confusion over exactly what is and is not a vehicle, exactly who has the right-of-way and where, counted among its causes, but this sign arguably could lead to that precise outcome.

There is no legal basis for the sign, and as Nancy and DaveS point out, the language is (unintentionally) ambiguous.

This crossing is in the District. Hence, DC laws are in effect:

1200.3 Operators of bicycles have the same rights as do operators of other vehicles and in the additional rights granted by this chapter.

"other vehicles" means that a bicycle is also a vehicle.

1201.11 A person propelling a bicycle or operating a personal mobility device upon and along a sidewalk or while crossing a roadway in a crosswalk shall have all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances, except that the bicyclist or personal mobility device operator must yield to pedestrians on the sidewalk or crosswalk.

1201.13 No bicyclist shall suddenly leave a sidewalk and ride into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield.

So, in plain language, motor vehicles on the parkway do not have right of way at the intersection with the Mount Vernon Trail, but bicyclists have the duty to look before crossing to ensure that no motor vehicles are too close to yield.

If vehicles have right of way, then a bike walked across the intersection must wait for cars, but a mounted bike is a vehicle and so can proceed.

NeilB: in more plain language, motor vehicles DO have the right of way at a crosswalk, unless a pedestrian or bicycle has entered the crosswalk with enough time for the motor vehicle to yield. In other words, common sense for both, following the laws of physics. The short answer is that cars aren't required to stop to let pedestrians or bikes begin to cross--they must wait until it's safe to cross without slowing traffic dangerously. Which is also really really smart anyway.

"Time enough for the motor vehicle to yield" means that the motor vehicle needs to slow down and come to a stop at a crosswalk with a pedestrian, not speed up and scare the pedestrian into remaining on the curb. That provision is there to ensure that motorists aren't liable if a pedestrian jumps in front of a car in a way that truly is unavoidable, not to remove the pedestrian's right of way.

Mike: True, but in that grey area, a pedestrian or bike is wise to err on the side of his life over his right of way.

random guy: that doesn't mean that the NPS should post signs encouraging motorists to disregard pedestrian right-of-way. every pedestrian should be responsible and careful, but motorists should be aware of their great potential to cause harm and drive in a manner deferential to the safety of others at all times--and should never get to excuse reckless behavior by pointing to an ill-advised sign posted by an ignorant bureaucrat.

Not to get all conspiracy theorist, but it really seems to me that the only group who could really lobby for idiotic signs like this would be the insurance industry. Because of these signs and the DMV's collective contributory negligence laws, it's way too easy for a motorist to run over someone in one of these crosswalks and, despite all the legal authority cited above, point to that sign and say "see, that cyclist/ped should have waited for me." Presto: no liability for the driver, and no payout from his insurer.

At least MD's court of appeals is looking at overturning CN.

Yeah, I don't like the signs either.

Mike: True, but in that grey area, a pedestrian or bike is wise to err on the side of his life over his right of way.

Setting aside the fact that I find this (extremely common) sentiment disgusting in the extreme, I have always recommend that pedestrian's rights organizations put day-glo orange painted cinder blocks next to crosswalks where drivers are unlikely to stop. I feel these would be more effective than day-glo orange flags you see on Connecticut Ave in Chevy Chase.

That way both drivers *and* pedestrians can play the "The law may say you have the right-of-way but Newton and Darwin say otherwise" game.

Pro-tip: I often claim the right-of-way for myself and a gaggle of pedestrians when there's a break in traffic by putting my bike on its rear wheel and starting to walk it across the street in front of me. You'll be stunned at how quickly drivers manage to stop.

Getting back to the previous comment, I'm not willing to throw myself through someone's windshield in order to claim my right-of-way, but I'm more than willing to drop my bike through someone's windshield.

@charlie:

Do LBS make their profit on bike sales or on service?

I spoke with the guy who ran one of the local shops who told me they don't make any money on service, and not much on sales. In fact, according to him, the only thing keeping the place afloat was in their sales of hybrids. Given the number of hybrids that are stolen they probably had a lot of repeat customers.

