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This is a bike-friendly workplace. A lot of CP employees bike to work, or at least keep their bikes in the office. And I think it’s safe to say we’re all pretty freaked out about Alice Swanson‘s death.

That tragedy has been discussed, with predictable results, on a lot of blogs. The comments tend to break along two lines: 1) cyclists need to obey the rules more; 2) vehicles need to watch out for cyclists more. So what do you do when there’s a case where, at the moment, it’s not clear that either Swanson or the truck that hit her were necessarily to blame?

Today on my way to work I was crossing the P Street NW bridge. An SUV with Maryland tags was waiting at the egress from the Rock Creek Parkway. The driver waited for me to cross but didn’t look the other way and hit a cyclist crossing from the other side. The cyclist shouted “Woah!” and hit the SUV’s grille; fortunately it seemed the car had just rocked forward and hadn’t gotten going. I called back to the cyclist to see if he was OK, and he said he was. At the next light I had to pull in front of the stopped SUV to turn left when it turned green. I gave him the stinkeye but he was very absorbed in whatever he was drinking through a straw.

I’m jumpy. I think everyone on two wheels is. And I don’t think there are any easy answers here.