Thursday, January 19, 2017

Update on Bike Bills in VA Legislature

We've been following Virginia Bicycling Federation's reports on the bills that could affect bicyclists in the fast-moving Va legislative session. Below are updates from a previous blog entry, indicated with underlining.

SB 860 Use of handheld personal communications devices while driving; penalty. Would prohibit usage of handheld personal communication devices while driving. Filed by Sen. Surovell. Update 19 Jan - Failed by a vote of 7-6 along party lines, with Republicans all voting against.

SB 1207 & HB 2016 Electric personal delivery devices. Identical bills filed by Sen. DeSteph and Del. Villanueva: Allows for the operation of electric personal delivery devices on the sidewalks and shared-use paths and across roadways on crosswalks in the Commonwealth unless otherwise prohibited by a locality. The bill directs that such devices shall not be considered vehicles and are exempt from the motor carrier provisions of Title 46.2 (Motor Vehicles).

SB 1223 Riding bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, etc., while intoxicated; penalty, making it a Class 2 Misdemeanor to ride a bicycle, SegWay, moped, or electric power assisted bicycle on a highway while intoxicated. Filed by Sen. Baker. Update 19 Jan - An additional bill being watched by VBF.

SB 1338 Bicycle lane; penalty for driver to pass another vehicle using lane. Filed by Sen. Surovell. Bill number added. Updated 19 Jan.

SB 1339. Careless driving; cause of injury to vulnerable road user. a bill which creates a lower criminality threshold and higher penalties for drivers who injure pedestrians and cyclists. Filed by Sen. Surovell

HB 1504 Issuance of a driver's license or learner's permit; minimum standards for vision tests; and HB 1514 Health care practitioners; reporting disabilities of drivers. Two bills attempting to get drivers with poor vision off the road that was filed at the request of Dr. Ed Wortham, an ophthalmologist and the father of Carrie Wortham, who was killed in September 2015 by a driver with poor vision who drove into her as she was cycling on Rt. 33. Filed by Del. Fowler.

HB1633 Careless driving; cause of injury to vulnerable road user. which creates a lower criminality threshold and higher penalties for drivers who injure pedestrians and cyclists. Filed by Del. Rip Sullivan and co-sponsored by Del. Jim LeMunyon.

HB 1834 Distracted driving; penalty. Adds a “Distracted Driving” offense to the section of the Code that prohibits Reckless Driving (46.2-868).  This will add a lesser infraction to the code for infractions that are not as severe as to warrant “Reckless Driving” which has traditionally been considered a very severe charge in this state. Filed by Del. Anderson.

HB 2023 Highway maintenance payments; bicycle lanes. The bill to not reduce highway maintenance payments to municipalities that have implemented road diets. Filed by Del. Villanueva. Update 19 Jan - Reported out of Transportation Committee 20-0.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

New Bikeshare Station in Lake Anne Area of Reston

Another Capital Bikeshare station was recently installed in Reston. It's located at Cameron Crescent Apartments just north of Lake Anne Village Center, the first station in that area. The station is located about a 15-20 minute ride to the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station. There are now 11 of 15 planned stations in place. While the bikes likely didn't get much use on this rainy day, this will be a tremendous asset for residents of the Lake Anne area to allow them easy, affordable access to Reston Town Center and Wiehle Station.

Existing Reston bikeshare stations
Green lines are trails

Lake Anne area station
at Cameron Crescent Apartments
Another new stations was installed just south of the Town Center on Sunset Hills Rd just west of Reston Parkway, just across the street from the planned Reston Town Center Metro station. It's located near several large office buildings and a planned mixed use complex to the north.

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Monday, January 16, 2017

Fairfax Bike Advocacy Workshop Feb. 4

For Immediate Release

Bicycle Advocacy Workshop February 4
Are you interested in making Fairfax County more bike-friendly? On February 4, 2017, Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling (FABB) is hosting a free workshop that will provide attendees the basic tools and strategies needed to help make bicycling conditions better in Fairfax County.

The workshop will be held on Saturday, February 4, 2017, from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, 8304 Old Keene Mill Rd in Springfield (across the street from the Springfield Golf and Country Club). There is no charge for the workshop; however, participants are asked to pre-register before January 29, 2017 ( Lunch will be provided.

Topics include: components of a successful advocacy campaign, developing an advocacy plan, online advocacy tools, and why citizen advocates make a difference. Attendees will have time to develop their own campaigns. Presenters are local citizens with a proven record of leading advocacy campaigns: FABB members Sonya Breehey, Bruce Wright, and Alan Young, and Fionnuala Quinn of The Bureau of Good Roads.

