Update: Motorcyclist hit in The Junction, taken to hospital

(photos by WSB photojournalist Christopher Boffoli, added at 5:28 pm)
ORIGINAL REPORT: We’ve just arrived at California/Alaska in The Junction — a motorcycle has crashed outside Cupcake Royale — the bike is up on the sidewalk; paramedics are taking care of one person and it looks like they’re about to transport him/her to the hospital. Stay away from the intersection, including Alaska just east of the intersection — it’s blocked at 42nd SW. 4:55 PM UPDATE: Still awaiting official word from police; in comments, Mary from nearby Twilight Artist Collective writes:

A motorcyclist got taken out in the Junction. Apparently the car that hit him was taking an illegal left and hit him hard sending him up into the air for a brutal fall on the pavement several feet away from his bike which ended up in front of Cupcake Royale on the sidewalk.

5:13 PM UPDATE: Police have confirmed the reported illegal left turn that is blamed for the crash – they say a Prius hit the motorcyclist, who has been taken to the hospital; police say the rider is male but won’t elaborate on his injuries. Alaska is still blocked just east of California, and the northbound lane of California is blocked, but tow crews are there and it should clear up before too long.

Added photos by WSB photojournalist Christopher Boffoli – two above, and this one:

We’ll check back with authorities later in hopes of getting an update on the motorcyclist’s condition.

5:47 PM UPDATE: The intersection is now clear.

8:15 PM UPDATE: While no official information on the motorcyclist’s condition is available, Westcrest Park Off-Leash Area steward Stevo has just provided firsthand info in the comment section:

I’m good friends with the rider who was hit. He’s at Harborview with a broken femur. I spoke with his girlfriend as he’s all doped up. He lives right near the Junction, and is a very good, cautious rider.

We did hear a snippet of scanner traffic about someone with that exact injury, minutes after this happened, but couldn’t confirm till now that it was the same case.

48 Replies to "Update: Motorcyclist hit in The Junction, taken to hospital"

  • Mary March 24, 2009 (4:52 pm)

    A motorcyclist got taken out in the Junction. Apparently the car that hit him was taking an illegal Left and hit him hard sending him up into the air for a brutal fall on the pavement several feet away from his bike which ended up in front of Cupcake Royal on the sidewalk.

  • WSB March 24, 2009 (4:55 pm)

    Thanks. Patrick and Christopher are both there and waiting to talk to police – will add the car detail, Patrick did just mention seeing a bumper?!- TR

  • GSXRcommuter March 24, 2009 (5:08 pm)

    I live above verite cupcakes, and heard the bike go down. Went out and noticed a blue prius with part of the driver side front bumper ripped off and parked by super supplements. The honda motorcycle was up on the sidewalk/curb in front of Verite door while the rider was next to a parked car. They were cutting off up his jeans but helped take off his helmet.

    Looks like he just rode out in an ambulance. As it’s illegal to make a left hand turn from California onto Alaska going southbound, looks like the car made an illegal turn, t-boneing the bike. Hope he is ok.

  • chas redmond March 24, 2009 (5:15 pm)

    If it’s true that the motorist was making an illegal left turn I also hope that the cops throw the book at the driver – public endangerment, assault with a deadly weapon, disregard for public safety, and whatever else there is. I am really tired of this “right” people think they have when they get behind the wheel of a personally operated/owned vehicle. We also need the laws in Olympia to bring some criminal element to these kinds of actions – a misdemeanor “illegal left turn” doesn’t cut it any more.

  • WSB March 24, 2009 (5:18 pm)

    We’ll be following up with the traffic section – we have been tracking several other collision cases (motorcycle vs. car, pedestrian) but they take quite some time to work through the system – since when it’s a serious crash, they don’t usually cite at the scene, but wait for the investigation to be complete – TR

  • Franci March 24, 2009 (5:33 pm)

    I just came through this intersection during the aftermath while police and aid were still on the scene. Juat a few cars in front of me there was another car making an illegal turn right in front of all the EMT’s and police. Do these drivers know how to read? The signs are pretty clear to me.

    I think we need more traffic enforcemenet at this intersection, these illegal turns have been more frequent lately.

  • GSXRcommuter March 24, 2009 (5:35 pm)

    As I do understand that bikes do things that can increase their chance of wrecking, Cars do at an alarming rate. Not paying attention to driving and the conditions around them. Ensued in talking on their phones, txting, radio, people in the car, about everything but what they’re supposed to do…. drive. I notice both here in W Seattle where I live and in downtown Seattle where I work, people plain and simple do not pay attention to rules of the road or those around them. Lots of simple accidents which could easily have been avoided.