Oboe, is that what people mean by a "windshield perspective"?

oboe: In a grey area, where it's not clear who should assert the right of way, it no longer matters. In that situation, it's about whether the driver will stop in time because he can, in a split second, see you and decide you're not going to yield. I choose to stay alive. You want to prove a point about how cars should slow down a few mph by dying? Not me. You can be offended by that idea all you want, but it doesn't help you much in a pool of blood and brains.

Pro-tip: I often claim the right-of-way for myself and a gaggle of pedestrians when there's a break in traffic by putting my bike on its rear wheel and starting to walk it across the street in front of me. You'll be stunned at how quickly drivers manage to stop.

A pedestrian was killed at this crossing because a car in one lane didn't have time to stop, and swerved into the path.

So you may kill someone else as well as yourself someday. Maybe it will be the car's fault, but the family probably won't care much about that.

Yes, there are lots of things we must never do unless we want to invite grievous harm upon ourselves. Wearing rubber-soled shoes on an elevator. Using a mandoline to slice a tomato. And crossing the street unless there's not a single vehicle within 500 yards of the crosswalk.

I suppose this is why the unsignaled crosswalk across Connecticut Ave up in Chevy Chase is awash in human blood every morning and evening, what with the pedestrians crossing with those little orange flags.

Any adult of even moderate intelligence can attentively check the second lane to ensure that no driver is blowing through the crosswalk. If they are, you stand in front of the stopped first car until someone in the second lane deigns to obey the law.

Let's leave out the melodrama.

I think its counterproductive to talk about "if in doubt".... I think that pretty much every pedestrian tries very hard not to get killed. The question is how does a pedestrian assert their rights. At some stage, you have to push the envelope a little, or cars will never learn.

oboe,

I didn't say 500 yards, you did.

People die in crosswalks sometimes. If you want to dismiss that fact as melodrama, feel free. Doesn't help anything.

SJE - No, I think many pedestrians, and cyclists, don't try very hard not to get killed. Some even fail.

At a crosswalk where there are no stop signs, "pushing the envelope" shouldn't be necessary. If you crossed and left a car without enough time to safely yield to you, you probably shouldn't have crossed in the first place.

Otherwise, push the envelope if you care to, but don't push it very far, because you will probably lose in a conflict, because that's when the law of physics take over.

You don't have to take this advice if you don't want to. I know a group of people who would strongly agree with me, if they were only alive to post.

@all. It seems we have three issues:
a. Can NPS legally change the rules of the road.
b. If so, is it reasonable to do so.
c. Is the sign an effective way to do so.

I do not know the crossing well enough to have an opinion on (b) as to whether cyclists should have the right of way over MV's. But giving MV's the right of way over pedestrians would seem to be very questionable.

I am fairly sure that NPS has the legal right to alter the rules of the road. Road management agencies always can erect signs that supercede the standard rules in a particular spot. And federal rules trump state law so NPS can--if it so chooses--adopt the rule that cyclists in a crosswalk do not have the rights of a pedestrian. They can even adopt the rule that vehicles have the right of way over a pedestrian (which would be the case if there was no painted crosswalk).

But this sign is not an effective way to do what NPS is trying to do. If they want vehicles to have the right of way over pedestrians, then they should first obliterate the crosswalk, since painted crosswalks always convey that peds have the right of way. The sign is very confusing and should say that vehicles have the right of way over pedestrians, assuming that is what they mean. If they mean that peds have the right of way over all vehicles but that through traffic has the right of way over vehicles on the trail (i.e., the rule that Maryland has) the stop sign should be enough. But for good measure, a "bicycles must yield" warning sign is needed here.


@oboe: If you get a photo of the technique, please advise. I can imagine how to do it wile straggling bike but hard to visualize doing it while keeping bike downflow of me.

@oboe: Typo. I mean that I could visualize how to do this while straddling the rear tire.

Jim T:

a. It didn't change the rules. It just didn't post them all on a sign.

MVs DO have the right of way. You can't just jump out in front of them. It's simply not true that pedestrians have the right of way at a crosswalk. They don't.

Once they have begun to cross though, THEN peds do have the right of way. BUT if they have to slam on the brakes to avoid you, you probably asserted that right of way too early, meaning you didn't have it in the first place.

