Police: Cyclist, Driver Argue in Motion on Maple Ave

Vienna Police have yet to issue charges

A cyclist and a driver got into an argument as the two traveled along Maple Avenue on Thursday evening, police said.

Around 6:30 p.m. Thursday, a cyclist believed a vehicle to be traveling too close to his bicycle as both traveled westbound on Maple Avenue near Nutley Street, Vienna Police Department spokesperson Gary Lose said. The cyclist reported he began banging on the vehicle's window to urge the driver to move over. 

Witnesses reported it appeared the driver intentionally struck the rear tire of the bicycle, causing the cyclist to fall.

Police reported on scene at 6:44 p.m., with both the driver and the cyclist present for interviews. The report did not include descriptions of the vehicle or bicycle.

No charges have been filed, as the case is still being investigated. Police are in the process of acquiring warrants, Lose said.

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John Smith August 18, 2012 at 11:53 AM
As an avid cyclist myself, I'll tell you that any cyclist who chooses to ride in traffic on Maple Avenue must have a death wish. Yes, I'm aware of the fact that, legally, cyclists have the right to do so, but let's use a little common sense! This is why motorists end up hating cyclists. Trying to drive on Maple Ave is challenging enough for motorists without the added challenge of accommodating cyclists who are hell bent on exercising their "right" to share the road. A little dose of the golden rule would go a long way here.
Brian Pyatt August 18, 2012 at 12:50 PM
John, I'm glad you mentioned common sense, I see a lot of that lacking with cyclists in Vienna, but it's a two way street, Drivers need to do their part too.
Minky S August 18, 2012 at 02:45 PM
Amen John! I compare this to women (I am one) who run alone at night. Common Sense people!!!!
Jeff Beck August 18, 2012 at 03:30 PM
Great comment John!
J Anderson August 18, 2012 at 04:04 PM
Regardless how much a driver hates a cyclist on Maple Ave.....you don't intentionally hit them..... People have to calm down and realize that it's only minutes one might be inconvenienced and that a car will always win against a bicycle and that the rider may die.
Amelie Krikorian August 18, 2012 at 04:28 PM
Maple avenue is already narrow and congested. Often there are wide trucks on the road that make me feel like I am about to hit the curb while driving because the lanes are so narrow. Most bicyclists I see on Maple use the sidewalks and while I don't advocate that because they put pedestrians at risk it seems like a better option than riding in the street... there doesn't seem to be a good solution for bicyclists who want to travel in that direction either. Church Street is also narrow and has no shoulders. The best solution for the bicyclists would be to create a bike lane on Church, but that would mean eating up people's lawns. Doing it on Maple would mean tearing up sidewalks and lights and cutting into parking lots, and some places already don't have enough parking.
Rk August 18, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Bikes should not be on the road with cars, at least not on major thoroughfares, they just don't mix. What is a cyclist doing riding along side a car on 123 anyway? Were they in the same lane?! If so that's crazy. Driving in congested traffic is difficult enough without having to watch a cyclist along side your car or weaving between lanes. Its an unnecessary and dangerous distraction for drivers that takes their attention away from the traffic flow, surrounding vehicles, stop lites, etc.. Pounding on the window of a moving car in traffic is ridiculous and intolerable.
Amelie Krikorian August 18, 2012 at 05:32 PM
Unfortunately, the law is that a bike is a vehicle and has the right -- in fact is required -- to be on the road. Having the right though does not make it necessarily the best idea, particularly on 123. Having the right to be on the road does not look good on a tombstone.
Rk August 18, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Having a right to use the road comes with the responsibility of following the same rules that cars follow. Cyclists often want it both ways. Regardless, allowing cyclists mixing with cars on busy roads clearly goes against form of common sense. Political correctness run amok... Why not have cyclists on Rt. 7, 495, 66? If we want to encourage and support cycling as a viable, some would argue desirable, mode of transportation than dedicated bike lanes are the only reasonable, safe and effective answer.
Heather Barber August 18, 2012 at 06:29 PM
I agree with those who have suggested bike lanes. The town has spent a lot of money on brick sidewalks, which are aesthetically pleasting and make Vienna a walker-friendly place; however, we need real solutions to congestion and traffic. By increasing safety, designated lanes might encourage biking as an alternative mode of transportation...thereby reducing traffic. It's an idealistic thought, I know - but true nonetheless.
