Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News of Greater Falls Church


May is National Bike Month. Just in time, a handy little booklet, “Sharing the Road in Virginia: Laws and Safety Tips for Bicyclists and Pedestrians,” is published through the joint auspices of the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, and several bicycle groups.

Funded by a Transportation Enhancement grant from VDOT, with additional support from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles and the City of Alexandria, you can download the booklet in English or in Spanish at www.SharingtheRoadinVirginia.org.

Here are some comments and tips from “Sharing the Road:” Everyone uses the roads, so it is important to recognize that motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians have mutual rights and responsibilities. Bicycles are vehicles when ridden on roads and streets. Motorists must respect bicyclists’ and pedestrians’ rights. Contrary to popular belief, there is no statewide helmet law, but most Northern Virginia jurisdictions, including Fairfax County and Falls Church City, require that anyone 14 years old or younger must wear a helmet that meets Consumer Product Safety Commission standards. Helmets greatly reduce the risk of serious brain injury from a fall. In Fairfax County, the traffic division of the Police Department participates in bike safety presentations and often gives away bike helmets at community events.

The booklet also provides, both in pictures and narrative, lots of helpful information about sharing the road, using crosswalks, making turns, and passing. There even are some tips about the exercise benefits of walking and biking. “Sharing the Road” will be helpful to all ages, and is destined to become rather dog-eared as the good weather continues.

The Fairfax County Police Department earns its share of awards for outstanding community policing in the region, but here’s one most of us missed. In March, Fairfax County Police Explorer Post 1742 was presented with the William H. Spurgeon Award from Learning for Life of the National Capital Area Council. PFC Mirchelle Enright, one of the police officer advisors to the Explorer Post, also was presented with a national leadership award. The Spurgeon Award was developed in 1971 to honor California business executive William H. Spurgeon III, acknowledged as a leader in the development of special-interest Exploring. Learning for Life teaches young people positive character traits, career development, leadership, and life skills so they can make ethical choices and achieve their full potential. The Fairfax County program is open to young adults, ages 14 – 20. Log-on to www.fairfaxcounty.gov/police for more information about the Police Explorer program.

The Northern Virginia Artisans United Craft Gallery offers free demonstrations on Saturdays in May and June, from noon until 2 p.m. Mosaics will be the topic du jour this Saturday, May 8; on May 15, the topic is knitting, and on May 22, Fiber Arts will be highlighted. The Gallery is located at 4022 Hummer Road in the Annandale Community Park. Gallery hours are: Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., closed on Mondays. Need a special gift for graduations or weddings coming up? Gallery has a beautiful and ever-changing selection of handmade, one-of-a-kind treasures for every taste, and you’ll support the arts with every purchase.


Penny Gross is the Mason District Supervisor in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She may be e-mailed at mason@fairfaxcounty.gov