Bicyclists injured in Old Ballard

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.

Geeky Swedes

The founders of My Ballard

227 thoughts to “Bicyclists injured in Old Ballard”

  1. This is so so sad. :(
    Yet another reason I don't think our streets are sufficiently safe for bicyclists when such freak accidents happen that are of no one's fault except that with the way our roads are, there just isn't enough room for cyclists and cars to exist safely :(
    I hope both of the people will be ok.

  2. Eeek… as much as I like to poke fun at bicyclists and the whole “missing link” thing, now is not the time.

    I hope these two recover quickly!

  3. Right, so you like to “poke fun” at bicyclists who want better trails, but then when the inevitable happens you offer completely disingenuous and false sympathy. Nice. You must be so proud of yourself.

  4. Ballardmom, I'm curious why you say nobody is at fault in this accident? It seems to me that the person who opened the car door without looking first would be at fault, no? Maybe I'm missing something, but when cyclists get doored it's the door-opener's fault, IMO. Cyclists have a lot to watch out for, and I know they, and myself when I'm on my bike, try to watch out for doors, but ultimately the person opening the door should look before they open.

  5. Bike coming up the road really close to cars and its the person opening the door thats responsible? A driver in a car could most likely see another car because its wide enough, but a bike?

  6. Depends where you live. I hit a door when living in San Francisco and the owner of the car was deemed liable and had to pay full damages. On the other hand I've heard of cyclists being held responsible in similar situations.

  7. As a Bicycle Ambassador with Cascade Bicycle Club I frequently talk to people regarding the door issue and surprisingly most people are unaware of the City of Seattle Regulations for opening vehicle doors into traffic.
    “Bicycling and Driving with Bicycles, Section 11.58.050 OPENING AND CLOSING VEHICLE DOORS. No person shall enter, leave, or open the door of a motor vehicle on the side adjacent to moving traffic unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so, and can be done without interfering with the movement of other traffic, nor shall any person leave a door open on the side of a vehicle adjacent to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.”

    Therefore the person who opened the door into these bicycle riders is liable and will have to pay for the medical and damage and could possible get a ticket.

  8. If the streets are not sufficiently safe for cyclists then how can they be sufficiently safe for other cars? After all cars kill 40,000 people a year which **vastly** exceeds the number of cyclists killed. Just blows me away that 40,000 people being violently killed each year is somehow considered acceptable in this country.

  9. So, you want them to recover quickly so you can “poke fun” at them next week?

    Tell us, bmvaughn, when exactly is “the time” to “poke fun” at bicyclists who want a safer trail? Why not when they're in a fetal position on the ground unable to move? It seems to me you would find that hilarious. The guy was unable to move!!! HA HA HA HA HA!!!

    All the boys down at Ballard Oil are having a great big chuckle about that this morning!!

    And the woman, she drove right into him!! Oh my god when I heard that I started lauughing so hard coffee came out of my nose. Those stupid elitist entitled bikers don't even know how to ride them bikes without crashing into each other! I'd like to see them do a real job, like sell sand or oil! You know, important stuff. LIKE SELLING SAND OR OIL. MISSION CRITICAL.

  10. Just last after noon returning from a ride another hit the dirt crossing the railroad tracks on the missing link! A father attending his son on the side of the road. The Ballard Chamber is supporting a lawsuit to stop the trail??

  11. The Ballard Chamber of Commerce joined the appeal and would rather SUE THE CITY rather than give bikers a safe trail.

    CALL THEM: 206 784 9705

    Residents of Ballard should be DISGUSTED by the Chamber. DO NOT GO TO SEAFOOD FEST. CALL 206 784 9705 AND TELL THEM WHY YOU'RE NOT GOING.



    CALL THEM TODAY 206 784 9705

  12. Well I'm certain no one intended to open the door in the biker's way – in this incident or most others. It really is difficult to see the bikes coming behind before opening the door – they're small, and they ride right next to the parked cars.

  13. ” when exactly is “the time” to “poke fun” at bicyclists who want a safer trail? “

    Anytime! Thankfully we live in a free country and people wearing spandex to work deserve to be ribbed. Sorry if you're that uptight, but it might be the wedgy from those shorts.

    FYI I, too, nearly got nailed on my bike by a car door this morning. Luckily, I have a sense of humor about these things and life in general.

  14. These businesses all support the lawsuit AGAINST the bike trail.

    They all pay dues to the Ballard Chamber of Commerce. The Ballard Chamber of Commerce uses that money to sue the city to stop the bike trail improvements.

    For shame. How many of these businesses even understand what the Chamber is doing in their name?


    Unless we start doing something, Ballard Oil and their cronies will be making sure these aren't the last two bikers laying on the ground bloody and unable to move.

    The Ballard Chamber of Commerce should be ashamed. Let them know.

  15. As a driver, you need to look in your mirror for a few seconds before opening the door, not just glance. Then, open your door just a couple of inches and *wait a few seconds* to give warning to any cyclist who might have been in a blind spot.

  16. Everyone is quoting the RCW – we get it. Why do we so quickly jump to the defense of the cyclists in these situations? Of course it's tragic and dear God, I hope that these two recover but give me a break – sometimes when you're in a car you can't always see a cyclist. They're small, and not as wide as a car. Sometimes, even if you turn around in your seat, a part of your car might be blocking your view at just the right moment. Furthermore, who here hasn't been in a hurry at some point and pulled up and jumped out of your car?

    Maybe the driver will be held at fault legally, but either way it's sad and both parties should have been more cautious.

  17. I wish all of the people well, the bicyclists and the person who opened the door. It seems to me that both drivers and bicyclists have responsibilities and an accident is not intentional. With the increase in bikes, it means drivers much pay attention even more and that can be a challenge because it is difficult to predict the actions of other drivers and bicyclists. Our world already is too much of this group versus that group and it is important to see unfortunate events such as this from as many different perspectives as possible. We are all responsible for our fellow beings.

  18. Let's all be fair here. I commute to school and work on a bike 3 out of 5 days a week, and I like to think it shoudl go both ways. YES, people should be checking before opening doors, BUT, as a rider, you need to be aware of your surroundings. Don't put yourself in that situation. When you are approaching parked cars, either shoot a quick glance to see where the occupants of the car are sitting, and if you are not sure what their intentions are, go wide. It makes me sick to my stomach to read about these things happening, and it always seems it's cyclists against car drivers. We ALL need to be aware of our surroundings. My thoughts and prayers go out to the two cyclists, as well as the person that opened the door…NOBODY wants to hurt someone like that.

  19. Sigh……
    Fine, boycott Seafood Fest. That is your right as a citizen. But I'm telling you it's not the Chamber who'll be crying over the thinner crowd.
    I am all for the completion of the trail, btw. But I'll also be at Seafood fest both days.

  20. The fact that the second bicyclist ran into the first also implies that either

    1) they were going too fast
    2) they were unsafe in riding too close to each other to begin with
    3) they were not paying attention themselves

  21. Yeah, it's called a side-view mirror. Try it sometime.

    Unfortunately, WA drivers are pretty clueless about the driving laws. A recent study put us near the top of the list of bad drivers; no surprise there.

