More Details On This Morning's Bike Accident

Comments

1
I've always thought that by and large it is too dangerous to bike in seattle: Not enough dedicated bike lanes, too many unobservant and indifferent drivers, too much traffic to bike safely in. I've known a few people who were side swiped and injured-even experienced bikers.
2
I've always thought that by and large it is too dangerous to drive in seattle: too many unobservant and indifferent drivers, too much traffic to drive safely in. I've known a few people who were side swiped and injured-even experienced drivers. This one time, one person died while driving a car. Scary!

(i am not trying to start a cars vs bikes war - just pointing out that driving is dangerous enough on its own).
3
Obviously we need to ban lycra.
4
Welcome to life in the big city. You snooze, you lose.
5

I'm sure he wasn't snoozing. This could happen to anyone, regardless of experience, skill, etc.

I've been a cyclist for 24 years. I've been in my share of close calls. It's no one's fault, just a concurrence of fate. Drivers don't see bikes. They just don't.

This guy died. Maybe he has children. Don't joke about it. Are you that joyless?
6
rule #1: the cars are trying to kill you. don't give them a chance.

PS U turns are illegal in Seattle
7
U turns are illegal if they are posted as illegal.
Guy was going 35MPH?
No wonder.
If this car hadn't have taken him out, the sand would have eventually.
8
How is it joyless to joke?
9
@7 ftw

Let's face it. If this guy had been driving a car he would have been seen. If this guy was driving a car and the accident still would have happened, he would still be alive.

Period.

It it time we quit trying to mix bicycles on the street with cars. They are not designed to be intermixed.

Cyclists just don't mix, and the continued effort by the bicycling special interests is doing our community as a whole a HUGE disservice.

Only in nanny liberal states with huge populations of special interest eco whackos like Seattle is there issues like this happening in such a highly disproportionate rate.

Enough with pushing the fucking bike issue already.
10
U-turns are illegal? In Seattle? Since when? Have you ever seen anybody get a ticket for a u-turn?

Prohibiting u-turns would make cycling safer, walking safer and driving safer.
11
@9. so you want the the government to be the nanny and tell us we cannot ride bicycles on the street? i'm not sure i want a nanny-state like that. or do you mean the government is a nanny-state when it does anything that may inconvenience you or that you just don't like?
12
You're being trolled, 11.
13
it makes me feel important! i matter!
15
Jonah,

Will the Stranger be mocking this cyclist's death like they did with Bryce Lewis?

Stay classy Jonah.
16
I've been in that very, basically exact same, type of downhill accident. Fortunately for me, I had time to aim for the front quarter-panel of the car, launch over the hood and figure it out from there. Fuck, drawing a van there was bad luck, no way out. Poor guy.
17
@14: Uh, that link states the exact opposite of what you're saying.
18
@14,

Read your own link. YES!

19
I just wanted to add that this is really sad...my condolances to his family. No one hops on their bike and ever thinks it's the last thing they are going to be doing, ever.
20
@17, 18- You're wrong, dead wrong. Read the law again.

1) The driver of any vehicle shall not turn such vehicle so as to proceed in the opposite direction unless such movement can be made in safety and without interfering with other traffic.

This incident fatally and non-safely interfered with traffic and was therefore illegal.
21
Very sad.

That said, 35mph downhill on a bike is risky if there's any other traffic. Safe stopping distance on a bike at that speed is long enough to put you well outside the (often too-small) radius of awareness of a car driver, who isn't expecting a very small object to be moving that fast.

BTW, I've been cycling to work down 8th Ave for years, so I'm not just making this up.
22
@20
Thanks for backing me up.
I guess I should have been more clear.
U Turns are NOT illegal.
THIS one may have been illegal, I don't know, I wasn't there, but, in the State of Washington, U Turns ARE Legal, unless posted, if you meet the sight distance requirements.

All I was trying to say.

23
@20: Sorry, you're rewriting history: @14 said, "Are U turns legal? NO!"

Nothing about *unsafe* U-turns. He said *all* U-Turns were illegal, which is obviously not true. Read it again.
24
My condolences to friends and family of the person who lost his life. If anyone that is reading these comments just lost someone close to them I hope you can block out the selfish people that instantly jump on a horrible event to get there opinions heard. Makes me Ill that there are people out there like that.
25
Ok @23, you have me. U-turns are legal, just like dope is legal- sometimes, within certain and often vague limits, otherwise not. Certainly this driver can't be said to have been executing a legal u-turn.
26
Seattle and Puget Sound don't have bike problems.

