Bicyclist Fatality in Herndon

Bicyclist Fatality in Herndon

Bicycle Master Plan adopted in 2014 attempts to continue to increase safety of bicyclists on roadways.

A 38-year-old bicyclist died after being hit by a vehicle on Sunrise Valley Drive in Herndon on Monday, Aug. 31 just after 8 p.m.

The bicyclist has been identified as Andrew Greff Gooden, 38, of St. James, Jamaica.

“The investigation is still ongoing,” said Officer Shelley Broderick, of the Fairfax County Public Information Office. She said “all information is available in the release,” when asked questions such as whether lack of reflective gear may have put the bicyclist in greater danger.

According to the police department’s news release:

“Detectives from the Crash Reconstruction Unit are investigating a crash involving a bicycle and an SUV that occurred on Sunrise Valley Drive near Coppermine Road, on Monday, August 31, shortly after 8 p.m.

“The preliminary investigation suggests that two bicycles were traveling north on Sunrise Valley Drive in the right lane. Neither rider was wearing reflective clothing, nor did they have any lights on their bicycles.

“A 2014 Chevrolet Suburban (SUV), driven by a 29-year-old Fairfax man, also traveling north on Sunrise Valley Drive, approached the bicycles from behind and struck one of the riders; a 38-year-old ...

“The driver of the SUV remained on the scene.

The bicyclist who was struck was transported to Reston Hospital Center and was pronounced dead later that evening. Speed and alcohol do not appear to be factors in this crash. It is still under investigation.”

THOUSANDS OF BICYCLISTS are injured on roadways in the Commonwealth of Virginia each year, according to Herndon Town Council documents.

Herndon Mayor Lisa Merkel and the Town Council will issued a proclamation at this week’s Town Council hearing declaring September as Virginia Bicyclist and Pedestrian Awareness Month in the Town of Herndon, “to recognize the importance of safety for all individuals traveling on the roadways; and promote bicycling and walking as healthy, efficient and sustainable forms of transportation.”

A goal is to raise awareness about the importance of sharing the road, in order to reduce the number of crashes and injuries.

“Hundreds of partners, including towns, cities, counties, businesses, local organizations, schools and sporting groups from across the state, are teaming up with DRIVE SMART Virginia, Bike Virginia, the Virginia Highway Safety Office at the Division of Motor Vehicles and other like-minded organizations,” according to Merkel.

ABOUT 106 CRASHES involving a bicycle were recorded in 2012 in Fairfax County, according to the Fairfax County Bicycle Master Plan. In 2011, there were 85 reported crashes and 86 in 2010.

There were four fatalities involving bicyclists in 2010 and one in 2012.

“Failing to yield the right-of-way is cited most often as the leading cause of most crashes, whether fault is attributed to the cyclist or motorist,” according to the Bicycle Master Plan.

Among police officers, cyclists, and motorists: levels of understanding vary widely, according to the Fairfax County Bicycle Master Plan, adopted in the fall of 2014. “Law enforcement is a cornerstone of an effective local bicycle program,” according to the Fairfax County Bicycle Master Plan.

“All parties agree that more clarity is needed about some laws, especially related to right-of-way at trail crossings and sharing the road,” according to the Master Plan.

In 2010, there were five hit and run crashes where a motorist fled after an accident involving a bicyclist; there were six hit-and-run incidents in 2011 and two in 2012.

“Improving the safety of current and future bicyclists in Fairfax County is a fundamental and core element of the Fairfax County Bicycle Master Plan. Safe, clear and consistent accommodations for cyclists enhance safety for all road users, for example, by reducing speeding, delineating roadway space, and encouraging safe interactions between all modes.”