  22. Folks, none of us has anywhere near enough information to pass judgment on this particular driver or these particular bicyclists. Even when you see one of these collisions in person, it can sometimes be hard to tell what should have been done to help avoid it.

  23. Hi all,

    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.

  24. I think we all make mistakes and are thinking of other things at times that distract us from making thorough checks for such things as opening our doors, etc…….I always try to open my door “a crack” before opening it fully when exiting my car to traffic side………this allows me to have a better look, and alert someone that I may be exiting my vehicle. Years ago, I had an accident due to a door opening……scary. Those things are do occur, though.

    As far as The Chamber being against the bike trail; that is not true. It is against the trail as being proposed. This current appeal is to make The City follow proper regulations that we all must follow.

  25. I JUST settled an insurance claim after being doored back in January on Dexter. Luckily I walked away with a separated shoulder and am 99.9% as of now. I'll be thinking about the victims.

    And yes–although a complete accident–in this case it is the Driver's fault. My dream is for every driver/rider to be hyper-aware of their surroundings while driving, riding or even sitting in a parked car.

  26. I just got back from Copenhagen and they have bike lanes that are elevated and seperate from the road way. Until the US adopts similar bike lanes that are somewhat protected from the roadway these stories will continue to happen

  27. This is the street they want to put the new burke-gillman missing link extension on to the tune of $11 million. No one will go this way and it's not safer as we see here. It has to be along Seaview regardless of what the Salmon Bay Sand and Gravel say. Their trucks can look both ways before they cross just like big kids do. That way would be safer and that's the way virtually all commuters will go anyway.

  28. The Chamber being “against the bike trail as being proposed” is a disingenuous argument — the complainants along with the Ballard Chamber of Commerce are suing solely to delay the project and waste money. It's a battle they're not going to win.

    The bottom line is that cyclists will continue to ride the “missing link” whether they have to ride on the street as they do today, or whether there's a safer off-street alternative as has been approved by the city. (No cyclist is going to ride many blocks out of their way to follow a trail the complainants have proposed.)

    Why the Chamber would take such an unpopular position for just a few of its members is a mystery — the BCC should concern itself with promoting business in Ballard, not standing in the way of progress and safety.

  29. I recently read the complaint that someone posted in response to one of these recent MyBallard articles and the complaint states that the Chamber is challenging the review that was performed as being insufficient. There is nothing in there that indicates that the Chamber is trying to stop a trail from being built. Appeals happen all the time in all sorts of civil (and criminal) cases by parties who don't feel that the results are correct. Although I wholly support the completion of the missing link, I think it's unfair to target the Chamber as “FORCING THE CITY TO SPEND YOUR TAX DOLLARS ON COURT BATTLES” like Citizen noted above. All parties in disputes have the right to challenge the outcome of decisions. Had SDOT or Cascade lost at the Hearing Examiner level and the decision been made to conduct further review, you can't tell me that THEY wouldn't be appealing the matter to the superior court rather than the Ballard Appellants.

  30. Gurple – Apparently, you didn't get the memo:

    1) Cars are evil.

    2) Car drivers are evil.

    3) Cyclists are always in the right — read the RCW!

    4) Ballard Oil is somehow responsible for this accident.

    5) All of Ballard needs to be boycotted until cyclists get the trail built exactly where they want it. Possible alternate trail routes are never to mentioned in public.

  31. wow, seriously, Me?

    so let me get this straight, are you saying that the Salmon Bay Cycling Team/Ballard Bike Race and our very own support this lawsuit? In my estimation, that's a fairly bold statement.

    my understanding is that both are members of the Ballard Chamber…

  32. COOL OFF. My healing thoughts are with the injured.

    This is not a bike vs. car thing. Cars smack off the doors of parked cars from time to time. Usually becuase someone is being careless, and from this vantage at this moment, its impossible for anyone to know the details of what happened yet?

  33. Went carless about a year ago, and ride Ballard Ave. frequently on the bike returning from work. Enroute to work, use Shilshole and haven't experienced any problems. Impressed with the Salmon Bay Sand & Gravel drivers (teamsters?), have had them pass by several times, and never a problem. The same holds true on the Burke Gilman, can't count the number of times I've seen a concrete mixer make a quick stop when a bike rider blows through the Yield sign. I read the article and wondered how fast the bicycle was travelling? 22nd & Ballard Ave is somewhat busy, but it's wide enough to provide door room. Wish the cyclist a speedy recovery, and hope the driver isn't inundated with a bunch of lawsuits.

  34. I just called to tell them to say I wasn't volunteering at Seafood fest and didn't appreciate them wasting my tax dollars suing the City. The person answering the phone said the Chamber has every right to sue whoever they want to then hung up. Nice organization, sooo professional.

  35. Why would we “defend” the cyclists in this instance? Exactly because they're small and not as wide as a car. Folks driving around in two tons of steel need to understand that unless they hit someone else in two tons of steel, there's notchance it's not gonna be ugly. If you're in a hurry and can't take the time, or can't see what's happening in the roadway, time to keep the doors closed and the car in park. Yes, yes, yes, bikers need to be more careful, too, but that's not the point; it's rather that there's a HUGE difference in mass and, because of that, how fatal a bad decision can be .

    This incident underscores how careful we need to be. Take your time to look for others in the roadway.

  36. Or none of the above. The first cyclist collided with the door and became an obstacle for the second rider. The fact that the second rider hit the first one implies nothing.

  37. Oh, don't get me wrong. The driver was almost certainly legally at fault, because the law appropriately places the responsibility for avoiding it on the person who has the ability to cause the most damage. And Kris implies that a safe route on Shilshole (i.e., a trail) would have prevented the accident by ensuring that he and his friend were never riding on Ballard Ave. in the first place.

    Some of the blamethrowing above just made me a bit ill.

  38. scotts (sadly) has it correct. After striking the door, the first bicycle and I became a full-lane obstruction for the second rider, who was following approximately 15 ft behind. There was a sizeable delay between the first and second hit.

    Please also consider that most people take roughly 1 second to react to an unanticipated situation; at even 10 mph that's 15 ft, or one entire car length.

  39. G – I am in full agreement with you. My sarcasm was in response to the silly flamethrowers.

    I've never liked riding in traffic myself, and mostly take the trail. But my biggest beef about the trail is all the tree roots forcing the concrete up in my wheels. Very dangerous.

  40. If only we cared enough to do something about it. It seems we would rather segregate ourselves in opposing groups and pettily attack each other.

  41. I was biking on the Burke-Gilman trail on Saturday, July 18th with my husband. We were riding on the part of the trail that is missing through Ballard on our way back from the Ballard Locks to get back to the Burke-Gilman trail. The front tire of my bike caught the railroad track and sand and I couldn't right it as I lost control of my bike. We were trying to stay as far away from the road in that industrial area as we could because of traffic and no shoulder or bike lane, but the Burke-Gilman trail had ended and so to get back onto it we were forced to ride this way through Ballard in the industrial area. I got scraped up bad, but thankfully, I was wearing a helmet. I cannot understand why Ballard businesses do not want the Burke-Gilman trail to run past them. It doesn't hurt the businesses and it is safer for bicyclist and pedestrians in general so that they don't have to ride in traffic. In fact, I would be more apt to just stop in and shop while I was out for a bike ride so it would be great for businesses. Anyway, I'm okay, but it was embarrassing and painful to fall in such a dangerous area. Thank God we were smart enough to not ride our bikes in the traffic or I could have been hurt even more since there was a lot of traffic in that area on Saturday. I'm also thankful I don't have any broken bones…just scrapes, bruised bones and a bruised ego.

