« N. Quincy St. Protected Bike Lanes are not going to be easy | Main | REI and Fairfax Bikeshare - It's a big day »


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

I encourage fellow cyclists to contact WABA, who are working with State delegates on new legislation.

As to the above, gauging the distance required to stop presumes that the car will see the pedestrian or cyclist AND will recognize that they have a right to cross.

Too many drivers act as if the peds/cyclists have no rights, versus having superior rights, when crossing at a marked cross walk. Just try stopping for pedestrians on Connecticut or Wisconsin Ave and see what happens. The police rarely enforce this law. There was a one day sting a long time ago.

If drivers done believe that peds will come into the crosswalk, they will not act in time. Therefore, safety requires changing the mindset of drivers, which will require enforcement campaigns

My take on this is that the motorist is at fault, but the cyclist made the critical error of crossing when his view of the far lane was obstructed by the stopped car. The fact that he was on a recumbent means he probably couldn't see jack. His failure to stop is of questionable relevance and I hope the upshot is not more pressure for literalist enforcement of traffic regs on cyclists--except those fools traveling the wrong way on the Little Falls PKWY shoulder at night with no lights!

The ninjas are getting troublesome. I had one yelling at me because my light was too bright. Of course, I wouldnt have seen him coming the wrong way if I hadnt

I haven't seen any detailed information on this crash so I don't think we know whether another vehicle was a factor.

I don't think its even been said what direction the cyclist was traveling.

When I crossed the intersection yesterday MC Park police where doing education enforcement and were very emphatic that cyclists have to come to a STOP.

It may be that cyclists (and pedestrians) will have to remain off the roadway as long as any car is approaching and only proceed - one lane at a time - when all the cars have passed or come to a complete stop.


NBC updated their story Tuesday with a statement saying that the police believe the cyclist did not stop and no charges would be brought on the driver.

Just a few hours ago it looks like NBC updated the story and removed that statement.

I guess the police, after originally promising a full investigation to take several weeks, were embarrassed when their summary judgement got out!

To issue such a quick take in less than 24 hours after the accident probably means the police were relying on no more that the driver's and any possible witness statements.

In that little amount of time could they have investigated whether the driver may have been distracted?

Could they have had the time to verify, by looking at the vehicles black box, that the vehicle's speed was appropriate?

JeffB: well, we ultimately don't know right now, but we have seen so many cases where the police do only very cursory investigations.


Except now there has to be the concern the investigation is tainted and nothing but a show process designed to match a knee-jerk bias.

Fox5 reported that the driver said he never saw him. I'm no investigator, but that seems relevant to me.

From the presser:

"Pelicano said three other vehicle collisions involving cyclists have happened at the trail crossing this year—in those incidents the cyclists suffered minor injuries, with two refusing treatment. In all three, the drivers were found to be at fault, according to Pelicano."

So what did the MoCo police do with the nugget of useful information? "Capt. Tom Didone said pedestrians and bicyclists must take their safety into their own hands to avoid being struck by a vehicle."

Yep. It's our fault we let them hit us. Words fail.

Park Police were also stressing cyclist behavior and avoidance of cars as the order of the day.

There has been a lot of talk about cyclists "shooting" into the intersection at speeds of 15 or 20 MPH.

The trail realignment on the north side pretty much prevents this unless you have world class skills. Coming from the south you'd have to be a stronger rider going up the grade and have a death wish to roll into the intersection that fast.

The Fox 5 report does have the information that the cyclist in this crash was riding upgrade from the south. An 81 year old man in a 3 wheeled recumbent is not likely to have "shot" into the intersection.

I had lunch yesterday with someone who lives in the neighborhood and drives on Little Falls Pky. He said that frequently, when he has come to a stop in order yield to trail crossers, cars from behind will whip around him at full speed.

The emphasis on trail user awareness here is lopsided for another reason. Whether approaching Little Falls from Bethesda or Dorset, a trail user can easily see oncoming auto traffic. By contrast the sightlines for cars (looking up and down the trail) are awful. It makes more sense to remind drivers to watch out for something they can't see, than to alert trail users to be watchful for something already in plain view.

"The driver never saw him" would fit nicely on a cheap gravestone, if my heirs and assigns foolishly decide not to incinerate my battered remains. Maybe if I wear fluorescent yellow, have six flashers on and there's a witness or two to say I came to a complete stop, put both feet down, and looked both ways in the coronal, saggital, and axial planes, I can avoid contributory negligence.

You said in a different comment thread recently that you didn't think that stop signs for bike traffic on trails were enforceable. Can you mention why you think that's so? I've heard that before and I'm trying to verify it.

With regard to Maryland law, the Rules of the Road in the Transportation Article says this:

§ 21-101.1. Scope of title

(a) In general. -- The provisions of this title relating to the driving of vehicles refer only to the driving of vehicles on highways, except:

(1) As provided in subsection (b) of this section; and

(2) Where a different or additional place specifically is provided for.

