Horrible Accident at Georgia and New Hampshire NW Around 6:45 PM Thurs. Evening

by Prince Of Petworth July 21, 2011 at 8:41 pm 85 Comments

“Dear PoP,

This was the scene at the New Hampshire & Georgia intersection at 6:30 (just five minutes ago). Cyclist was clearly severely injured. Despite the fact that there were lots of squads and fire trucks there already, she hadn’t been moved yet. Didn’t look good, that’s for sure.

I know this will probably start the usual vitriol between drivers and cyclists in the comments, but I think it would behoove us all to take a minute to reflect on this situation. Rational people can all agree that both cars and bikes do stupid things on city roads, and there’s no telling at this point who was at fault here. Both groups make their fair share of mistakes, but nobody can argue which group is usually in worse shape when cars and bikes collide.”


“not sure if anyone has sent this in, it happened probably 50 minutes ago. i heard it the smack and the car’s screeching breaks but didn’t actually see it at first. a mid-size car hit a 20-or-30-something, tall, slim, blonde-haired girl right in the middle of the intersection – she was wearing a helmet and a backpack but i didn’t actually see a bike anywhere, she might have been going to get one from the bikeshare right there outside sweet mango? there was a police officer there and nearly a dozen others showed up within minutes. the girl who hit her was standing there with her driver’s side mirror in her hand – her car was pulled off to the side and eventually an officer came to question her. there was a sizeable head-shaped break in her windshield and she looked pretty shaken up. the victim didn’t seem to move and didn’t seem conscious the entire 20-or-so minutes i was there — she was bleeding from a cut on her arm, it seemed. eventually EMTs put a collar on her neck and took her off in a stretcher. it looked like one of the officers might have taken her phone and called someone because i thought i saw a gentleman standing with her who wasn’t in a uniform, but he didn’t seem upset and then he got into the front seat of the ambulance. the police tried to get all the traffic to move north but eventually just closed all the streets, although they’re re-opened now. i’d say at least 100 people were stopped watching the whole scene and trying to help.”

  • Cve

    @struckdc reported a pedestrian hit at GA&NH at that time. Letter writer 2’s hunch that she was walking to the Bikeshare station might be correct.

    • Jack Momma

      That intersection is unsafe because of all of the angles in the road. Even though this is highly unfortunate, I was pleased to hear that officers are not only tightening up on drivers, but also giving out tickets for jaywalking. if you just watch that intersection for about an hour you’ll observe several incidents of drivers rushing to make it across before lights change and pedestrians walking out into traffic. If one person stops to let a pedestrian cross there or down GA Ave, the oncoming cars (in the next open lane) cannot see around them and bam! If a pedestrian wants to cross, waiting until the road and lights are clear (completely) should be a mandate. I don’t know the specifics of this case of course, but majority of the pedestrian accidents can be prevented if DC updated and clarified their laws, and educated the public about them.

  • I hope she’s OK. :( So many pedestrians hit every year, nationwide. They should repurpose the TSA and turn them into crossing guards. Stop guarding against the statistically rare terrorist boogeyman, and start guarding against things that routinely kill and maim people… vehicles, and regular old criminals.

    • H Street Landlord


    • Rational Thinker


      Or how about highway safety?. How many tens of thousands of people die every year in auto accidents, yet we wouldn’t want to impede American’s freedoms by trying to do anything about it. No, people need to be able to move about and travel freely without government intervention. Oh, but it doesn’t apply to air travel because innocent Americans could be killed by terrorists if we let our guard down.

      Sorry…off topic. I really feel for all involved. I can’t imagine enduring such a dramatic life change. It’s so easy to think that I’m already maxed out with responsibility and obligations, yet I don’t have jack to worry about in comparison.

    • photodork

      We should probably not bother investigating serial killers either, as they are statistically rare.

    • Denizen

      DC needs more traffic cops to control it’s crazy intersections, since a lot of the problems are hard-wired into the traffic patterns. Petworth near Georgia Avenue has a lot of intersections which are dangerous and make no sense at all. Look at 9th and Upshur, there is a red light for traffic heading west on Upshur and no light or stop sign all all for traffic going east. Every time I cross there, I think “only in DC!” Then there’s the left turn from Kansas to Georgia, where drivers turn the corner and have to slam their breaks immediately because of the red light. It doesn’t help that the lights are timed horribly, this only adds to driver frustration.

