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Bicyclist dies after being struck by vehicle on Route 50

A Chantilly man died at approximately 11:37 p.m. on July 6 after a vehicle struck him on Route 50.

Loudoun County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the area of Route 50 near Tall Cedars Parkway for what was originally reported as a suspicious person call.

Several people called in to report an adult male bicycling in the travel lanes on Route 50 westbound. A deputy learned a vehicle had stuck the bicycle and its rider when arriving at the scene.

Charles William Blackford, 29, of Chantilly, was riding his bicycle while several vehicles attempted to swerve to avoid him. According to the Sheriff’s Office, the 23-year-old driver of a 2005 Cadillac, behind one of the swerving vehicles, struck the victim.

Blackford was transported to Inova Fair Oaks Hospital in Fairfax, where he later died.

Blackford was a former Marine, who “hit very hard times” after his discharge, according to sister Tamara Blackford. Trained as an aviation mechanic, Blackford was temporarily homeless before moving to Virginia.

According to Tamara Blackford, the bicycle was his only form of transportation because of his financial difficulties.

Even so, she remembers her brother as maintaining a positive attitude even during hard times. Very open with his family, Tamara Blackford recalls he brother’s dreams of opening up a nonprofit organization, specifically one dedicated to the homeless.

Blackford’s bicycle was not equipped with the white lamp on front and red lamp on rear setup that is required to operate on a highway at nighttime.

Sheriff’s Office spokesman Kraig Troxell said that it is unlikely any charges will stem from the incident.

“It was difficult to see the bicyclist on the road, and a number of cars had to swerve to avoid the vehicle,” Troxell said. “Also, alcohol may have been a factor on the part of the victim.”


This story was updated July 15 to include information and comments provided Mr. Blackford’s sister. This additional information was included in the print version of the Loudoun Times-Mirror, July 13 edition.

To Will’s family. I didn’t know Will well and have been out of town. I just heard about Will yesterday. He lived around the corner from us. I had several conversations with him as his dog and my two boys were always attracted to each other. I’m so sorry for your loss and so sorry that people used this forum to discuss totally unrelated bike issue and to judge your son. My boys were sad when I told them and asked about Chance the dog.

To the folks who are up in arms about the outrageous comments regarding this article; Get over yourselves. The very idea of internet commentary is absurd. Its nothing more than a bunch of people (myself included) using fake names commenting on stories the facts of which we have a very limited knowledge of. Anyone taking the time to indulge in such a silly vocation (myself included) ought to think twice before taking himself too seriously. Get a life and do not refuse rights to others by the same keyboard you are using to enjoy those rights for yourself.

@annoyed:  Let


Calling the driver a victim is quite eccentric I belive.  Although the man may have to deal with the emotional trauma, which I am sure will be very difficult, it does not cause him to be victimized as I’m sure he would not likely want to switch positions with the individual on the bike.  Again here is someone who is stereotyping bicylists and assuming this is the same scenario.  Lets try to stick to the actual situation in this article as we all know plenty of drivers, and young ones to boot, have a lack of concern for the proper driving regulations as well but similarly that is neither here nor there.

The family of the deceased is not the only party in this to deserve sympathy—what about the young man who hit him?  This will certainly haunt him forever!  There is more than one victim here.

As far as cyclists in general—I know someone who was hit by a cyclist who ran a stop sign on the W&OD; trail where it crosses 704.  It damaged her car significantly, and the cyclist went limping off down the path, leaving her to deal with HER insurance company to repair the damage.  I used to live on Dry Mill Road, and the worst thing about it was the cyclists who ignored the stop sign.  And for the love of Pete, why must cyclists take business Route 7 through Hamilton to get to Purcellville, especially at dawn/dusk, during rush hour, etc., when there is a perfectly good bike path to get them there more safely?  And they don’t even patronize Hamilton businesses.  Annoying.

To done with LTM: I agree with you completely.  Deepest sympathy to the family and friends of this man.  Please know that not everyone in VA is heartless!!

