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They're addressing the wrong problem. Surveys show that about half of drivers believe they have right-of-way at uncontrolled crosswalks. Judging from the comments on the Loudon Extra stories about this crossing I would guess that in a place like Loudon it's closer to 90%.

Drivers don't need to be warned that the crossing is there, they need to be educated about their responsibilities.

Wait... are drivers supposed to yield to cyclists at crosswalks, or just pedestrians?

Usually when a driver stops for me at a trail crossing, I get annoyed at their silliness and wave them on. My thinking is, I'm not a pedestrian. That's actually what they SHOULD be doing, though?

In DC and Virginia, the law is explicit, cyclists using sidewalks and crosswalks have the rights and duties of pedestrians.

Maryland is a little murkier. Cyclists are permitted users of sidewalks and crosswalks, but the law is silent on what their rights and duties are. In such cases the courts have consistently ruled that the only interpretation that makes sense is for cyclists to have the same rights and duties of other permitted users.

Here is what the court found in Pudmaroff v. Allen, a case where a driver [Allen] struck a cyclist [Pudmaroff] in a crosswalk:

Equally absurd would be [the] practical application of Allen's proposed interpretation: several groups cross on the Interurban Trail, some on foot, others on skateboards, Rollerblades, and bicycles, and wait for a clear opportunity to cross, and like Pudmaroff, they proceed only after they have properly checked for oncoming traffic. If such a group were hit in the crosswalk, under Allen's interpretation, the vehicle driver would be liable to all those except those on bicycles. Such interpretation makes no sense.

In all three jurisdictions, pedestrians have right of way at crosswalks, but they have the duty not to step into traffic so suddenly that drivers are unable to yield.

Wow, good to know. I'm a cyclist and I had no idea I had the right of way. (Somewhat academic in the real world, but still, good to know.)

Yes, but are these uncontrolled crosswalks? I seem to recall that many or all of these W&OD Trail at grade intersections with streets have stop signs for the trail (at least those that don't have traffic lights). I know that that is true for other trails in the region, such as the Capital Crescent. How does the presence of stop signs for the users of the crosswalk affect the requirement that drivers on the street yield to peds (& bikes, apparently) in the crosswalk? I have always been bothered when I come up to these intersections because of the mixed and confusing message that they send to trail users and drivers.

It seems to me that the stop signs should be for the street, not for the trail. That is what would remind drivers of their obligation to yield the right of way to peds (& bikes) in the crosswalk. If it is a situation where there is heavy traffic on the intersecting street, then a four-way stop or traffic light should be the way to go.

I think a traffic light would not be a great solution but it would let users of the path cross safely.

I believe that the vast majority of drivers do not recognize their obligation to yield to people in the crosswalk or just don't give a crap about it.

You can see that in Arlington (where they actually have the signs up that it is the law to yield to people in the crosswalk) or any other place.

Education (OK, put up more of the screaming yellow signs that are already there, that cannot hurt!) and enforcement seem to be the best way to change this engrained mindset.

Yes, but are these uncontrolled crosswalks? I seem to recall that many or all of these W&OD Trail at grade intersections with streets have stop signs for the trail (at least those that don't have traffic lights). I know that that is true for other trails in the region, such as the Capital Crescent. How does the presence of stop signs for the users of the crosswalk affect the requirement that drivers on the street yield to peds (& bikes, apparently) in the crosswalk? I have always been bothered when I come up to these intersections because of the mixed and confusing message that they send to trail users and drivers.

You've pretty much hit on the problem. Stop signs have no bearing on pedestrians, and in crosswalks cyclists are pedestrians. In our current law there is nothing analogous to a stop sign for pedestrians -- pedestrians always have the right-of-way unless there is a walk/don't walk signal.

By putting up stop signs on trails bureaucrats are trying to reverse the legislature administratively, and grant right-of-way to motorists. This is a bad idea because it just confuses everyone.

I think the real solution for busy crossings is a push-button operated traffic signal. Yet the DOT's seem really extremely reluctant to put them in -- even when nearby streets with far less traffic than the trails rate their own stoplights.

My main concern regarding a traffic light is that a push-button operated light would have to change almost instantaneously. We have all been at crosswalks where it takes so long for the light to change that we have all crossed long before the light actually changes.

That would be counterproductive.

I usually come to the crosswalk, put my bike up on it's rear wheel, wait for a minor break in traffic, and start pushing the bike out into the road.

The cars will stop.

My daughter was hit on the WOD trail...trying to cross in a crosswalk across the Sunrise Valley Drive where the trail crosses. Anyone have any similar experiences? thanks

My daughter Kristen Olsson, was hit just 2 weeks ago...using this crosswalk over the Sunrise Valley Drive area...where the trail is supposed to allow safe crossing of this 4 lane road. She was hurt..but was not a fatality. Oh, by the way...the cop who arrived...didnt even write a citation for the driver who easily could have killed my daughter!.. I want to go after...SOMEONE in the Reston or VDOT for this sort of shoddy and malicious lack of regard for cyclists( of which I am one)...on our roads these days!.. anyone have any suggestions?...My cell number is 828-712-6932

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