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Bicyclists injured in Old Ballard

Posted by Geeky Swedes on July 20th, 2009

A man and a woman were riding their bicycles in Old Ballard after 7 p.m. yesterday when a driver opened a car door. Witnesses say the lead cyclist collided with the door, and he hit the ground hard. The woman was unable to stop in time, and she went over the top.

The accident happened here along Ballard Ave. near 20th Ave. “The man was curled in the fetal position in the middle of the road and was unable to move. The girl was sitting on the pavement next to him, nursing her elbow, and people started flocking over,” said Heather, who lives above the accident scene. “I brought down blankets for him, as he was obviously in shock and was not moving, and ice for her elbow. She seemed to only have minor injuries but his seemed to be internal and serious,” she said. “The paramedics came and put him on a stretcher. They were doing a lot of testing for back and neck injuries since he wasn’t moving and put him in a neck brace.” Due to health privacy laws, we’re unable to get an update on his condition. (Thank you Heather and Michael.)

Update: “Kris R.” left this comment: “I was the cyclist riding with my friend yesterday down Ballard Ave. Because I haven’t spoken to insurance nor consulted legal advice just yet, I would like to avoid giving specific details, but both Caitlin and I are feeling sore but otherwise out of the hospital and doing ok. Ironically, we were riding down Ballard Ave because it is safer than taking Shishole Ave NW. I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to the people that stopped and helped, in particular Heather – the blankets were wonderful and much appreciated – and if I remember her name correctly, ‘Judy’ or ‘Judith’ who stayed with me the entire time. The wonderful doctors and paramedics that took care of me really are angels in disguise. To help someone in their time of need is the grandest gesture of all, and I really do appreciate it.”

By the way, Kris R. sent a Tweet from the hospital: “Got doored in Ballard. In hospital. Chest hurts real bad.” We discovered it on our Ballard Wire page.

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227 reader comments so far ↓

  • 1 solace // Jul 21, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    If they were following the direction of vehicular traffic then the person in the car would have had to look into their side-mirror or just pop their car door open and wait and look before opening it the rest of the way.

    If they were going against the flow of vehicular traffic then the person in the car opening the door would have seen them coming ahead of them.

    I'm not sure the 'you are no match for a car' argument applies in this case where general courtesy and situational awareness is more the issue.

  • 2 ninaf // Jul 21, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    But I don't think they were a couple. There is an interaction below where it sounds like they don't know each other.

  • 3 bmvaughn // Jul 21, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    No no no… I don't poke fun at them for wanting safer, better trails… I poke fun at them for those weird outfits :)

    See, now look at what you made me do..

  • 4 Ballardmom // Jul 21, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    I'm so glad they're both ok! I couldn't help thinking about them all day yesterday and feeling sad for them. I checked back on this article to see if there was a follow-up and I'm so glad to see it is good news!

  • 5 Ballardmom // Jul 21, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    I think a big part of the danger is – and I just found this out – that people do not HAVE to take driver's ed. classes. Apparently, if you're over 18, you just have to go in and take the written test and they hand you a driver's license. That would explain all the stupid drivers I see on the road every day. A neighbor did not want her son to take driver's ed. because she thought he was too inattentive to be driving. So, once he turned 18, he got his license despite her concern and in 6 months was in 4 car accidents – he did not get hurt in any of them. I think that is a BIG problem.

  • 6 Ballardmom // Jul 21, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    If the cyclists were going the wrong way on a one way street they most likely would've seen the door starting to open in front of them because they would be able to see the driver in the car making motions to open the door. The problem when going the same direction as the cars is that you can't see that there is even a driver in the car because the seat backs are generally so high, so you don't have any warning they may open the door.

  • 7 Ballardog // Jul 21, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    Keep it slow on the sidewalks and you'll be just fine. If the road presents itself as safe with an adequate shoulder then it would be the preferable venue. Dedicated trails are best option. Cheers.

  • 8 k // Jul 21, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    they don't necessarily need to be couples.

    I see two men (clad in spandex, mind you) riding together down the burke gilman trail causing similar rukus by trying to ride close enough to chat. they may or may not be a couple.

    I think solo riders just tend to watch out more.

    and if this was not a couple, she was clearly riding close enough behind to be checking him out.

  • 9 CE // Jul 21, 2009 at 4:39 pm

    “Fixies” is not a term used for a bike with no brakes. It refers to a bike with a fixed rear cog, therefor the rear wheel cannot rotate without the crank rotating with it. You can have one or even two brakes on a bike that could be called a “fixie”.

  • 10 idbill // Jul 21, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    Interesting… several times I've come across vehicles on Greenwood with the drivers side door open. The first time, was a woman in a large poorly parked SUV who got out to drop a movie rental off, but she was parked almost 1/2 a block away from the store. (I wish I had stopped, locked the door and shut it!) Second time, I was a little more successful in trying to get the door shut, but I found out someone was lounging in the vehicle holding the door open with their leg. (I hope they got bruised!) My only conclusion was that they were smoking and to freakin' lazy to open the window (or maybe the POS didn't have operable windows.)

  • 11 SPG // Jul 21, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    More than two means three or more. How many cyclists were involved?
    We can argue semantics, logic, hyperbole, etc all day, and we have. But it seems likely that we'll just find more minutiae to pointlessly argue. The only point that I really wanted to make is that safe traveling distance guidelines get thrown out the window when the person in front of you goes from 20mph to zero instantly and goes from taking up little more than a foot of width to taking up several feet when they get ejected and their bike goes sideways.
    If cyclist #2 was a block away they would have avoided the wreck completely, just as I did because I was at home eating dinner*, but I doubt that most cyclists or cars following standard following distances would be guaranteed to avoid it as well. You will also note that cyclist #2 wasn't injured and didn't hit the car, so that should tell you something as well. Can we move on now?

    *yes mickey, more hyperbole.

  • 12 SPG // Jul 21, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    common, I did a double take the first time I heard that too, but it is the case and I know several people who have been through it so it's not like it was an isolated outlier case.

  • 13 ninaf // Jul 21, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    Men in skins *are* hard to resist.

  • 14 SPG // Jul 21, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    …apparently not.

  • 15 commonsend // Jul 21, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    I know this, a drag-racing car can also be powered by a briggs and straton lawnmower engine, this doesn't mean that the majority are.

    It is safe to say the majority of fixie riders have no brakes on their bikes.

  • 16 Ernie_98107 // Jul 21, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    Just yesterday, after reading this post, I parked my car on Market st, grabbed my keys and my sunglasses, put my hand on the door handle, looked in my side mirror, found that it was full of a guy on a bike, waited a couple seconds for him to pass, and got out. Easy squeesy.

    If people pay attention no one should be getting doored.

  • 17 SPG // Jul 21, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    Exactly! Even after looking, I open it a couple inches, pause, and take another look. Can't tell you how many times I've been glad I did as a car changes lanes or someone comes up fast.

  • 18 CE // Jul 21, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    It is safe to say that your statement is completely fabricated…

    …but if you want to blindly pigeon-hole all riders of fixed gear bikes, you go right on ahead and do that.

  • 19 Heather B // Jul 21, 2009 at 9:52 pm

    That's so kind of you. As I'm sure you saw in my posts, I live in the building that the accident was in front of and I spend most of my time haunting the Ballard area. If you (Kris with a K, sorry for the misspell) and Caitlin would ever like to grab a drink sometime when your lives are less stressful, I'd be happy to. My email is
    Until then, safe travels and take care.

  • 20 angelatini // Jul 21, 2009 at 9:57 pm

    I agree with our NoraBell on this one. Ask to speak with someone higher up than the receptionist. She's probably more than a little sick of hearing it when she can't effect any change.

  • 21 angelatini // Jul 21, 2009 at 10:01 pm

    All we're saying is that the sheer volume of calls she may be receiving may be overwhelming, considering it's something that she cannot directly change for you.

    What you need is the CORRECT human to hear your opinions. And if you suggest that other people call, we are just empathizing for the amount of calls she may receive, and suggesting a more EFFECTIVE route

    Not to mention that I am betting most of those people aren't polite.

  • 22 angelatini // Jul 21, 2009 at 10:03 pm

    Scotts…you may not be yelling, but that is not neccessarily everyone. Again, it may be more effective to speak with someone who is higher up.

    Most people should have to work in a call center for a day. They'd sure change their attitude if they did. Some days people are simply appalling. (no, I am not implying that you are)

  • 23 kim1234 // Jul 21, 2009 at 10:55 pm

    i beg to differ. it worked (PIP) for a friend of ours but be careful. the insurance company will want to settle and offer you a fairly good deal. but be sure to get what's coming to you. the initial offer might be appealing but who knows what you might encounter down the road.

  • 24 liz // Jul 22, 2009 at 12:01 am

    I think if you get so angry about cars while biking or bikes while driving, you should ride the bus.

    Accidents happen. When they happen between two cars, people accept it and try to be more careful. It's all you can do. I was in a bike accident last year and it sucked, but I learned from it and hopefully the driver did, too.

    And it's hypocritical of both groups to argue for their rights when as a pedestrian, I can tell you a cyclist has never stopped for me at a crosswalk on the Gilman trail (which I cross twice a day) even though I have the right of way, and when it comes to crossing the street, I usually have to wait for 5 or 6 cars to pass before someone stops to let me across. So you can all suck it.

  • 25 SPG // Jul 22, 2009 at 3:04 am

    Thanks for the offer liz, but I'll pass on sucking it this time. I fully agree with you on the perils of being a pedestrian in our fair city, but that argument will be one-upped by someone in a wheelchair, and then the blind guy will chime in, and then the 93 year old deaf legally blind wheelchair bound lady will get all upset, so you see it's really just a dead end, but yes we all hear ya that things aren't that great transport wise.

  • 26 cyclistandSUVdriver // Jul 22, 2009 at 3:19 am

    Wow SPG – from your post about a day ago (“People don't do these things on purpose …”) it sounds like you have been through this. I have, and you got it completely right. The time, expense, pain are too great for any monetary compensation to make it feel better.

    And the irresponsible idiot who blew through a red light and t-boned me while I was on my bike hasn't changed his behavior at all apparently. Since he was uninsured, his license was suspended for 3 years. But according to the municipal court system, he's already been pulled over again and cited for driving with a suspended license (gotta wonder what they pulled him over for!). I was not going to sue him because he's a deadbeat, but I am reconsidering, since nearly killing a person appears to have meant nothing to him.

  • 27 SPG // Jul 22, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    I'm sure they'll sell just as much fuel with or without a bike trail.

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