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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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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