Anyone who rides the W&OD Trail West past Route 28 and Dulles Airport, knows the intersection at Belmont Ridge Road (Route 659, near Ashburn, as pointed out by alert reader Alan Muchnik), with trucks barreling down in both directions, is the place where you would expect to see a serious bike injury. My own wife, who is herself an experienced bike racer, bike tour participant and international cyclist, had an injury near this spot that has left her with permanent scarring and disability. In braking well before the roadway, at the quarry heading East, my bride fractured her elbow and required surgery and post operative care by the skilled doctors at Town Center Orthopedics.
Having helped more injured cyclists and seen more wrecked bicycles than I can care to count, I am always glad to see the state, local and Federal Government take steps to protect bikers and encourage cycling safety. So I was impressed to see the following at this dangerous intersection:
Rough pavement, so you could FEEL the warning, like “rumble strips” before the toll booth;
Swiggly lines on the roadway for the cars and trucks and perpendicular lines on the bike trail, so you could SEE that something was coming up; and
TWO (2) Stop signs that you could read, warning you to come to a complete stop.
I commend the Parks Authority and VDOT for taking steps to warn of the dangers of this place where the recreational bike path and park intersects with a heavily trafficed roadway. These warnings are especially important in an area where trucks, with long braking distances, and bikes, heading downhill, cold crash and cause traumatic, permanent and even fatal injuries.