I always feel incredibly anxious driving next to a Duck, even more so when I'm on the super narrow Aurora bridge. Those things are too big.
"I just kept calling 911 but they weren’t answering,” he said." Anyone else catch that?
I hate crossing the Aurora bridge. Having no median of any kind is scary - only half of everyone does the 40-45mph speed limit on that stretch of 99, at best (not including me unless it's raining, honestly).
Having to be on the outside lane if you're heading to north Queen Anne is FREAKY even in a tiny car. There is barely half a foot between the outside line and the outside barrier.
I'm honestly surprised collisions don't happen more often.
Good luck to the injury and to the families of all the victims.

In San Francisco the Ducks abruptly closed shop one or two weeks ago. There was no notice. I think it was because they did not want to comply with a new city law that required a separate speaker from the driver.

In Seattle I have seen at least one Ducks driver approach a turn with both hands in the air as he danced in his seat to their loud music.
@2 yes, so? The operators were all on other lines with other people reporting the same incident.

Time to ban the Ducks.
It's time to get these menaces out of Seattle. I cannot believe they're deemed street legal.
Oh god, this is terrible. Condolences to all involved and not involved as well....

Was it a tour bus? Or a Metro bus? Can anyone clarify?
Tour bus. North Seattle Community College had 45 people on it, and the two who died were on the bus. (NOTE: info from twitter and not directly from NSCC. Consider this preliminary.)
@7: not Metro. A charter bus.
@4 I think that's correct. From what I read they were complying for a short time but it became economically unfeasible for them to continue. Seattle should adopt a similar law. It's crazy a driver should be performing both tasks in a crowded urban setting.

Duck Boats have a history of collisions and a few deaths in Philadelphia as well. Different parent corp than the Seattle company, but I don't see them (Seattle Ducks) coming back from this.
@7,9,10 - Yep, tour bus. Thanks. missed that in the witness descrip.

From NSCC no less, horrible.
Now seeing 4 dead via ST Twitter. Absolutely awful.
Regardless of any fault on the part of the Duck driver (-- or any other driver --) it is long past time to install a center divider on that bridge.
Four dead, according to Seattle Times. How awful.…
4 confirmed DOA now.
Good ridance, Ducks. That design is from 1942.
I've had people I've known be hit by those duck buses, including one guy on a motorcycle. They settled with him, but he said the only thing he wanted was a separate driver/tour guide. It's actually industry standard on most tour companies. I think a law requiring the driver/speaker is critical more than just banning the ducks from the streets (they do provide some economic tourism value).

I would smile at the people on the ducks if I wasn't so menaced by them.
@14: if there was room it would have been done. SDOT/WSDOT would have to take it down to 2 lanes each way from 3.

just a horrible traffic day.
From 2007: yelling at the Ducks. Some background on their accident history at that time.…
North Seattle's classes start next Monday, so who would be on that bus? I don't want it to be anyone, but I really hope it wasn't a busload of international students.
@19 Then take it down to two. Or put rail in the middle and take it down to one slow lane*.

* I know we just spent all of that money on the useless tunnel so this will never happen, so maybe we'll save it for a backup plan if/when Bertha breaks down again.
These fucking things need banned immediately by Mayor Crazy Eyes NOW!!
God how awful. Those poor people.
@21 Yes, it was international exchange students & staff from North Seattle College, according to reports. It's making things difficult because of the language barriers.
Oh! What a horrible day for accidents. 6 dead in a Texas car chase, at least 717 dead in a stampede in Mecca, Saudi Arabia and now this right in Seattle.

So sad. My condolences to the families.
Jonnon, really? ban the Ducks?
I never rode on one, and i sort of pity people that I see riding on them. But for some reason I get a kick out of seeing the old jalopy riding around. Can't keep up with these bans. Are we still boycotting Arizona? Banning smokers within 20 feet of restaurants?

It's just so much more difficult with families so far away.
@20 - Thanks. These things didn't show up until long after I moved away, and when I'm back I avoid Pioneer Square, Fremont, and (oh God) the Space Needle.

Had to laugh at Comment #10 on that thread.
Ugh. This is terrible. I always feel anxious and uncomfortable driving across the Aurora Bridge, because the lanes seem too narrow, and I don't even drive a very wide vehicle. In the right lane, I always feel as if I'm going to sideswipe the concrete barrier, and in the left, it feels like oncoming traffic is whooshing by mere inches away. Accidents are bound to happen. I'm surprised there aren't more bad ones.
Awful. Here's hoping the rest of the critical victims pull through.

I'll add my two cents to the chorus here: the ducks have always struck me as potentially dangerous. (Given this, that's obviously an understatement.) I would be surprised if we ever see them on Seattle roadways again after this -- whether the city straight up bans them or the ensuing claims just shut them down. I realize they're a local fixture, but from a safety standpoint, the city's probably better off without them.

