“Does anyone know if the woman in this morning’s bike accident at 15th and Q NW is OK?”

“Dear PoPville,

Does anyone know if the woman in this morning’s bike accident at 15th and Q NW is OK? My daughter and I came upon her as she was lying motionless in the street, her bike to the side, and a taxi pulled over. Two people were with her, a bicycle police officer had just arrived, and a fire truck and ambulance pulled up right as we got there. It was a chilling sight. No helmet (though maybe the good samaritans took it off?), just lying on the street motionless. I hope she’s OK.”

59 Comment

  • I’m assuming you’re talking about the one around 8:30am at 14th & Q?

    FWIW, @dcfireems tweeted this morning: “U/D: Units on scene. Cyclist fell not struck. Patient transported with serious but non-life threatening inj. #dctraffic” So it sounds like she’s okay.

  • Thanks, yes, that was the time, I must have been confused about 15th vs. 14th. Glad it was non-life threating. It was seriously scary to see.

  • Road conditions on 14th can be treacherous for cyclists. Can’t remember if this is one of the especially bad blocks. Between the disappearing bike lanes, huge craters, double-parked cars, etc… I hate when I need to use it (i.e. being in too much of a hurry to use 15th)

  • I would hope no good samaritans removed her helmet.

    • Having been hit by a car in March, just south of Dupont, I’m curious why the cab pulled over? Just to help?How do they really know what the situation was?

      As a cyclist with a host of injuries from that event, the line “with serious but non-life threatening inj.” could mean a bunch of really bad stuff — concussion, broken bones, or worse. In my case, a helmet saved my life.

      I’ve been told time and time again by surgeons and imaging technicians that the number of cyclists struck and injured has increased by a number seemingly disproportionate (in excess) to the number of new cyclists. I acknowledge lots of cyclists ride without the protective gear — particularly helmets — or sometimes make bad decisions, but nobody’s infallible, and they’re still very much at risk.

  • Yikes, that sounds awful. 14th is a death trap for cyclists. The city should just get rid of the bike lanes and do a protected cycle track on one side, like they have on 15th. Probably wouldn’t take up any more space. But it would require, you know, sensible planning.

    • Or maybe the should just get rid of the bike lane on 14th all together! The is already a two-way bike lane on 15th. 14th is just too busy with all the traffic, cabs, ubers, and buses. We don’t need a bike lane on every street!

      Also it was probably 14th & R as they have torn up the road at the intersection and R street between 14th and 15th for repaving. The intersection on Q is still pretty good.

  • We were there just in time to see her hit the ground. We didn’t see the start of the fall, but apparently she either hit or was startled by a taxi pulling out. She was knocked out cold for a bit, but did regain consciousness and had a bunch of scrapes. I don’t think she had a helmet, as there wasn’t one anywhere around the site. People all around were wonderful. Every one of them made certain no one tried to move her or let her get up. Two kind people very gently held her arms and shoulders and talked with her while at least 4 people called 911. Others secured her bike and held onto the stuff that flew off with her. A construction worker kept traffic out of the way. A bike cop arrived in minutes and the ambulance in 8 minutes. And yes, the taxi stayed–as did his passenger–throughout. It was a scary thing to see and glad to hear she is ok. Thanks to all DC residents for being so great!

    • I was biking about 15 feet behind this biker before she fell and I agree that all the witnesses were especially helpful and caring. I looked away for a second just before the accident so I couldn’t identify what caused the accident. But here’s what I did see. The biker had to avoid a city cab stopped in the bike lane at the NW corner of 14th and Q. I don’t think she hit the cab and the cab definitely did not hit her. Her bag might gotten caught on something protruding from the cab. Doubtful though. She may have hit a bump and lost control of her bike. Whatever the reason, the accident was a horrendous sight. She and her bike flew in the air. She landed in the right lane of 14th St, going south. She wasn’t wearing a helmet, but even if she were, the impact still might have knocked her out. I hope she’s okay.

  • Anyone know if this was a Bikeshare bike? They never wear helmets for the simple reason that Bikeshare doesn’t provide them. If you don’t own a bike, why would you own a helmet?

