Letters to the Editor: September 9 – 15, 2010

Divers Must Slow Down at Va. Bike Crossings


Regarding WO&D crosswalks, opinions are important, but what really matters is basic safety and the law. Here is what Virginia law says:

1. Bicyclists may ride on sidewalks and in crosswalks (unless signs indicate otherwise) and “shall have all the rights and duties of a pedestrian under the same circumstances” (Va. Code 46.2-904).

2. Pedestrians/bicyclists must obey pedestrian signals (Va. Code § 46.2-925) and may not “enter or cross an intersection in disregard of approaching traffic” (Va. Code 46.2-924).

3. Drivers must yield to pedestrians/bicyclists at all crosswalks, whether at corners or mid-block (Virginia Code § 46.2-924). The law repeatedly says “at” and not “in” crosswalks (though local signs often say “in”). This law includes not only marked crosswalks, but also all intersection where the speed limit is 35 or less, even if there are no marked crosswalks.

4. “Yield” means to slow down and be ready to stop. The Virginia Driver’s Manual states that when you see a triangular “yield” sign (present at some crosswalks), “You must slow down as you come to the intersection. Be prepared to stop. Let any vehicles, pedestrians or bicyclists safely pass before you proceed.” Similarly, yellow diamond “warning” signs (present at some crosswalks), mean “Slow down and drive with caution. Be ready to stop” (Va. Driver’s Manual, p. 6). The Virginia Code is emphatic on this point in its section on crosswalks: “The drivers of vehicles entering, crossing, or turning at intersections shall change their course, slow down, or stop if necessary to permit pedestrians [and bicyclists] to cross such intersections safely and expeditiously” (46.2-924).

In short: At WO&D crossings, drivers must slow down and be ready to stop. Yes, pedestrians and bicyclists must first stop (when there is a sign) before entering a crosswalk, and they may not jump out suddenly into traffic. But once they are at (or at the very least in) the crosswalk, pedestrians and bicyclists have the right of way. Cars must yield — they must stop. That is the law, dictated by a common-sense regard for safety.

Phillip Troutman

Falls Church


It’s Not Green to Cut Down Trees & Put Up Houses


This comment is in references to the property across from the Mary Riley Styles library. It’s not green to cut down all of the trees to put up two houses in their place.

Finn Driggers, 2nd Grade

Falls Church


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