I think the bigger issue is the Aurora bridge. That thing is scary. I too have have white-knuckled it on that thing. It doesn't matter what lane you're in; it's really narrow and stress-inducing. Unsurprisingly, people do drive too fast on it, but that's the same as everywhere and the only thing that can be done is enforcement. As others have noted, the real problem is that the lanes are too narrow and there's no center median. Buses and semi-trailers and the like are literally too big for the lanes, which makes it dangerous for everyone. I hope the city reevaluates the bridge and considers putting in a median. That would probably necessitate reducing it from six to five or four lanes, but something tells me that ensuring adequate traffic flow is precisely why there isn't one.

That of course underscores the transportation challenges Seattle faces. There are just not many ways to get across the canal. The I-5, the Eastlake and Montlake bridges, the Fremont bridge, Aurora, and Ballard. That's it. And when any of those is shut down, it has a cascade effect on the city's traffic. (Obviously any traffic challenges today pale in comparison to this tragedy.)

Traffic's unfortunately part of living in Seattle. Incidents like this shouldn't be. There will be plenty of blame tossed around shortly, but hopefully we look at whether this sort of thing can be prevented in the future.
@28 Yes it does. Reports have said they haven't even been able to make identifications on some of the dead.
I saw a report that there were a lot of Chinese students. Not that we need the traffic, but I kind of want the President of China to turn his plane around and come comfort his citizens.
King 5 is reporting that an eyewitness saw a wheel come off of the Duck, right before it veered across the centerline.
I also think the Aurora bridge is a deathtrap. When living in Wallingford, I would commute on it everyday, and even in my tiny little Car2Go, the lanes felt far too small. And add in some rain and wind, and you've got a very dangerous situation. Fuck traffic flow, make it safer.
Agreed that the Aurora Bridge is scary, even more so with wind and/or rain.

What a terrible day. My condolences to the families as well.
What @3 said
And it's time to build a separate new bike and streetcar bridge where the old one at Stone Way was with a cantilever midsection
They need blood donors stat.…
Which government owns the Aurora Bridge? 99 is a state highway. Are we at the mercy of WSDOT and Olympia for safety improvements?

+1 for a center divider and removing as many lanes as necessary.
Those lanes are definitely too small for buses, whenever I've seen a bus on the bridge it's always riding partly onto the adjacent lane. I always drop back to avoid driving next to buses over the bridge, but I see lots of drivers who don't - especially the SUVs, they just go partly into the oncoming lane to compensate. Ultra STUPID! We have so many more bad drivers lately, can't tell if it's because high schools don't offer drivers ed anymore and new drivers don't get enough practice/not taught safe defensive driving by their parents, or if it's because we now have lots of people not used to driving in the rain and on the many hills and bridges in Seattle. And WHY don't we have reflective paint on our roads? When it's dark out and raining hard we can't even see the lanes at all, especially with the glare from the headlights reflecting off the wet pavement. Oregon has reflective paint on most of their roads and they are a poorer state than WA, AND they don't have the stupid clover leaf highway entrances and exits! Tacoma and BC have signs announcing street names before you get to them, so people can get into the right lanes to turn, instead of risking all our lives turning from the wrong lane or cutting in front of cars last minute. It's amazing how some people assume everyone can stop instantly, like they've never heard of force or momentum or hydroplaning, not to mention bad brakes and tired/distracted drivers. Ugh, I used to love to drive, now I hate it.
So horrible, imagine sending your kid to college and getting this news before school even started. It's just wrong to expect one person to be both driver and tour guide, no other country does this, how is anyone supposed to drive safely and react quickly when they're constantly have to look and point at sights and entertain a bus load of tourists? Untethered greed is going to kill us all! Around here we used to have the garbage trucks operated by two people - one drove, one got out to empty the cans, then a few years ago they switched the driving wheel to the right side of the trucks and made one person do both jobs. Since we aren't Brits, there's been several horrible accidents with people crushed by garbage trucks because the poor truck driver can't see them from where he sits driving ON THE WRONG SIDE, so the garbage head CEOs and investors can get higher profits.

Money is our God in this country!
It sounds like the accident had nothing to do with the driver being the tour guide, and there is a really good chance a wheel fell off (WTF?). This is a terrible tragedy, and I am sorry for the victims and all their families.
Tragic. Will try to make a blood donation this Monday.
Is Seattle not allowed to extend its road diet agenda to Aurora bc it's a state highway?
Everyone who commutes over the bridge has long been aware of the problem. The recent insane growth in traffic (rife with newcomers) makes this bridge's obsolescence stick out like a sore thumb.
I'm writing my state legislator today.
My deep condolences to all those affected.
This is all just so sad. My heartfelt condolences to all. Bless the owners, management, and staff of Canlis to close their restaurant to offer food and beverages instead to the emergency crews, and first responders for their compassionate immediate actions to help the victims.
I have two questions concerning this heartbreaking tragedy:
1) Why ISN'T there a median on the Aurora Bridge across that particular stretch of SR99, and
2) What the HELL was that Duck Boat doing out of water in traffic on a busy thoroughfare, anyway?!

@44 Banjax: Right spot on. Seattle's current road diet agenda--or its glaring lack thereof--leaves me stumped, too.

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