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What a huge tool this guy is. Nice response. I hope you or WABA reach out to MoCo Police to make sure they're aware how tone deaf they are. Thanks.

Speed is the issue here. You can not expect large numbers of people to cross a near highway like environment and not have problems.

You either separate or you decide that highways don't have a place in people oriented environments.

When the intersection was originally enhanced a few years ago warning signs were placed in the road way to alert drivers to yield. Those signs were quickly mowed down and battered to smithereens so they are now on the median and out of the motorists way.

The park police told me that they have had to repeatedly replace the trail stop signs too. And those are completely off the roadway.

This is evidence that the speed of traffic is out of control on this stretch of road.

I watched a followup TV report of the Cpt Didone presser. The reporter said that, as they were setting up, they observed a woman walking down the trail. Car stops. woman proceeds into the intersection and, while the woman is in front of the stopped car, the car starts again knocking her down.

I suggest we immediately call in Cpt Didone for some more victim blaming here. Maybe her shirt was the wrong color? Does she have a phone? Anything to avoid putting the onus of those in command of several tons of steel and glass from running down unprotected people.

Here is the link to the TV report mentioned above:

http://www.wusa9.com/news/local/bethesda/cyclists-call-for-traffic-control-at-deadly-bethesda-trail-crossing/337612917

The reporter provides "balance" by mentioning and showing riders "blowing" thru the stop sign at "riding" speeds.

Mostly what I see are riders slowing, checking that there are no cars (or cars have already stopped) and proceeding.

So next time a MoCo police officer is (tragically) shot, will we see Cpt Didone conducting a press conference admonishing the police on the laws of physics?

"Physics has also told us that every time a high speed mass comes into contact with a person, that the person loses every time"

The lifespan of those crosswalk signs is ridiculously short. After this incident, they have put a temporary flashing sign for northbound traffic saying, "SLOW DOWN; WATCH FOR PEDS."

One good idea at least to come out of this, might be to place some sort of post to the left of the crosswalk and let trail users know that any car closer to you than that post won't be able to stop in time if you step out. But there are likely liability issues there. I'd lower the speed limit on this block, put in a speed table and narrow it to 1 lane in each direction.

Interestingly, there are not enough cars to support 4 traffic lanes, just 13,490 per day in 2014, so removing 2 traffic lanes would not create congestion or delays.

http://rtdc.mwcog.opendata.arcgis.com/datasets/fd3a40a7e317420faff13864c7b82bc7_0?uiTab=table&geometry=-77.217%2C38.949%2C-76.932%2C38.989

The street already drops to 2 lanes a mere 550' away and even though Little Falls feeds the 4 lane Arlington Rd, there is probably even less traffic on that road, at least south of Bradley Blvd.

I have seen research that people who drive yield/stop significantly less on a 4 lane street compared to a 2 lane street because while one car stops, another one next to it does not.

But Zack, that would cost money!

*ignoring the cost of maintaining a wider than needed highway

Virtually all the traffic passing through the trail intersection comes from, or turns onto, Arlington. There may not be much traffic, but they need a fast lane for the Cayenne Turbo S owners, like the one who shrieked past me me this morning in 3rd gear going about 63 mph.

Yes, Smedley, but were you wearing a helmet?

I like how the cop stroking tickets for cyclists on Friday evening at the intersection in question (on the CCT) had her SUV cruiser positioned in the grass median so southbound car traffic couldn't see crossing trail users. Just have to laugh sometimes......

SJE, I was until his tail vortex ripped it off my head. He turned into the WES entrance. (S)he must have had a kid late for class.

Smedley, obviously thats just physics, so there is nothing that MoCo police can do about it

I told park police that I have frequently see what could only be described as drag racing down Little Falls.

They weren't too interested. Got to stop those cyclist you know.

It probably was the biker's fault, though may be he was a member of the 1% of bikers that have the mental wherewithal to actually read the word "stop" or see a red light and have the brain capacity to understand that means you are not allowed to go.

Trolls be trolling.

Cops: dumber than rocks.