(b) Applicability to private property. --

(1) A person may not drive a motor vehicle in violation of any provision of this title on any private property that is used by the public in general, or, in Calvert County, on any private road located within a residential subdivision or community.

(2) A person may not drive a motor vehicle in violation of any provision of this title on any property that is owned by or under the control of this State or any of its political subdivisions, county boards of education, or community colleges and that is open to vehicular traffic and used by the public in general.

(3) Any person who violates any provision of this subsection is in violation of the law to the same extent and is subject to the same penalty as if the motor vehicle were driven on a highway.

That would seem to agree with the idea that those stop signs aren't valid, since they are not on a highway and, although they are on property owned by a political subdivision of the State, bicycles are not motor vehicles.

Is this what you were relying on, or did you find a different provision that gets you to the same conclusion?

Can you mention why you think that's so?

Because it wasn't/mostly isn't in Virginia. They passed a law in 2011ish to fix this, but even that law only said that the local government can pass an ordinance that allows a stop sign on a trail. Then the stop sign has to meet state regulations about size and shape. Most trail stop signs don't meet all 3 parts of the law (in fact I don't know of any that do), those being: mandated by local government ordinance, installed by local government, and of the size and shape of regulated stop signs.

I don't know about Maryland or DC though.

But looking over Maryland law, I would say they are probably in the same situation Virginia was prior to 2011. You can probably look at both states to see how similar their laws are.

It's our fault we let them hit us.

Reminds me of this essay about biking...


I hope the rider didnt see him, else it would be murder or manslaughter. The "not seeing" is relevant, but should never be taken as the last word that closes the case. Unfortunately, the reports read like that is the end of the inquiry.

Actually now I'm sure that the Capital Crescent Trail and other trails are not "highways" under the rules of the road. I just found the definition:

The entire width between the boundary lines of any way or thoroughfare of which any part is used by the public for vehicular travel, whether or not the way or thoroughfare has been dedicated to the public and accepted by any proper authority.

Since it doesn't say "motor" vehicle travel, does that blow my theory of the rules of the road not applying to the trail?

I meant, now I'm _not_ sure that the trails are not highways...

I don't know about Maryland or DC though.

In DC, cyclists on a sidewalk or in a crosswalk have the rights and duties of pedestrians. A stop sign is a traffic control that applies only to operators of vehicles on a roadway. A sidewalk/crosswalk cyclist is not considered an operator of a vehicle and is not operating on a roadway.

As far a I know, the only traffic control devices that regulate pedestrians (and by extension sidewalk cyclists) in DC are walk/don't walk signs, and in the absence of a walk/don't walk sign, red and green lights. A crosswalk is a traffic control device, but I can't think of a duty it imposes upon pedestrians.

Maryland law is a mess, nobody ever really thought about these issues. Sidewalk and crosswalk cycling is allowed but the law is silent on what the rights and duties are of cyclists using them. Maryland has a definition I've never seen anywhere else, the "Bicycle Way." (http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/webmga/frmStatutesText.aspx?pid=&tab=subject5&stab=&ys=2015RS&article=gtr&section=21-101&ext=html&session=2015RS)

A Bicycle Way is:

Any trail, path, part of a highway, surfaced or smooth shoulder, or sidewalk; or
(ii) Any other travelway specifically signed, marked, or otherwise designated for bicycle travel.
(2) “Bicycle way” includes:
(i) Bicycle path; and
(ii) Bike lane.

Bicycle operators on a Bicycle Way are subject to the rights and duties of operators of vehicles -- which makes sense in a bike lane, but makes no sense in a bike path, where vehicles are prohibited.

I think the whole "Bicycle way" thing was an attempt to make helmet laws and DUI enforceable on bike paths, where they would not otherwise have been, without going through and re-writing the entire code.

Cpt Tom Didone's presser was a stick your head in the sand blame the victim speech.

He tries to conflate the illegal (and hypothetical case) of a pedestrian or cyclist throwing themselves in front of a car with what is actually occurring - victims legally entering a crosswalk upon a break in traffic only to be struck by cars that refuse to yield.

His solution is not to remind motorists of their obligation to remain attentive and to yield, but rather, to say that pedestrians and cyclists have to act more "defensively" and not even enter the road if they see a car.

"Moco" is Spanish for "snot". Is writing "Montgomery County" really that much of a hardship?

I tell you what, when Montgomery County stops having the MoCo Bicycle Summit, I'll think about no longer using the abbreviation. [BY the way, the wikipedia page for "MoCo" redirects to Montgomery County, not to snot.]

The comments to this entry are closed.

Banner design by creativecouchdesigns.com

City Paper's Best Local Bike Blog 2009


 Subscribe in a reader