    • I dont own a swimming pool, but I own swim trunks. Just sayin.

    • I ride CaBi regularly and always wear a helmet. I get your point that most people don’t, but they should. Glad this woman is ok, and here’s hoping she gets a helmet!

      • Why? Because random people on the internet think she should even though data says otherwise? Or so people don’t blame her if she is seriously injured or dies?

        I bike everyday and wear a helmet btw. Though I can’t really say why.

        • She may not have been knocked unconscious if she had on a helmet. That seems like a good reason to me. Everything I’ve found says it’s safer with even though you may be more risky in a helmet. Head injuries by far cause the most deaths. It seems like a no brainer.

          • Statistically speaking, it makes more sense to wear a helmet while riding in a car, than riding a bike. Are you now going to start driving with a helmet?

        • “even though data says otherwise” … huh?????

          • There is a lot of good research out there that says you are better off not wearing a helmet. I’m not gonna advocate for wearing, or not wearing, a helmet, because it still isn’t clear either way, but it’s interesting to look at the reasoning.

        • Any “data” that says you shouldn’t wear a helmet is junk science from someone with an agenda. It’s from the Dr Oz of transportation.

          • Actually, any research saying you should wear a helmet is seriously flawed. Even the researchers that sparked the huge helmet push in the US have backed off on that. I’m not saying absolutely you shouldn’t wear a helmet, but there is a very strong legitimate case. BTW, I wear a helmet 95% of the time.

        • Dear lord, I hate it when people trot this one out…

          If you get hit by a Maryland driver in an SUV going 60 MPH “trying to beat the red light,” no, the helmet is not going to help you survive the massive internal injuries from the crash.

          BUT, if you are calmly riding down the street and suddenly swerve to miss some glass in the road and fall off your bike and hit your head on the pavement, like I did once, and as it appears this cyclist may have, a helmet will seriously improve your chances of avoiding major head trauma.

          • Thank you for the sensible comment. I don’t care what the research says. Commonsense tells me that if I fall and hit my head, I will be better off with styrofoam and plastic between me and the pavement. I once had a car make a left in front of me when I was doing about 30 (yes, I had the light) and when I smashed into the side of the car, my helmet split but my head did not. I will continue to wear a helmet.

        • You wear a bike helmet every time you bike not because you’re protecting yourself from a car accident. You wear it because you are virtually guaranteed to fall from your bike at one point or another, and having that foam and plastic around your precious, precious skull when it hits the pavement can mean the difference between no concussion, a light concussion, a more severe concussion, an even more serious brain injury, and death. Having once fallen from my bike while standing on the the pedals, the most vivid memory of the experience is the sound of my bike helmet meeting the concrete from about six feet up in the air, rather than my skull, no more than fifteen minutes after I’d been making stupid comments about how “you’re more likely to be hit by a car WITH a helmet on!”

          • Did you consider that your head might not even have hit the ground had it not had all the extra size of a large plastic thing on it?

          • Sounds like you should wear a helmet when walking up and down stairs, too.

    • It was not a Bikeshare bike. It was a very, very busy morning on 14th. A dDot employee who happened to be commuting by bike past the accident said that there was another bike accident yesterday on 14th a few blocks up. She was sporting an amazing nutcase helmet, btw. Well done!

    • i don’t own a bike, use Bikeshare, and own a helmet.

    • I remember reading a cool story a year or two ago about a group of MIT students who’d invented a vending-style machine for bikeshare stations that would dispense helmets and auto clean and sanitize them. I wish they’d make that a reality!

      • That’s a great idea for out of town people especially, but if you commute by bike often, why not invest in a helmet? Even the most high end are under $100.

        • A good reason not to “invest” in a bike helmet is that there is no quality data to support the notion that they provide any meaningful protective benefit to the user.

          • it may be hyperbole, but i got tossed over my handle bars. my head hit the pavement. My bike helmet split clean in half. I was pretty much ok minus some scrapes and bruises. If I was not wearing my helmet, my head would have split in half. So, say what you will. I think they are useful.

