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More news, design for the last segment of the Anacostia trails network in DC announced: http://www.anacostiawaterfront.org/press-releases/top-federal-district-and-maryland-leaders-unveil-the-design-for-the-anacostia-riverwalk-trails-final-link-to-maryland/

This is a BFD for those if us in northern Prince George's.

Re: the W&OD question, how about a push button that drivers have to press when they want to cross the trail.

You can even make it look like a like a McDonald's drive-through menu to eliminate the learning curve.

Priceless quote from one of the NYT letter writers:

The problem that the article does not address is this: helmetless riders are not only a danger to themselves, but they are also a danger to all those who share the public space with them. A cyclist’s personal choice not to wear a helmet also increases my chances of killing him if we collide.

Riders, please be socially minded enough to wear a helmet and protect your head for your own sake and the sake of others you may collide with, because leaving another party to deal with the emotional weight of killing you, rather than just injuring you, is one of the most selfish decisions a person can make.

Anecdotes about how it feels just as safe to ride helmetless aside, the cold scientific statistics back up this truth: Your helmet use helps us both avoid an irreversible tragedy. If you’re not ready to honor this responsibility, I’d rather have you take the bus.

Contrary to some politically driven beliefs, it’s not an objective good just to have more riders out there, competing for the limited space. Save the helmetless joy rides for recreational spins in the park. When you use your bike as public transport, you have an obligation to protect us both with your helmet.

You can't make this stuff up.

I'm thinking of going as Lance to my halloween party. Bike clothes and a ton of syringes.

People can decide whether they want to wear helmets or not. But the cavalier comparisons to pedestrians are quite frankly nonsense.
When does a pedestrian ever reach 23 mph and has a catastrophic tire blow out in the middle of a 90 degree turn? That's when you want the helmet to protect your head and get away with a concussion (however bad it may be) instead of ending up as a vegetable.

Who makes a 90 degree turn at 23 mph? I don't even do that in a car.

Only 11% (8 total) of the fatal head-injury crashes were falls. And some of those cyclists were likely wearing helmets. So we're talking about a niche group there. Maybe pedestrian deaths would only go down by 9%.

I don't see how pointing out that pedestrians would benefit from helmets is cavalier. I'm not dismissing the value, I'm just pointing out that if we're going to argue that we should advocate for safer behavior then we should advocate for a lot more helmet use - in many aspects of life.

The "helmet" push is a natural outgrowth of the success in forcing safety changes in automobiles and the seatbelt law.

Like most regulation, it gets pushed too far ("oh, think of the children!") to where it doesn't make any sense.

Forcing helmet usage inside cars would make a lot more sense.

I wonder if you'll make your kids wear helmets. I mean, they only reduce fatalities by 10%. And heck, fatalities are the only metric that matter anyway, right? Brain damage? Who cares!

I do agree that this is probably the safest way to deal with intersections as currently set up, but the confusion probably comes from the design. People can't even agree on the legality of the trail stop signs. Do stop signs apply to pedestrians? Some better design (a traffic light controlled intersection?) is probably needed.

Correct. If the Park Service wants roadway traffic to have right of way over trail traffic, they should put in unambiguous traffic controls. Either:
a) Traffic lights; or
b) remove the crosswalk paint.

A crosswalk is a traffic control. Its exact meaning varies slightly from state to state, but the general purpose is to give right of way to pedestrians. Its purpose is not to show pedestrians how to get to the other side of the road, they have eyes, they can figure that out. Painting a crosswalk, and then saying that trail users don't have right of way is just idiotic.

Without the crosswalk the crossing becomes a midblock crossing, where roadway users unambiguously have right of way.

I wonder if you'll make your kids wear helmets. I mean, they only reduce fatalities by 10%. And heck, fatalities are the only metric that matter anyway, right? Brain damage? Who cares!

I'm a helmet skeptic and I make my kids wear helmets and I wear one around them to set an example.

Helmets are designed to protect against falls and very low speed collisions. The design impact is a fall from a height of 2 meters. Kids, and others learning to ride a bike, have a disproportionate number of falls and low-speed collisions. For them there is pretty solid evidence that helmets are helpful.

For the kinds of collisions that experienced adults tend to have there is not a lot of firm evidence of benefit. And there's no reason to expect there would be benefit because those are not the kinds of impacts helmets were designed to protect against.