Please decry the LTM for allowing unharnessed commenting on these types of stories.  Just because someone may have a thought or comment, does not necessarily mean that it has (or needs) to be shared with others.  For the sake of this man’s family, please leave well enough alone.

B.P. ....please tell your wife THANK YOU!!!it hurts to know a stranger was by his side and not a love one. The aches and broken hearts, and endless sleep we have were not called for, not like this. I appreciate you wife, and yourself for this posting. I am glad , for the most part, he was not alone. my dear Will, god how I miss you! I love you !! Te quiero mucho guy! -so far apart, yet so close at heart…

First, condolences to the family.  My wife was first on the scene of the accident and tried everything she could do to help.  If it any consolation, she was with him and prayed until other help arrived.

Your family will continue to be in our prayers.

To all you a holes out there saying bikers should ride i the street or its his fault your stupid screw you its illegal to ride a bike on the sidewalk one if the driver that hit him didnt realize other cars were swerving around him to miss him he should have done the same not hit him on purpose to teach him a lesson. ya thats a real good lesson he died wow you guys need a therapist if thats how you think ppl need to learn their lessons. im sorry for your loss blackford family wish i could have met him.

To Welcome to the Internets:

It is not consolation from an online forum that we seek, it is simply consideration for a man who lost his life and his family.  No need for people to stereotype this accident as if it were any negligent bike rider without knowing details.  If people want to blog or post about bikers it should be done elsewhere not on an article that tells the story of someone’s death.

From what I know, Will does not usually even take US-50 to get home. He takes local roads. He usually would take Loudoun County Parkway (riding on the bike trail), then left onto Tall Cedars Parkway. That is nowhere near US-50 unless these writers are lying. If he was going home from work, then he would not have been on US-50. I’ve seen him ride his bike home and he is very cautious. This is not the first time a driver has run into him. He has told me on several occasions that the drivers in South Riding have ran into him, IN THE DAYTIME. So, do not think that he is a careless biker, because he is not.

I feel for the family of the deceased, however you shouldn’t expect to find consolation from an online forum.  Asking trolls to stop only further feeds them…

The man on the bike was My Son, a man who deserved respect, and not this kind of negative blogging I see here. My whole family is with broken hearts as we all loved him so much, Would you be feeling this same way if it were someone you loved?? How dare you all to say he should have known better, I find those kind of comments sickening, crude and above all heartless. I miss you son and I am loving you every minute of every day!

First, my sympathies to the family members of this person. Next, biking along these idiotic drivers is suicide in itself. People in this county do not know how to drive, and when there is a bicyclist in front of them, that makes things worse. I am wondering why byclists don;t use the W&OD; trail, which is much safer than these roads?

Also, as far as cyclists blowing through stop signs, I have seen it many times as I traveled home on Dry Mill Rd. Personally, I don’t know why Loudoun has stop signs, because everyone either thinks they are “Yield” signs, or they ignore them all together. These people are morons in “All About Me-land!”


This is William’s sister.  We are having a memorial service here in California however I believe there will be one in Virginia as well.  You may email me at tblackford0721@gmail.com for further details.

Will was a fairly new, but good friend of mine. Please keep your rude comments to yourself. And this article is not for people to argue and debate on. He will be greatly missed.

If any of Will’s family members is still reading this, will there be a funeral held? I would be interested in attending. If so, please post up the information. Thank you.

For all of you commenting on this. The man riding his bike that died this night is my Uncle. You can all say what you would like. But my uncle wasnt making the smartest choices and the driver of the car (if you read this) I am not upset with you. Its not your fault. My uncle for whatever reason made the choice to ride in black. I miss my uncle so much and the grieving will not go away. We are trying to just get through one day at a time with God protecting and comforting us.

You people are stupid.  This guy was obviously not in the right state of mind to know Va laws or to think clearly.  He made a bad decision.  Just like millions of other people every day.  Your comments are stupid, let his family mourn his loss.  Go back to your tweeting and facebook gaming you worthless Loudoun crap.

Dear Steve,  I’m very sorry for your loss.  Your brother sounds like a lovely person.  He will be in my thoughts and prayers.

