This morning at 7:37 a.m., just a few blocks from where I was exercising with a friend, tragedy struck a 22-year old girl:
D.C. Police this afternoon identified the cyclist as District resident Alice Swanson, although no other details about her were released.
Swanson was struck at 7:37 a.m., D.C. police spokesman Kenny Bryson said. An officer in the uniformed division of the Secret Service was nearby and pulled her from under the truck to administer CPR, said Alan Etter, a spokesman for the D.C. Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services.
She could not be revived.
There are four of us in the office that regularly bike. It’s the easiest mode of transporation in this town, but the refrain in my explanation to others has always been that D.C. drivers are truly reckless. While it’s not clear, based on this story, whose fault it is, I’m reminded of a number of situations in which I learned important lessons about life, death, and balancing the two on a two-wheeled, man-propelled vehicle. Chief among these is that no one seems to be aware of the need to yield to bikes. And cyclists don’t realize how the drivers are unaware of this, thus taking their safety for granted.
I don’t think more bike lanes solve the problem, because they’re usually not well-marked, and cars don’t look for bikes in their rearviews. I’d suggest more signs around town reminding drivers to check their mirrors for cyclists.
Something also worth mentioning is that I’ve seen the garbage trucks in this town going way over the speed limit especially early in the morning. You can hear them from a while away, and when you’re on something so small, wouldn’t your first reaction be to get away from it?