Phil Ingrassia August 18, 2012 at 11:54 PM
As a cyclist- I avoid Maple Ave. Getting angry about a car getting too close during rush hour is raging against the machine.
Kim August 19, 2012 at 12:53 PM
"Could you move to the left a bit? I am concerned we might collide." "Of course. My apologies." Try that, see if it works.
Amelie Krikorian August 19, 2012 at 04:22 PM
I don't think anyone disagrees with the idea of having more bike lanes -- the question is where and how to find the money. Putting bike lanes on Maple Avenue will cost a lot because of the sidewalks and lights. Putting a bike lane on Church Street will seriously impact peoples' front yards, so getting it passed will be very hard. Plus, once you get to Lawyer's, you have to use one of the Windover area streets that are even more narrow than Church. Vienna only has those two "East-West" streets really; if you try to cross town "below" Maple Avenue you have to use Tapawingo or Kingsley, then cut over on Park to either Cedar or Locust... a lot of wasted time and energy.
J Anderson August 21, 2012 at 02:35 PM
I'm sorry....but despite the fact many don't like bikes on 123 - right/wrong/legal/stupid - whatever your reasoning.....doesn't the fact the car 'intentionally hit the cyclist" bother you in the least? Are we that angry a population? Maybe if we got out of our cars and on to bikes - we'd feel less angry and in fact actually wave to people we pass on the way to work/school/shopping vs. drive w/ one's eyes looking at cellphone.
Java Master August 22, 2012 at 02:48 PM
No motorist has the right, at any time, to deliberately strike a cyclist. The cyclist has every right to be on Maple Street, in fact, is required by law to ride in the street, and no motorist can whine about "poiltical correctrness" or his private version of (see above ridiculous posts by "Rk") "common sense" in order to justify aggressive actions against a cyclist. Let's get more cars off the street, that will certainly solve the problem! Sorry, Rk and the rest of you---move your car;s fat butt over and let the cyclist have some space!
HID_THF August 22, 2012 at 04:00 PM
Allegedly, the cyclist attempted to open the driver's door during the argument while at the same time repeating verbal threats on the driver's life. When the driver attempted to get away from the cyclist - who was in the driver's lane -, the driver's side mirror struck the handle bar of the cyslist, causing him to fall.
Rk August 22, 2012 at 04:32 PM
I wondered how long it would take for the bike nazis to come out (ohh to strong?). Your superior attitude no doubt comes from your superior state of mind. All motorists are lazy fat asses who don't deserve to share the road with a "cyclist". Brush up on your cognitive skills and please re-read my posts, never did I condone striking a rider or using a car in an aggressive manner. In fact if the cyclist was struck purposely that's assault w/a deadly weapon (imo). Its also possible that the driver was flustered and distracted by someone banging on their window while driving down a busy street and the rider was struck accidentally. I wasn't there and neither were you. "Let the cyclist have some space"? What space is there for a car and a bike to travel along side by side on Maple Ave.. My comments stand, it is nonsensical and dangerous to to mix bikes and cars on a busy congested roadway. I support cyclists right to ride, safely and sanely in a manner that does not impede traffic and obeys common road rules. As stated in earlier post, I believe designated bike lanes are a sensible alternative. You seem to think that the cars, which the roads were designed for, are the problem. So Java Master next time you want to put on your latex bike shorts, don the yellow jersey, and go on your Lance Arnold wannabe kamikaze run down 123, go at it.
Chris August 22, 2012 at 06:41 PM
I can see where somebody who witnessed the event from afar may come to the conclusion that the driver intentionally hit the cyclist. However I'm more inclined to believe that the cyclist pounding on the car to get it to move over probably startled the driver, causing him to reflexively swerve into the cyclist. I enjoy cycling too...but I try to use common sense as to when and where I choose to ride. When I do find myself riding in potentially dangerous areas, I am mindful that even the most alert, consciencious drivers may not see me, and that my 17lb bike is always going to lose the batttle against a 3500lb car. For whatever reason, we tend to think of cyclists as somehow virtuous; but they are no different than drivers. There are idiots among both lots. All one needs to do is watch all the Lance Armstrong wannabes blazing past the Vienna Community Center and ballfields to see this.
J Anderson August 22, 2012 at 07:25 PM
