Opinion: Cyclists run rampant on city’s streets

Opinion: Cyclists run rampant on city’s streets
Alexandria’s known for being bike-friendly, but cyclists worry the city is slowing efforts to add new facilities, like dedicated lanes on busy streets. City officials say the improvements can’t happen overnight. (Photo/Derrick Perkins)

To the editor:

I’d like to thank the two concerned residents who have commented on the topic of aggressive cyclists in the opinion pages of the Alexandria Times. I’d like to share a few of my experiences.

Early on a Saturday morning while crossing Union Street on foot — no vehicle traffic present — a charging cyclist hit me. The man discharged a stream of obscenities and told me it was my fault, I should have gotten out of his way.

While traveling westbound on Bashford Lane during peak traffic hours, I witnessed a man on a bicycle in the middle of the street pushing a child in a stroller with one hand. When he reached Abingdon Drive, the cyclist blew through the red light. He paused briefly at the George Washington Memorial Parkway until there was a break in traffic, then ran that light as well.

While traveling northbound on Fairfax Street, a cyclist charging up the center of the street — on the driver’s side of my vehicle — made a sharp right-hand turn approximately 3 feet in front of my vehicle. I had to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting him.

A few days later I related this experience to a law enforcement official. He told me all vehicles in the street are subject to traffic laws and had I hit the man that the accident would have been his fault. Cold comfort considering I still would have to live with injuring someone else with my vehicle.

The city needs to enforce traffic laws regarding cyclists.

– William D. Whalen