Among cyclists, the intersection of Lynn Street and Lee Highway is generally known as one of the worst in Arlington County.
“There’s a history of cyclists blowing through this intersection,” said David Goodman, the county’s bicycle and pedestrian program manager. “Coming down the hill, cyclists take advantage of gravity… and if they don’t see any cars, they want to keep going. There’s a natural tendency to do that.”
Goodman will join the county’s Bicycle Advisory Committee for a site visit to the intersection at 6:30 p.m. Monday.
Since January 2008, seven collisions involving a bicycle and vehicle have been reported there, including three just this calendar year. The most recent, in early August, resulted in the cyclist receiving a warning ticket for failure to obey a highway sign.
That case in particular caught the attention of Arlington County Board Member Jay Fisette.
“The enforcement has, in my mind, raised a question as to the interpretation of the law when there is a conflict between a cyclist and a car – the basis of which fault is determined,” said Fisette, a cyclist himself.
“My understanding is that cyclists have all the rights and responsibilities of pedestrians, so once they enter the crosswalk, they have the right of way.”
Specific information on the most recent crashes was not available Monday from the Arlington County Police Department.
Long before a spate of summer crashes, the Bicycle Advisory Committee planned to visit the intersection and look for ways to improve safety, Goodman said.
The county already has done a few things, he said, including installing signals specifically for cyclists and programming a delay in the crosswalk signal. What the latter does is give people on foot or on bikes a few seconds to start crossing the street before motorists are given a green light.
“Everybody has looked at this location and thought about it. A lot,” Goodman said. “So I’m not sure what will come out of this (site visit). But there’s always an opportunity for new ideas… and people can ask direct questions and get direct answers.”
The chairman of the volunteer Bicycle Advisory Committee is Mark Blacknell, who writes a weekly cycling column for Patch.