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Alexandria has interesting motorcycle cops, I saw one avoid the King St/Callahan intersection one day by riding his motorcycle on the sidewalk. I don't know of any other behavior which has generated 300 warnings. No law will trump the law of physics here, no matter how many tickets and warnings are issued, it simply does not make sense for bikes to come to a complete stop.

At this point in time Alexandria has A. A generally pretty good bike ped master plan update in process B. An election pitting relatively multi modal friendly incumbents against candidates backed by the Old Town Civic Association.

Given that, I don't think the organized biking community is ready for a protest (and some members are just skeptical of that whole approach to activism) Depending on how common this becomes it is not inconceivable minds could change.

Note - you can use call click connect to report locations with a pattern of motor vehicle violations as well.

there's this....


I've simply taken to riding down Washington St. The Alexandria Police Department does no motor vehicle enforcement except speed traps (by Potomac Yards, bottom of the Rt 1 bridge crossing south into Old town, and end of Washington St southbound by the condos), dui checkpoints every other month, and HOV enforcement. I have never once seen them stop a motorist for rolling or running a stop sign. I have never seen them once stop a motorist for running a red light. And I've certainly never seen them ticket for "unsafe behavior."

I encourage others to join me. I'll take my "unsafe riding ticket" if they want to tell me that and then tell them I don't consider it safe on Royal with all of the cars rolling the stop signs. Better yet, I've got good video of tons of idiocy in OT by motor vehicles. But I doubt they'll write it because it doesn't fit into their ticketing caveats.

You know what I think gets people upset is cyclists rolling stops when there is other traffic to whom they should have yielded.

If all cyclists yielded when they should I think hardly anybody* would care about them rollling an otherwise empty 4-way stop.

*exception - there's always at least one hater out there.

But I don't think that's all that frequent, Jeff, and I ride through OT on a regular basis. Most of the cyclists know the danger they place themselves in by ignoring their duty to yield. I think it is worse on the weekends and when no one seems to care at all.

But I don't think that changes the locals opinions. They hate the idea that someone may make them 2 seconds later. Just drive down Abingdon Rd in the morning and you'll have people going crazy...except they have a red light 100' in front of them. Why this is? I have no idea.

I think I will just boycott Old town. I go there often to visit local restaurants. But now, I refuse to patron that place at all. Whenever my friends invite me out to Old town I just convince them to go elsewhere citing my stance on not giving money to any proprietor located there.

Jeffb, based on how often people get upset about what is legal/safe/normative behavior - like lane-splitting in busy traffic, sidewalk cycling or riding in the road, I think there would be plenty of people upset about Idaho Stop cycling even if that were all there were.

Late to the party here... The $91 ticket is $30 for the violation and $61 for "court costs".

FWIW, I've been yelled at twice for doing a rolling stop with no cross traffic. In one case I was yelled at by a driver who was doing a rolling stop right next to me.

To me, this is all more evidence that engaging in the dangerous, inconvenient, expensive activity of driving while pretending that it is actually safe, convenient and cheap, pretty much makes people crazy. Put another way, you can only act like a crazy person for so long before you actually become a crazy person.


Arlington is doing auto stop sign enforcement at Henderson and 2d and netted 59 citations over 16 days.


I have no problem if a cop is ticketing every violation she sees by motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians at a given intersection. Or if the cop tickets every vehicle that fails to come to a dead stop at a given intersection.

These stings that only ticket bikes, however, are publicity stunts, not serious enforcement.

My parents are Civic Association members. I think they're pretty typical in being in favor of an Idaho stop--as long as cyclists are yielding when appropriate. The problem is not that cyclists don't stop in a deserted intersection. The problem is that cyclists (especially on Union Street and especially on weekends) rarely slow or stop. My mother's car was t-boned by a cyclist as she crossed Union Street after waiting several minutes for a break in traffic (at a 4-way stop intersection). I'm an avid bike commuter, and I was in the car with her that day; it was hard to not be down on cyclists at the moment

I think it is indeed important to remember that many of the people bothered by cyclists disregarding traffic control devices are neither per se opposed to cyclists, nor irrational. They are neighbors, friends, parents, and they often have experienced something upsetting like this. Blowing them off as silly is not a response likely to win any support.