  • Anonymous

    I heard the impact from inside my apartment. I ran out to see what was happening, and would have called the police but there was already an officer at the scene, and firetrucks and ambulance came in a few minutes. What really puzzled me was that no one seemed frantic–police, paramedics when they came, the driver who hit the biker. I was fairly frantic watching this whole thing unfold, and I didn’t see any the victim ever move at all or show any signs of consciousness.

    • anon

      Police and paramedics are professionals and shouldn’t be “frantic.” When you’re in charge of an accident/trauma scene, you have to be confident and in control. That’s how safety/emergency medical pros are trained.

      • gonzo

        you mean, it’s not exactly like ER?

  • Anonymous

    Given that she wasn’t moving and there was no sense of urgency by the EMTs, that really doesn’t sound good for the victim. I hope I’m wrong.

  • iwill

    This really sucks.

    I had a physical therapy appointment today and a woman came in while I was there who had been hit by a car while walking. I thought then how lucky she was to be alive.

    I hope this victim is alright or at least heals quickly.

  • Pissed

    A traffic-law-breaking-Maryland-Commuter today on the way to work nearly ran over a pedestrian above Grant Circle, and he actually yelled at me just for witnessing it. This heat is making some people quite aggressive. Maryland commuter drivers on Georgia need to slow down and chill-TF-out.

    • Anonymous

      New Hampshire Ave too!

    • Anon

      But the dc ones are just fine!

      • RD

        when i’m trying to cross at a crosswalk without a stop sign/traffic signal, about 1 in 3 DC drivers will stop for me and let me cross. that number is probably 1 in 50 for cars with maryland tags. they have a different mentality. it’s all about rushing their long trip back to the suburbs.

        • Anon

          That’s mainly an issue of being aware that pedestrians exist. If you spend most of your time in the suburbs, you rarely see pedestrians crossing the street, so you don’t even think to look for them. If you spend most of your time driving in the city, you know pedestrians will be there.

          Maryland drivers aren’t evil — just ignorant.

        • Anon

          Rock solid statistics there. You should work for NIST.

        • MD Driver

          The number is more like 1 in 100,000. Crosswalks w/o a traffic light are quite possibly the stupidest thing ever created. Walk the extra 500 feet and cross at the light.

    • Keith Jarrell

      We have been lobbing for years now for stop signs and better traffic control specifically for Maryland commuters as they are cutting through neighborhoods and clearly not being bothered to cast any caution on pedestrians. I think Cops should out of their cars, turning off the air conditioners and on our streets, their presence creates a safety net of caution generally you don’t get from them sitting in cars on their cell phones.

      • Bloomingdalian


        As a Maryland native, I agree – they are some of the worst drivers. I’m not sure what it is…..

      • Kyle W

        Agree, never understand why DCs finest aren’t giving more violations for running stop signs. Especially on the true neighborhood streets. 4th, 7th, 8th in Petworth. I see drivers (mostly Maryland, some DC) not even getting below 10 MPH to go through these intersections. Pretty ridiculous.

        • BF

          My dog got hit by one of those Maryland commuters and the guy did not even stop – in too big a hurry to get to work I guess.

          I’ve been pestering the MPD, DPW,DOT Muriel Bowser, ect. to install additional stop signs (particularly at 5th and Webster in the north-south direction), but all I hear is “Councilwoman Bowser is working with … on the issue of traffic control in the neighborhood.” Judi Gold, in Bowser’s office, apparently has a job description which requires deflection of any constutuency requests for assistance. So frustating! I even personally showed Ms. Bowser the problem intersection, but NOTHING has happened.

          • Claire

            Sorry to hear about your dog – hope he/she is okay now . . .

    • Anonymous

      Have any of you been to Virginia? I will never understand the pointed hatred of Maryland drivers. I’ve been here for 15 years and lived and worked in Maryland, Virginia, and DC. I have seen out of state drivers doing stupider things in other jurisdictions but it’s been VA drivers as many times as MD. My theory is that since Virginians just hop across a bridge and are dropped off downtown, you don’t actually see what they do on the roads since they don’t commute through DC neighborhoods, but drivers in this area are terrible. All of them. Reason for this is none of them took driver’s ed. The high schools don’t offer it and you have a lot of drivers from other countries where the rules of the road are different. I took a semester of driver’s ed in high school. Because of this I actually use my turn signals and know how to park at a meter so I don’t take up two spots. No one here does. No one.