Key word - allegedly. If the driver was so close that a cyclist could bang on the window then the driver was already in violation of the 'two foot law'.....so right there the driver was at fault. And there were witnesses to the car hitting the 'rear wheel' of the bike. I doubt anyone would say that unless that is what they believed they saw. I don't know a single cyclist that would attempt to open the door of a moving car....that just seems ludicrous, not matter how mad one is. And what is a 'drivers lane' ??? The driver was possibly flustered and distracted? They should never have gotten that close in the first place. And leave the name calling (by both sides) out of it. The issue is the bike - again whether you like it or not - as the right to the road. And as such the driver of a car should do whatever they can to avoid hitting that person - because that is common sense. I've seen plenty of drivers who err on the side of safety and caution. But that often lasts for a very short time and they become impatient or respond to the car behind them honking the horn and end up negating that safety by passing too close or when it's not safe. Remember - that person on the bike is simply using a different means to get from place A to B - and they have a family they are trying to get home to just like the driver....so respect that. Cyclists get upset because they have a higher likelihood of dying - you would too.
HID_THF August 22, 2012 at 07:53 PM
From the accounts I've heard, both the driver and the cyclist were stopped when the cyclist attempted to open the driver's door. If that is the case, it is very plausible that the cyclist approached the car, giving the cyclist the opportunity to attempt to open the car door. In any event, if both of them were stopped at the time and the cyclist approached the car, the driver would not have violated the "two-foot rule" Also, if the cyclist was banging on the side of the car, how exactly would have it been possible for the driver to strike the cyclist's back tire? And to clarify, "driver's lane" refers to the lane that driver was in at the time of the incident just as "cyclist's lane" would refer that the lane that cyclist was in.
J Anderson August 22, 2012 at 08:32 PM
Lots of witnesses....lots of views. We'll likely never know the story but as reported..it was started while both were traveling. No doubt this 'exchange' occurred over a period of time/distance and it all could have happened. These types of incidents don't just happen suddenly. They sort of build up..... I maintain.....the cyclist was likely fearing for their safety and right or wrong he responded in a manner that was to not get killed. If the driver was attempting a pass on 123 during rush hour...they had to violate the 2 foot law. We have no idea what the driver was saying just a reporting that presents an aggravated cyclist and a driver who hit them potentially intentionally. My current procedure....when I hear a car coming up behind me. I look back and make immediate eye contact so they know I know they are there and they see me. I also give a wave to ensure they know. It immediately puts the driver in a position to see me as a person acting responsibly..... BTW...given the amount of cars on 123 at that time....a cyclist isn't going to slow anyone down more than all the other cars that are moving along there....so what's the rush to pass.....you aren't going anywhere. Remember..this is someone that just happens to be traveling from A to B, trying to get home like everyone else, to have dinner with their family etc etc.
Amelie Krikorian August 22, 2012 at 09:33 PM
In all probability, given how crowded Maple is during rush hour, the cyclist was actually passing cars on the right. The two foot rule does not apply if the cyclist is coming up on the right to pass you, only if you are trying to pass the cyclist. If people have to move in and out of the right lane on Maple Avenue every time a cyclist passes them while they are stopped at a light -- because you can't give a two foot clearance to a cyclist in those narrow lanes without impeding the people in the left lane -- then we are talking about dozens of people being affected by the "right" of one cyclist to use Maple Avenue. Cyclists could bring traffic on that street to a standstill if even ten of them were using the street a block apart. Think about it. With two lanes, traffic is crawling -- how much worse will it be if cyclists effectively reduce Maple to one lane? What alternatives do people have if they live in Vienna or Oakton and are coming home from DC? They can't take 66 unless they carpool or have an older hybrid license. And although I am in favor of biking in general as a good thing for the environment, it does the environment no good to slow down or stop a dozen cars and have them burning more gas and creating more exhaust for the sake of one cyclist.


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