That's great, and enforcement geared toward dangerous and discourteous behavior by cyclists - especially when coupled by enforcement of similar behavior by other users - should be welcomed.

But that's not what this was. Might as well have been ticketing cyclists for ringing their bike bell in a designated quiet area.

One problem with having Idahos be illegal, is that it is not possible to officially teach proper Idahos. It is also a problem when LE enforce against proper Idahos as well as against worse behavior.

Crickey - Were you at the latest Alexandria bike ped master plan meeting? There were people there with no interest in discussing plans and infrastructure, but solely to call for more enforcement against cyclists on Union Street. Note the OTCA also opposes a bike boulevard on Royal. The suggest "putting" MVT through cyclists on Columbus (a bad alternative that few would take.) When safety issues with that route are pointed out, they do not care.

While they may not be absolutely against all cyclists everywhere, I think calling them "anticyclist" is a pretty fair characterization of the position of most. They are not actually concerned with cyclist safety, and their windshield perspective is strong.

That said, I welcome the initiatives in Alexandria that will improve cycling, and would hold off on any organized protest, for now.

Union is always a mess on weekends with basically no one following the law, especially at King. Pedestrians will cross wherever and however they feel like, many of those cycling through are weekend warriors who really don't ride all that much, and the drivers are impatient because they have to spend forever waiting there. It's why I avoid that area all together on weekends and often during weekdays in nice weather.

But I still can't rationalize the Civic Association's wanton hatred of cyclists. I've seen far more egregious sins by drives on a fairly regular basis. I know they must see the same thing too. I don't know why that doesn't concern them more, especially given all the kids getting on buses, walking, etc. Oh well, I don't think minds will be changed.

And yep, everyone is a neighbor, friend, etc. It's why I really like things like BTWD where I can try to get them out there with some incentive to try it rather than banging cycling. Walk a mile in someone else's shoes and it's amazing how perspectives change.

I should add that most of us do walk a mile in their shoes because we are drivers and pedestrians too. And that's the dynamic I think they miss. It's not as if we're unaware of vehicular habits, etc. Some fellow cyclists don't seem to care, but it would be unfair to portray them as the whole anymore than for me to claim every driver in OT is drunk by default of seeing a few drunk drivers.

I have no direct experience with OTCA, though I would accept they are pretty rabid. I'd say the best way to deal with a situation like that is to find common ground with the non-rabid, rather than to lump them together with the rabid. I think that requires acknowledging when we fall short, and not just by our standards. By that I mean the argument that any disregard of traffic control devices is okay unless it's manifestly unsafe.

the argument that any disregard of traffic control devices is okay unless it's manifestly unsafe.

Right, it could also be discourteous. But if it is both safe and courteous, then it's OK - though still illegal. Just like whistling in a men's room is illegal in DC.


BPAC, supported by WABA puts in a over a dozen volunteer hours several times a year to encourage bike compliance with the law at King and Union. That is hardly barely recognized by OTCA. We can continue doing that (though after doing it once, and seeing how rabid OTCA is anyway, I am not inclined to participate again) but at some point one needs to move on to the larger issues. I believe, like T, that the way forward is to simply have more people in the City who bike - they, and also their own families, will gain insight into the realities of cycling. To do that we need to address the impediments to biking that exist across the City, not just in Old Town.

OTCA is rabid not only on biking, but on a range of planning issues. Rather than reach out to them (which is mostly pointless), it makes more sense to focus on building coalitions with all those who share a different vision of Alexandria.

And yes, you should come to meetings to see what we are all up against. You do live in Alexandria, right?

People gauge safety differently. It might be fairly safe to cruise through intersections by essentially forcing traffic to adjust to your presence, including failures to yield. That's inconsiderate. And pedestrians don't care for close passes in crosswalks or on sidewalks, even if safe.

People are over 60 (most of the OTCA folks who showed up) moved into Old Town when it was quiet and easy to own a car there. They not only call for enforcement against law breaking cyclists, they oppose the Royal Street Bike Blvd, and the Prince and Cameron lanes. They oppose new development because it might make it harder to park. Many oppose the Potomac Yards development out of fear of municipal debt, about which they lie.

