FABB extends its sympathy and condolences to the family and friends of Matthew Jaeger, the bicyclist killed on December 29, 2021, in McLean. Sadly, he has become the third bicyclist killed in Fairfax County this year.
According to the Fairfax County Police Department (FCPD), Jaeger was riding his bicycle southeast on Ingleside Avenue at around 2:00 pm on the 29th. He entered the intersection with Dolley Madison Boulevard (Rt. 123) and was struck in the road by the driver of a 2014 BMW 328xi traveling in the southbound lane. Jaeger, 33, was transported to a hospital, where he died from injuries sustained in the crash.
Unfortunately, when a bicyclist is killed in this type of crash, he or she does not have the opportunity to speak as a witness. FABB asks anyone with information about this crash to please contact the FCPD Crash Reconstruction Unit at 703-280-0543. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through Crime Solvers by phone by dialing 1-866-411-TIPS (866-411-8477), by texting “FCCS” plus “tip” to 847411, and by web at https://www.tip411.com/tips/. Please leave contact information if you wish for a detective to contact you.
The investigation remains active and details of the investigation will be presented to the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney for review. In the case of one of the earlier fatal crashes this year, the driver was not charged with a violation of Virginia’s vulnerable road user law and instead received a plea deal resulting in fines for a failure to yield violation.
The crash occurred at what FABB believes is an inadequately designed and dangerous type of intersection and is emblematic of how many fatalities are the result of designs that undervalue the needs and rights of vulnerable road users. Ingleside Avenue is an important connection between downtown McLean (and a McDonalds) and the Dolley Madison Library, McLean Community Center, and surrounding residential areas. The intersection with Dolley Madison, however, consists of only a marked crosswalk to traverse Rt. 123. Left turn lanes with barriers in the south- and northbound lanes mean there is no travel lane across Dolley Madison. Bikers coming from the northwest side have to move from the right lane on Ingleside over to the left to reach the crosswalk. Given the current dangers of this intersection, bikers and walkers should cross Dolley Madison at the nearby Elm Street crosswalk.
FABB calls on Fairfax County to join its neighboring jurisdictions in adopting Vision Zero and acknowledging that the injuries and deaths of vulnerable road users are preventable. Vision Zero represents a reasonable set of policies to eliminate traffic fatalities and severe injuries, while increasing safe, healthy, and equitable mobility for all.
FABB also calls on local state delegates and senators to pass legislation: to allow crash reconstruction reports and evidence to be admissible in court; to make full crash reports with redacted names and sensitive information available to the public for use in driver and rider education; and to abolish Virginia’s unfair contributory negligence law.
FABB asks for VDOT to install pedestrian-activated lights that flash yellow to alert drivers in both travel lanes of incoming pedestrians and other vulnerable road users (bikers, wheel chair and scooter users, etc.) at the Ingleside Avenue crosswalk over Rt. 123. Signage that reminds drivers of the law requiring that they stop and yield right of way to pedestrians also needs to be installed.
Finally, FABB calls on the FCPD to step up enforcement of this law.
Again, our condolences to the Jaeger family and to everyone affected by this terrible tragedy.