Does @washcycle think that bikers should be allowed to wreak whatever havoc they want with their absolutely inability to follow simple traffic laws? You should see the chaos all of the red light runners cause at Washington Circle every day. But its ok because they are on a bike and so when they get hit by a car the car is the one being careless.

Richard, sounds like you're tolling for someone to call you nasty things so that you feel justified in thinking cyclists are all crazed spandex-wearing scofflaws banging on car hoods. Sorry to say you're not likely to find that here.

What you will find are fairly normal level-headed people who happen to get around by bike. You'll find some who strictly adhere to traffic laws (Crikey). You'll also find those who advocate for things like the Idaho Stop, which is not legal, but not unsafe.

You'll have to go somewhere else to find advocates for wreaking havoc.

@Roo_Beav we as a bike community have no desire to look at ourselves and our endless stream of bad behavior. You seem to be one of them thinking that you do not have to strictly adhere to traffic laws. I am tired of the whining I read on this and other sites every time someone gets killed about the cops and the cars and this that and the other when you know full well that we don't even feign interest in adherence to traffic safety laws.

Does @washcycle think that bikers should be allowed to wreak whatever havoc they want with their absolutely inability to follow simple traffic laws?

No.

I am tired of the whining I read on this and other sites every time someone gets killed about the cops and the cars and this that and the other when you know full well that we don't even feign interest in adherence to traffic safety laws.

I only talk about the cops and cars and road design when those are the cause of the person getting killed or when the cops blame the victim (as they've done here. Remember in every known case at this intersection, the driver was at fault) or fail in their duties.

But I am certainly not in the camp where the driver is always at fault. Note that in Sunday's fatal crash I said nothing about fault, because we don't know enough to place blame.

We as a bike community spend a lot of time looking at ourselves and discussing how we should and should not behave. Perhaps you just haven't been welcome in those conversations. Perhaps it's your tone. It tuns out that people don't like it when you call them stupid.

@washcycle not being able to understand the concept of a "stop" sign is pretty stupid. Or maybe its just arrogance (oh no I have unclip my shoes so I don't have to follow traffic laws).

Well then, based on the percentage of drivers and cyclists who disobey stop signs and pedestrians who disobey Don't Walk signals, we're all pretty stupid. I'm glad to hear that at least one person is obeying every traffic law all the time. You're a true hero.

Oh, lets not forget speed limits. Most drivers don't seem to realize that the number on the sign corresponds to a number on the dashboard, and that if the dashboard number is ever higher than the sign number, they're breaking the law!

Who knew.

The police have not completed their investigation, so it's premature--not to mention inappropriate--to imply that the deceased was either reckless or incompetent. The point here is that the press conference was given with no fault assigned at this time in that crash and with ample data in the hands of the police that a large part of the safety problem at this specific location is driver behavior, and they went on to blame cyclists. Many of us feel that it was bizarre, it was tone deaf, and it was very much unhelpful in addressing real problems.

That's what we're discussing here, if you'd like to join us.

@Crickey7 to bring it home, one cannot expect cops to treat the bicycle community with respect when the chances that this or any bicyclist was even pretending to follow the law is closing in on 0%. Bicyclists love to complain about oh the cops shouldn't rush to judgement and be so condescending, but we deserve it because that is how we act on the roads. Multiple posters in this thread, including the website host, have said that bicyclists following the law is laughable. Why should police give us an ounce of respect?

Nine of nine collisions at that intersection have been the fault of the driver. The *actual history* tells us that odds that the driver was following the law are precisely equal to the 0% chance that you assign to the cyclist.

"Why should police give us an ounce of respect?"

@richardb

Simply put, we pay their salaries and that is their job.

If they don't like those responsibilities, they can find themselves another career.

@cyclistinthecity last I looked treating people that can't follow laws with respect is not a requirement to be a police officer.

The police cannot decide, in advance of seeing any illegal behavior, that mere membership in a group with presumed lawbreaking characteristics is sufficient to assign guilt. And most police don't do that. Certainly the good ones don't.

As this discussion continues I cannot help but recall of the words of a wise man: "Trolls be trolling."

It helps to remember that the only job of a troll is not to be persuaded no matter what arguments or facts may be brought to bear.

