Fairfax County Bicyclists Involved in 25 Percent More Accidents in 2012

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A new report from Fairfax County police indicates a disturbing trend for cyclists in the area. News4 Northern Virginia Bureau reporter David Culver has more on the increase in the number of bike-related crashes over recent years.

    Police released numbers Tuesday showing bike-related crashes increased in Fairfax County in recent years.

    In 2012, 106 cyclists were involved in crashes, up 25 percent from the year before. The number so far this year is 45.

    After two crashes on his bike in the past five years, Bob Claude knows all too well the dangers of biking on the roads. His most recent wreck was a collision with a truck.

    "The truck was going down Lee Chapel Road and one of the big side mirrors clipped me on my shoulder and knocked me off my bike," he said.

    At the Bike Lane bike shop in Springfield, Va., employees often see the aftermath of those accidents in Fairfax County. Their job is to fix them. Manager Jen Cortesi has a theory for the spike in crashes here in the county.

    "There's an awareness if you're near paths, if you live in Washington, D.C., if you're near the Mt. Vernon trail and you're expecting cyclists, but as a cyclist out here -- a little bit outside of the city and people aren't looking right to turn right, people aren't anticipating there might be someone there when there's not usually someone there -- and then it's an accident," she said.

    Claude said bicyclists ride on the road rather than the trails because they feel safer.

    "The trails are nice, but if they wanted to make them very effective they should have them on both sides of the roads so that you could use them going with traffic both ways," he said.

    As part of their study, Fairfax County police also determined about a quarter of the bicyclists were not wearing reflective clothing at the time of their crashes. Police said they're teaming up with private cycling groups to help educate folks on how to properly share the road.