It's confusing, and possibly even contradictory, when you worry too much about the legalities. Simply worry about not getting killed, and it all makes perfect sense.

P.S. My comments only apply when there's no stop signs or signals, of course.

@Random Guy: It's simply not true that pedestrians have the right of way at a crosswalk. They don't.

Please reconcile with VA Code

§ 46.2-924. Drivers to stop for pedestrians; installation of certain signs; penalty.

A. The driver of any vehicle on a highway shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian crossing such highway:

1. At any clearly marked crosswalk, whether at mid-block or at the end of any block; ....


Once they have begun to cross though, THEN peds do have the right of way. BUT if they have to slam on the brakes to avoid you, you probably asserted that right of way too early, meaning you didn't have it in the first place.

The simpler explanation here is that drivers aren't looking for pedestrians, and are travelling too fast for the conditions.

Anyone who has ever walked anywhere in an urban/suburban environment is quite familiar with the scenario.

MPD regularly tickets drivers who fail to yield the right of way to pedestrians around Lincoln Park. So clearly they disagree with your assessment that "if a driver doesn't bother to stop, the pedestrian is in the wrong."

I don't think a single commenter here has proposed "jumping out in front of cars."

But "I'm driving very fast, and am not paying much attention" is not an excuse for not yielding the ROW. MPD tickets for this stuff all the time.

@oboe: If you get a photo of the technique, please advise. I can imagine how to do it wile straggling bike but hard to visualize doing it while keeping bike downflow of me.

I usually hop off the bike, then throw it up on the rear wheel (to make it taller). Then start across when there's a decent gap. I do this on foot because I figure law enforcement offers no protection to someone on a bicycle, but at least minimum protection to someone on foot.

Jim T: From that same code section:

"No pedestrian shall ENTER OR CROSS an intersection in disregard of approaching traffic."

In other words, traffic (cars) have the right of way when a pedestrian/cyclist is waiting to cross.

Only when a pedestrian/cyclist has begun to cross does he/she have the right of way, as the code says:

"shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian CROSSING such highway."

So, bottom line is, cars don't have to stop to let you begin to cross, you can't jump out in front of them and force them to slam on the brakes, but if you are IN the crossing, you don't have to stop the let them pass (and if you find yourself in that situation, it probably means you shouldn't have started to cross in the first place).

Note that cars don't have to stop to let you begin your crossing. You must wait until there is a safe gap in traffic.

(Keeping in mind that this particular crossing is actually in DC, not Virginia, but the laws there are basically the same).

That's how I read all this anyway. I'm not a traffic lawyer, just a guy trying to stay alive too.

Jim T:

Drivers are not required to stop and yield peds or bikes who are waiting to begin to cross the road. They are only required to yield if the ped/bike is already in the road.

I mentioned "jumping in front of cars" because it helps explain why the law works. But yeah, I've actually seen bikes and joggers jump right in front of cars and expect them to slam on the brakes.

Speeding is irrelevant to this discussion. Cars must yield regardless of their speed. We all agree that speeding is dangerous.

oboe:

Key words: "a break in traffic"..."a decent gap."

So you wait until there's room to cross safely. Exactly. You don't have the right of way, so you wait to begin to cross.

Seeing as how the sign is yellow, doesn't that mean it lacks legal effect and is instead merely a warning? A yellow sign stating "stop sign ahead" does not seem to have any legal relevance on it's own, but rather warns users of an imminent legal obligation imposed by some other authority (i.e. the stop sign and the laws relevant thereto).

Similarly, this sign also merely attempts to warn users of some legal obligation. However, the legal reference for this sign is a null set, as there isn't a law that gives cars the ROW (barring peds jumping out at the last second). I don't believe this sign has any more standing than a deer crossing sign legally requires you to look for deer.

Yes, there is a law giving cars the ROW. I quoted it above.

Cars are not required to stop and let a bike/ped begin to cross. When both parties are approaching the intersection, the car can proceed and the bike/ped must not. That's ROW.