  42. As a former receptionist I'd have hung up on you too, or sent you into the voicemail of a higher-up who isn't likely to even listen to it. They do have the right to sue anyone they want to. So do you, so do I. The receptionist just isn't going to argue the point with you.

  43. I remember when I was a child my mother telling me that it was no good to be “right but dead”. Legally, opening a car door might be the driver's fault (can never tell just by reading the law, as the circumstances could conceivably allow a jury not to convict). But a bicycle can be ridden in a way so that it will (almost) never hit a car door. I highly recommend taking a course in bicycle commuting for all who have not done so – even if you have been riding a bicycle for years. In particular,ride farther away from parked cars than most other bicyclists tend to do – “TAKE THE LANE” as the saying goes. Also, ride more slowly, particularly when going down a hill.

  44. This was no freak accident with nobody at fault. The driver who opened their door without looking in their side mirror is at fault. I was in the exact type of accident several years ago and the driver was cited for not looking before opening his door.

  45. meg,

    Ballard Businesses as well as the chamber want a safe bike path option that won't hurt the downtown core. The path as it stands now will take away 140 parking spots, spaces lost by the poorly designed option we are having forced on us all (cyclists and businesses alike).
    You could almost bet there will be another study (Seattle always has at least 3 for every project) .
    I personally would like to see a safer trail option instead of having to make a left turn onto Ballard Ave. and maybe take away all the parking down Shilshoal and erect a parking garage.

  46. Who cares who was right?!! One person is feeling fine today and one is not. I would rather be wrong and healthy than right and hurt or dead. Self righteous bike riders apparently don't live long enough to become wise.

  47. Intent doesn't matter as far as the law is concerned. BTW, if someone ran over and killed your child would it be OK if they didn't intend to do it and didn't see your small child?

  48. 1) They were traveling well below the speed limit.

    2) Nope.

    3) Yep but that doesn't change what the law says. If you get hit in your car by a drunk driver is it also your fault for not getting out of their way?

  49. Except it's not an accident. An accident is something which can't be avoided. This could easily have been avoided had the motorist first looked (as the law and common sense require) and the cyclists not been riding so close to the parked cars (again, common sense). I get tired of people getting hurt due to the neglect of others and people try to blow it off as somehow being an “accident”.

  50. seafood fest boycotted. and speaking of boycotting, to which businesses specifically should I address my angry letters concerning the missing link?

  51. If I'm reading your words correctly, you're saying that the person who opened the car door in the path of the oncoming cyclist may be wrong, but you'd rather be that person (wrong and healthy) than be the bike rider who was injured due to “your” carelessness? And the bike rider is self-righteous? If I have interpreted your words properly, then I'd have to say your post is about the crudest, rudest post I've ever read, here or anywhere else.

  52. Meg, and others

    1- it's not a bike path, it's a multi-use path, used by many modes.
    2- 163 spots rougly will be lost, about 50% of which are east of 17th and Shilshole, so not impacting the 'downtown core' mostly. Ballard core area has about 2k spots available.
    3-most the Shilshole spots to be lost are used by long term parkers-employees — except on weekends. Retail shoppers and other customers get the same crack at the 2 hr parking in most of the downtown core, thankfully, during the week, and on weekends, with much less worker parking in the rights of way, should be plenty of parking for weekenders/Ballard Ave denizens.
    4-there are multiple $1-2/hour lots in 'downtown Ballard'
    5-Let's hope there' s not another study –there've been about 3 already, culminating in the City Council resolution in 2003, to build the trail in the 'interim' and permanent configuration
    6-the design wasn't forced on anyone – many trail supporters feel the City failed when it didn't just put the whole thing along the rail right of way, and on the other side, many in the industrial community were pissed there was ANY trail west of 11th and south of NW 57th. The 'compromise' reached was to build where easy, and not too disruptive, and avoid the Salmon Bay, Covich and Williams section of Shilshole, and the areas west of 24th. That compromise didn't stop opponents from elevating this to a lawsuit. They are arguing technicalities of the Hearing Examiner's application of the existing laws/rules regarding State EPA filings — the City did plenty of study to reach the determination of non-significance — what the opponents want, and the Chamber as well, is to tie up the City doing a full SEPA analysis, delaying the day when the trail will get built. A waste of money in my view.

    Ballard Bicycler Boy

  53. Sorry someone got hurt but not surprised. i drive from Shilshole to Westlake through Fremont everyday. At least once a week a kamikaze rider nearly becomes a hood ornament. today i watched one jump off a sidewalk, cut in front of a line of cars–pause briefly then run a red light. The stunning way in which bicyclists inter phase between being a pedestrian and a vehicle is nothing less than spectacular– but spectacular is what i went to see Evil Knivel for, not what i want on my way to work.

  54. Okay. The driver should have been paying attention. The driver was technically at fault. I get that. But this bike vs driver crud is starting to get on my nerves.

  55. Oh, so you were there when this happened, calvert98? You saw this with your own eyes, and you saw Kris R and his friend leaping acrobatically off of sidewalks and careening around the road?

    There are real people involved here, people who got hurt. Save your generalities for something less important.

  56. nomedeplume

    those of us who drive and bicycle, i suspect, are the best drivers in the world. Every day, on our bicycles, we see the real and present dangers that await us — unanticipated opening of doors, a large stone on the roadway, nothing to a car, but potentially life-threatening fall to a cyclist, drivers whose views are obstructed by parts of their cars, from dangling rear view mirror widgets, etc. You learn to be on full alert mostly.

    then, when you get behind the wheel of a car, you recognize the responsibility you have to be cognizant and present, knowing that you are in control of a weapon of mass destruction. All any of us who bicycle regularly ask is that as many drivers as possible drive as if they know they are in a WMD — one glance down at the phone, even for 2 seconds, could be the difference in not seeing that pedestrian step from behind the utility pole to cross the street, or the cyclist who just turned the corner ahead of you.

    Trust me — we 'good' bicyclists hate the 'bad' bicyclists too, as they engender the venom that spews forth in forums such as this. We wish that you 'good' drivers felt the same way about the 'bad' drivers, but let's face it, when someone in a vehicle cuts in front of me at a corner, or doesn't stop on red, and gets in my way, i can honk, be annoyed, and then I move on. On a bicycle, that 'bad' driver is potentially lethal to me.

  57. no, i did not indicate i had seen this specific event. i am very concerned with the safety of all bike riders and see dangerous riding frequently–if that is not important to you so be it– it is to me.

  58. The law is pretty clear on this. You open your door and hit someone or someone hit's it, you're at fault. It is your responsibility and solely your responsibility to open your door only after being sure you're not going to open into traffic of any kind, be it an oversize bus with flashing lights or a little person lying down on a skateboard.
    You have to look in the mirror and it helps to swivel your head around too, after all you're not moving anymore so it's not like you're taking your eyes off the road.