They have car problems. The traffic is too dense for the landscape. The main reason is there are not enough highways.

Look at Portland. You can jump on and off of highways to get to where your going...from the Rotten Inner Urb to the remotest exurb.

Loonies have prevented Seattle from building needed highways...now the price is this...
27
My heart goes out to the biker's family and friends. Also to the van driver. That accident took one person's life and is going to bring grief to so many others.

Be careful on the road, y'all, whether you're riding or driving.
28
I agree with #9. Every fourth street _should_ be designated for bikes only. Enough mixing cars and bikes.
29
is that the dangerous area where people crash all the time?
30
My guess is...that the van moved right in order to execute a u-turn to the left, and didn't see the bike; while at the same time the bike went left to go around the van and didn't anticipate the u-turn.

The problem is that drivers don't fucking signal. A van similarly making a U-turn almost hit my car in the grocery parking lot last week. If I see a vehicle veering to the right, I assume it's going right. The idea he's setting up to make a U-turn would never occur to me.
31
Okay, since we're playing what-if....

What if the van did have on a left turn signal? Is the biker at fault? Had I been in a car and tried passing the van on the left it would have been my fault - why would it be any different for a bicyclist?

What if it was a Vespa scooter instead of a van, and the biker, traveling at 35mph hit the Vespa and Vespa driver died? Who's fault then? Is it still the mean motorized oil burning driver that is at fault or the biker who perhaps didn't use good judgment in passing on the left....

How close was the biker to van? Going 35mph he should have had plenty of space between him and the vehicle in front of him in case he had to make a sudden stop....

I'm sorry that this biker lost his life. It's stupid that bikes and cars and pedestrians can't seem to get along better. But that doesn't automatically excuse the bike riding community from being at fault or contributing fault to these incidents.

We'll all have to wait for the police to come out with all the details. I'm guessing some in the bike community will doubt their validity - unless of course it's a bicycle copy that makes the report....

32
Doing 35 mph on a bike? Sorry, that's nuts on a public street. Plus illegal. Zero sympathy. Hope the van wasn't badly damaged.
33
This is an unfortunate incident that can and will continue to happen regardless of our feelings about bikers' rights or vans. Was the driver ticketed?

According to the Seattle Municipal Code:

SMC 11.55.120

U turns -- Restrictions.

No person shall make a U turn unless such movement can be made in safety and without interfering with other traffic. No person shall make a U turn on any curve, or on the approach to or near the crest of a grade, unless the vehicle can be seen by the drivers of all other vehicles approaching from both directions within five hundred (500) feet. (RCW 46.61.295)
34
Eh, one less cyclist I have to deal with on my commute.
35
What if the van did have on a left turn signal? Is the biker at fault?

At fault? For passing a van signalling a left turn on the left. Probably. But then the question becomes: Why would the cyclist pick this form of suicide?

It's far more likely that the cyclist was trying to avoid what he thought was a van pulling over to park.
36
This is the worst string of comments I have ever read on a blog. There are some really sick people out there it seems. How about some facts? Here you go.

No one can see it coming. Behind his laid-back & easy smile, Kevin hides a heart of steel. A proud dad of two future racers, Megan (12) and Emily (9), he cranks out 150 mile weeks commuting with his girls to school, then to work, training during lunch, plus racing on weekends. No wonder it wasn’t a big deal to ride all the way to California just to attend his 20th high school reunion. He just jumped on his bike and headed down Hwy 101…7 days and 1000 miles later he was ready to party.With his bike handling skills, communication ability and great endurance, Kevin is your “must have” teammate on the road. While his favorite race is the criterium, Kevin loves riding fat tires too. Yes, suspension or no, he’s ready to go. When not riding, he is a biochemistry researcher at UW. Who can imagine Kevin wearing a white coat?
37
where is the moderator on this forum? Post #34 should be deleted. What if his daughters found this thread?!
38
As the "owner" of the 35-mph comment, I need to clarify something. And I hope Jonah will follow up when there is more "official" info to report from SPD. Yes, the rider was coming down the hill fast. But the point I was trying to make is that he moved into the travel lane as his speed came up, then moved back to the bike lane as he slowed approaching the intersection. In my opinion, this guy knew what he was doing.

I made a more thorough comment over on myballard, and I'll paste it here:


"I haven’t posted since the this morning, so I want to observe a few things upon reflection.

"The most important thing is to keep in mind the people involved, as they are both victims. Something like this has a ripple effect through the community to which we should all be senstive and respectful. Lives were changed forever today.

