Every year, the number of pedestrian and bicycle related fatalities and injuries continues to rise at an unacceptable rate. Fairfax County is committed to enhancing pedestrian, bicycle and traffic safety by implementing a multi-faceted plan to reduce and ultimately eliminate traffic-related deaths and injuries.
How Can I Make Things Safer?
How Drivers Can Help
Driving a vehicle is a great responsibility. You could seriously injure or kill another person in a blink of an eye, even at lower speeds. Take this responsibility seriously.
- Slow down and avoid distractions while driving.
- Make eye contact with pedestrians and bicyclists.
- Do not pass other cars stopped in the street.
Before turning right on red or at a stop sign, STOP then LOOK for pedestrians and cyclists: Left-Right-Left-Straight.
Stay three feet away from cyclists and pedestrians when passing. Drivers may legally cross the yellow line in order to safely pass a cyclist or pedestrian.
Stop for pedestrians in the street, period. Virginia law requires drivers to stop (not just yield) to pedestrians in marked and unmarked crosswalks until the pedestrian has cleared the lane. This includes all lanes and both directions at clearly marked crosswalks; any regular pedestrian crossing (such as residential intersections) even if unmarked; or at any intersection where the maximum speed limit is not more than 35 miles per hour.
Stay Safe While Walking
Walking is great for your health, the environment and your community. Stay safe while walking by following these safety recommendations:
Don’t assume drivers can see you:
- Use your phone’s flashlight when walking in the dark to increase your vision and visibility, and to signal bus operators.
- If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic and as far from traffic as possible.
Crossing a road safely:
If you need to cross the road look left and right for the closest place to cross safely. Use a marked crosswalk if available; otherwise cross at a location with good sightlines in both directions.
- Wait for a safe gap in traffic or for all traffic to stop before crossing.
- Do not attempt to cross the street in front of an approaching vehicle or stopped bus.
- Look and make eye contact with drivers before you cross.
- While crossing, make sure to look out for other approaching vehicles in case they don’t see you and won’t stop for you.
Stay Safe While Biking and Riding
Biking and riding is an affordable, fun, convenient, sustainable and healthy form of transportation for all ages and abilities, especially when you need to cover a bit more of a distance.
Sidewalks, Paths and Trails
There are many multi-use trails, bike lanes and neighborhood streets in Fairfax County that can be used by people on bikes, mopeds and scooters and other micromobility devices. Biking and micromobility devices are legal on sidewalks in Virginia, unless restricted by signage.
When riding on a street, you have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers. Ride with traffic and obey traffic rules, signals and stop signs; stay as close to the right edge of the road as possible. On very narrow roads, it is safer to ride in the middle of the lane.
- Ride with the flow of traffic; do not pass stopped vehicles.
- Avoid blind spots and never pass a vehicle on the right.
- Leave enough room between your bike and other vehicles.
Always be ready to yield. Though drivers must share the road, you can’t make them. What you can do is go slowly enough that you could stop or give the right of way at a moment’s notice to avoid a collision.
Be aware of your surroundings. Don't assume other drivers can see you.
- Use lights and reflectors at night, twilight and in rainy conditions.
- Make eye contact with other road and trail users to ensure they see you before moving into their line of travel.
- Watch for turning vehicles particularly from side streets and driveways, and ride outside the door zone of parked cars.
- Be on the lookout for loose gravel, ice, sand, puddles, branches, broken glass and other road or trail hazards.
Additional County Resources:
Safety in Every Season
Our communications toolkit provides social media posts, newsletter messages, signs, flyers and more. Help spread the word about pedestrian, bicycle and traffic safety!
Explore the Toolkit:
Speeding is a major issue in our neighborhoods:
80% of recent survey respondents believe speeding is a problem.
On certain roads, 82% of motorists travelled 10+ mph over the posted limit.
- National Highway Transportation Safety Association (NHTSA)
Traffic safety marketing materials available for download under many topics (bike and pedestrian safety, speeding and distraction).
- DMV Digital Pedestrian Safety Toolkit
Webpage with links to: videos, sample social media posts, handouts (including DriveSmartVA's See and Be Seen poster) and other resources.
- Fairfax County Police Traffic Safety
Webpage with informational links, including: High Visibility Enforcement (HiVE), alcohol education, seat belts, crossing guard program and Youthful Driver training program.
- Fairfax County Pedestrian Projects
The Fairfax County Department of Transportation has several pedestrian initiatives underway that aim to increase pedestrian safety, accessibility, and mobility on major corridors including
Countywide Strategy: Mobility and Transportation
Mobility and Transportation is one of 10 Community Outcome Areas within the Countywide Strategic Plan. One success indicator is creating a plan to eliminate traffic-related deaths and injuries.
As an ongoing commitment to the safety of Fairfax County residents, the Board of Supervisors unanimously supports the establishment of a cross-agency pedestrian, bicycle and traffic safety team that includes the Board of Supervisors staff, Virginia Department of Transportation, and the following agencies: