NVRPA rules for using the popular W&OD Trail, especially in the dark hours of the winter include:
- Riders are required to wear reflective clothing that can be easily seen from the front and rear.
- All bicycles must be equipped with at least one white headlight light that is visible in clear weather from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front and a red reflector visible from 600 feet to the rear.
- Bicycles must be equipped with a taillight visible from a distance of at least 500 feet. This taillight may be affixed to the bicycle or rider and may be steady or blinking.
- Pedestrians are required to wear reflective clothing that can be easily seen from the front and rear and must carry a light or wear a flashing light.
Before now, the trail was technically “off-limits” each day from sunset to sunrise — a rule that caused problems for late night or early morning commuters that often passed the Caboose, 20 mile mark and the Historic Downtown area of Herndon. On some nights, riders, walkers and runners could get away with after-hours use. But on others, they ran the risk of being ticketed by local law enforcement.
Bike safety lawyer Doug Landau of the Herndon law firm ABRAM LANDAU, Ltd. welcomes the rules concerning nighttime visibility. He has been contacted by bikers who were injured in collisions with cars and truck, but who did not have reflective clothing, markings or even lights. Lawyer Landau turned down those permanent injury cases as the liability of the bicyclist was a substantial contributing cause of the crash. On the other hand, where a biker is visible, obeying the rules of the road and permanently injured, the Triathlon Trial Lawyer and the team at the Landau Law Shop will bring their resources to bear in order to get a just result for the injured athlete or bicycle commuter.