  59. You don't get on the 'net much do you fauxnothing? The self righteous are those that argue the bicyclist is always right not matter what the outcome. Bicyclists need to ride like they are invisible because the reality is they often are — just like peds should constantly be aware of cars when crossing a street no matter who has the right of way. I might have more sympathy is bicyclists as a group followed the rules but many believe rules are only for those in vehicles.

  60. I hope those involved have complete and speedy recoveries.

    Car Drivers, please be reminded of this incident the next time you are irritated because a bike is taking up a lane or driving too far from the parked cars. To be safe we have to be sufficiently away from the parked cars. It is legal for us to 'take a lane' and next to parked cars I will take extra room. Please be patient. It only delays you for a very short time. Please be patient.

  61. I am boycotting ALL businesses in Ballard and asking everyone I know to do the same.

    That unfinished link is a death trap, and for any company to slow down the completion of the trail is unconscionable. Someone will die or be seriously injured, money will be wasted, and time will be lost.

    Accidents like the one described in this article will happen. While it may be true that the person opening the door was legally at fault, it is also true that our brains evolved to be efficient processors, which means that we can develop habits quickly. If one is not used to checking before opening a door, then this can happen, even though perhaps the person wants very badly to be a safe driver.

    The best solution is to devise ways so that cyclists and motorists interact as little as possible. And, as a start, completion of the missing link does just that.

  62. This is a false statement. Intent certainly does matter as far as law is concerned. In the hypothetical situation you constructed above, intent would make the difference between a charge of murder and a charge of manslaughter.

    It seems the hyperbole in these threads has gotten quite thick.

  63. I have a hard time calling it a boycott, but I don't think that this action by the BCoC leaves me with the same warm and fuzzy feeling about Seafoodfest I had before, so I've opted to do something else this weekend.

  64. > I am boycotting ALL businesses in Ballard and asking everyone I know to do the same.

    Why in the world would you do that? At first I thought you were kidding, but it doesn't look like you are.

  65. SeaSpider spun: “the cyclists not been riding so close to the parked cars (again, common sense)”

    If the cyclists had been riding down the middle of the street to avoid car doors, you'd be honking at them from behind while driving right up on them.
    If the missing link had been completed years ago before all this obstructionist crap, they would have ridden down the trail AWAY FROM CARS and we wouldn't be having this discussion.

  66. Because it is the businesses in Ballard that need to lean on their Chamber of Commerce. Those businesses elected the Board who voted to initiate this lawsuit.

  67. Unless the driver (or passenger) intended to injure the cyclist, it will deemed an accident.

    Maybe you should try thinking before posting. Your recent comments show you to be a ranting flamethrower.

  68. Not all businesses are chamber members, and the ones who are have no idea why you're boycotting them. I think it would be immensely more productive to approach them directly and tell them what you think.

  69. Word. We really need much tougher licensing tests. It's crazy when you look at the stats for every 100,000 miles driven and compare the US to other major, driving nations. We're MUCH worse than other countries largely because of our lax driving standards.

    We also make the mistake of letting any Lance wannabe moron go out and buy a bicycle and ride it in traffic with no prior training. Little wonder there are so many stupid/dangerous cyclists out there!

    Traffic education needs to start in grade school with kids learning how to safely cross streets then learning how to safely ride a bike and as they get older and then learning to drive when they become teens. That's how it works in other countries and helps to explain why the German autobahn is safer than I-5 despite having MUCH higher speeds (shooting a big hole in the “speed kills” argument touted by so government idiots!) We also need to be better about taking away licenses from dangerous drivers and imposing very severe fines on people who drive without a license instead of the slap on the wrist they now receive.

  70. gurple gulped: “The driver was almost certainly legally at fault, because the law appropriately places the responsibility for avoiding it on the person who has the ability to cause the most damage.”

    The driver was more than legally at fault. The driver was just plain AT FAULT. The reason is not because they can cause the most damage, it's because they are in a position to either cause it or not cause it. You wouldn't argue about the thickness of a shooting victim's skin and their ability to resist bullets, would you?

  71. I wouldn't be because I ride a bike most of the time. When I ride down that street I do take the lane and motorists can just suck it up and pass.

    Yes, the missing link would help but this is Seattle and it seems to take forever to do anything in this town! ;)

  72. You should form a group called “The Bestest Bike Trails Coalition” since you guys are so in favor of the trail. Oh? You're not? Right…don't take us for being fools. It's obvious what's going on here and trying to spin this as anything but a stalling tactic isn't going to fly.

  73. Yeah, not on the net much. Because of my line of work, only about 10 hours a day for many, many years. Guess I just keep expecting a certain IQ level that simply doesn't exist out there.

  74. Yes, intent matters in some laws and I should have been more specific. However, this isn't one of them.

    My second point is that when you're the victim (or relative of the victim) are you really going to care if it was intended or not?

  75. I hate driving in Ballard, some of the worst drivers their are, on top of that you have to watch out for swarms of court jesters on two wheels. Sheeeesh

  76. OK, I'm with you on this one? ALL businesses? This person thinks boycotting bike shops (Second Ascent, Bike Sport, Dutch Bike) and non Chamber businesses is helping the situation? Small businesses are hurting enough as it is, drawing them involuntarily into some political pissing match isn't going to help.

  77. geez, DanielG, very productive indeed. You should know, the percentage of businesses in Ballard that are Ballard Chamber of Commerce members is incredibly small.
    But, if that makes you feel like you have some power, go for it…

  78. Why should I spend money in a community whose major business organization votes to sue a bicycle club, of all things, and hold up an improvement that could prevent accidents or serious injuries?

    And what do you, gurple, and mickey, suggest? Sending polite emails to those initiating the lawsuit asking them to reconsider?
    If you think that will work, could we see copies of the emails you sent and the replies you have received?

    Other than wasting incredible amounts of money on a lawsuit, the best way for this to be resolved is to apply pressure to the Chamber of Commerce, and the only way that will happen is to make this decision not in the best interests of businesses in Ballard. It is those businesses that need to step up and make this happen. And when they do, I'll happily go back to buying things there.

    But, as I say, if there is a better way, please explain it.

  79. Intent is an element in criminal law, but not in civil tort law. The standard would be negligence. If the auto driver were found to have violated RCW 46.61.620, that would be pretty good evidence of negligence. I suppose it's possible the driver looked in the side view mirror and otherwise acted without negligence because the cyclist was going faster than safe for a bicycle under conditions or there was a sudden swerve involved, but there is no factual support for that possibility in this article.

  80. Well, it's conceivable that Kris R and his friend were blasted out of their minds, and swerved from a completely different lane to crash into the motorist's car door.

    I think that's incredibly unlikely, but I wasn't there.

  81. I can't think of a worse way. Better way? Talk to the businesses that are members of the Chamber, and tell them you don't like what the Chamber is doing. Have some very public events at non-chamber businesses to drum up money for Cascade's legal defense fund. Walk up and down the street with a bullhorn.

    Just about anything would be more effective than boycotting an entire neighborhood. How in the world would that have a positive impact?