Srsly @Crickey7 the police do that all the time (have you ever heard of #BLM?).

And the bicycle community goes out of their way to live up to the stereotype of being incapable of following simple laws.

richardb:
There are many stereotypes about cyclists. But any objective study shows that cyclists obey the law at the same rate as drivers, or slightly better. The fact that there are arrogant d-bags on two wheels is not evidence for the entire class, any more than saying the 2007 financial crisis proves white people are corrupt.

Ignoring trolls is the easiest way to make them disappear. Engaging is just a waste of time.

I wish I were playing a bike troll bingo drinking game now.

@Mike sorry that causing some self reflection harmed your sensitive soul. Wouldn't want you to lose momentum when you're coasting through a red light because you don't think you need to unclip.

I can ignore traffic laws. I simply can and do. On my bicycle and in my car. Moreover, I have survived 50 years on the roads and propagated my genes. Worst of all, I find the police respect me anyway. The universe is not a just place.

The irony is, of course, that the Montgomery County Police think that they are doing the right thing by telling cyclists not to let themselves get hit. As if it were that simple.

They are asking trail users to realize they may need to stop so they are not hit, even if they have the right of way.

This also goes for drivers.

Yes, more of a priority needs to be put on drivers not following the rules as they can and are kill themselves and others very easily. Cyclist and ped need to realize this and act according to stay alive. This means following the rules and at times yielding when they have right of way.

"last I looked treating people that can't follow laws with respect is not a requirement to be a police officer."

Yes it is. It's called executing your duties in a professional manner.

Joe, that actually isn't what they're doing. If they were they would have used those words.

JoeF: This brings to mind warnings from the police that pretty girls shouldn't wear short skirts or walk around at night. That advice might decrease the risk of sexual assault, but if you gave a press conference along those lines after a brutal rape people would (rightly) go nuts.

Interesting, I have no problems at this crossing or the Viers Mill crossing waiting until both lanes of traffic are stopped before crossing to the middle.

Guess I'm doing it wrong.

There were two squad cars with lights a-flashing at the crossing, this evening. The officers were out and scrutinizing the drivers, who, in turn, were making a great show of caution and concern. I shouted a big thank you to the cops as I blew through the red signal at Arlington. Kidding, kidding about the light.

I have no problems at this crossing or the Viers Mill crossing waiting until both lanes of traffic are stopped before crossing to the middle.

Clearly not everyone is as skilled as you, and now 3 people are dead. Should everyone have to be at your level of experience and skill to ride a bike, or would you call that a high standard. It sounds like you're among the top 10% in cycling skill, so that might be too high.

We need roads, as Billing said, that don't require you to be flawless all the time.

This kind of crash - the revealed attack as I like to call it - is fairly common. It's been an issue here, the MVT, Viers Mill and other crossings. Seems like maybe we should do something different - instead of just shaming the victims.

OK, I've never hit a pedestrian while driving or biking, so obviously I've had time to stop, but pedestrians do exhibit "force field" behavior in front of my car pretty often, and I don't drive very often.

I'm a bike commuter and I agree with you on the important points, but I think it's important to acknowledge that the vulnerable road users aren't always right.

@SJE unfortunately in this case the victim is a coke addled prostitute that has a history of shooting random johns and a rap sheet as long as war and peace so maybe blaming the victim seems a reasonable assumption.

Vulnerable road users aren't always right. Any claims that people here are unwilling to acknowledge that are straw fallacies. So now that we've cleared that up, would anyone like to discuss the actual subject of this post?

richardb, not even coke addled prostitutes with a history of shooting random johns and a rap sheet as long as war and peace deserve to be brutally raped. So no, blaming the victim there is still not warranted.

Last evening (Weds.), the police were out in visible force - 2-3 vehicles, blue lights flashing - and seemed to be keeping a *very close eye* on motorists as well as cyclists. Also the portable sign on the trail warning cyclists to Slow Down has been removed, and I've been told (haven't seen it) that one went up for motorists on the parkway on the northbound side. So they seem to be spreading the increased attention around a little more evenly.