"Beyond that, there is no question a convergence of circumstances led to this. It was not one thing, or one person, it was a series of things that happened tragically all at once.

"I have no doubt the configuration of the intersection played a role. Coming down the hill, the light was red. The cyclist was in the travel lane. Approaching the intersection as vehilce traffic slowed & stopped, he moved right, into the bike lane. He just happened to near the intersection as the light switched to green, so he carried a lot of momentum through the intersection, while being on the far right side where the van would have had a hard time spotting him.

"This is all pure speculation, but seeing the light turn green, the driver — who was indeed south of the intersection — might have hurried to make the u-turn thinking there was time since the southbound traffic was only just starting to move. Problem was, the bike came across 65th a lot faster than the cars.

"The guy was clearly an experienced cyclist. He made the turn onto 24th from 85th, checked traffic, and moved over into the bike lane between there and 80th. We were in tandem all the way down 24th, with him getting into the travel lane behind me when his speed down the hill matched vehicle speeds. I bike this hill a lot and would have done the same thing myself, in fact have many times.

"No one could have foreseen the combination of things - bike, signal change, u-turn, etc. - all happening within a split second of each other.

"Please accept these observations as contributions to the community’s understanding of what happened, and respect that I’m trying to piece things together between what I actually saw and what I’m inferring. I didn’t actually see the u-turn, so there are some important missing pieces in my visual sequence. This is truly awful, and I hope that we can pull together on behalf of the victims and community to see if there are any rational lessons to draw from this, and if not, a least draw some understanding."
39
My heart goes out to the family of KB. You will be sadly missed but not forgotten. This is a very sad day.
40
"This is all pure speculation, but seeing the light turn green, the driver — who was indeed south of the intersection — might have hurried to make the u-turn thinking there was time since the southbound traffic was only just starting to move. Problem was, the bike came across 65th a lot faster than the cars.

I cannot square this with ric's original comment. Were the two vehicles headed in the same direction (before the van began his U turn) or not?
41
The only thing that makes me sadder than this accident is people like 34.
42
Well here's an eyewitness. Sorry, but this cyclist sounds like he was going way too fast. From myballard.com:


"I was there. I was coming down 24th and he came from my left, out of the neighborhood and into the center lane next to the car in front of me. As that car passed he swerved in front of me, to the bike lane and picked up speed for the hill. I dont know how fast I was going, but I am usually about 5 over down that hill and he was passing the cars in front of me. He was moving. As he approached the red light at 65th, I noticed that he really wasnt slowing down and I guessed that he was anticipating the light. When the light turned green he was passing cars in the bike lane and the van pulled away from the curb where the bus stop is. He swung wide to the left to go around the van. I think he thought the van was just pulling out into traffic, but when he realized the van was making a u-turn, he laid the bike down and slid under the van.
I was third on the scene and thank God for the guy in front of me, the fireman. He and the grocery clerk started CPR after we pulled the bicyclist out from under the van. It was horrible.
I dont know if the u-turn was legal, but that guy was cookin down that hill. I am sure that the the woman in the van checked her mirrors, but he snuck up on her. I can say for certain that he was not practicing the rules of the road. I believe in ‘Share the Road’, but that means the drivers AND the bicyclists!

My heart goes out to both involved, and their families. And again, thanks to the fireman, the grocery clerk and the woman in the white Mazda."
43
thanks homegirl, looks like this guy had a death wish from what the eyewitness says. That won't stop the Critical mAss crowd from throwing a tantrum. Their hatred for cars has made them delusional.
44
@40, everybody was headed or facing southbound, and the u-turn was south-to-north. downhill was in the southbound direction.
45
@38

This does sound like something I do regularly as a more assertive bicycle commuter. I agree that this combination of actions may have truly just been an accident.
46
it sounds like a terrible accident. drivers need to be very careful to look for cyclists when pulling out into traffic (or pulling out into traffic via u-turn, which is even more difficult to predict).
47
I really don't understand how every single comment section on the internet turns into a flame war and a back and forth with people trying to shout eachother down. Someone died here people. It's not about you.
48
Condolences to friends and family. Ride in peace brother.

