Editor’s note: A photo used in this story contains foul language.
WASHINGTON — An electronic safety message board on the Capital Crescent Trail has been vandalized and police say the misdeed is in line with hostility officers have faced as they try to improve safety at an intersection where a bicyclist was killed a week ago.
The mobile message board warned bicyclists on the trail to slow down as they approach Little Falls Parkway where 81-year-old cyclist Ned Gaylin was struck and killed on Oct. 17.
“It was writing — anti-police messages on there — and they slashed all the tires,” said Acting Captain Rick Pelicano with the Maryland National Capital Park Police.
Police don’t know who damaged the sign — the graffiti included foul language. But Pelicano said police efforts to boost safety have been met with quarrels from some bicyclists.
“Some of our officers are getting pushback just working the detail. And this kind of reflects some of things the officers are getting … it’s a little disheartening,” Pelicano said.
Police said some bicyclists have disputed police directions to obey the trail stop sign before crossing Little Falls Parkway.
“We’re observing a lot of them just rolling across that crosswalk and we’re just asking, for their own safety, to do their part,” Pelicano said.
Vehicles traveling on Little Falls Parkway must stop to yield to bicyclists or pedestrians in the crosswalk.
Pelicano said bicyclists blowing through the stop sign run the risk of receiving a traffic ticket, which could put points on their driver’s license.
“That’s the law, that’s not Park Police rules, that’s the law,” Pelicano said.
He said police will have the electronic sign board repaired and redeployed and safety efforts will continue in the area.