Just wow. At first I thought washcycle was showing exemplary restraint by not throwing out certain posts, but now I see he's just letting the poster show what kind of person he is.

That crossing is fine much of the time if everyone is competent and careful. However, as with Interstate highway design, you don't design for everyone being competent and careful; you design so that when people make mistakes, the chances for loss of life are minimized. As time has gone by, highway engineers have become better at that for high-speed highways, but trail and pedestrian crossing design is not much improved--it's everyone fend for yourself and count yourself lucky that you have anything at all. We only seem to make incremental progress when enough people die or are hurt that a problem is noticed.

Washcycle, looking to see if its safe to cross the road is just common sense. This is what the police statement was about. Frankly people are stupid and shelfish to think they should be able to just walk or ride into a crosswalk assuming that drivers and cyclists (on the road) will always follow the rules and yield.

This line of thinking is the same reasoning that peds use on multi-use trails. Peds should never have to yield to cyclists and can walk right in front of them with out looking and expect them to stop.

Safety is the responsibility of all road and trail users regardless of method of movement. We need to stop trying to pass off all personal responsibility onto someone else. This is why some see cyclists as self-righteous.

There were 3 police cars there last night as I jogged thru. Two (one on either side of the road) were partially blocking the view of the oncoming traffic for trail users. Presumably their flashing lights slowed down the traffic, but common sense would seem to dictate that they were parked in a bad spot....well assuming they look at these things from a trail users standpoint.

looking to see if its safe to cross the road is just common sense.

True. Is there any sense that this is what is happening? Because the evidence presented shows that it is not.

This is what the police statement was about.

A friend of mine was once shot in the leg, by a hunter while standing in his back yard. The equivalent behavior by a police officer would be holding a press conference there telling hunters about the importance of wearing bright clothes. You can't deny that wearing bright clothes when hunting is important, but what in the hell does it have to do with this incident. And why are the police wasting resources on this issue, when there are clearly other issues - like teaching hunters where to hunt - that need more attention.

Frankly people are stupid and shelfish to think they should be able to just walk or ride into a crosswalk assuming that drivers and cyclists (on the road) will always follow the rules and yield.

Who thinks this?

We need to stop trying to pass off all personal responsibility onto someone else.

What about cases where someone else is responsible, like every known case at this crosswalk?

Richard B: I'll echo Washcycle, but its interesting how you immediately analogize as if cyclists as a group are a blight on society.

"Oh, lets not forget speed limits. Most drivers don't seem to realize that the number on the sign corresponds to a number on the dashboard, and that if the dashboard number is ever higher than the sign number, they're breaking the law!"

Nonsense, if more than 80% of drivers are breaking the law, it's no longer the law. This makes sense given that "the law" is basically driver behavior formally codified. Plus everyone else getting the fsck out of the way.

There is a specific problem at non-signalized with two lanes in each direction. It's no answer to say you wait till both cars stop. Often, it's one car stopped in the near lane and no car in the other lane, and then an approaching car fails to stop.

Crickey7, I am well aware that both lanes don't stop. Happens about 50% of the time when I cross at Viers Mill. Yes it is physically possible to wait and make sure both lanes have stopped.

Washcycle, Yes, people (in this case peds and cyclists) are so self-righteous here that they don't use common sense and look before they cross the road.


To the Police, I thank and commend you for dealing with a difficult issue where both sides fell they have absolute right and no responsibility.

Please understand that all cyclists do not feel this way.

A right that cannot be exercised isn't a right. If a pedestrian has the right of way crossing the road then our focus shouldn't be on pedestrian behavior. So, while everyone should be careful and considerate, and no group is blameless, I think its pretty clear that the focus should be drivers and infrastructure.

Yes, people (in this case peds and cyclists) are so self-righteous here that they don't use common sense and look before they cross the road.

Since about 99.9999% of people make it across safely, and those who don't fail to do so due to driver error (according to the statistics made available), I'm going to call BS on this. Maybe a very small number of people fail to look before they cross the road (but not such that any one person is NEVER looking), but the vast majority are looking and are doing so the vast majority of the time.

