Another Collision – Let’s Stop This 9

Once again, flashing red lights on East Marginal Way. Medic 1, Rescue 1, Ladder 7 and a bike rider on a backboard. This time, bike-on-bike collision. Second one within weeks. Thank you Scott Johnston for this report on

This was not an “accident”. This was negligence. The one who caused it walked away. The one who was riding correctly in his lane got a trip to Harborview. I hope the injured rider [edited] receives full restitution from the rider who caused the injury, and that the one who caused it is charged with negligent driving and penalized under the new Vulnerable Users law if the injured rider’s injuries are substantial.[end edit]

We need to get to work safely. We need to get home safely. Commuting to work is not a damn race. No one cares how many riders you pass or if you get downtown 2 minutes faster. If you want to race, sign up for a race and stop pretending. Riding to work or home relaxed and alert has all kinds of benefits.

How about trying some of this?

Stay alert.
Be aware of what is in front and beside and behind you. Watch your line. Keep your hands near your brakes.

Ride in a predictable manner.

Share the road.

Leave space between you and others, so you can see what is ahead.

Don’t pass unless you can see well ahead that the way is clear.

Call out your passes before you pass, or ring a bell. When it is crowded or you can’t see ahead, SLOW DOWN and communicate.


  • Russ W.

    That’s pretty darn incendiary saying you hope the guy who was at fault gets jail time. This was an unfortunate incident. I happened upon it seconds after the collision, and the guy at fault did all the right things to make sure the injured rider was well taken care of. It’s not about vengeance, it’s about holding the city accountable for making that section of E. Marginal safer for all riders. I have to day, I’m really disappointed by the tone of your post. Shame on you.

    • Don Brubeck

      It was a completely avoidable collision. We have to ride for the conditions we have and for the traffic we have. There is no excuse, even if he is “nice”.

      • Russ W.

        I agree that the collision was avoidable and we all need to be responsible out there, regardless of road conditions. I don’t think the guy at fault should go to jail. He took responsibility at the scene.

        • Don Brubeck

          OK, Russ, I edited my post to reflect what could actually happen. I agree that jail is not likely to help, and the law would not put him there. I was writing in the heat of the moment. I had just had a close call myself yesterday with a pack of riders passing pedestians coming right at me under the Viaduct, and have been injured in a head on bike-bike accident on the Burke Gilman caused by a cyclist squirting around pedestrians into me. I should have let it sit for a day.

          But I think it takes more than the rider saying “I did it” and not running off. There should be consequences, including restitution to the injured, fines paid to the city to offset part of the emergency response cost, and to discourage the attitude that crashes are just “unfortunate incidents” that are to be expected and inconsequential.

          Suppose that an inattentive car driver strayed into the bike lane, bumped this rider, and caused the same injuries. Would you feel the same way? If not, why not?

          Bike riders and pedestrians are now “vulnerable users” of the road under Seattle and WA law. I’m not a lawyer, and could be mistaken, but my understanding is that drivers who cause substantial injury or death due to negligent driving can now be charged with an infraction with a penalty of up to $5,000, or alternatively, $250 plus traffic school plus up to 100 hours community service related to traffic safety education. Bicycles are included in the definition of “vehicle” for this WA and Seattle law.

          • Russ W.

            For all we know, the guy at fault has agreed to restitution to the injured rider. And if he broke the law, then there were plenty of witnesses there who can testify to that … and he should pay whatever penalty is appropriate. On this, we agree.

  • Jason Ament

    In the same area, there is a “Use Extreme Caution” sign that was placed there yesterday. The text on the sign is ironic considering that it’s placement is actually creating a dangerous situation. The sign is in a blind spot on the corner and will probably cause an accident. I reported it on

    The placement of the sign catches riders off guard causing them to swerve to miss it. I was almost hit yesterday by someone who was caught off guard by the sign. It also forces riders to ride over the slick manhole covers on the corner.

    By the way, if you feel that people are going too fast, racing, on the trail, you can request that the SPD patrol it and ticket riders. Considering that the speed limit on King County trails is 15mph they might catch a few. They are often out on the BGT giving tickets to riders. Let the police do the policing and the courts do the judging.

    It’s sad that the message of this article get’s lost in it’s tone. We all need to be more cautious and courteous. See you on the road.

    • Jason Ament

      The “Use Extreme Caution” was even worse this afternoon. Tons of cones and caution tape forcing you into a narrow little path that guarantees someone will have a head on collision. What’s worse is that it’s difficult to get out of the crosswalk safely. It made a bad corner even worse. If I get into an accident on that corner, I’ll be asking for restitution from whoever made a poorly designed corner into a collision course.

      I updated the previous Bikewise report. Does anyone know how long it takes SDOT to respond to those reports?

  • With the increase in people riding bikes for transportation in/out of West Seattle, this is bound to happen again due to poor infrastructure (especially along East Marginal Way). SDOT is not being run as an agile “company” that can adapt to the fast-paced changes happening with transportation (i.e. more “customers” riding bikes). Has anything significant changed along Marginal since Lance David’s death (over 3 months ago)? Nope.

    But I digress, because I’m being a complainypants and having a case of excusitis by trying to put blame on something that is out of my control.

    The limited (and somewhat inconsistent) data shows an upward trend in number of people biking across the West Seattle bridge (see attached screenshot, or go to ). This is certainly positive. But just like automobile traffic…more vehicles will mean more collisions (I don’t like the word “accident”).

    No matter what transportation mode, people just naturally have selfish tendencies (the “me first” attitude). It’s the “society race” (aka “rat race”). Sad for sure, but it is what we’ve become. I see it no matter how I’m getting around:
    – on bike (trying to get around other slower users of the road)
    – on foot (trying to get around pedestrians)
    – on the bus or water taxi (trying to get a seat or trying to get on/off first)

    It’s only a matter of time before something happens on the east side of the West Seattle bridge, at the base where the bike counter is and where I’ve seen every possible maneuver by people on bikes, walking, and driving cars.

    So what’s the “call to action”? What do we have control of? Just like Don posted, be patient. What’s the rush anyway? Why? We all have control over ourselves, but not each other. Or we could all just continue to be negligent where more collisions might mean SDOT will “adapt” immediately and provide a solution. I’d rather see people be courteous to each other and act in a safe and responsible manner. Bikes don’t kill people like cars do, but it sure does hurt when a collision occurs involving someone on a bike. I don’t want to be hurt and I don’t want to read about people getting hurt. 🙂

  • The Bean

    I have to respond to the following statement:

    “Commuting to work is not a damn race. No one cares how many riders you
    pass or if you get downtown 2 minutes faster. If you want to race, sign
    up for a race and stop pretending. Riding to work or home relaxed and
    alert has all kinds of benefits.”

    This is an amazingly judgmental and divisive statement. This more than implies that bicycling fast is wrong, that anyone who bicycles fast is a wannabe racer who is inattentive and irresponsible, and has no place on the road with the rest of us. It also implies that riding slowly and relaxed is the good and right way to commute.

    To put it bluntly, who made you the arbiter of how people should commute? Every cyclist has his own relationship with cycling. People ride at speeds which suit their interest and ability, and cyclists can ride safely at many speeds. And last time I checked, there is no speed limit on public paths and trails unless marked. (Yes,
    even on the BGT there’s no speed limit except in a few marked sections.)

    The key is riding safely at any speed. I would like to see a little less judgment and blaming of cyclists who are not like you, and a little more focus on promoting safe riding practices from all cyclists, however fast they like to ride.