          • HaileUnlikely

            As a professional researcher who studies this sort of stuff, I would say that conducting studies of the real-world effectiveness of things like helmets is extraordinarily difficult to do. I will concede that the evidence that helmets save lives is indeed kind of squishy, however, the absence of evidence is different from affirmative evidence that they do not help. In the absence of solid evidence that helmets actually increase my risk of disability or death in the event of a crash, I’ll continue to wear mine and continue to urge those who I care about to do so as well.

          • So there are thousands and probably millions of accounts of people crashing and hitting their head, where the helmet was crushed and the person survived. There’s probably a reason why you haven’t heard from many people saying they hit their head in a crash without a helmet and ended up fine. They’re probably dead or don’t remember what happened.
            I’ve hit my head in two bike wrecks. One was offroad, went over the bars and landed straight on my head on a root or hard dirt. Cracked the helmet, zero head injury. Second time, I was cut off by a car, flew over the car and landed on my shoulder and the side of my head. Crushed the side of the helmet, didn’t even have a headache. Helmets work. Not sure why you’d say they don’t.

        • Oh I agree with you completely, but to me, it’s not a question of what people should be doing so much as what they are doing, which is biking w/ out helmets. I think it’s not just a matter of the cost, but also just the convenience factor. I’ve heard a lot of people say they just don’t want to lug around a helmet. Again, I don’t share that reasoning, but if this will make it more likely that people will wear a helmet, I’m all for it.

        • in sweden i never wore a helmet; hardly anyone i knew did. when i moved to dc and biked here, i started off wearing a helmet. now i don’t unless i am training on my nice bike (aka going fast). helmet-use reduces the risk of head trauma, most definitely. but I don’t wear one when I walk around the city, so why should I wear one when I bike around the city? that was my logic anyways.

          also, this: http://www.vox.com/2014/5/16/5720762/stop-forcing-people-to-wear-bike-helmets

          • Because in dc bicycles have to share the road with 4000lb cars?!! And are way more likely to be in an accident than freaking sweden. Not wearing a helmet means I (taxpayers) have to pay to get your brains scraped off the pavement.

      • In Seattle, their bikeshare includes a box adjacent to the rack. You can take a helmet and return it along with the bike on the honor system. Helmets are wrapped in plastic and are sanitized later. I don’t think the honor system would work here though.

    • You will not be rejected at the bike retailer when buying a helmet if you can’t provide proof you own a bike.

    • Because CaBi’s are heavy slow sturdy bikes with built in bike dynamo lights that undergo regular maintenance by trained bike techs, they are probably the safest bikes out on the street. I wouldn’t worry about their riders not wearing helmets and I certainly wouldn’t imply that Bikeshare is at fault for it. They’re not stopping riders from taking extra precautions.

    • She wasn’t on a bikeshare bike.

      Source: I walked by.

    • Sure, if you say so. I own bikes and use CaBi. Usually wear a helmet on both, but not 100% of the time. Often see people on CaBi with helmets, but never asked them if they own bikes. Often see people on other bikes not wearing helmets. But congrats on making up a fact!

  • This is probably a random place to say this, but:
    Thanks to all the strangers who were so nice when I wrecked on my bike at 14th and T Street a few weeks back. And to the nice Trader Joe’s employee who brought out frozen peas while we waited for the ambulance.

  • I’m glad the girl is okay.

    To add to bikeshare/helmet conversation, in Seattle by law you have to have a helmet on. The bikshare kiosks used to provide them just in a bin with a door, packaged in plastic. Now they have installed a pin activated lock on the door. But i can tell you that the helmet requirement greatly affects how much i use bikeshare here. Just today as i was running back from lunch I wanted to jump on one because i just needed to go maybe 5 blocks in a straight line, but i couldn’t remember the code, and didn’t want to risk getting a ticket riding without one. Even when they didn’t have locks on, it was still a hassle to get one out, rip off the plastic packaging, adjust it for your head – it took just as long as the whole bike ride would have. And it’s ridiculous to expect people to carry a helmet with them everytime they go on the street just in case they might want to use bikeshare. In fact, in every city that has a helmet requirement (australia/canada/seattle), bikeshare hasn’t taken off – i don’t know if it’s because of perceived danger or because of the inconvenience of it or both.

