A cyclist was struck and killed by a light colored SUV on the intersection of 8th and S streets NW on Saturday around 2:30 a.m, according to the Metropolitan Police Department. The driver fled the scene and the victim, 53-year-old Tonya Reaves, was transported to the hospital where she was pronounced dead.
Police have not released the circumstances of the accident and say the crash is currently under investigation. The striking vehicle was last seen going southbound on 8th Street NW toward Rhode Island Avenue. There are no bike lanes on that area of 8th and S streets NW, and that particular intersection is a four-way stop in a largely residential section of the Shaw neighborhood.
This tragic accident comes as biking in D.C.—-and in urban areas around the country—-is at an all-time high. In 2013, census data shows that 4.5 percent of commuters in D.C. biked to work. The Metropolitan Police Department is currently in the middle of a month-long initiative to more heavily crack down on cyclists—-and cars that are improperly driving alongside cyclists—-that are breaking traffic laws.
In 2012, which is the latest full year that stats are available, 726 cyclists were killed in the country, according to the New York Times. The Times published an op-ed this weekend explaining how the death of a cyclist can have a “chilling effect” on everyone who frequently commutes on bike. That piece talks about a law-abiding cyclist who was killed in downtown Seattle last month. Although unsettling for cyclists, the piece is worth a read in the wake of this latest accident.
“Getting on a bike in the city is an act of faith in a flawed urban contract, and in beating the odds,” the author, Timothy Egan, writes.
We’ll update this if we get any more details on the accident or victim. MPD is asking anyone with information to call the police at 202-727-9099 or submit a text tip anonymously to 50411.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery.