Cyclist killed 2nd & University

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This topic contains 41 replies, has 15 voices, and was last updated by  Shelley 5 years, 1 month ago.

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    Happened this morning downtown, second and university. Very sad. Even though the bicyclist had the right of way in this case, it proved to be the dead of way. I have ridden in that left hand bike lane and it is absolutely terrifying. I’m not the most experienced cyclist.

    He added that the bicycle had the right-of-way in this case.

    “When you’re making a left turn, you have the duty to make sure you are clear to do so,” Michaud said. “The bikes have the right-of-way to be able to go straight, even if you are making a left turn and you are on the left side, so you have to clear the turn before you can make it.”

    I’m sure the above quote is little comfort to the biker’s loved ones.

    Something is clearly wrong with the road design here. Can it be fixed? What would be the ideal design to let all safely use the road? Are we dealing with the hubris of bicyclists believing SDOT’s idea that Bridging the Gap paint will protect them? Will the new bike lane that is being opened fix the problem?



    So sad — and the terrible thing is they are in the midst of changing 2nd Ave so that the left lane in left turn only for cars and the bike lane is being moved to the right of that to avoid this very thing. I work right there and saw the aftermath. The driver was terribly upset as anyone would be. The woman did not have any ID on her so the police didn’t know who to notify — please if you are only going out for a short ride tuck your ID in your pocket


    great idea

    I ride downtown fairly often, but stay close to the waterfront for most of my north-south access. I have ridden along this stretch and did not feel comfortable at all.

    I think sadly, Shelley, that many bicyclists do feel protected by the paint. maybe when they separate the transportation mode lanes completely, there will be some safety. however, I fear it (bicycle safety) will only get worse before it gets better.

    before veganbiker and others jump on my back, I realize enormous amounts of time, energy and money are going into safer bike infrastructure. I just don’t know if it’s keeping up with the influx of new residents, the advent of ‘pronto-ride’ bikes, which will encourage less experienced bicyclists to engage, and the general animosity of many car drivers, who still feel as if there is a war being waged on them and will fight any new bike developments tooth-and-nail.

    this particular incident is very sad among many.


    Jimmy Rustler

    Here is the saddest part of the story- – ->

    In about a month from now there is going to be a 2-way bike lane on 2nd (where this cyclist was killed). If it were already in place this may not have happened at all.



    Good perspectives everyone. I really appreciate it. Very hard to read the article, look at the photos. The seattlebikeblog article was enlightening. Simple solutions abound I guess, but as remembered from HL Mencken’s infamous words, “Simple, neat, and wrong.”

    The Seattle Times article has much more detail as well, and Mike Lindblom’s name in the byline means a much more in depth and fact checked reporting.

    The new bike lane will be paint and plastic only during peak traffic hours, but also be protected by a lane of parked cars during non-peak traffic. I worry though that those parked cars will pose a visibility issue for cyclists being seen by right turning motor vehicle traffic.

    A Dutch friend pointed out a year or so ago that our problem is not enough people ride bikes in Seattle (and this country generally). His point was that when most drivers are cyclists too, they will see the cyclists on the road when driving.



    Beyond sad. My son (who has no car but five bicycles) considers 2nd AV to dangerous to ride in the current bike lane. He takes the traffic lane instead. But he is strong and fast enough to do that; not all bicyclists are.


    Jimmy Rustler

    My wife and I work on Capitol Hill and we come close to getting hit by cars daily just walking around. We are from California and we were both hardcore daily cyclists there. When we moved here we were just way too scared to ride and we both sold our bikes. In California there are bike lanes everywhere. It is illegal to ride on the sidewalk there like people do here but it is not needed anyway. I love it here in Washington but the motorists are crazy as hell!

    Something else I’ve noticed: when people walk across the street here on a crosswalk, motorists creep up during a turn. In California, you will ticketed if you enter the intersection at all while pedestrians are present. Are the laws different here?


    great idea

    I believe the laws are the same regarding crosswalk protocol, JR.

    the action you described drives me crazy. even when the car is not turning, drivers will often allow the pedestrian to cross ‘their lane’, then gun it before the pedestrian gets all the way across the street.
    I have had other drivers beep at me because they thought I was waiting too long.

    as Shelly’s dutch friend pointed out, there will reach a tipping point when there are enough pedestrians, bicyclists, etc. that drivers will change their behavior to accommodate them.
    how many of you now drive down 24th near the QFC with your eyes darting back and forth to see if someone is crossing? do those flashing lights make a difference, or is that just more visual stimuli adding to the confusion?



    Actually, the flashing lights almost make it worse. Because they blink a lot and people are only crossing a fraction of that time. So the blinking lights just become background noise. A regular crosswalk is more effective.