    • +1. The helmet debate is really stupid. Tens of thousands of people are killed in auto accidents every year just in the U.S. Some of them undoubtedly would have been saved by a helmet. Do we require drivers to wear helmets? I wear a helmet when I bike because it can provide some protection in some instances. But I don’t think it should be required. The best thing we can do to prevent serious cycling accidents is to keep cars the #3!! away from cyclists.

      • HaileUnlikely

        Mostly agreed. I recommend wearing a helmet when cycling, but admit that the evidence of their benefit is not strong enough to justify mandating them and penalizing people for not wearing them. However, I would note that while it is true that the vast majority of bicyclist fatalities involve collisions with motor vehicles, roughly half of the injuries resulting in hospitalizations involve bicyclists falling over, flipping over, and running into various objects other than motor vehicles.

      • Helmet laws discourage people from riding bikes, which leads to less bikes on the road, which leads to vehicles unfamiliar with sharing the road. So helmet laws, in effect, make biking more dangerous.

        • gotryit

          I hope you get the nuance… helmet laws can have a negative effect, but wearing a helmet is safer.

          • Yeah I’m anti helmet-law but always wear a helmet. I don’t really buy the idea that a DC driver is going to ‘give me more space’ if I’m not wearing a helmet.

          • Yes, I wear a helmet the vast majority of the time. I’m not sold either way, whether a helmet makes you safer or not, but because these studies are so difficult to conduct properly, I go with what makes me feel better. However, I do think the emphasis helmets get can sometimes make things worse. People slap a helmet on their head and think they’re riding responsibly. When a cyclist gets in an accident, people think if they were not wearing a helmet, it was their fault. We need to shift the campaign from promoting helmets, to riding safely and diligently.

        • Gun control laws discourage people from using guns, which leads to fewer gun owners, which leads to people unfamiliar with safe fun handling, which leads to more accidents. So gun control laws, in effect, cause accidental gun injuries.

          This is fun!

          • How would the fewer gun owners be more unfamiliar with guns when higher barriers to entry mean they probably know or care more about guns if they go through the trouble to get one?

          • That makes no sense on too many levels. The ones unfamiliar with guns, because they don’t have them, are not the ones that will cause the accidental gun injuries. The drivers unfamiliar with bikes, are the ones that will cause the injuries. Also, there is actual evidence pointing to what I’m talking about. Please try to understand the situation before trying to poke holes.

        • Agreed. This here is the key point. Helmet mandates reduce the number of people on bikes for fear of getting a ticket. In turn, less bikers makes the roads more dangerous for those on bikes. The single best thing to increase safety for bicyclists is to increase the number of them on the road.

          That said, a helmet is always a good idea but shouldn’t be mandated. I find it offensive that most news reports of bike crashes, including this one, go out of their way to mention if the victim was wearing a helmet. I don’t understand the obsession and feel it borders on victim blaming in many instances.

        • This is faulty logic, as it’s looking at bicycling experiences in aggregate. In individual experience, your mileage may vary. I’ve crashed my bike a few times, and it’s always been my fault, and my habit of wearing a helmet has saved me from non-fun to potentially fatal injuries on numerous occasions. The last time I didn’t wear a helmet was in 2003, on the day I happened to be hit by a car and ended up with bruised buttocks as my only injury.

      • I agree the helmet debate is stupid, and we shouldn’t require anyone to wear helmets, but to your point about requiring drivers to wear helmets: we don’t require them to wear helmets, but we do require them to wear seatbelts for the same reason.

      • The statistics suggest wearing a helmet in a car could save thousands of lives each year. Hmmmm.

        Regarding a bike, there’s no way around how good an idea it is to wear a helmet to cushion a blow with the pavement.

  • i am the one who was in the accident last wednesday. i wanted to say thank you to everyone who stopped to help me. also thanks to the excellent EMT workers and the hospital staff at GW all of who were top notch. it looks like a bolt snapped in my saddle (probably when I hit a bump) causing me to lose control of the bike and crash. i’m in a lot of pain but slowly recovering.

Comments are closed.