Cyclist on Route 28 in Northern Virginia sparks safety debate (VIDEO)
CHANTILLY, Va. - A bicyclist riding on a major roadway during rush hour in Northern Virginia has sparked a safety debate on social media.
The user who posted the video to Reddit told FOX 5 it was shot near Dulles International Airport in Chantilly on Route 28 heading southbound just before the exit ramp to Route 50 on June 15.
The video appears to show a bicyclist riding in the fourth lane of the five-lane roadway as vehicles drive around him. The posted speed limit in the area is 55 miles per hour.
"Insane," one Redditor commented.
FOX 5 checked with authorities in Virginia to see if what the bicyclist did was legal.
Virginia law says bicyclists cannot generally travel on interstate highways or certain controlled-access highways - ones with on and off ramps. The law also requires cyclists on highways to ride as far to the right of the roadway as possible.
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and Fairfax County police said the there are no bicycle restrictions on Route 28 and the cyclist was legally riding on the roadway.
"If the law says that this is legal, the law is not nuanced enough," one Redditor said in a subreddit dedicated to biking in the District.
"Wow, seems like it really should be (illegal), and I'm saying that as a cyclist," another user said.
But some have pointed out that it appears the two right lanes were leading toward an exit so the bicyclist would have been forced to cross two lanes of traffic to stay on Route 28. So, technically, the lane the cyclist was riding in was about to become the furthest lane to the right.
"The two lanes to the right of him are 'right turn only' exits off of the highway," a Redditor noted. "If he were on the shoulder at that point he would need to cut across two lanes of exiting traffic to continue straight on the road."
"Bicyclists must ride on the right side of the road, however, there is a key to this video. If you look at the small skip lines, you see that that is the beginning of the exit to Route 50, which has a collector/distributor type entrance. Cyclists must avoid riding in a lane that turns or diverges to the right," VDOT told FOX 5.
It's not quite clear in the video whether the cyclist was in compliance of having a red taillight visible. Virginia state law requires that on roads with a posted speed of 35 miles per hour or higher, a bicycle must be equipped with at least one red taillight visible for at least 500 feet. The taillight may be steady or flashing and may be attached to either the bicycle or rider.
Editor's Note: A previous version of this story inaccurately stated the cyclist was illegally riding on Route 28, citing information directly from law enforcement officials. Fairfax County police and VDOT have sent new information to FOX 5 indicating the cyclist was, in fact, legally riding on Route 28.