Friday, July 25, 2008

Riding a bike in a crosswalk

On two occasions today I was told by motorists that riding a bike in a crosswalk is illegal. One of those people was a policeman, after a motorist failed to stop for me as I crossed Hunter Mill Road on the W&OD Trail. The policeman did say that he wasn't sure about the code. He was the second policeman with that misinformation.

The other person was a motorist in a big SUV who honked at me, and the motorist who stopped for me, in a crosswalk on the W&OD Trail at Wiehle Ave. The motorists said that it is illegal to ride a bike in a crosswalk and he was going to have me arrested.

Section 46.2-904 of Virginia code states: "A person riding a bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, motorized skateboard or scooter, motor-driven cycle, or an electric power-assisted bicycle on a sidewalk, shared-use path, or across a roadway on a crosswalk, shall have all the rights and duties of a pedestrian under the same circumstances."

I get a little tired of being harassed by vigilante motorists, most of whom don't know what their talking about. It's even worse when the people who enforce Virginia's laws don't know the law. FABB hopes to meet with Fairfax County police in the near future to discuss bicyclist/police relations.

Along these same lines, see the recent post on The WashCycle entitled Myth of the Scofflaw Cyclist.
Crosswalks are dangerous in Northern Virgina. Especially those without a light and pedestrian crossing light. When there is not an pedestrian governing device the pedestrian have the right of way and cars must yield to the pedestrian. Besides being a bike commuter I am also a runner whom runs over 10+ miles daily which forces me to cross many streets. At least three times a year I am tossed on the hood or have a close call with motorist, all occur when a motorist failed to make a complete stop while turning right and looking left for on coming traffic.

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