You are discussing a political situation which you do not know, applying some a priori notions about the need for cyclists to see the other POV.

So they win a small but meaningless victory with a short enforcement blitz. With the broader public, claims of unfairness ring hollow. While this may have been a targeted enforcement blitz that ignored driver misbehavior, it's not like we can really claim that as a whole we are subject to disproportionate enforcement. And it's not like cyclists weren't largely ticketed for real traffic offense, though I get at least some were made-up offenses. So to the general public, already half believing the meme that most cyclists are scofflaws who get away with it, the takeaway to our protesting the enforcement blitz becomes that scofflaw cyclists want to keep breaking the law and whine when they get caught.

So, they won this round. How we respond shapes the narrative as to who is radical and who is not. My point is let's not give ammunition to be deemed radical.

Eh. When riding, I ignore most traffic signals / indicators and ride as I please; *but* - if I ever cause someone (car, bike, pedestrian) to stop short, swerve, or start from surprise, I've failed, and I owe an apology.

"So they win a small but meaningless victory with a short enforcement blitz. "

If that is how it remains, sure. As I said above, the key for bike advocates is to keep advancing a broad agenda, and ignore a one time enforcement blitz.

But note, OTCA is not satisfied. They want regular and constant enforcement blitzes - largely because many of them want cyclists out of Old Town (or at least the part they most care about, which is east of Washington Street) They are asking for a level of enforcement which is clearly poor public policy, and which would neglect the interest of pedestrians outside Old Town. Note, some would say any bike enforcement is suboptimal at the margin, as long as there are more dangerous behaviors taking place (which there are.)

I think one should appear justified in one's position. Worrying about what is "radical" can get in the way of that. Certainly riders in SF who did a mass bike to rule protest could not really be called radical for obeying the law. And they may have won wide sympathy - the majority of the Council if not yet the Mayor.

Alexandria is not SF, the situations are not the same, and I do not call for that now. But we should not refrain from explaining the logic of our position. And we should continue to grow the number of cyclists, so that the political situation is more like that in SF.

Note, again, OCTA did a concerted campaign to complain about specific intersections. Any citizen of Alexandria can do that. To the extent we know of intersections that are more dangerous to pedestrians than King and Union, we should do that.

Understood, and good luck in your efforts.

The OTCA is like the people on the Coronado video. They also almost stopped the King St bike lane by the Washington Masonic Memorial. They're just spiteful people.

But my issue isn't with their idiocy as much with the police actually responding to it. Last night, I had a guy tailgate me and then honk at me on Braddock Rd. Why? Because I dared to move into the center lane where it crosses Mt. Vernon Ave at a red light before he got there. Then, he decides to floor it by over the double yellows. Three or so blocks later is where the pedestrian died because of idiots like this guy, but are the police out there doing any enforcement? Nope.

[snark] I'm glad police are out their monitoring intersections for dangerous cyclist behavior. [snark off]

In the first 10 minutes of my rail walk I observed:

1) Large truck, upon seeing yellow light, speed up. Not unusual except that the driver also had both hands off the wheel and was looking down in the process off cleaning his glasses.

2) Ambulance approaching intersection blocked while cross traffic refused to yield because their green light was coming to an end.

In the first 10 minutes of my daily walk I observed:

Victimized by spell check again!

T and JeffB

I encourage you to note particular locations where such behavior is common, and contact the City of Alexandria via call-click-connect. IIUC it has to be a location where lawbreaking is common, not just a particular incident.

JeffB: yes, but those were not cyclists. The real dangers are the scofflaws in their lycra and not wearing helmets.

Right, and some cyclists are riding in the street, where cars are trying to get to work. Other cyclists are riding on the sidewalk, where old people with walkers are carrying infants. Clearly they should ride somewhere else - like Europe.

I will Port City. I need to do more of that to make a point to the city about law enforcement.

The Alexandria PD is back at it. I was pulled over and given a warning today (11/30), after slowing to 8 mph and rolling through when there was no traffic in either direction. Is there anyone on the city council who is a cyclist and might be open to bringing the Idaho stop to OT?

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