Cyclist killed by National Guard truck during Nuclear Security Summit

On Monday night, as Constance Holden was biking home from her office at the American Associate for the Advancement of Science, she was killed during a collision with a humvee that was part of the security forces that overtook Washington DC during the two day nuclear security summit.
Such a tragic loss. It highlights both the ongoing issues of safety for bicyclists (a woman was recently killed while biking in NYC) and what folks in DC were calling a veritable “police state” that accompanied the summit.

About Constance:

Holden, 68, a veteran journalist and painter affectionately known to friends and colleagues as “Tancy,” apparently had just left the AAAS headquarters building on her bicycle around 6:00 p.m. Monday, 12 April when she was struck and killed by a truck providing support for the Nuclear Security Summit taking place in downtown Washington, D.C.
Holden had joined the staff of Science magazine in 1970. She was an award-winning reporter, highly regarded for her comprehensive coverage of the biological and genetic bases for human behavior. In addition to writing news features for four decades about social science, and particularly psychology, she had long edited the journal’s weekly “Random Samples” page, a compendium of newsworthy scientific developments.

A photo of the “ghost bike” memorial is after the jump.

Join the Conversation

  • Mighty Ponygirl

    Cue the carpologists who will argue that she deserved it (or start railing against all the cyclists who -do- deserve it) in 3… 2… 1…

  • Apa

    It’s awful what happened to Ms. Holden. I ride my bike to work and often have drivers not respecting my right to be on the road. In DC it’s particularly difficult because biker are legally allowed access to the road (and the entire lane) and sidewalk, but if you’re on the sidewalk, pedestrians yell at you, and if you’re in the road, drivers yell at you.
    [W]hat folks in DC were calling a veritable “police state” that accompanied the summit.
    Please, if you’re going to make statements like this, it would be good to cite a source and link to an interview that can confirm it. It was nothing like a police state during the summit. National Guard trucks were deployed along with DC police to temporarily close off streets for motorcades, and they did block access to the area around the Convention Center unless you lived or worked in the area. They take similar measures during the World Bank meetings. And given the forty-seven representatives at the summit were not just representatives but heads of state, a high level of security was warranted.
    I’m sure people were inconvenienced because they had to find alternate driving routes, or they were held up at an intersection when a motorcade was going through, or an officer or guardsman asked to see an ID when they entered the secured space, but aside from what happened to Ms. Holden, there were no reports of people being harassed or arrested that I saw on local or national news or online. If there were incidents that could justify your description of DC being a “police state”, then please link to them, provide evidence, instead of making hyperbolic statements like that one.

  • magi

    So what you’re saying is that cyclists never break traffic laws?
    So I’ll play the role of a carpologist and point out that none of the news articles I’ve been able to find give any details of the accident. Just that the humvee hit her. If anyone has a link with more info I’d love to read it. It is equally possible, from the information I’ve seen, that she could be at fault. Just as it is possible the driver of the humvee is at fault or that no one is at fault, accidents do just happen. At the moment all that I’ve seen (and I’ve looked) is that a humvee and a cyclist were in an accident and the cyclist tragically died. This hardly shows automatic wrong-doing of either party.

  • coathangrrr

    The sad fact is that women are more at risk when riding a bicycle. I wish I could find the study right now, but it’s been shown that drivers are far less safe when driving near a woman cyclist. I can say from talking with other cyclists that this is anecdotally true as well. I know women who are constantly harassed while riding on the same stretches of road that I, as a male, ride down completely unharassed. And this isn’t just a matter of “regular” harassment that women are forced to endure, it’s people trying to run them off the road while yelling at them, or simply ignoring them.
    Yes, there are times when cyclists break traffic laws, but to jump to the defense of every driver who kills a cyclist, who’s side of the story we will never know, by claiming that we don’t know if the cyclist broke the law does both cyclists and women a disservice.