  82. Here's one. Call the Chamber and, instead of spouting off at whoever answers the phone, ask to be sent to one of the names of your choice from the chamber head list. Tell them what you think of this, politely but firmly.
    Or e-mail what you think to a specific chamber member. Protest the chamber, not the already struggling local businesses that may not even be members.

  83. Along with the statute and local ordinance cited above regarding opening doors into traffic, there is also a law that says the cyclist is to stay as far to the right 'as is safe.'

    As my first comment above indicates, the facts may not lead to an obvious conclusion of negligence on the driver's part.

    I remember having a cycle advocate in line at my local Starbucks wag his finger at me about pulling into a parking space under circumstances that involved a near miss with a bicyclist zipping downhill on Lower Queen Anne. Apart from the presumptous self-righteousness of the wagger, I think he was wrong. I, in fact, saw the cyclist as I passed him. After putting several car length between me and the passed cycle I signalled my intent to pull into a parking space on the street. Instead of travelling at a speed appropriate for the circumstances he speeded up to pass me on the right just as I was pulling into the parking space with my turn signals still on. Wag all you want, but if there had been a collision, it would not have been my fault. And in any case, I had a ton or so of steel surrounding me.

    This whole topic reminds me of the path around Green Lake a decade ago. Bicycle commuting is new and we have to establish rules that work for both groups. Self-righteousness on either side just gets in the way. It's time for those who actually commute in commercial parts of Seattle during rush hours to register, pay an appropriate fee and have a license plate on their bike. And for the mountain bike cops to enforce the traffic laws against them, at least downtown.

    This accident occurred during daylight — but far too many cyclists do not wear proper lighting at night.

  84. Well Daniel, I've been alive long enough — and politically active long enough — to know that boycotts rarely produce their intended result. And your proposal seems to be so ill-conceived it barely deserves a response.

    Polite emails? Maybe not. How about a pointed email or phone conversation that stops short of furious threats? How about banning together with likeminded folks to request a public forum with the directors of the Ballard Chamber?

    There are any number of actions you could take, but instead of taking that intiative and being creative about it, you choose to rant that there are no options other than a neighborhood-wide boycott of Ballard businesses.

    How do you even know which chamber members support the lawsuit? You don't. And throwing economic bombs at every single Ballard business — especially during a time of serious financial hardship for so many neighborhood businesses — is hostile, irresponsible and just plain stupid.

    Your whole plan makes you sound less pro-bike trail than it does blatantly anti-business. This is what we commonly refer to as “an agenda”.

    As a cyclist and a former business owner of two businesses, I call bullsh*t on your entire approach. It's clear you will accept no compromises in the goal towards building a viable, practical, usable trail link. You come off like a crazed zealot, one who is willing to burn down the town to save the trail. If you are hellbent on pursuing your Phyrric victory, so be it. I will not support your approach, which I consider to be an embarrassment to responsible, reasonable cyclists everywhere.

  85. oh, DanielG, I certainly hope that you would be quite vocal of the billions 'wasted' in lawsuits every year…
    Especially if it's something you'd agree with.
    Matter of perspective, and you've lost yours.

  86. Everyone who thinks these accidents could be avoided in the future please do the following:

    Contact the Ballard Chamber of Commerce:
    Do as thier website says:

    The Chamber offices are located at 2208 NW Market Street in the Ballard Building (entrance is just to the left of Starbucks under the blue awning). ***Feel free to drop by for information or just to say hello.

    Go on down and have your voice heard.

    If you can't do that try sending an e-mail on the following page:

    I will stop by the booth and Seafoodfest as well to see if any of the board member will actually show up.

    Lastly, I hope the cyclists recover fully and can ride again soon!

  87. Last week, at a corner of SE 56th and W Sammamish Rd, 3 cars stopped at a red light, a bicyclist passed the 1st car on the right, the 2nd, 3rd car on the left, then made a right turn in front of the 3rd car at the light from his left side. These are the kind of reckless riding I see of bicycists almost everyday. They write about drivers slow down, take few seconds for bicyclists. But I would say about half of bicyclists would not take even even few seconds for anything. Fast riding, take complete no caution for most anything is just accidents waiting to happen.

  88. I suppose I could google it, but didn't the president of Nokia get a $100,000 speeding ticket in Norway? The rationale is that if you give a rich person a $100 fine it won't mean anything so they scale the fine based on your income.

  89. The driver of the car could also have been an alien with a UFO disguised as a car and used a tractor beam to pull the cyclist into the door. Also incredibly unlikely, but I wasn't there either.

    And yes, mickey it is more hyperbole, but hyperbole is fun! and so are, extra, commas. I'm going for several records right now.

  90. As a cyclist I do my best to stay off the roads with cars when I can for my own safety; I'm the guy you always see riding on the sidewalk. Cars and bikes just don't mix well on most roads around town. When riding you really need to be hyper aware and extremely defensive. It's dangerous, more dangerous than driving a car. Then when I'm driving my car I tend to find more bicyclists not obeying the rules of the road or just being plain stupid. It's not difficult to prove my point, just give me a video camera and a couple hours. No helmets, dodging in and around traffic, running red lights and stop signs, riding in the middle of the road when there is plenty of shoulder, etc. etc. When it comes to riding with car traffic bicyclists most likely share the blame when accidents happen.

  91. That's nice, but let's not go into an “I saw a ____ do ____” argument because there are just as many if not more motorists pulling shenanigans on every block. The only difference is that when a cyclist makes a mistake they are the ones suffering the injuries.
    I have never heard of a motorist injured from a cyclist. ever.

  92. “Gee, and you haven't you mentioned the Nazis and the Holocaust yet.”

    Give it time. I know somebody will have to Godwin this discussion by comparing drivers to Hitler…

  93. Reminder: this post is about two bicyclists who were injured when the door of a parked car opened in their faces.

    What does your description of death-defying bike stunts in traffic have to do with this?

  94. And that's the bottom line: that you both are recovering, and quickly. Thanks for the update, and know that most of us are all wishing you the best!

  95. Believe it or not, as a driver, I do not like to run over a cyclist. Just damn annoyed that so many cyclist just put themselves in to such position. Then when it happens a lot of harping drivers are evil.

  96. That we do not know what happened. Like where the cyclists are when the driver started to open the door. Cyclists are known to do crazy things. Zip in an out of traffic, passing cars on both left and right side, and riding too fast to be able to stop etc… So until the details are known, don't rush your judgement. Too many here already decided that the driver is at fault.

  97. You're not one of the ones who shout 'left!' at my back when I'm walking down the sidewalk, are you? I'm all for bike riders using the sidewalk for added safety but more sidewalk bikers can take a lesson from skateboarders and take care not to scare us slow moving pedestrians.

  98. If the second bicycle can't stop for an obstruction in front of them, it is their fault they were following too close. It is just like driving a car, if there is an accident in front of you on the highway, and you then plow into that accident because you cannot stop in time, you were either:
    *following too close
    *or both

  99. I blame the car driver for opening his/her door in front of the first rider.

    However, I blame the second rider for not obeying the '2-second rule' to give enough buffer between her and the bike ahead. She exacerbated things by provoking the pile-up.

    I'm glad both cyclists are ok. the driver should at least buy them new bikes.

