Bring your bikes, your scooters, your skateboards, and wheels of all shapes and sizes to City Hall for a big group ride today at 5:30 pm in memory of Robb Mason.
Robb was biking home on July 15 when a driver hit him near the West Seattle Low Bridge. Robb died from his injuries, leaving behind his wife Claudia and a community of friends, neighbors, and clients from his massage therapy practice. (Friends have established a GoFundMe here.) Seattle Neighborhood Greenways has organized this ride to remember Robb and call for more action to protect vulnerable road users.
Although inconveniences to motorists often make front-page news, there’s often less attention paid to the danger that Seattle roads pose to people outside of vehicles. The Urbanist reporter Ryan Packer has made a practice of detailing every collision between cars and non-automotive road users. Just in the last few days, Packer noted a 26-year-old sent to the hospital near NE 45th and Roosevelt, a hit-and-run at Columbia and 2nd, a pedestrian killed in a SODO curb lane, a pedestrian hospitalized after a motorist hit a parked car and pushed it into the victim, an 8-year-old struck by a hit-and-run driver in Lynnwood, a pedestrian hit in Puyallup, two vehicles striking a bicycle in Lynnwood, a cyclist hit near Dexter Ave N and Newtown, a truck driver crashing into a pedestrian at a bus stop in Lake Stevens, a pedestrian hit at Marion St and 5th Ave, a pedestrian sent to Harborview with multiple broken bones, a cyclist hit at NE 125th St and 33rd Ave NE, and so on, and so on, and so on.
This is just a sample of the carnage local drivers have meted out in just the last week. According to the City’s most recent data, traffic deaths have been climbing in Seattle for the last decade. From 2019 to 2020, there were on average 26 total fatalities, up from around a dozen in 2011. Drivers killed 15 pedestrians per year on average from 2019 to 2020, up from a single-digit average a decade earlier.
Mayor Bruce Harrell’s proposed budget, unveiled earlier this week, adds $1.3 million to the city’s Vision Zero plan, which is enough to add about 13 new blocks of sidewalks across all of Seattle. Harrell would also pause a safer-streets project that would have overhauled Thomas Street near Seattle Center. Harrell, who pledged that he would not “lead with bikes,” has not confirmed his attendance for today’s memorial ride, nor have any city council members. But the mayor’s Chief Equity Officer, Adiam Emery, is expected to attend, as well as SDOT Executive Director Greg Spotts.
Today’s ride will start at City Hall at 5:30 pm, proceeding slowly to the crash site near the West Seattle Low Bridge for a memorial service and moment of silence.