Mayhem on the W&OD Trail

It has been a bad several months for the W&OD Trail in Northern Virginia.   After summertime incidents of cars driving onto the trail, the latest trouble involve a cyclist and jogger being sent to the hospital with life-threatening injuries after they collided on the trail in Falls Church earlier this month.

What is the problem?

According to Herndon safety lawyer Doug Landau — himself a frequent user of the W&OD since it runs right by his office in historic Herndon —  it seems that users of the trail are not adhering to some common sense safety rules.

Landau’s experience, both as an attorney representing the injured and as a trail user, provides him an insider’s understanding of the problems contributing to the mayhem on the trail:

  • Wearing earbuds and  listening to loud music deprives cyclists and runners of one of their critical senses – hearing.
  • Many cyclists and runners do not know the Rules of the Road: “First Prepare, Be Aware, Show You Care.”
  • Signalling with the arms/hands is rarely done.
  • Calling out may not be effective for someone listening to music, cell phone, not listening.
  • We are an international city –  the capital of the free world.  Many tourists do not speak English as their primary language and may not understand a call of “on your left”.
  • Runners, walkers, skaters also fail to follow trail rules.  They abruptly make a turn for no reason, switch lanes without looking behind, or stop on a dime in the middle of the path.
  • People do not “Stop, Look and Listen” at intersections and crossings.

If each and every user of the trail does his or her part to use the trail in a safe manner, we will all benefit.

If you or someone you know has been injured due to no fault of your own — while using the W&OD Trail or anywhere else — and there are questions as to what laws apply, email or call Abrams Landau, Ltd. at once (703-796-9555).

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