      • AmandaL

        I went to high school in Virginia and ALL of the high schools absolutely do offer driver’s ed. In fact, you are REQUIRED to take driver’s ed either through the high school or through a certified driver’s ed school to get your license there. I agree that a lot of people in this area (from Maryland and Virginia alike) don’t know how to drive safely, but you should really check the rules of the state before you make a statement like that.

        • Anonymous

          If I had a dollar for the number of times I’ve almost been hit by cars driven by “certified driver’s ed school” instructors…

      • Anonymous

        I’ve lived in 11 different states and I’ve driven a significant amount of time in 45 states and the District due to my job, and I have to say this study is right on.
        In my book the worst drivers in the country if you listed them by state and the District would be #51–MD, #50–DC, #49–VA. So we all suck.

        • M

          Yeah, but I bet DC drivers get into the most crashes because they’re crashing with VA and MD drivers!!

        • Anonymous

          That’s odd because I’ve lived in NJ, VA, and DC, and my insurance rates have been lowest in DC. I know that’s in part because I don’t need to drive to work when I’m living in DC, but the difference is staggering. We’re talking an extra $1000 a year when I was living in NoVA vs DC. No surprise, either– driving in NoVA is absolutely terrifying and I would see 2-3 accidents every day when I lived there.

          • Anonymous

            That’s odd. Years ago when I moved from Alexandria to Adams Morgan my insurance doubled. No other changes in coverage.

        • Jen H.

          Totally agree! I grew up in Southern California and the drivers in this area are far, far worse. At least in CA they can manage to stay in their lane.

      • Wayne

        I grew up on the shore of Maryland and can say with 100% conviction, that people from the western side of MD., DC, VA., PA, etc.. have no respect for other people on the road. But living in Alexandria now for a few years, after living all over the country, this region is by far some of the worst driving around. I do know that in both MD and VA you can basically buy your drivers ID for about $500. And yes the influx of many different international drivers doesnt make it any better. My wife is Asian, but grew up here, where as many in her family did not. I know of 3 personally who went through VA. and driver schools, got a license and yet do not and will not drive, because they are terrified of driving and can not actually operate a vehicle. How does that happen? And no, no one can actually park on the street, nor do they even try. My friend who was raised right in Fairfax, said they rarely ever require you to be able to park a car during your testing. So that and the fact that people are just ignorant and don’t care about their own safety or that of others on the street, the lack of respect for people, it causes the idiotic crap we witness every day. Myself, I drive for me, and everyone else on the road. IN the first 2 years moving here, my car was hit 4 times, never once was I moving. Yes, sitting still. It’s not even a large vehicle. Boggles the mind.

  • Pahbs

    Let’s hope she is ok. This is awful .

  • Concerned

    I was hit by a car while I was on my bike in Philly when I’d stopped at a red light – light turned red, so I stopped. So did the Toyota behind me. Light turned green, and before I got my feet on the pedals, the Toyota rear-ended my bike and sent me over the handlebars. I had a bright red bike and a bright red backpack and a neon-green helmet. The guy in the Toyota said he was so sorry, ” he forgot that [I] was there at the intersection”….

    God Speed to this (girl??) and her family. May she recover quickly….

    Human life is most important above all else this blog reports on….

    • Anonymous

      And that’s why cyclists should never stop at red lights….

  • textdoc

    Oh goodness. I hope this young woman is going to be OK. :(

  • jenn

    Just wanted to let you all know the girl is in the hospital overnight for observation, but appears to be doing well. She thanks you for the concern and well wishes!

    • MP

      Thanks for the update and what looks like good news!

    • PetworthRes

      Thank you so much for posting – I’m relieved she’s doing OK. Best wishes to her and her family.

    • Shaw Me the Money

      So glad to hear it. Been checking back for news of her condition.

    • Veronika

      thank goodness!

    • djdc

      Yes, thank thank goodness. Speedy recovery.

  • Name

    I was there. The driver was speeding to turn on a yellow and barely missed it. Speeding through the intersection despite it being red, she swerved a fairly wide turn and ran down the pedestrian just by the curb. The victim wasn’t even in the intersection yet, just standing in the street near the curb. What’s scary is that there was another car behind the one that hit the victim that blatantly ran the red. The driver left the scene after talking to the cops without being arrested.

    • Concerned

      If you did witness this accident, please email PoP or the police as this could help. As I know it no one has come forward to say what happened. I can get you the officer’s email that is in charge of this incident. Any help would be greatly appreciated

    • photodork

      How was she not in the intersection but standing in the street?