Only when the bike/ped is already crossing does the ROW switch. A bike/ped doesn't have to stop in the middle of the road to let a car go past. But since it had the ROW before the crossing began, that should rarely be an issue.

As I recall, the police methodology for crosswalk enforcement is to have a plainclothes officer put one foot into the crosswalk. That obligates drivers to stop, but doesn't put the officer at risk. Anyone who fails to stop is fair game for a ticket.

@random guy:

You are talking past most everyone here. No one seriously thinks you should be able to dive out in front of a speeding vehicle at the last second. But barring that, the law is clear that peds in the crosswalk have ROW. As David's example makes clear, there isn't any grey area as to what constitutes "in."

The problem with that sign is it speaks in absolutes: vehicles have ROW. Period. As this lengthy discussion should make clear, that is simply not the case. Sometimes they might, but the general rule is that occupants of the crosswalk have priority. Further, my point above is that I seriously dispute that a yellow advisory sign has legal authority to trump actual laws or regulations.

Like their equally idiotic "dismount bikes" signs, NPS is attempting to create legal obligations for trail users through these bogus signs despite a clear basis for doing so

Ryan,

Yes, we all agree that peds have the ROW when they are IN the crosswalk.

The issue is when they are waiting to cross. In that case, cars have the ROW. This is obviously confusing to many, so it's worth talking about.

And I agree that the sign is also confusing, and not binding. It's better, I think, than peds and bikes thinking they can expect cars to slow/stop for them at crossings or even "push the envelope" (see above) if they don't.

When both parties are approaching the intersection, the car can proceed and the bike/ped must not. That's ROW.

I don't know enough about the law as applied in the case of the GW Parkway. I do know that if you are driving through Lincoln Park on certain weekday mornings, and you fail to stop when a pedestrian steps into the crosswalk as you approach, you will be given a ticket.

As for your interpretation of the law, there are a lot of folks on the internet who argue quite persuasively that one need not pay income tax, either. At the end of the day, their (and your) position is outside of the mainstream.

@Random guy "No pedestrian shall ENTER OR CROSS an intersection in disregard of approaching traffic."

In other words, traffic (cars) have the right of way when a pedestrian/cyclist is waiting to cross.

That is incorrect. The Legislature knows how to say "have the right of way" when that is what it means. In many states, laws specifically state that drivers have the right of way at mid-block crossings.

The statute gives pedestrians the right of way explicitly. Nowhere does it use the words "right of way" when referring to drivers in this context.

There is a huge difference between commanding pedestrians not to dart out in front of traffic, and giving drivers the right of way. The definition of right of way means who has to yield when one is on a collision course. It does not mean that a pedestrian can accelerate onto the road, or suddenly reverse direction; nor does it mean that a driver at a midblock crossing can change lanes onto the lane on which a pedestrian is standing.

So overall, you are taking the position that the statute does not mean what it says. But whatever right of way that you think pedestrians ever have, the sign appears to evince an intention to take that right away. If that is NPS' intention, they should obliterate the crosswalk. If that is not their intention, they should post a sign that says what they meant.

Yes, we all agree that peds have the ROW when they are IN the crosswalk.

And if I put my foot in the crosswalk, cars have an legal obligation to stop. Period.

The issue is when they are waiting to cross. In that case, cars have the ROW.

This is semantic hair-splitting and is growing decreasingly entertaining.

This is obviously confusing to many, so it's worth talking about.

Yes, I would say that some are confused about the matter.

oboe,

I agree completely that cars must yield when you STEP INTO the roadway.

Must they yield (stop) for you BEFORE you step in? While you're just waiting to cross? THAT is the issue.

My interpretation of the law is fine (though I don't claim it's 100% right). You just aren't getting the distinction between those two.

oboe:

"And if I put my foot in the crosswalk, cars have an legal obligation to stop. Period."

Of course.

"This is semantic hair-splitting and is growing decreasingly entertaining."

No, it's absolutely essential to this entire question.

"The definition of right of way means who has to yield when one is on a collision course."

Exactly.

Does it mean that when a pedestrian is waiting to begin to cross, a car must stop, even if he's not in the roadway yet?

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