    Those bike lanes seem uncomfortably small. The general rule is to give cyclists 3 feet, but if they ride in the middle of the bike lane, there’s maybe a foot at most between them and death. I feel uncomfortable passing them on some streets. I’m especially concerned on Bothell because some of it doesn’t even have a bike lane at all and cyclists just ride on the narrow shoulder. Traffic is fast and often there isn’t enough room to give the biker just by moving to the left in your own lane. Changing lanes is sometimes not possible due to all the traffic.

    Although most bikers I see in the dark use both front and back blinking lights, I once saw a guy on Bothell – or rather, I didn’t see him until I was a yard or so behind him at 5am. I don’t think he had a front light. Most importantly, there was no light on his back. Very scary.

    Although a death is absolutely awful for the family, as a driver it would be difficult for me to live with myself if I killed someone. Triply so if I was at fault. People sometimes get pissed off at the money spent on bike lanes, but having a bike ride on the shoulder (or between traffic and parked cars!) is much more precarious and scary for both cyclist and motorist. It really benefits both types of traffic to keep cyclists safe.



    I agree with Phoo about the crosswalk at 58th. The flashing lights are often on when no one is crossing, giving us the “Boy Who Cried Wolf” syndrome. I ignore them and just look for peds. Plus, at night they are bright to the point of being distracting to any drivers with light sensitivity. I do see peds step off the curb without looking, as if those lights will protect them from harm. I also worry the lights subliminally imply drivers don’t need to be watchful at intersections without such theatrics. I prefer to cross a block up or down where the intersections are less chaotic.

    Back to biking, I don’t bike much anymore, but I would not use those “sharrows”. There is nowhere to go if someone tries to give me a “door prize”. Going down 24th, where I can pace traffic, I’d drive in the traffic lane. I’m visible, and everyone knows where everyone is and what they’re doing. Heading uphill, I opt for the side streets.

    My heart goes out to the cyclist (and her friends & family) who died on Friday. Also to that poor truck driver. Obviously someone misjudged something and perhaps even broke a traffic law, but that doesn’t take away from the pain on both sides. Tragic!


    Allison W

    I have taken that left turn onto University from 2nd hundreds of times during rush hour and fail to see what’s so tough about checking the bike lane before turning.

    I also wonder how moving the bike lane will make it safer. Cars will have to cross bike lanes no matter where the bike lanes are.



    One of the articles cited above said there were 60 injury accidents since 2006. That’s way too many. Something should have been done much sooner.

    Allison, I think many drivers are not expecting a bike lane on the left side of the street. Especially those who may not drive it frequently. I don’t excuse the driver of fault, but believe firmly that SDOT has demonstrated a flagrant (if not criminally negligent) disregard for the safety of cyclists for an extended period of time in this case. I guess I am biased, not owning a car.

    2 minutes of rush hour in the Netherlands (Utrecht) via Bikemap’s facebook page:

    Strikingly different than here.


    great idea

    I agree Shelley that most drivers don’t expect there to be a bike lane on the left side of the road.

    I don’t know all the improvements but believe there will be a left-turn arrow in the traffic signal to help avoid such incidents.

    honestly, the bike-riding atmosphere adds to the stress of being a parent around here. I have been riding forever and have a hyper-aware attitude (not that I couldn’t get pegged at any time), but it is really my kids that I worry about. one of their friends was struck by a car on his bike last year while waiting at a stop sign!



    There’s a fund started for Sher Kung’s family. 7 month old baby and her partner.



    Shelly, 2 things about that 2mins in the Netherlands
    1 – When I was there I stood at the highest point, about 9′ above sea level – it is real flat, and streets are narrow – not many cars in 1400 AD
    2 – everyone did obey the traffic rules

    Amsterdam is a bit different – much more traffic (cars, bike scooters and pedestrians) and mostly they traveled by the traffic rules (and bikes had their own corridor with a median), also cars would get a ticket if they held up traffic on the highway – the police would sometimes escort groups of cars so traffic would move better –



    Hi there MB folks. I send my deepest condolences to Sher Kung’s family and friends. It is tragic that she should die so young and with a young family and so much to look forward to in life.
    As someone who has made a life choice to advocate bicycle riding as an alternative form of transportation, especially on this forum and particularly in Ballard I feel compelled to add a comment to this thread.
    Today I made a point of riding to downtown and then heading over from Dexter on Bell Street to Second Ave. I rode down Second slowly with traffic. What I observed is this.
    Many motorists do not pull into the bike lane before making a left hand turn. On a bike one can get up a good speed from Pike Street down second Ave, if you are on a bike and the lights are with you you can really get up a good speed and keep up with or even go faster than the motor vehicles.
    Bicyclist riding in the bike lane on Second Ave. have to keep one eye on the parked cars to make sure no passenger is going to open a door in front of them and one eye on the traffic on their right to make sure no vehicle is going to side swipe them or make a left turn into them. This is not easy!
    I am a firm believer in bike mirrors, all my bike have them!
    Unfortunately for Sher Kung the plan for Second Ave probably would have saved her.
    The plan is to have a two way bike lane with traffic traffic lights for bike and motor vehicles so that when bikes have a green light vehicles have a red light. If all road users obey the law then this type of tragedy should not happen. That is my hope and all I can say is stay safe out there and look out for yourself and the other road users.


