On the morning of July 8th 2008, cyclist Alice Swanson was fatally struck by a truck on her commute to work. A memorial in the form of a Ghost Bike was recently erected on the westbound corner of R Street and 20th Street, where the truck made a right turn in front of the cyclist riding in their bike lane. On a weekend you can see the monument for yourself on foot, or you might pass it by on your bike in Monday morning like so many others who commute on R street everyday.
Like so many others in DC, I have already had my fair share of close calls with car drivers. I have also had close calls with cyclists in the crosswalk and on the sidewalk. In DC you cannot wait on a corner, but at least a few feet back for the wide turns of a bus. Drivers will not necessarily yield in the crosswalk even when they have a red light at a right turn.
Everyone – drivers, cyclists, workers – is a pedestrian once they exit their vehicle. Since wearing a helmet would not suffice for Alice Swanson, you’re on your own across town. Perhaps the best protection is knowledge – please take a short refresher course on the rules that keep us all safe.