We must stop the ‘cycling anarchy’

We must stop the ‘cycling anarchy’

By B. Marquis, Alexandria
(File Photo)

To the editor:

Regarding the issues that surround bicycling in Alexandria — particularly with creating bike lanes and providing additional accommodations for bicyclists — I feel compelled to report my observations from a recent weekend.

On a Sunday afternoon not long ago, I had to drop off and later pick up someone by the Torpedo Factory Art Center. On both occasions I got a waiting spot on Union Street by the intersection with Cameron Street. As I sat in my car for about 20 minutes each time, I watched the many bicyclists coming through that part of Old Town.

I estimate I saw about 50 or 60 cyclists come and go while I waited. I counted only two that actually stopped at the stop signs. The vast majority completely ignored them. Not only did they not even slow down, they pedaled right through the intersection at full speed.

I saw about a dozen near misses with pedestrians. People trying to cross in the crosswalks had to jump back or wait to avoid being hit by cyclists running the sign. There also were several close calls with cars. A vehicle that stopped at the sign and then continued almost hit a cyclist who was cruising right through the intersection without stopping.

When I came down Duke Street and turned onto Union Street I was almost hit by cyclists that blew through the stop sign there. I watched additional cyclists go right through the stop signs at King and Union streets.

Something has to be done about this cycling anarchy, which has seemingly spurred a complete disregard for basic traffic laws among a large number of cyclists. With more and more being done to encourage and accommodate cycling, we should — as a community — demand greater compliance with traffic laws.

There is no excuse for that level of disregard, not to mention the conduct that was extremely unsafe for everyone. What I witnessed in Old Town that day was appalling and should not be tolerated.