Earlier this week a cyclist was hit on North Lynn Street in Rosslyn, Virginia while riding past the I-66 ramp. This is the intersection that cyclists have come to call the Intersection of Doom or, my prefered version, the Intersection of Death. Every month, without fail, a pedestrian or cyclist is run over here. Drivers are in a hurry to get through the intersection so that they can sit on Key Bridge to get into the Georgetown.
The incident in question is described in this report. Let’s see how many ways this is messed up.
The cyclists was riding in a crosswalk. This is allowed by Virginia law. They can also ride on sidewalks. I know because I checked since I ride this crosswalk and the adjacent sidewalk nearly every day. A car turning right from the I-66 ramp hit the cyclist. Let’s give the driver the benefit of a doubt. Let’s assume they didn’t do this with intent. The driver is responsible for coming to a complete stop at the light. It is no more complicated than that. (It doesn’t matter that it was late at night. Or that people don’t like seeing cyclists roll through red lights or stop signs.) Then the driver may make a right turn on red when pedestrians are not present. A cyclist in a cross walk is acting as a pedestrian. The driver turned anyway.
The crosswalk is a red herring, of course. Drivers may not enter an intersection even on a green light when the intersection is occupied by another vehicle. (I was on a jury when this exact nuance was raised by a defendant.) Again, there is no ambiguity,
I rode through this exact intersection in the dark and in daylight over 360 times last year. I can attest that drivers routinely run the red light to make right turns. They don’t stop. I have been nearly hit dozens of times from illegal right-turn-on-red drivers.
The report I linked to says that the driver did not get out of her vehicle. On what planet does this driver live. He or she nearly kills someone and sits in the car while the person on the ground is injured and in harms way.
Another driver yells at the victim.
The victim is taken to a local hopsital. While there a National Park Police officer gives her a ticket while she’s still in bed! What a compassionate law enforcement officer. The ticket was issued based on the driver’s account despite the fact the driver’s account is inadmissable in court because it is obviously biased. The officer could not take the cyclists account because she had a mild concussion. He could have asked if her what happened anyway. Her could have asked her if she had a photo of the scene. He did neither. Maybe it was time to go eat a doughnut. (Yes, this LEO has it coming.)
When my wife was run over by a car two years ago, the driver was cited for “failing to pay time and attention.” This driver should have received the same ticket as well as for making an illegal right turn on red.
I do hope the cyclist recovers fully from her injuries. I also hope she goes to court and gets the ticket reverse. I hope the presiding judge reads the cop the riot act for being both incompetent and inhumane. Finally, I hope she sues the crap out of the driver. If she is rading this I will happily refer her to an attorney,
Finally, a personal message to Arlington County, VDOT, and whatever federal agency has jurisdiction for this intersection. Stop making excusses. Get off your bureaucratic asses and fix this intersection. Are you going to wait until someone dies?