Two-Year Anniversary of DC Cyclist Death Prompts Bicycling Safety Reminders for Drivers

By Peter DePaolis

Bicycling advocates in Washington, D.C. recently marked the two-year anniversary of the death of a 22-year-old woman on R and 20th Streets in downtown DC. The young woman died in a crash that safety advocates call a “right hook”. She was wearing a helmet and bicycling in the bicycle lane with the green light when a trash truck turned right, pulling her under the right front tire. Safety advocates have put up “ghost bikes” around downtown DC to remind passers-by where vehicles have struck cyclists. A Washington, D.C. personal injury lawyer can help you obtain compensation if negligent driving has hurt you or a loved one in a bicycling accident.

The driver of the truck claimed that he did not see her. Authorities never charged him in the crash, as Metro police investigators concluded that the woman struck the trash truck on its passenger side door. Nevertheless, the family pursued a civil lawsuit, and, at the trial, eyewitnesses said and experts concluded that the truck had hit the woman. The civil case settled earlier in the year.

The right hook is a dangerous situation for drivers and bicyclists. Drivers need to be particularly vigilant about their blind spots when turning right when there are bike lanes present. A representative of the Washington Area Bicyclists Association says that in a right hook situation, cars should actually merge into the bike lane. Normally, authorities warn cars to stay out of the bike lanes. A slower merge into the bike lane for a right turn can prevent vehicles’ turning directly into bicyclists who are continuing straight.

If a transportation accident has injured you or a loved one, contact David M. Schloss, a Washington, D.C. personal injury attorney, at Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis L.L.P to hold those responsible for the accident accountable.

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.