1.  riding a bike at night?  check.
2.  drunk?  check.
3.  no light-emitting signals on bike?  check.
4.  crossing a busy road?  check.

i feel just as sorry for this guy as i do my friend that freebased a bunch of meth and ran blindfolded into a woodchipper.  RIP!

Someone died. His family is hurting. Why choose to post hurtful comments? Those who have must never have lost someone.  When they do they will understand that life is rarely black & white….it is mostly grey & there are many sides to a story.

Many of us associates from The Home Depot in South Riding will certainly miss our former associate. Even though I only spoke to him a few times while he was working in the Rental Tools department, he seemed to have a good towards people around him.
He truly will be missed.
And as for US Rt. 50, now is the time to make the proper improvements to that segment of highway. That segment desperately needs widening (as in more lanes and some extra room for bicyclists and pedestrians.

I didn’t know will very well but he seemed to have a big heart and was always willing to go above and beond to help anyone in need. He will be missed. To his family, you are in my prayers.

For Everyone who is reading this, Will my dearest of all friends. I love and will miss him dearly. Please be considerate for those of us who knew him. He was such a bright man, only God knows what was going through his mind last night. Will, I Love You! We all love you!! You will be in our hearts till end of time.

Alcohol may have been a factor on the part of the victim.  Cars were swerving to avoid this guy.  Most likely charges will not stem from the incident.  My guess is he was biking erratically.  This isn’t a classic “cars share the road case”....

Casual Biker said, ” I have yet to see anyone blow one of the stop signs on the W&OD; trail. “

Dude, you must be blind as a bat. Go stand by the trail crossing at Ashburn Road. If I had a nickel for every biker that didn’t stop at that stop sign, I’d be a millionaire.

I sure wish there were less drunk automobile drivers out there putting our lives at risk - drunk cyclists are very very rare.

Actually, LoudounRider, a bicyclist doesn’t have to dismount to have the right of way at most crosswalks.

The main reason there are stop signs on trails when they cross intersections is to slow down the bicycle traffic enough to give the car drivers enough safe time to yield to them. The Virginia Code says that drivers shall yield to bicycle riders and pedestrians at crosswalks and at most intersections, unless there is some traffic control device or law enforcement person directing traffic otherwise.

At lights, in other words, the bicycle rider/pedestrian has to follow the standard light signals, but the bicycle rider and pedestrian has right of way at all other crosswalks (regardless of traffic speed) and at intersections without signals (if the speed is less than 35 mph).

Anyway, here is the Virginia Code:

It will happen again and again…
When you have idiots that MUST ride on the road with a road for built forCARS, this is what happens! You don’t see people ridding horses or scooters in road, but bikers want to be rebels.

To all of you bike riders- Why not teach your kids to ride in the road just like you? Oh because it

I think a driver of an automobile who abides by all the laws of the road, especially when it comes to distractions and reckless driving will usually steer clear of any accidents, that said bicyclists are increasing in number and need to really start practicing better defensive driving, especially late at night on a busy road, that goes without saying, he should have been lit up like a Christmas tree.  Then maybe the drivers and cyclists can co exist amicably.

Better yet - tell me what you wear, the color of your bike and where you ride.  Obviously LoudounRider IS one of those “Biker Pricks” and has as tight a closed mind as a frog’s butt.

Path, as much as I love pointing out when bicyclist’s break laws, I really could care less about major highways.  If they want to ride on one, there are plenty of lanes for me to merge into to get away from a death wish on two wheels.  I do, however, have a big problem with them riding two by two on secondary, LANED roads.  There are far too many turns and hills, and I have almost been hit numerous times by people attempting to pass riders breaking the law by riding two by two on a LANED road.  That is certainly illegal, as stated in the VA code.

Again-major highways…I wish you bicyclist’s good luck, I know I sure as heck wouldn’t attempt to ride with people going 60mph +

I assume any driver using a cell phone is blind or drunk and can’t see me. So far, thats been a good rule.