What a bunch of tools on this forum.
49
The inhumanity of some of you disgusts me.
50
I've had my little close calls and one big one, and eventually gave up biking (Metro bus vs tenspeed touring bike - guess which won?): Serious heartfelt sympathy for both unluckiest-van-driver-today woman as well as loving-the-wind-in-his-ears biker.
But no pity for/understanding of 35 MPH, if that was truly the speed, on a Seattle street, in the haven't-yet-had-2nd-pot-of-coffee-yet commute no less: You gotta be an invincible teenager to think that speed is safe/sane/okay (outside of cycling down I-90). That's race speed, not commute speed: it's similar (penalties to reaction time, turning, braking etc) to cars going 55 on ballard streets. This sad case illustrates.
And *yawn* ; Road laws don't need change. Safety attitudes, helmet laws, training perhaps,... but the laws are pretty damn fair right now. And U turns are fine as long you aren't a. crossing a double yellow of 18 inches or b. in a no Uturn zone or c. on a one-way, as my mind recalls.
51
Are we really to trust the the speed estimate of some random pedestrian? To a pedestrian who doesn't ride bikes, any downhill coasting action looks like 35 mph. I've ridden down 8th and 24th NW many times and you would be hard pressed on a bike to get above 30. General coasting speed for me is typically around 20 on 8th and 23 on 24th owing to the better pavement.

The rider left a wife and two kids.
52
Any other cyclists care to explain why he dropped the bike? Seems like landing against the braodside of a van would be less dangerous than landing under it.
53
reading bike-related comments on the internet depresses me greatly.

some notes:

1. openly applauding the death of a cyclist is sick. absolutely horrifying.

2. if 35 is too fast on a bike, shouldn't it be too fast in a car?

3. gosh, i wonder if the driver will get a ticket? for an unsafe uturn or something? i mean, it's pretty hard to get in trouble for killing people with your car.

4. it sure is easy to pin the blame on someone who is dead, isn't it?


anyways, i will continue to ride my bike every day. please, please, please, do not kill me motorists -- i do everything in my power to ride safe, just keep an eye out or something? act like you are operating deadly equipment or something? i had three close calls this afternoon.


54
If you think doing 35 on a bike is the same as doing 35 in a car you're an idiot. I look foward to seeing the little Darwin Award shrine they build for you.
55
@53: w/r/t#2 :
cars = 4 wheels; 4 braking systems; larger surface area of rubber touching pavement; stronger steering, suspension and chassis to handle twists and recoveries; airbags and crumple zones; windshields; 3 mirrors; speedometer and a design that enables safe steering, braking and travel at speeds of 70mph or more, by design. (though faster speeds are of course possible)

bike = none of the above safety or physics advantages; balanced on 2 wheels with wind in your ears, eyes and nose; and a design that relies 90-95% on the user expertly handling the machine with full & constant attentiveness - and can only safely steer, brake and travel at speeds up to around 15-20mph. (though faster speeds are of course possible)

Though you can be in denial, the fact remains roads were built & designed for cars, back when bikes were thought of as novelties/toys. Motorcycles, Skateboards and Bikes are guests on the 4wheelers' path and must play constant vigilant defense. The only consolation is cars and motors of any kind aren't allowed on the BG trail; and cars can't lane split in bad traffic.

#3- by this logic flocks of geese should be killed because of the plane that went down in the hudson or ; bicyclists should get jail time if they knockout someone's car door they run into (property damage)?
It's an accident. This has nothing about it that suggests vehicular manslaughter. There were 2 'victims'.

#1 agreed. It's so easy to lose humanity through the 1 and 0's; lot of insecure MFs out there.

#4 ha - you should see it here when the police shoot someone.
56
I'm sorry, 55, but your history knowledge is lacking. Roads were designed far before there were cars. Bikes were on roads before cars. In fact, bicyclists were the main lobbying force for better roads, back in the 1800s. Bikes have a legal right to the road in all 50 states. The world was not made only for motorists, despite what most motorists seem to think.

About the supposed 35 mph: That's a wild guess by a person with no known competence. Don't base your argument on it.

It's possible the bicyclist did something wrong, but riding downhill fairly fast (25 mph sounds more likely) is not illegal, and is usually quite safe, especially if other drivers are competent. Taking evasive action to avoid a random move by a van is also not illegal.

A U-turn when it hurts someone else is illegal, or damned well should be. And by the way "I didn't see him" is an admission of incompetence and negligence, not an excuse.
57
This a very sad incident, and my thoughts are with all of those involved, especially KC's family, and the driver of the van.

I wish I had never looked to this blog for a reaction -
The indifference shown by some drivers is a sickening insult to humanity.
Just look at:

#34: a driver who thinks that cyclists being killed is something positive if it makes his commute easier;

or

#32: someone who is more concerned about the paintwork on the van than the cyclist's death.

If either of these people are ever involved in an auto accident, I hope they get sued, and in the discovery process these comments are found and attributed to them.
It would be interesting to see them have to explain their views in that context.