Brendan writes in:
I came across the aftermath of a bad bike accident at 31st and M Street NW. Cyclist was put on a backboard and he had movement in his arms as he was put in the ambulance. I hung around long enough to watch the police photograph the scene and interview an eyewitness. I asked the eyewitness a couple questions after he was done with the police.
It was a head on collision between 6:00 and 6:15 tonight. It was well after sundown and dark. Cyclist was eastbound on M Street in the eastbound lanes. Cab was pointed westbound in the eastbound lanes. Grill was broken in, windshield shattered, hood dented and roof dented. Bike was on the cab's passenger side pointing west. Witness told me the cab had come to a stop before impact so where the cab was stopped was where the impact was. Witness couldn't say for sure if cyclist had green, red or yellow light.
My judgment from the very odd angle of the cab is that the cabbie was attempting a left onto southbound 31st Street, but that he was two or three cars back from the intersection and decided to make the turn before he actually got to the intersection. I see bad drivers do that all the time in stop & go traffic and that would explain the very wrong position of the cab. Because of the weird angle of the cab, it took up the whole middle eastbound lane and most of the curb lane giving the cyclist little room to avoid if he was in the right-hand lane. That's my normal commuter route and know that a cyclist with the lights can easy get up to 20 mph at that spot.
Eyewitness said the cyclist was wearing a helmet. I didn't see a light and his clothing looked dark, but the cops were bagging the stuff, so I can't say for sure if there was a light on the bike. Didn't see any blood on the windshield or cyclist so that's a good sign I hope.
One observation. After the cyclist was on the way to the hospital, the cops took a statement from the cabbie. I couldn't hear him well, but he was definitely getting his two cents in vehemently. All I could think was how unfair that is, what with the cyclist strapped to a backboard and in shock, unable to refute anything the cabbie was saying. Other than that, the police looked efficient and diligent. They had the scene roped off, were taking photos, and didn't let the cabbie move anything. All that even though it had eastbound M Street shut down during rush hour.