And now you've fallen into calling people self-righteous and lacking in common sense. The only way to know that this is true is to know what is going in their mind.

If you hear someone say "I don't have to look before crossing the street because cars are required to stop for me" then I'll agree they lack common sense. Good luck finding that.

If you hear someone say "I don't have to look both ways because I am morally superior" than I'll agree that they are self-righteous.

Until then, you're just name-calling and I fail to see how that is helping.

How is that helping?

thank and commend you for dealing with a difficult issue where both sides fell they have absolute right and no responsibility.

Oh for Chirst's sake, you're kidding right? What world are you living in? This is not the situation we actually have. What we have is people who are careless and overconfidentor sometimes ignorant or unlucky, but no one thinks they have absolute right and no responsibility. This type of hyperbolic framing isn't helpful.

Over the top? No, there are some people regardless of type of movement who feel they have absolute right of way. I have attended many meetings as a bicycle advocate and have seen this from all side. It makes it very difficult to get anything done here.

I often get the question "So your a cyclist tell me, why do you guys ride on he road?" Followed by "but the roads weren't made for bicycles and you guys don't pay taxes" An example of absolute right and no responsibility.

As I saw on another list serve regarding this issue, Montgomery County has a problem with self-entitlement. The comment was aimed at drivers. I agree with the comment but it isn't just drivers, its peds, cyclists and shows up in almost every facet of life here.

Respect, responsibility and common sense is sorely missing in Montgomery County.

What we will agree on is that laws need to be changed so that more and most the responsibility is placed on the driver as it is in much of Europe. Still wont agree that a ped can suddenly just walk off the curb outside a cross walk and have the driver take 100% of the blame.

Police have to inforce the laws as they are written regardless of if they like them or not. I've actually had police apologize that harsher penalties have not been hand out to drivers for killing cyclists. Constantly attacking the police as the root of the problem only makes these issue worse and harder to solve.

An example of absolute right and no responsibility.

We're going to have to agree to disagree. It's a sign of entitlement perhaps, but not of a lack of responsibly (which doesn't even play into that example) or even absolute right.

Still wont agree that a ped can suddenly just walk off the curb outside a cross walk and have the driver take 100% of the blame.

And for the umpteeth time, there would be no one to agree with if you did - since no one is taking that position.

I agree, in the end we are after the same thing. Safer roads and trails.

I think or method of achieve that goal is where we differ. I feel strong that can't achieve this goal without the police as an ally.

I'm also use to dealing with people who outright want to ban bikes from trails and roads so I'm a bit tainted when it comes to discussions regarding sharing public amenities.

I often get the question "So your a cyclist tell me, why do you guys ride on he road?" Followed by "but the roads weren't made for bicycles and you guys don't pay taxes" An example of absolute right and no responsibility.

The history is wrong
Cars were decades AFTER bikes, and were after the "league of american wheelmen" got the roads improved.

And the facts about paying is wrong. Car drivers are bigger beneficiaries of tax largesse than bicyclists or pedestrians.

Next!

Thought experiment: What if we were to install retractable bollards in front of the crosswalk? This would protect the pedestrian, but if a driver hit one at speed, it would very likely kill them.

I think one's answer to that question sheds some light on where one stands on comparative responsibility, etc...

"Police have to inforce the laws as they are written regardless of if they like them or not."

No they don't. Just this AM I saw a driver make a left turn from the right lane. There was a police car right there - I cannot believe he did not see it. But the driver's error was not dangerous (there was no other traffic around, just me on a bike at least two car lengths behind) and the cop just decided I presume that it was not worth it. As they do for lots and lots of traffic violations (including of course the law about driving one mph over the speed limit) Police have lots of discretion. They need to.

Discretion is very important, but it becomes a problem when it reflects pre-existing biases. If most spend all their time behinds the wheel of a car, they are going to have a windshield perspective, and enforce accordingly.

YEs, all the rules are not enforced. Part of the problem is that legal system does not hand out the penalties to the point that the police enforcing all the laws become point less.

The frustrations the police felt with the death of Officer Lepta emphasizes this. They deal with the same issue we do.

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