Dear Dr. Gridlock:
I wanted to comment on the letter in the Sept. 23 column regarding motorists who stop at intersections on the Washington & Old Dominion Trail to allow cyclists to cross. As a longtime bike commuter and casual rider, I often encounter drivers who stop suddenly when I’m patiently (and correctly) waiting to cross a road at my stop sign.
While I appreciate that their sudden stop is coming from a place of courtesy and perhaps caution, it is dangerous and confusing for everyone.
Whether at a road intersection or road and trail crossing, cyclists are expected to obey traffic signs. When a driver sees a cyclist waiting and comes to a sudden stop, not only do they risk being rear-ended, but they also put the bike rider at risk. Traffic moves in two directions on most roads. If I’m obeying my stop sign, I may have a driver to my right come to an unsigned stop. Before I proceed, I need to be clear what a driver to my left is doing, and that driver may not be stopping.