  100. If the second bicycle can't stop for an obstruction in front of them, it is their fault they were following too close. It is just like driving a car, if there is an accident in front of you on the highway, and you then plow into that accident because you cannot stop in time, you were either:
    *following too close
    *or both

  101. There is no truth to this reasoning whatsoever. Following the vehicle in front of you at a safe and legal distance doesn't mean you necessarily have enough room to come to a complete stop — if the vehicle in front of you hits something that causes them to come to an abrupt stop (not just hard braking), and you rear-end them, you're not necessarily at fault.

    However if a car in front of you brakes hard and you rear-end them, you are usually at fault.

    I know this from personal experience — I was following a car on I-5 at a safe and legal distance, but because it hit the car in front of them that was stopped (the driver in front of me was talking on their cell phone and not paying attention), I rear-ended them but wasn't at fault.

  102. I am not from the Seattle area. I live in Poulsbo, WA where biking is common on our roads…we share the roads; however, we do not have the traffic that Seattle and other areas have on the other side of the Puget Sound. We were visiting my husband's mom who lives in Wedgewood and were using the Burke-Gilman trail to get down to the Ballard Locks.

    I loved the Burke-Gilman trail, except for the areas in Ballard at the railroad tracks in the industrial area. I wish we had this kind of trail in Kitsap County where we live. It was nice seeing so many cyclists, runners/walkers, etc. using the trail and most everyone was courteous to each other.

  103. Yeah, you're not helping to quell the 'entitlement' commentary I'm seeing. Most of the time me and my fellow walkers coexist with bikes and cars alike. I was just pointing out skateboarders move out of the way off slower walking traffic instead of shouting at me to move. Why can't bikes?

  104. But as a public-facing advocacy organization, it's in their best interest to be polite even when taking heat. It's part of the job. That's really unprofessional, is the point.

  105. Most of the time they're not yelling at you to move, they're yelling to alert you of their presence (so you won't suddenly move or turn to the left and be hit). Unlike skateboards that are loud against the pavement, bicycle tires are silent, so if they don't have a bell, they shout.

  106. When a cyclist yells “On your left,” they are not shouting at you to move. They are saying, “I am passing on your left; please don't move left into me.”

    We can be very silent on the bike — our wheels don't chatter like a skateboard's — so we want to make our presence known (bells are good too).

    The yelling isn't meant to be aggressive — partially it's from breathing hard, partially it's making sure the folks w/ earbuds can hear us.

    If you are walking four-abreast on the trail without leaving room for faster traffic (joggers included) to pass, then you should relinquish some of the lane.

    Personally I tend to avoid the trail where there's lots of people to pass. If I want to ride fast, go on the road.

  107. Beware of feeling safer on sidewalks – riding a bike on a sidewalk is incredibly dangerous unless you are going the same speed as a pedestrian walking or running. Drivers do not expect fast moving vehicles on sidewalks, and when turning left or right into a driveway, may well miss seeing you. It may be legal to ride on the sidewalk, but it's usually a bad idea.

  108. i just called the ballard C of C to tell them that i'd wouldn't attend seafood fest, etc and voiced my displeasure with their support over the lawsuit against the completion of the BG trail.

    i was very polite and not aggressive at all, and the woman who answered was insistant that the C of C didn't thaink there was a thorough studt blah blah and over all tried to say that none of this is true. a little huffy also.

    i said i respect their opinion but would not be attending.

    i urge more of you to call them directly as i'm sure it will make an impact since these receptionists will surely get tired of hearing about it. prob more effective than email….

  109. Sadly, no. I learned to drive in Manhattan from a former taxi driver. He's was great. Just came back from Italy where they really know how to drive. Nice.

  110. By the time I hear that they're almost on top of me. And it's true bikes are quieter than skateboards but I don't move from side to side when I walk. Please just go around me. It's not an issue I run into a lot, I was just trying to point out that the sidewalk isn't a perfect solution for bicyclists either.
    And the 'four abreast' issue, I agree walkers and joggers alike should move single file to make room for anything we see oncoming. That's a gripe I have with my fellow walkers too.
    Bells are always appreciated, btw. I was raised in an unusually quiet Irish household and an unexpected shout from behind is more likely to make me jump into you than avoid you.

  111. can't you just call a few more times Eric, and disguise your voice to make it sound like you're different people?

    I don't think making the receptionist's job down there hell is going to change anything. Her boss will just tell her it's part of her job.

  112. But this was 'the person who answered the phone.' He should have simply asked for somebody to be transfered to. He was griping at the receptionist. The receptionist is likely trained not to take that cr*p.
    My mom worked for a timber company. They got calls from protesters all the time. The receptionist was told to hang up on anyone hostile.

  113. to express my opinion on the matter is hardly making anyones' life hell. i suggested it because hearing an actual human voice may do better than an email, and the receptionist may relay the info to the higher-ups.

    if you don't want to, fine.

  114. A man and a woman were riding their bicycles up Ballard Ave. just after 7 p.m. yesterday **when a driver opened a car door** <– IMHO, this is a PROFOUND INABILITY to demonstrate the appropriate situational awareness to even drive a car. Total crap. And the failure to just do a head check when opening your door on a route known for decades to be used heavily by bicyclists could have resulted in very serious life-changing injury in terms of the cyclist… Not divisive… just failure.

  115. Like Eric, I called early this morning and voiced my displeasure with the BCC to the woman who answered the phone. It seemed like she had her talking points ready, and I expressed why I thought each was invalid. She told me to write to the BCC's email address so my opinion would be recorded, which I did.

    It's not like we're yelling obscenities at the receptionist, or being confrontational like Michael Moore. Even though this is fragile Seattle, I think a receptionist can receive alternate opinions and relay them to superiors without breaking down into tears.

  116. I'd ask them to call the board members of the chamber, since many chamber members feel shut out of the process. Let's find out what the vote was to sigh on to a lawsuit before we point fingers!

  117. ” votes to sue a bicycle club, of all things”

    Why, are bicycle sacred or something? Why shouldn't they made made to do an environmental impact study? Why should this project be exempt? What if it causes more idling trucks, with more exhaust and emissions being released? I want to know before this path is built.

    Grow the **** up.

  118. hey fella – if you injure me with your lack of attention (ie, check before you fling your door open..) in an illegal manor, you shall pay……

    what is so terrible about that? if this person misses work as a result? suffers life long pain? worth nothing, is it?

  119. We decided the driver was at fault because the law is pretty clear on this. If you open a car door and someone hits it, you're at fault. Also the two cyclists have commented on here as well, so I'd say that there would have to be some pretty extreme circumstances (involving alien abductions? zombies? what?) to show this to be anything other than the very common driver not seeing the cyclists (notice I didn't even say not looking) and opening their door into them. This doesn't mean that the driver was sitting in their car for hours waiting for the perfect moment to open their door and catch a cyclist, but it doesn't have to be intentional for the driver to be liable or at fault. Just because you didn't mean to hurt someone doesn't mean you're not at fault for hurting them.
    On the flipside, you seem to think that because you have seen some cyclists riding in ways that you don't approve of that the cyclists here must be at fault or at least capable of being at fault.
    'Zipping' in and out of traffic isn't very specific, but passing on the left and right are perfectly legal for cyclists as is entering and exiting traffic and riding right up to the speed limit. It might not look very safe to you, and it might not be, but it's not necessarily illegal or even crazy depending on that cyclist's skill and experience.

