Northern Virginia

Virginia Man Posts Signs Telling Drivers Not to Stop for Cyclists, Pedestrians

The homemade sign maker said he wants all cars to pass before people cross on bikes or on foot

A Northern Virginia man is sparking outrage among many cyclists and pedestrians after he set out homemade road signs telling drivers not to stop for them.

"Please do not stop for pedestrians or bicyclist [sic] thank you," the large yellow signs say. The message also appears in Spanish.

Virginia law requires that drivers stop for pedestrians and cyclists in marked crosswalks.

050817 sterling bike sign
NBC Washington

Sterling, Virginia, resident Ray Johnson said he had good intentions when he built the plywood signs and set them near the crosswalks where the Washington & Old Dominion (W&OD) Trail meets busy Sterling Boulevard.

"I didn't just grab a couple pieces of plywood and throw up some signs -- I put some thought into what I was doing," Johnson told News4.

Johnson said he's an ally of cyclists and pedestrians and wants all cars to pass before people cross on bikes or on foot.

"The message says 'Please do not stop for pedestrians or bicyclist - thank you.' Where is there any confusion in that?" he said.

Police and the Virginia Department of Transportation got involved, and the transportation department took the signs away.

Johnson said he built the signs after he recently saw someone almost hit by a car at the intersection. Years ago, a family member was hit by a car and killed, he said.

Cyclists saw the signs this weekend and said Johnson's attempt was misguided.

"If he was really interested in saving cyclists' lives, there were far better things he could have done," Beth Meyer said. She owns a cycling shop.

D.C. Council held a public hearing Tuesday on a bill that would legally allow cyclists to yield but not stop at stop signs as long as no cars or pedestrians are present. The Council also may increase the fine for blocking bike lanes from $65 to $150 and drop some 25 mph speed limits to 20 mph. News4’s Tom Sherwood...

Pedestrian deaths in the D.C. area increased in 2015 compared with the previous year, WTOP reported in January. More than one pedestrian died in the area every week.

The intersection in Sterling is scheduled to get a bridge crossing, but not for years.

In the meantime, Johnson said he doesn't regret what he did.

"What I proved is that one person can make a difference. And whether you agree with my tactics or not, I'm making a difference," he said.

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