Friday, April 9, 2010
 

Critical Mess in Reston

The Reston Bike Club has been holding Tuesday evening rides in Reston for many years. They are very popular and often attract over 100 cyclists. To avoid having one very large group, cyclists are divided into 5 classes based on average speed, from 1 (22+ mph) to 5 (14-16 mph).

I often hear about the rides, mostly from motorists who complain about rider behavior. As you can imagine, the faster cyclists aren't inclined to obey most traffic control devices. There is a pretty firm rule against going straight through a red light, but stop signs are mostly ignored as are red lights when turning right.

I decided to join the "slower" 5s this Tuesday to see for myself. I never did see the 1s once they left the parking lot, but we did see the 4s about halfway through our ride as they turned right at speed through a stop sign. After our group blew through a four-way stop intersection I suggested perhaps we should stop at stop signs. This advice was ignored at first but when I persisted I was told that I must be new, as the group generally didn't stop at stop signs. They didn't run red lights (expect when turning right), but it was unreasonable to stop at every stop sign.

Most motorists do the same thing. The next time you're at an intersection with a stop sign, notice how many motorists come to a complete stop. A while back I recorded a video of motorists rolling through a four-way stop intersection at Church and Center Streets in Vienna (while eating lunch at a good sushi place on the corner). Some motorists do slow down or stop when they absolutely have to when a car is turning in front of them, but most roll through.

The problem is when this happens with pedestrians present. Almost no one stops for right on red or at a stop sign any more. Many crashes with pedestrians, and cyclists, those who are foolhardy enough to ride on the sidewalk against traffic, occur in these situations. The only time I heard a horn honk while filming in Vienna was when a motorist honked at another motorist who had stopped for a pedestrian.

I guess the club cyclists aren't really behaving much differently than motorists. Since most of them drove to the ride, I assume most of them are motorists and when they get in their cars, they act much the same. I just don't think it's right. Motorists and cyclists in places like Europe are much more law abiding, and I suspect have lower crash rates.

The club cyclists in Reston are giving cyclists a bad name, and most don't even think there is a problem. Just because it's inconvenient to slow down for a stop sign or when turning ride on red, and motorists do the same thing, doesn't make it right. We are supposed to have the same rights and responsibilities, and until we act like we deserve these rights, we'll make little progress.

As a side note, it's a bit ironic that last Saturday I had tried to get permission to use this same parking lot for parking lot drills in a Traffic Skills 101 class and was refused.

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Saturday, August 1, 2009
 

Exposures on W&OD Trail in Reston area

On Thursday, July 30 a man exposed himself to three women on the W&OD Trail between Mile 13 and Mile 15. Mile 13 is just east of Buckthorn Lane and Mile 15 is just east of Clarks Crossing Road and the soccer fields near Vienna. There were two incidents that police think were related. From the police news release:
Police are investigating two reported exposures that occurred within an hour of each other. On Thursday, July 30, a 24-year-old woman walked into the Reston District Police Station around 1 p.m. and reported the first exposure. Officers determined the victim was walking south on the W&OD Trail around mile marker 15 when a man approached on a bicycle. He exposed himself to the victim then fled on his bike.

A short time later at 1:12 p.m. police were called to a home in the 9700 block of Layminster Lane for a second exposure. Officers determined two women, 21 and 23 years old, were walking on the W&OD trail near mile marker 13 when a man appeared and exposed himself. The suspect grabbed one victim by the arm and she screamed; he then grabbed a bicycle hidden behind a bush and fled toward Clark's Crossing Road.

In each exposure the suspect was described as white, in his early 40s. He was about 5 feet 7 inches tall and 200 pounds with a large belly and tanned skin. He was shirtless with black athletic shorts. Investigators believe the same suspect was responsible for both exposures.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Solvers by phone at 1-866-411-TIPS/8477, e-mail at www.fairfaxcrimesolvers.org or text "TIP187" plus your message to CRIMES/274637 or call Fairfax County Police at 703-691-2131.
There is a composite sketch posted along the trail in this area but we were not able to find a digital version to post here.

A similar incident occurred on July 15 in Vienna. "The assailant is described as white, 35-45 years old, clean shaven, well tanned, wearing black swim trunks and no shirt. He wore white sneakers and a black cyclist-type hat with the brim flipped up."

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Thursday, June 4, 2009
 

Reston Bike to Work Day

We are finally getting around to posting info about Bike to Work Day. Once again a record number of cyclists, more than 8,000, signed up to participate in the DC area. At least three Fairfax County Board of Supervisors rode to events around the county: Lee District Supervisor McKay, Springfield District Supervisor Herrity and Hunter Mill District Supervisor Hudgins.

FABB helped organize the Reston event that attracted a record 411 cyclists this year. Supervisor Hudgins presented the U.S. Geological Survey with a commemorative plaque for having the most Reston Bike to Work Day participants every year since 2002. Matt Larsen, Associate Director for Water, and Kerie Hitt, hydrologist, bike commuter, and FABB secretary received the award on behalf of the USGS.

The Reston office of SoftwareAG located near the W&OD Trail received the Bike-Friendly Business award for promoting bike commuting by providing a changing facility, showers, lockers, and a special indoor bike room for storing bicycles.

Professional photographer Peter Klosky of the Reston Bike Club took some great photos of the event.

Reston Bike to Work Day is organized by the Reston Town Center Association, Reston Association, Reston Bike Club, Friends of the W&OD Trail, and Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling with the help of many local sponsors including Great Harvest Bread Co., Whole Foods Market, A-1 Cycling, Starbucks Coffee, Mon Ami Gabi, VDOT, and The Bike Lane.

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Contact FABB via email: info@fabb-bikes.org

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