      • It’s surprisingly common in DC for pedestrians to take a step or two off the sidewalk while waiting for a walk signal. I’m certainly guilty of it, though if I do I’m cautious to watch for traffic, as I don’t trust drivers at all.

        (I don’t mean that to sound like an accusation that the woman who was struck wasn’t paying attention or was somehow to blame for being hit by a car)

        • photodork

          What you describe is standing in the intersection.

    • Hmmm

      I was also there, and that is not what happened. The girl was running diagonally across Georgia Avenue. The driver WAS trying to speed through a yellow, but the girl was in the middle of the street and ran in front of her.

      • textdoc

        Running DIAGONALLY across Georgia Avenue?? That sounds very foolish (as well as probably illegal).

    • caballero

      The driver was turning on a yellow? I hope she wasn’t turning northbound onto Georgia while coming from the south on New Hampshire, but that is illegal.

  • Tim

    Jenn, that’s the best thing I’ve heard all day.

  • crin

    When the cyclist is unconscious or there are no witnesses, police reports blame the cyclist 80% of the time because they only include one side of the story. When the cyclist is conscious or there are witnesses, police reports blame the driver 80% of the time because they include both sides of the story.

    If you did witness it, your participation will make a difference in terms of where blame is assigned. Please contact the police. Without your input the explanation will be that the driver had a yellow and that the injured woman was jaywalking ahead of the light.

    • photodork

      These are interesting statistics, what is your source?

      • bob loblaw

        83% of all statistics are made up

      • Sunsquashed

        I believe they are referring to a NYC study.

        • Maymo

          They’ll need to cite it for the stats to be given any credence.

      • crin


        NYC. Police blamed cyclists for their own deaths 75% of the time. Mostly because police didn’t bother to analyze accident. Analysis by a bike/pedestrian organization reconstructed over 70 fatal accidents and concluded that drivers were the principal cause of death 57% of time and contributory in 78% of accidents. Not exactly my numbers, but source of the premise.

        Now here’s where you blame the study for being biased.

      • crin

        Alice Swanson was in a bike lane on R Street when she was run over and crushed by a garbage truck. The police wanted to blame HER because she was wearing flip-flops. Police need eye-witness accounts or else they’re left to come up with any explanation, no matter how illogical.

    • Veronika

      does it even matter at this point? the girl is recovering which is the only thing that’s really important. hope everyone has insurance

      • KT

        Yes. Consequences for reckless driving.

        And maybe if it is publicized, it will help lessen the rampant red light running.

      • Maymo

        Her recovery is the most important thing, but by no means is it the the only thing that’s important. If this driver was reckless, she needs to face the consequences of her actions, or else next time she might kill a pedestrian.

  • cliff

    bummer about the accident. glad she’s ok.

  • Anonymous

    I hope she is okay! Please keep us posted.

  • BF

    Seriously, some major work needs to be done on traffic control in the triangle between Ga. Ave and NH Ave. I’ve been observing the traffic patterns and one that impacts me the most is this: Md. commuters head south on Kansas, but instead of staying on Kansas, take a left on 5th, speed down 5th while either partially stopping or not stopping at all at stop signs, then speed around Grant Cir. to NH Ave. 5th St is a narrow street with parking only on one side for that reason. It is used as a thru-way for commuters and there is NEVER a cop catching law-breaking Md. commuters.

    DC drivers are also guilty, but the Maryland drivers are MUCH worse and less respectful of the neighborhood and pedestrians. I wish we could install toll booths to get into the city.

    • BCinDC

      Why not a congestion charge? It appears to be working in London.

  • Patrick

    Alice Swanson’s ghost bike returned to Dupont this week. I think having those around do serve as a good reminder of the dangers of just walking or riding down the road. Hope for a speedy recovery.

    • Anonymous

      Patrick – Thats assuming people know what the ghost bike represents. I would guess that 95% of people who don’t ride bikes daily assume its just a white bike sitting there for no reason.

      • Anonymous

        I thought the gost bike represents a horribel accident caused by a biker disobeying traffic regulations.

        • Anonymous

          Alice wasn’t disobeying traffic regulations – a garbage truck didn’t see her, hit her, and she was killed.