  120. There is a difference between stopping when the person in front of you hits the brakes and takes 20 feet and a few seconds to stop vs the person in front of you coming to a dead stop instantly. Don't be too harsh on cyclist #2.
    Yes, we should leave more room, but I don't know how easy it is to avoid an instant stop when someone gets thrown in the air, a bike gets ejected in front of you, and you now have a fully opened car door from the impact to avoid as well.

  121. Imagine if you're driving your car at a safe and reasonable distance and the car in front of you slams on the brakes. You see the red lights and have to hit the brakes too and the difference between you hitting the car in front of you is the distance between you.
    Imagine if you're driving and the car in front of you magically turns into a solid brick wall without any warning. No red brake lights, no stopping distance of the car in front of you as a buffer, and this is not something you've ever encountered before. How much room do you need to stop before a brick wall vs a buffer of the other car's stopping distance added to your distance from that car? Not so easy anymore is it?

    mothe, your comment is uncalled for.

  122. It's “Old Ballard”. Better to send a carton of Marlboro's.

    Just kidding! I'm sure she's a lovely person, but I too have to wonder how eagerly the BCoC stepped in it. How many people are even there at the BCoC anyway “who care”?

  123. I kinda liked the idea of an illegal manor where one could run around the property and fling doors open and shut in a careless manner all the while flaunting the law. Sounds like fun.

  124. I have missed work because of this.
    I cannot take part in my favorite pasttime – bicycle riding and events such as Livestrong and Tour De Cure – because of this.
    I have had to buy medication because of this.
    I have to take the time to get the bike assessed by a bicycle store for damage because of this. If the bike is written off, it's not some cheap bike from Walmart – it costs enough that I do not want to foot the bill myself to buy another one.
    I need to take time to source the replacement costs of bicycle gear, including the backpack that was cut off me by medics as a direct result of this.
    I have to go back to the doctor for a check up. That requires more time, because of this, and incurs a financial cost as well.
    I don't know the last time you were in a hospital emergency room, but have you seen the size of the medical bills there?

    These things add up. Most of all, I have lost valuable time as a result of this, time where instead of being a burden to my friends and co-workers, I could be putting my skills to good use. If an errant post on the internet could result in financial hardship in addition to the physical pain, wouldn't you be wary?

  125. You obviously don't remember driving class. You are required to maintain a safe enough distance from the vehicle in front of you.
    Now, your above reasoning above applies to the 1st cyclist. because the car door was opened either in front of him or into him, anything behind him is the safety buffer the 2nd cyclist is supposed to maintain, a safety buffer that should be large enough to avoid the vehicle in front of him.

  126. It seems that from the article that the bikers were going the WRONG way down Ballard Avenue …is that true? If so, then wouldn't they be at fault?

    I see cyclists ride the wrong way down the one-way part of Ballard Avenue every day. I am sorry about these folks injuries; when on a bike, you have to realize that you are no match for a car.

  127. You might think selling fuel is critical IF you owned a fishing boat, or had any idea of the economic impact the marine industry has in Seattle.

  128. I am going to encourage everyone I know to attend SeafoodFest. As your mother probably told you, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Here's another thought: why not move OUT of Ballard, to whatever Utopia there is that lets cranky children get their own way? Taking your toys and going home isn't going to solve anything.

  129. The safety buffer is there to handle when the vehicle in front applies their brake (however aggressively) and slows to a stop, not when they come to an immediate stop, by slamming into the door that just opened in front of them, in this case.

  130. Nora – As a former receptionist myself, I can totally commiserate. But it's clear that some of these commenters are so filled with fury that they can't think straight enough to realize the receptionist at the COC can't do a thing for them.

    You are correct: They should go to the source and express their displeasure directly.

  131. Let's do the math…

    What's the percentage of people who own a business in Ballard?
    What's the percentage of those who are members of the CoC?

    What's the percentage of people who know how to ride a bike?

    Which number is bigger?

    And for extra credit, what does this have to do with my post about how many people at the CoC office “care” ?

  132. Why not simply ask to speak to the higher-ups when you call?

    I'm reading a whole lot of excuses for not taking responsibility for the communication with COC.

  133. Sorry, but no, it also covers sudden stops:

    The text right from the driver's guide states:
    “If you follow too closely, you may not have enough time to stop if the vehicle in front of you slows or stops suddenly.”

    Once again, the driver is responsible for the 1st cyclist being injured, not the 2nd, as 2nd should have been able to stop after something happened in front of or to the st cyclist.

  134. I'm Heather, the one that wrote in about the accident.

    First, you are so welcome, Chris. I'm just happy to hear that you're ok! It was so hard to tell what state your were in because you were so hurt at the time. I've been waiting to find something out all day, so I can rest easy now. I hope all of your injuries heal quickly.

    Second, just to stop this silliness, the cyclists involved were not being reckless or doing anything weird or crazy. They were going down the street in the correct lane, pretty slowly, and were getting out of the way of a car coming behind them. I got the impression that the people in the car that hit them with the door had maybe been sitting there for a moment doing something else before opening their door, meaning there was no way the cyclists could have foreseen this. The people in the car felt terrible for what had happened and were right there helping out along with the rest of us. I agree that taking extra steps to be VERY aware of your surroundings is the moral here, but when you're there with everyone in the situation the biggest concern is the health of those injured, not who has the biggest finger to point.

  135. The bike club was named in the suit because it chose to intervene on the side of SDOT in the original appeal of SDOT's decision. It's not like the Chamber went out looking for some poor bike club to victimize – the bike club was named because it put itself in the suit on the opposite side of the issue from the Ballard parties. That's what happens in appeals.

  136. Kris – sorry that you got the door prize, but I'm glad that you'll be ok.

    Drivers – when you wonder why experienced cyclists ride at least 3 feet out from parked cars – it is not to irritate you, but to provide a margin of safety in the event that another careless motorist opens a door without looking.

    SDOT – this is why all of the door zone bike lanes that you have installed in the past couple of years are inherently dangerous – and why experienced cyclists tend not to use them.

    Cyclists – please please please assert your rights to safe space to ride your bike on our shared roadways and don't ride within the door zone of parked cars

    For anyone who is interested, this site has an excellent web based primer on safe cycling:

    Let's all be safe out there!

  137. Thank you. This analysis is pretty spot on to me. Cars have blind spots and sometimes bikes get in them.

    Biking is a wonderful activity. I love riding my bike. It can also get you killed. That's just how it is. Our society is still reliant upon cars like it or not and will always be to some degree. Bikes can never replace them.

    It's crazy that their needs to be so much more input.

  138. althought I'm sorry for the cyclists and wish them a speedy recovery, I believe that it must have really been an accident, and that it could happen to anyone.

    Personally, my little sister was hit by a car and my mom did not sue because she said that it was somethign the person would have to live with for the rest of her life, and that it was an accident that could have happened to anyone.