And I refuse your restrictions. You stay off them if other citizens bother you.

John Watson—What are you talking about?  I did not mention anything about 1 path or any laws - I just ask that they stay off the MAJOR highways.

Get off the road - no. You stay off the road.

Publish your license plate number and I’ll keep an eye out for you.

You don’t share the rode… and? Are adults prohibited from riding the sidewalks in Loudoun County? In Leesburg?

One think though - they ARE allowed to use the roads.

Oh sure - play the military card - just stay off the major HIGHWAYS!!

Back on the Path

There’s ONE path. Stop being an idiot.

And riders can ride two abreast - with the rules you describe. Yes.

And cars must give proper clearance when passing.

And cars must treat them as cars at stop signs. Get it?

Next time you see one of our riders in the Olymics - think about how many idiots like you he or she had to deal with.

also, “Bicycles may be ridden on sidewalks unless prohibited by local ordinance or traffic control devices. While on sidewalks and shared use paths, bicyclists must always yield the right of way to pedestrians and give an audible signal before passing a pedestrian.”

All taken from VDOT website, buddy.  Perhaps you really don’t know the laws?

I have as much right to the roads as you do. I’d be dead? Well I must already be dead from those people who tried to kill me when I was in the Marines.

I will not sacrifice my rights to live in Loudoun County and to use the roads as a citizen. Period.


“Bicyclists cannot ride more than two or more abreast on highways.  When riding two abreast, bicyclists cannot impede the movement of traffic, need to move into single file when being overtaken from the rear.  On a laned roadway, bicyclists shall ride in a single lane”

do you know what a landed roadway is?  it’s the road where I see bicyclist’s riding two abreast. Also, how many times have you seen them riding two by two on a road? and 1. not impede traffic and 2. not move to single file when being passed from behind?

LoudounRider—nice to know your packin’ seems your mindset is just as bad as those yelling profanities.  If a pick-up tried to kill you - you’d be dead, get over yourself.  Keep the bikes off the major roads, it’s bad enough that you think that every secondary road in the county is yours.

1. Riding two by two is NOT illegal
2. What Bike Path? There’s one in the county, and it’s not on Route 50
3. Riding on sidewalks is illegal
4. Yes - bikers should follow the law
5. Drivers should follow the law also.
6. Note, once a biker dismounts at a crosswalk - they are a pedestrian. I have seen cars ignore crosswalks in front of LC deputies and Leesburg Police and NEVER seen a ticket issued. In fact, I’ve seen Police ignore crosswalks.
7. Note - after A pick-up tried to kill me one time, I started packing. Think about if I’m that biker next time you harass one.

I live in that area and have biked a few times on US 50 from Pleasant Valley Rd. to Loudoun Country Pkwy. The paved shoulder is only a few inches wide and barely enough for road bike tires. In addition, drivers maintain a less than safe distance between them and the next car if a cyclist is on the road and is spotted by the car in front they swerve out of the way then the next driver has an even shorter time to react to the cyclists. I also noticed that road rage against cyclists seems to be on the rise with the worst offenders being lawn services trucks that love to ride close to the cyclist and then suddenly HONK while shouting profanity.

Overall I believe this is a sad situation in which a life was ultimately lost. I agree that the cyclists should have used the correct reflective gear and should have idealy stayed of US 50 at night but I also believe we need to also scrutinize driver’s close proximity to other drivers.


Whenever I read your posts I think of Alby from Big Love, except a whole lot dumber.  In that context you begin to make sense.  In the 4 years I’ve lived in Ashburn, I drive by the W&OD; twice a day on my commute and walk it every day. I have yet to see anyone blow one of the stop signs on the W&OD; trail.

I always wondered why bikers tended to ride the way they did such as not stopping at stop lights, until I started biking. 

The problem is that it’s extremely dangerous to follow some of the rules of the road which I found out first hand.  Stopping at stop signs is particularly traumatic.  I’ve very rarely had a car actually give me the right of way at a stop sign and what is worse, is that cars will drive up next to you in *your* lane while you are waiting. When visibility is the only defense of a biker and there is a SUV sitting inches from you blocking 50% of others’ views of you it’s nerve wracking.  The SUV goes when you should be going which further obscures you, and the next thing you know you have a near miss as one of the other driver’s goes after the SUV passes while not realizing there was a biker there as well.

