« I-66 widening will change some Arlington bike trails | Main | N. Quincy St. Protected Bike Lanes are not going to be easy »

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Terrible news.

Having used this crossing quite a bit I know that a cyclist has to venture across most carefully. All too often the near lane of traffic will stop but the lane adjacent will zoom thru completely oblivious.

Being on a recumbent would make it all the more difficult for traffic to see you.

Don't know if it is the caae here - but, as described above, I often start across when the first lane stops for me but have to wait when the adjacent lane does not. Isn't it against the law to pass a stopped vehicle? If not it should be and should be enforced.

I bike through this intersection twice a day, pretty much year-round, and find that cars are by and large quite respectful of me when I cross. Notwithstanding the stop sign for cyclists, they generally slow and stop even before I enter the crosswalk, and I'm able to ride straight through. Once in a while, maybe every other week, a driver doesn't stop at all; so, in spite of the customary courtesy, it pays to remain alert. Always. (The one-stopped-car, one-open-lane issue is a real one, perhaps the greatest danger in crossing here.)

My generally favorable experience is almost exclusive to commuting hours. I suspect, but don't know, that drivers may be less attentive or less polite during the middle of the day (when this took place).

We need to know what MoCo and the State think are the rules, not leave us with rules being made up as they go along. Asking cyclists to dismount is ridiculous.

A bridge is needed at this intersection.

BTW, I think this is the first ever fatality on the CCT, but there may be one for a pedestrian that I don't know about.

The behavior that jeffb describes is pretty typical. People don't adequately learn that when one lane of traffic is stopped at a crosswalk it's likely because someone is crossing the street and they too should stop. (I sometimes made this mistake in the past myself.)

I don't know how to fit that all into a sign though...

I don't think you do. I think they need to eliminate multi-lane at-grade crossings where drivers have no traffic control device. This leaves 3 solutions.

1. Narrow the road to one lane in each direction with a traffic island.

2. Grade separated crossing.

3. Stop sign or stop light for road traffic.

jeffb,

It is against the law to pass a stopped vehicle at a crosswalk if a pedestrian is in the crosswalk. However, a judge recently let a motorist off for doing the same thing and killing bicyclist, because the law says "pedestrian."

What a tragedy - I also cross that in my 1 mile use of CCT commuting, and recognize the deceased from having seen him on trail once a week or so, especially over the last few months, but did not know him. Like John I can say that the vast majority of drivers are good there, but of course the minority that want to play chicken, or buzz by the side you haven't crossed, are peppered throughout enough to be very dangerous for those not skeptical.

JMB: it might be against the law to pass a stopped vehicle, but it happens all the time and the law doesnt seem to treat it seriously.

I ride this route almost every day and the cars are usually very polite. I slow down, but don't stop before crossing. I dread encountering someone who is not paying attention.

I bike there all of the time and cars are very respectful of cyclists and pedestrians at that intersection.
A bridge there is absolutely NOT necessary.
I wont comment on this accident on this specific accident due to lack of facts

I also ride through that intersection twice a day, but on the Parkway. I agree that drivers are generally careful there, even to the point of stopping when there are no trail users in sight. That said, it only takes one and I wonder if the age of the driver, 78, was a factor.

I rode thru the crossing on the trail today. There were 3 MC Park Police officers conducting educational enforcement.

In the opinion of one of the officers he felt it very likely some change to the intersection will be made.

I also wonder about the age of the driver. What is the current MD law on retesting?

I agree with Smedley. I see little outright risky behavior here, but it's still an unnecessarily confused intersection.

If you question the age of the driver, why is the age of the cyclist not questioned?

I am a cyclist for almost 50 years, not taking sides here. However, if age is a factor for a motor vehicle operator, it should also be a factor for a bicycle operator. Can't have it both ways, it seems to me.

"It is against the law to pass a stopped vehicle at a crosswalk if a pedestrian is in the crosswalk"

It is also against the law to exceed the speed limit, roll through stop signs, turn right on red w/ stopping first, use a phone while driving, etc. However, if you kill a pedestrian or cyclist while doing any of these illegal acts, it is no big deal unless you are impaired. Fact is, in the USA, killing a human with an automobile is not viewed as a criminal act worthy of serious consequences. Prove me wrong...

UPDATE

"Police said in an update Tuesday that they believe Gaylin did not stop before he entered the crosswalk. The driver who hit him will not be charged."

This crossing is perhaps dangerous, but most people do a good job of handling it as evidenced by the fact that so many people cross it safely. But the age of both the driver and cyclist, as well as the low profile of the bike and the design of the intersection itself all likely contributed to the crash.

NB: There's now a flashing sign on the CCT warning cyclists heading toward Bethesda to slow down for the Little Falls intersection. There is no corresponding sign to alert drivers to the trail cross traffic. I'm hoping this is because, maybe, it was easier for the park police to install something on parkland than on an auto right-of-way, but it wouldn't surprise me at all if the burden of extra caution following this episode is placed on the trail users rather than on the drivers.

Kolo, I agree age can be a factor for driver, cyclist and pedestrian. But the risk of killing others is highest for the driver, and so should be held to a higher standard. Its why we let kids walk and ride, but not drive.

As for not stopping: is that per se required by the law?

My take on age is just as SJE states and this is "central dogma." However, and lest we forget, there are always risks to others. For instance the driver who flattens me when I make a knucklehead move might well contract a nasty case of PTSD and Coast Guard personnel could die trying to rescue me if I make a bad call on the water. As someone rapidly approaching the senium, these are things I will be considering.

True, Smedley. Any constraints on freedom to do whatever the hell we want must consider multiple factors, and generally should choose the least restricting and/or the most important. Testing for driving ability at age 70, e.g. is restricting and serves a more important end (death of others) than restricting old cyclists (whose death might upset others)

It's the recumbent's fault.

If you are sitting up on an upright bicycle (aka"Saftey bicycle"), you can see over the outside lane of stopped vehicles to see if the inside lane. The cars can also see you better.

I have to think that the type of bicycle was a factor.

Deers get a crossover bridge in some places.
Why not cyclists?

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

Banner design by creativecouchdesigns.com

City Paper's Best Local Bike Blog 2009

Categories

 Subscribe in a reader