The Fairfax County Police Department is receiving a lot of criticism on social media after announcing on Twitter that a bicyclist had been given a ticket after a collision with a police cruiser.
Thomas Crawley, 55, of Alexandria, Virginia, was cited for not paying attention after he was struck and injured Sunday near the Mount Vernon Plaza shopping center.
Police video shows the cruiser at a red light on Fordson Road, turning right onto Richmond Highway. Crawley is hit as he goes through the intersection.
“Our investigation shows the officer had the right of way and determined it was safe to enter the intersection when the cyclist came off the sidewalk and hit the cruiser,” the police said in a statement.
“The officer immediately rendered aid and called an ambulance which took the man to a local hospital with minor injuries.”
That’s an unambiguous illegal right on red. If you’re gonna just look out for your own at the expense of Fairfax residents, at least be honest with yourself and not pretend this has anything to do with anyone safety.
— Mike Cournoyer (@mikecournoyer) April 24, 2019
The police said Crawley was at fault because he was riding northbound on the southbound sidewalk of the highway and went through the intersection despite having a “Don’t walk” signal.
“He entered Fordson Road from the sidewalk without stopping and disregarded the pedestrian signal,” the police said.
Responding to critical comments on Twitter, the police department added that “A cyclist has the same duty as a pedestrian while on the sidewalk.”
Crawley’s ticket for failing to pay attention comes with a $97 fine. It is not a criminal offense and does not require a court appearance.
Fairfax County Police Chief Ed Roessler recently announced that the county was stepping up enforcement of traffic safety laws as part of a “Street Smart” initiative to reduce pedestrian and cyclist injuries and deaths. The campaign runs through May 13.
“We will be monitoring crosswalks and intersections, providing information and when necessary, giving warnings and tickets to drivers and pedestrians who break traffic safety laws,” police said.
So far in the county this year, there have been 43 pedestrian crashes, eight pedestrian fatalities and more than 40 pedestrian injuries.
In 2018, the county had a total of 174 pedestrian crashes, 16 fatalities and 196 injuries.
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