Alice Swanson fatality, a right hook

Here is the intersection in Washington, DC, where cyclist Alice Swanson was killed by a right-turning garbage truck.

The Street View is from 2009, as close as Google gets to the year of the crash (2008). The big cross street is Connecticut Avenue. The little one before it is 20th Street NW. My recollection is that the garbage truck turned right into 20th Street, and Swanson probably assumed she could pass it safely because it would turn right onto Connecticut Avenue and the traffic signal was red. If you open the Street View in Google Maps and click on the clock at the upper left, you can go to Street Views from different times and see the intersection without a bike lane (2007) and with green paint (2014). The dashed bike lane stripes indicate that motorists are supposed to merge into the bike lane, but many do not and it may not even be possible with a large truck. Note also that parking extends close to the intersection — the last 20 feet or so are no parking, with a fire hydrant.

3 responses to “Alice Swanson fatality, a right hook

  1. Ugh. DC, Pacific Northwest, Albuquerque. The Great Garbage Truck Crush Zone.

    For a turn that sharp, a large truck will have to swing wide to clear the curb. A cyclist needs to know to stay away from the right side of the truck approaching an intersection, especially if the truck slows or starts to move left prior to the intersection.
    I used this video in LCI class when I had students who wanted to learn.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUuykWghNTk

  2. Khal, the video you linked to gives good advice for truckers.
    Here is my advice for cyclists

    And here is the article to which mine refers, describing more situations.

    CyclingSavvy courses teach how to avoid this risk, among many others, by riding to be visible and staying out of the danger zone.

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