FABB was upset to learn about the incident on April 21 where a cyclist was struck by an officer in a crosswalk on Richmond Highway. We are saddened that Mr. Crawley was injured and we continue looking for more details about the incident and hope the bicyclist is doing alright.
Everyday bicyclists face life-threatening risks when drivers turning right on red fail to look right for pedestrians and bicyclists. Too often in Fairfax County, drivers who hit bicyclists or pedestrians are rarely charged with a crime or face penalties to their driving record for dangerous behavior. Virginia law does not adequately protect people biking and walking, often assigning blame to the person injured or killed. Most roads in Fairfax County are dangerous by design for vulnerable road users. When poor design and human error mix on our streets, people are injured and killed.
Two days after this incident, FCPD held a press conference announcing their “Street Smarts Initiative.” FCPD highlighted that pedestrian and cyclist deaths account for more than 33 percent of all traffic fatalities in the region. Among the “Street Smart” tactics mentioned by FCPD, the importance of looking back to the right for pedestrians and bicyclists before turning right on red was noted in their press release.
Sadly, the rest of FCPD’s announcement placed nearly all the responsibility of safety on pedestrians and bicyclists, not on the drivers of vehicles, not on VDOT who designs and builds our road infrastructure, and not on the elected officials who could pass legislation to protect vulnerable road users.
We believe this is an error and that FCPD misunderstands the experience of being a bicyclist and pedestrian in Fairfax County. FCPD needs to do more to engage with the bicycling and walking communities, especially since we represent 33 percent of people killed in traffic violence.
FABB invites, as we have in the past, FCPD to attend our monthly meetings so they can hear first-hand the challenges and dangerous interactions bicyclists and pedestrians face on our streets every day. Together we hope to eliminate the tragic traffic violence occurring in our streets every day.