I’ve stopped biking to work as it’s just too dangerous to be out there following the rules of the road in certain areas.  With my brief experience I can totally understand why bikers do what they do now.  Staying visible = staying alive.

Maybe one day the those who bike on the W&OD; Trail will actually stop at the stop signs before crossing a street.

If you ask me, LCSO needs to police the bike riders who run stop signs left and right.

Bicyclist, pedestrian…it doesn’t matter. The drivers here don’t give a sh|t about anyone else other than themselves.

I’m reminded of this fact every day when I get cut off by someone trying to make up time by cutting me off to gain a carlength on the rush hour gridlock. Fifteen miles later, I look over at the red light in Tysons and spot Mr. Outtamyway. Really made a lot of progress there, dipsh|t.

RIP Mr. Blackford.

Tamara, I am so sorry for your loss. Thinking of you and your family at this time.

People who post comments and don’t know the whole truth should keep their mouths shut.  Being as this was my brother and was very cautious about how he rode since that was his only form of transportation, your ignorant and careless comments are not needed.  Have some consideration as I’m sure you would appreciate the same had it been one of your family members.

you should follow the laws,  no-win situation…

I commute to work on the W & OD through Herndon.  When I stop at one of the 4-way intersections, drivers look at me like I have three heads.  It actually creates a great deal of confusion with motorists as I sit and wait my turn.  Many will say “that’s because drivers are used to most cyclists just breezing right through the 4-ways.”  Ok, true, so what now?  Should I stop and continue to create mass confusion?  Sail through the 4-ways and draw more ire from drivers?  Help!

Bad and rude cyclists make a bad name for those of us who ride politely with consideration for the traffic around us.  The vast majority of cyclists are considerate and law-abiding, but you can see the effect of the minority by looking at all the rude and condescending comments on this article.  I was nearly run off the road just yesterday by some idiot in a car that didn’t think I should be allowed to cycle on the road.

As for using the bike paths, you might be interesting in knowing there are very few “bike paths” suited to riding a road bike in the Fairfax area.  Rt. 123 south of Ffx Co Pkwy is good, and the Ffx Co Pkwy trail is mostly good, but the rest are not.

Sorry to hear this guy lost his life.  Hopefully it’s a lesson to both bikers to be more responsible and auto drivers to be less self-centered on the road.

He was also in the middle of the road—route 50, that is.

I am sorry to hear that a person had to die but maybe more bicyclists need to pay more attention to what is going on around them. Our tax dollars were spent to build a BIKE PATH for them to ride on so things like THIS does not happen. I do agree with sharing the road but I don’t like that I can’t take back roads to get somewhere on a nice day BECAUSE the bicyclists are riding three wide and don’t care that a car is right behind them. Western Loudoun is impossible to avoid bicyclists on the road on a nice day, just wish they would take more into consdieration at the lives they are putting at risk, it isn’t just their own but they can cause an accident by people trying to go around them.

ride on the bike path

I have been having a bike btch fest on a forum with friends for a while now. I am all for share the road but biker need to follow the law. Each time I have nearly collided with a bike it is the bikers fault. Running stop signs and biking on sidewalks the wrong way being the biggest issue.

I am sorry to read someone died but it is really foolish to get on a highway at night without the proper lights.

On the flip side I wish the county would install some bike lanes especially in Ashburn leading to the bike path.

Obviously, it’s unfortunate that someone died.  But, I mean, come on… damn near midnight, no lights on the bike… what do you think is going to happen?  I certainly hope the driver of the Cadillac isn’t beating his or herself up over this.

“share the road”...maybe if bicyclist’s actually paid attention to the rules of the road this could have been avoided.  I can’t tell you how many times I see bicyclist’s breaking laws, riding two by two, not stopping for lights/stop signs..

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