    great idea

    that is a good call re: bike mirrors.
    whenever I see other bicycles equipped with them, I think that it would really help my peripheral vision. it’s probably time to get one or two.

    vb– the hills really do present a particular danger. the way you described the slope on second ave and the high rate of speed you can attain on a bike reminded me of the rider killed on 24th ave just south of 65th a few years back. when the bicyclist is able to go faster than adjacent cars there is little time for the automobile driver to react (especially as the bike may have just come into vision).

    I usually ride my mountain bike around town so I don’t get going that fast. I think it is a good idea to test one’s brakes occasionally to fully understand your stopping distance.



    gi – two mirrors is a good idea, especially if you ride downtown and in traffic a lot.

    I was also thinking about that tragic accident on 24th, my take on that was that an experienced rider, made a decision to speed up and get in front of the cars as the light at 65th just changed for him, the van driver really had no time to see him and was not expecting him. Again the slope down the hill on 24th can enable a rider to go quite fast and often we riders don’t know how fast we are going.
    Checking your brakes before every ride is a good idea. It is the old “A-B-C” check. Air, brakes, chain. Easy to do but most of us forget to do it.
    My v brakes can stop me very fast, just about as fast as mechanical disc brakes and I like that.


    Salmon Bay


    I wonder how the Memorial Ride will be impacted by SDOT beginning construction on the new bike lane?

    SDOT to Install Second Avenue Protected Bike Lane on September 5, 6 and 7

    This weekend the Seattle Department of Transportation will install a two-way protected bike lane along the east side of Second Avenue between Pike Street and Yesler Way, as well as a small portion along Pike Street between First and Second avenues and Yesler Way between Occidental and Second Avenue. Work will occur between 7:30 p.m. and 7:30 a.m. on Sept. 5, 6 and 7. The protected bike lane will make it safer and more comfortable for people riding bikes through downtown, and the new facility will be open for use starting Sept. 8.

    No parking or loading will be allowed on the east side during work hours. People biking will be detoured into the travel lane with motorists. The travel lane next to the bike lane will be closed block by block as installation occurs. Work will start on the north end of the project on Sept. 5 so that construction noise and activity does not interfere with Pioneer Square’s First Thursday, which has been moved to Friday, Sept. 5.



    The link didn’t work for me. So according to Seattle Bike Blog the memorial ride starts at five o’clock at Westlake Park. At five thirty there is a memorial service at Benaroya Plaza on 2nd AV. The ride concludes with a ride down the rest of Second to Occidental Park. It will be concluded just about the time the construction of the new bike lane starts at seven thirty. To open on Monday, ten days too late.



    Thanks Cate, I inverted the times of the work in my mind before posting, so I thought the work was happening in the day, not at night. Some days I wonder if my head is on upside down.

    ++ “… ten days too late.” My stomach wretches at how slowly basic pedestrian and bike safety things move to resolution in SDOT. A friend reported a crosswalk in front of a school needed repainting and it took 13 months to get it repainted because SDOT wanted to make it part of Safe Routes to School and there was a bunch of bureaucracy associated with that.



    I wasn’t able to get to the memorial ride, but wanted to be there.

    Here’s Mike Lindblom’s new Seattle Times article on the 2nd Ave bike way. I hope this works to improve safety.

    I walked along 2nd yesterday, and I think the new signals are confusing and not intuitive. Picture is from the Lindblom piece above. The additional clutter of the new signal added to the existing vehicle traffic lights is somewhat bothersome.

    I wish it were as simple as what I do to avoid being “doored” — I take all the responsibility for my own safety and assume that if there is a person in the parked car, the door will open, and I slow down, look for my escape route, etc.



    I was watching the news this morning and they had a reported there to show the signals. Within about a minute, a car turned left without the green arrow. As the reporter said, this is pretty dangerous…people need to be educated he turned back to point out the signals and a cyclist went flying through when the ‘cyclist red light’ was showing. So within about 2 minutes there were two dangerous moves by cars and bikes alike.

    Be careful riding there as people still don’t understand the rules.


    great idea

    ugh. what a disappointing fix.

    do transportation engineers study graphic design?
    the ‘no turn on red’ sign should be directly under the ‘left turn on green arrow only sign’

    instead of the standard red/yellow/green circles, there should be arrows pointing straight in the traffic light (to better contrast the red/yellow/green left turn signal).

    the sign directing toward I-5 should be in front of the intersection.

    and I don’t care if Gerard Schwarz conducts the royal concertgebouw– they should take down that brown sign to remove some clutter. they can pay homage to him along the street (away from the intersection) w/o further confusing the matter.

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