  139. as someone who bikes and runs alot on the trails, I can tell you this:

    the most inattentive cyclists are typically couples out riding together. I don't know if they're on their first date or some old married couple, but for some reason I see countless examples of couples riding together who seem to think the other one is looking out for them. sure it's irritating when I need to move over on my bike so they can ride abreast as they go by, but I would bet many accidents happen with 'group' riders (like the woman who hit my 5 year old son last year on the b.g. near golden gardens).

    by the way, I'm not saying that's what happened here.
    doesn't surprise me that nina knows a good lawyer–meow!

  140. You truly were wonderful. Sadly, I never got the chance to see your face, so if you see me in the area again please be sure to say hi – I would love to take the time and opportunity to thank you in person. Caitlin just told me that she would love to thank both you and Judy in person too. Really, our gratitude cannot be expressed in words alone.

  141. By your common send if a car crosses over the yellow line and comes at me head on, I should be able to come to a full stop before the collision?
    The point being made here is that this was not stopping behind someone who was coming to a stop, but getting tangled in an accident that came to an instant stop. Besides that, cyclists are allowed to ride side by side so I don't think that the same following distance rules apply except as a suggestion and not an infraction.

  142. “It seems that from the article that the bikers were going the WRONG way down Ballard Avenue …is that true?”

    Where did you get that from? This happened by 20th which is two way. Ballard Ave is only one way on the single block between 22nd and market.

  143. Bicyclists certainly do share blame for many accidents. For example, many cyclists ride on sidewalks, which is significantly more dangerous than riding in the street where vehicles belong.

    Riding on the sidewalk turns every driveway into an uncontrolled intersection with poor visibility.

    Cyclists should take a traffic safety course to learn the facts rather than responding intuitively to misplaced fears. Being hit from behind is rare; being hit by turning vehicles, and those emerging from driveways, is far more common.

    The safest place for a bicycle is where the law suggests — only as far to the right as is safe.

  144. All I know, SPG, is the receptionist probably doesn't. Her job is to transfer calls and probably also distribute mail and keep the lobby clean.

  145. People don't do these things on purpose (in all but the most extreme cases), but that doesn't mean that the person isn't at fault. Everyone is supposed to look out for cars, bikes, buses, strollers, and the unforeseen on the other side of your door before opening it. If you act like nobody else in the world exists or matters than these kinds of things will happen. That is why we have a legal system that punishes those who ignore or take advantage of everyone else.
    Kris did nothing wrong and now has to suffer the consequences of someone else's carelessness. (Kris, I'm sorry that this happened to you, and skip the rest of this as it's kind of a bummer and I don't want to add any stress for you.) I have no idea if Kris plans to sue, more likely his car insurance company, if he has a car, will take over and work it out with the door opener's insurance company and Kris's medical bills and bike will be covered to some degree. This doesn't get Kris back his time, his pain, his health, his income lost, etc. The insurance companies will try to take care of this for the lowest dollar amount they can get away with, turning a $2,000 bike into a $200 repair that won't make it right. Kris has many phone calls ahead to deal with this, and most of them won't be fun. Don't think that being in an accident is some meal ticket akin to winning the lottery, there are no big cash settlements that come anywhere close to making up for what you lose.

    Ballardgirl, I'm sorry for your sister too and I do see your mom's point, but sometimes the people who do these things don't live with it for the rest of their lives, like the multiple DUI suspended license story that gets rewritten every few weeks in the paper after they cause a multiple fatality accident. They didn't mean to do it, but they didn't stop drinking and driving either. I know careless people who keep going through an escalating level of careless events that they didn't mean to happen until they have the 'big one' that causes them to rethink things, at least for a while. I'm not advocating a lawsuit against the driver here, but I wouldn't exactly feel sorry for them either. And let this be a lesson to everyone else, BE CAREFUL and look out for each other.

  146. Sorry, your logic is faulty as the car crossing the line would be oncoming lane traffic traveling towards you.

    The safety buffer is for following.

    as for riding side by side, you are wrong:
    Section 11.44.060 RIDING MORE THAN TWO ABREAST PROHIBITED. Persons operating bicycles upon a roadway or sidewalk shall not ride more than two abreast except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles.

    and if they were in a bike path, most are not wide enough to safely ride 2 abreast and stay in the lane.

  147. Heal up, get well, and get back on the bike.
    If you have a car too, you're usually covered on your car insurance and they'll go after the driver of the other car to collect from his insurance company. That doesn't even start to cover this and get you back to where you were the moment before this happened, but it's a start to getting this behind you and they'll deal with most of the work. Good luck.

  148. Thanks bbb1 for posting this information which makes it a little easier to understand how we arrived at this current situation.

  149. and you obviously do not know the laws or driving guidelines,

    Did you know fixies are illegal to ride in Seattle?
    Section 11.44.200 BRAKES. Every bicycle shall be equipped with a brake which will enable the operator to make the braked wheels skid on dry, level, clean pavement.

    Since fixies have no brakes, and if you try to say that doing a skid-stop is a brake, notice they say wheelS, not wheel.

  150. wrong, you automobile insurance PIP will not cover an auto accident your vehicle is not involved in. You need to first take care of your immediate injuries, then get a personal injury lawyer.

  151. Hi Kris,
    I hope you heal quickly and you are able to get your bike on the road again.
    Also I hope that Caitlin is OK.
    You do not need to defend yourself here as I am sure there are many people on the site that have experienced similar situations. I for one completely understand and have total empathy for you.
    I wish you a speedy recovery and I hope you are back on your bike in the near future.
    Ride safe and enjoy.

  152. Actually, SPG explained it the way the insurance company explained it to me. It made no sense that my auto PIP would come in to play at all, but apparently so. And since it's a no-fault coverage–and since I despise my auto insurance company–I didn't care much.

    Also, when I was doored, I didn't bother with an attorney. Perhaps if my injuries were worse, I'd have considered it, but the driver's insurance company was came forward and took responsibility without issue. They paid for all of my medical expenses, bought me a new bike, reimbursed me for my time off and some extra to keep me happyish.

    The whole process is such a pain, especially if you need physical therapy, etc. However, I still count my blessings that the accident wasn't worse and Kris you should do the same. Many cyclists who are 'doored' are shoved into traffic and aren't so lucky.

    I also have a friend who is in the ICU at Harborview after a bike accident (not doored) on Friday. The extent of his injuries are still unknown:

    Drive/Ride SAFELY

  153. It is not just cyclists. I don't know how many times I've had to swerve to avoid people opening their car doors everywhere in this city. Doesn't anybody look before they open their doors?

  154. As a former receptionist – whenever I was confronted with an angry caller I happily transferred them to the person in charge of whatever they were angry about while staying cheerful. Annoyingly cheerful.

  155. I am very aware of how things could have gone differently… for potential outcomes of the given situation, I don't think I could have fared better – had the car behind us been following closer or attempting to pass, it is likely this would have been an obituary rather than a news article.

    Best of luck to your friend for a speedy recovery too!

  156. 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.

  157. 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..

  158. 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!

  159. 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.

  160. 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.

  161. 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.

  162. 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.

  163. “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”.

  164. 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.)

  165. 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.

  166. 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.

  167. 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.

  168. 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.

  169. 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.

  170. 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.

  171. 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.

  172. 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.

  173. 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.

  174. 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)

  175. 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.

  176. 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.

  177. 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.

  178. 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.

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