Improving trail safety for pedestrians and bikers - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Improving trail safety for pedestrians and bikers

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Marilyn Segall is a runner who frequents the Mount Vernon Crescent Trail. She says, “I tell you, it’s really…it’s really a war out here.

A battle is brewing on some local trails.

Lieutenant Rick Pellicano of the Maryland National Capitol Park Police says, “the biggest complaint we get are the speed of the bicyclists.”

Pedestrians and cyclists, usually rivals on the trails…agreeing on one thing.

It’s getting more and more dangerous.

Andrew McCormick, a cyclist, sees it all the time.

“Unfortunately, I see a lot of people going a little too crazy. They think it’s a bike race,” he says.

Marilyn agrees, “There are some who will say ‘on your left’ and give you your warning but the majority don’t I would say.”

Riding on the trail FOX 5’s Sarah Simmons found the trail sees a lot of foot traffic. It was on a busy Labor Day weekend that turned one woman’s bike ride into a fight for her life.

Marianne Hoski was riding her bike when she says, “I was heading north to teach in the city and was just south of the airport around an S curve and the next thing I knew, I was down on the ground.”

Marianne says another cyclist crossed the center line on the Mount Vernon Trail…hit her head on…and ran over her neck.

The cuts and bruises may have healed…but you can still hear the injury when she speaks.

I experienced a concussion from the head-on impact and then with the bicycle tire running over my neck i've sustained trauma to my vocal chords, my larynx, my shoulder and neck,” she says.

Her physical therapist at Medstar NRH rehab says, "I haven't really seen that many bike injuries this intense." Miriam Bovich added, "When she said she got hit i wasn't sure if she meant by a bike or a car."

Marianne’s recovery process is a slow one…with physical therapy helping improve a little each day.

She says the accident is something she’s feared for years…as the path has grown more and more crowded.

“Clearly there are a lot of accidents. I have seen them. And to have this happen and me not be able to avoidit, just I’m at the whim of someone who made a big mistake does make me angry,” Marianne says.

Many people aren’t always aware there’s a 15 mile per hour speed limit on the trail.

Something Marianne would like to see posted.
"The park service should have signs up, speed limit signs and maybe danger zones, curves."

That’s already been done on the Capital Crescent trail in Maryland.

Where there’s also a 15 mile per hour speed limit.

Officials here have added a little something extra to their signs.

"We also have a box on the speed limit signs which has a radar function to notify bicyclists of their speed so they can adjust it accordingly."

Pedestrians and cyclists also have a little more space to work on this trail.

Lt. Pellicano says, “we're extending our shoulder if you will, it's a crushed stone side off of the paved trail, so that joggers and walkers are free to go off that section of the trail as well."

Back on the Mount Vernon Trail…cyclists we talked to say they are thankful to live in a place with so many trails and will continue to ride but with caution.

“There are people jogging here and you have to slow down. it's not a race, it's not a bike race, it's really just a recreational place where people walk."

As for Marianne….she says, “Just reminds me of my passion that i'm not able to do right now."

She says she will get on her bike again, but she’s not so sure about hitting the trails.

"I'm cautious at this point to get on the trail and i hope that i'll be able to do it again."

While there are speed limits on the Mount Vernon and Capital Crescent trails, officials tell us it is not regularly enforced.

There is no speed limit on the W&OD Trail in Virginia.

Cyclists should alert pedestrians well before they are passing either by yelling “on your left” or using a bell or horn.

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