Not true. Plenty of falls come at fairly low speeds, in particular when the travel surface is somewhat slick and one tries to change directions. Nearly all of my falls have occured at speeds lower than 15 mph.

+1 contrarian

The people claiming that the situation is ambiguous simply don't understand what a crosswalk is, and are the ones clouding the issue. This is a serious harm to all of us, because they've taken a very simple concept "let pedestrians cross the street at a crosswalk" and confused it simply because they don't want cars to have to slow down, ever.

Stop signs for peds/bikes at a crosswalk reminds definitely sends conflicting signals when there are laws requiring motorists to stop (or in some areas: yield) to peds in a crosswalk. I'd debated this with my boss once about whether it's any different from an all-way stop & convinced him it is: an all-way stop operates under equal modal right-of-way; mixing modes mixes up the right-of-way laws.

Similarly: posting "Stop for Peds in Crosswalks" signs at signalized intersections (I know of one on US 1 in College Park; *many* in DC) sends mixed messages about whether a ped has the legal right to cross against a Don't Walk signal & expect cars to stop.

And lastly: most jurisdictions have laws only referencing peds in crosswalks... a bicyclist riding through a crosswalk could potentially be a legal gray area, though I've come across a few laws in areas which either define a bicyclist riding in a crosswalk as a ped or they change "peds" in right-of-way laws to "ped/bike". But last I checked I'm not sure any jurisdictions in the DC region have done that? I could be wrong...

Ahh, traffic engineer pet peeves.

I wish all bikers ,in the US, would wear helmets. I have two old friends who were hit an injuried such that when they see me they do not know who I am. I remind everyone it is not a question of how experienced you are it is the drunk or distracted driver that just plain hits you lights and all. These drivers hit each other , fixed objects etc. so they can and will hit you too. Try tipping your head on the pavement once or twice before you decide to go without a helmet

@david,

Sometimes other human beings will behave in ways contrary to your wishes. I wish people wouldn't go hang gliding. I wish people wouldn't scuba dive. I wish people wouldn't regularly eat at McDonalds.

Best to just let it go, and minimize the amount of time you spend fretting about it anonymously on internet message forums.

And lastly: most jurisdictions have laws only referencing peds in crosswalks... a bicyclist riding through a crosswalk could potentially be a legal gray area, though I've come across a few laws in areas which either define a bicyclist riding in a crosswalk as a ped or they change "peds" in right-of-way laws to "ped/bike". But last I checked I'm not sure any jurisdictions in the DC region have done that? I could be wrong...

Both VA and DC treat cyclists on sidewalks as having the rights and duties of pedestrians. VA goes further and explicitly includes bike trails.

Maryland is a complete mess. MD explicitly allows cyclists to use sidewalks and crosswalks, but is silent on what their rights and duties are when doing so. MD further states that cyclists using public space have the rights and duties of operators of vehicles. But what are the rights and duties of a vehicle operator operating in a space where vehicles are prohibited?

Asuka, I will make my kids wear helmets. But I won't make yours do so. Wearing a helmet is a good idea. If you ask me if you'll be safer with one, I will say that you probably are.

But a lot of things are a good idea and we don't make them all mandatory. Things like funding your 401k, avoiding unprotected sex with strangers, eating 5 Chipotle burritos a day, etc...

There are a lot of activities that would be safer with a helmet: biking and riding a motorcyle? yes. But also walking, riding in a car, taking a shower and playing soccer. But we don't mandate it in those situations and we don't even advocate for it. We don't make a big stink about how stupid people are if they don't wear a helmet in the shower. I would rather that we simply tell people the truth about helmets, without a lot of scare tactics or laws and leave it at that.

Maryland is a complete mess...

Maryland changed its traffic laws last year so that drivers must yield to bicycles in a crosswalk at a signalized intersection. The law is still silent on other crosswalks. See § 21-202, Annotated Code of Maryland Transportation Article.

@oboe I feel it is my duty to share my experiences with others. If I see a road hazard and I see another biker going that way I tell them. Not only are the 2 friends that I mentioned but there is one dead he was hit 15 or so years ago at 14th and NY N.W. When it comes to warning others for me it is like the old song says "I feel like I owe it to someone". Perhaps when or if you have 50 or so years of cycling the streets DC of you will feel the same.

" those wearing helmets are three times less likely to die.."

Wow! I don't even know what that means. Isn't one times less likely to die already a 0% chance? Do two out of three people get brought back to life or something?

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