  • Dartagnan

    As an urban planner, I think this intersection needs work. The side streets that intersect should be taken out, as this intersection is already confusing for people who are trying to abide by the law. There are too many streets intersecting here. The crosswalk is also messed up as it does not even match with the sidewalk and ramps. plus there are too many lanes. I thought the Georgia Avenue Streetscape project should have eliminated the estra bus doading lanes that many people (I admit I have too) use as driving lanes to turn.

    • e-beth

      What can be done about the intersection at Taylor and New Hampshire? Heading east on Taylor crossing New Hampshire is impossible. You seriously cannot see cars heading south on New Hampshire and just have to pull out hoping you won’t get hit. I always turn left on 7th and go up to Upshur to cross at the light but seriously something should be done there. I’m surprised there haven’t been more accidents at this intersection. Maybe it would mess up the flow of traffic too much but for safety reasons there should really be a stop sign or light on new hampshire at taylor. Or traffic on taylor should not be allowed to cross at new hampshire. Anyone else feel the same way. who should we contact about this?

      • Maymo

        I agree – these state “spoke” streets can be impossible to cross. It’s the same in NE heading east on D & Maryland. You have to pull into the intersection to see if you’re clear – thus making yourself a target if someone’s speeding down the street.

        It’s not feasible to have 4-way stops there – it really would impede the flow of traffic too much – but I think lights are a good option.

      • Neighbor

        I think I heard that there are plans for a stoplight there. Maybe PoP can confirm.

    • textdoc

      Dartagnan — What exactly are you proposing to do with the smaller streets at the Georgia-New Hampshire intersection? (Actually, I think it’s just one street… Rock Creek Church Road.) Would you close it/them off??

      I agree that it’s messed-up that the crosswalk doesn’t align with the ramps.

  • dd

    I live in Columbia Heights and ride my bike downtown for work each morning. I’ve seen the craziness in the residential areas. I’m safer taking the long route down 14th, then down 9th. Sucks, but it’s true. Maybe i need to invest in a bright green helmet.

    • M

      Really? I find that 14th street is just too aggravating a combination between slow residential/commercial and speedy. There’s not enough traffic to keep people from speeding; but at the same time they’re constantly pulling over, doing u-turns, double-parking in the bike line, etc. I would almost feel safer on 16th street — the traffic is fast, but it is predictable.

      • Sunsquashed

        What? 14th street near DCUSA is the worst! There are always, always, always cars and delivery trucks in the bike lane, plus tons of horrible drivers.

  • M

    Yeah, this is a really confusing intersection, like all the shallow-x intersections in DC. (NH & 17th, GA & KS, NH & Taylor, etc.) I think the problem is that cars take the full-speed right-of-way whether they are actually going straight or taking one of the shallow turns.

  • anon

    I wrote to Council Woman Browser regarding this matter a few days ago. Someone from her office sent this reply; seems hopeful:

    Mr. :

    Councilmember Bowser has asked me to respond to your concerns about the safety in Sherman Circle.

    The Councilmember definitely shares these concerns and has been working with the DC Department of Transportation (DDOT) to put stop signs at all of the intersections. As of now she has been told that the signs should be installed within the next ten days. These stop signs should significantly increase safety for pedestrians and vehicles entering and traveling in the circle.

    I hope this is helpful. Please feel free to contact me on behalf of Councilmember Bowser if you have any questions on this or any other issues of concern to you.

    Judi Gold

    Constituent Services

    Office of Councilmember Muriel Bowser

    1350 Pennsylvania Ave. NW Suite 110

    Washington, DC 20004

    202 724-8052

    202 741-0908 fax

    [email protected]

    • photodork

      Judi Gold has always been really good about getting back to me.

  • gardyloo

    Maybe I should start wearing my bicycle helmet even when I am just being a pedestrian.

  • bagelicious

    i was hit by a car – riding my bike – downtown a year ago. accident was minor. police never even showed up! driver and i both waited for more than an hour in weather just like this. he reported it to his insurance. one year later thanks to this minor accident i’m still in physical therapy, seeing drs to deal with a torn ligament and nerve damage. so it does matter that drivers be held responsible for their actions and that the city continue to make streets safe for all of us.

  • J

    yeh, and i wish peds would stop just blindly stepping into the crosswalk texting or talking, without looking. point being, there are drivers doing the same thing. i swear i see a near accident almost every day. be safe everyone.

  • Hey Now

    So… this is where the Manifest Destiny white folks compare notes. Fascinating. The “influx” is bigging up your blog, PoPW.


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