FABB is an all-volunteer nonprofit organization dedicated to improving conditions for bicyclists of all ages, nationalities, and walks of life. Over the past decade FABB has played a key role in advancing bicycling in Fairfax County.

More information about the organization and workshop can be found at or by contacting Bruce Wright at or 703-328-9619.


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Friday, January 13, 2017

Vision Zero Video: The Dutch Example

Systematic Safety: The Principles Behind Vision Zero. "This video is an explanation of the Dutch 'sustainable safety' policy by prof. Peter Furth of the Northeastern University of Boston, who feels Systematic Safety would have been a better name. Concept and narration: Peter G. Furth. Filming and editing by Mark Wagenbuur."


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Thursday, January 12, 2017

How Speed Limits Are Set: Need For a New Paradigm

Our roads are usually designed so that motorists feel safe traveling faster than the speed limit. Speed is probably the biggest factor in determining if a pedestrian or bicyclist is killed in a crash. In the article Why The Rules Of The Road Aren’t Enough To Prevent People From Dying author Anne Marie Berry-Jester discusses how speed limits are set and why the current method leads to more dangerous streets:
Roads are planned according to a concept known as design speed, basically the speed vehicles are expected to travel.3 Engineers often apply the 85th percentile rule to a similar road to arrive at the design speed for the proposed road. It might make sense, then, that the design speed would become the speed limit. However, in practice, the design speed is often used to determine the minimum speed of safe travel on a road.

When building roads, the 85th percentile calculates the speed the engineers hope or intend people will travel, but then it’s used to design a road to meet that speed at a minimum, with a factor of safety allowing for faster travel,” he told me.

In other words, by adding additional “safety” to the road, it is designed to make people comfortable going faster than the engineers’ intended speed.
A while back we reported on a new USDOT document that included guidance to traffic engineers, encouraging them to use other criteria for setting speed limits: Bicycle and Pedestrian Funding, Design, and Environmental Review: Addressing Common Misconceptions.

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Municipalities Can Be Liable For Unsafe Streets

Route 1 where pedestrian was recently killed.
Image: Google Maps
Streetsblog NYC recently reported on a landmark court case that could have major implications for New York City's Department of Transportation and could have an impact on other municipalities and even states: State’s Highest Court Holds NYC Liable for Injuries on Streets Without Traffic Calming.

On streets with a history of traffic injuries and reckless driving like many in Fairfax County such as Routes 1 & 7, departments of transportation must implement traffic calming to make those streets safer.

From the article:
The Court of Appeals, New York’s highest court, ruled that New York City and other municipalities can be held liable for failing to redesign streets with a history of traffic injuries and reckless driving.

The ruling stems from a crash in 2004, when Louis Pascarella, driving “at least” 54 miles per hour in a 30 mph zone, struck 12-year-old Anthony Turturro as he rode a bike on Gerritsen Avenue. Pascarella later pled guilty to assault.

A civil trial jury awarded Turturro $20 million, finding the city 40 percent responsible for the crash. The city appealed, and the case made its way to the Court of Appeals, which last month rendered a 6-1 finding in favor of Turturro.

“This decision is a game-changer,” says Steve Vaccaro, an attorney who represents traffic crash victims. “The court held that departments of transportation can be held liable for harm caused by speeding drivers, where the DOT fails to install traffic-calming measures even though it is aware of dangerous speeding, unless the DOT has specifically undertaken a study and determined that traffic calming is not required.”

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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Interactive Map Shows Who Maintains FFX Co Roads: Update - Trails/Sidewalks Map Also Available

Fairfax County recently released an interactive map showing who maintains roads in the county. From Fairfax  County:

Who maintains your neighborhood road? What about the roads to work or to your favorite restaurant?

Well, there are eight answers!
  1. Virginia Department of Transportation (maintains most roads)
  2. Private
  3. Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority
  4. Municipal (towns/cities such as Fairfax, Vienna, Herndon)
  5. Federal government
  6. Fairfax County Department of Public Works
  7. Fairfax County Park Authority
  8. Fairfax County Public Schools
Our new interactive, searchable map can now tell you who owns what road easily. If you see a pothole or other road maintenance issue, you can find who’s responsible.
The Park Authority Trail Buddy interactive map shows who owns most paved trails in the county. Unfortunately sidewalk ownership isn't identified.

Update: Shortly after posting this entry we were informed (via the Fairfax Co Government Facebook page) that there is an interactive map showing who maintains trails and sidewalks in the county, the Walkway Maintenance map.


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  Bike to Work Day 2015 at Wiehle Station

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