  • cjboffoli March 24, 2009 (5:53 pm)

    I’m not sure if it was a factor in this crash, but on the walk home from just covering this I saw more people on cell phones than I could count. In fact, people who didn’t have a handheld cell phone to their ear were a minority.
    Studies have indicated that talking on a phone and driving effects the driver’s reaction time in a manner similar to intoxication. And yet the State goes to all the trouble and expense of making it illegal and then makes it absolutely toothless by not making it a primary offense.
    New York City recently had a one day clamp down on driving while using a cellphone and issued over 9,000 citations. Seattle should do the same.

  • SarahScoot March 24, 2009 (6:44 pm)

    In the motorcycle safety course I took to get my two-wheel endorsement on my license, we covered in-depth how drivers of cars frequently *just don’t see* motorcycles, scooters, and bicyclists on the road. It’s scary, but true. Car drivers are scanning for other cars; objects that pose a threat to them. Two-wheelers all have a narrower profile, and they don’t register in the brains of careless or distracted drivers. It’s really dangerous out there. I’m very conscientious when I’m on my scoot, but I can’t tell you how many times I could have been taken out if I weren’t always at my most defensive. :-( Hope this rider is o.k.

  • p March 24, 2009 (6:53 pm)

    Just a general comment I have noticed in the last year or so the drivers in West Seattle are getting worse and worse. A few weeks ago I was driving north on 35th Ave SW and someone flew by me and the thing that registers your speed read 51 MPH. Gez, its a city street not a freeway. And just this afternoon, I watched a person making a left turn right where this accident was, about 3:30. All in all, people are driving faster and more irratically every day.

  • Anne March 24, 2009 (6:57 pm)

    It sure seems like lately more drivers are just ignoring the no turn on red signs & the no left turn signs in the junction.I don’t know if they’re not paying attention-maybe the signs need to be bigger-or maybe they’re in that group of -I don’t care I’m doing it anyway?

  • datamuse March 24, 2009 (7:02 pm)

    Somewhat counter to previous comments, I’ve pretty much been observing people ignore that no left turn sign for well over the decade that I’ve lived here. I don’t get it; it’s so much easier to use the turns lanes available one block north and south of that intersection.

  • SarahScoot March 24, 2009 (7:04 pm)

    Anne – generally it seems like they just don’t care. They know that there are rarely officers patrolling traffic, and when there are, they really don’t care. Odds are they won’t get pulled over, and if they do, they can play dumb and get let off with a warning.
    Just this morning I watched a car blow through the just-turned-red light at Avalon/Fauntleroy headed toward the bridge. The first car turning off Avalon onto Fauntleroy was a cop… I know he saw what happened, but he didn’t do anything. So why should people follow the rules if nothing’s going to happen?

  • datamuse March 24, 2009 (7:38 pm)

    So why should people follow the rules if nothing’s going to happen?

    Because it generally makes life less unpleasant for everyone?

    Yeah, I know, crazy talk.

  • sam March 24, 2009 (7:48 pm)

    EVERYONE needs to pay attention at the junction, in general. I’ve also seen pedestrians who ignore the fact that they can’t walk unless the “walk all ways” signal is on. some pedestrian came at me yelling cause I was turning east onto Alaska, from CA, on the green turn arrow. I didn’t see him til the last minute- as I wasn’t expecting him, what with having a green turn arrow and all.

    everyone: pay attention.

  • SarahScoot March 24, 2009 (7:58 pm)

    datamuse – sorry, I thought it would be obvious my last sentence was facetious. Of course I think people should obey the law.

  • FJRrider March 24, 2009 (8:04 pm)

    Hope the rider is ok. It’s got to be traumatic to see you’re about to hit a car, then fly through the air and impact. That’s a bad day. Did anyone see what safety gear the rider was wearing? As a rider I’m always curious about what was effective in terms of visibility and protection.

    Anyone interested in learning more about motorcycle accident statistics should check out the “Hurt Report” http://www.clarity.net/~adam/hurt-report.html

  • sTeVo March 24, 2009 (8:10 pm)

    I’m good friends with the rider who was hit. He’s at Harborview with a broken femur. I spoke with his girlfriend as he’s all doped up. He lives right near the junction, and is a very good, cautious rider.

  • homesweethome March 24, 2009 (8:13 pm)

    if we’re talking about bad West Seattle driving – how about what my family calls the “West Seattle left” which means a U-turn in any busy street, particularly CA Ave. Today I witnessed this during Lafayette drop off time – by a parent no less to drop their child off at school – they literally blocked CA Ave traffic, U-turned and then pulled onto the sidewalk

    we all need to remember to slow down a little

  • WSB March 24, 2009 (8:15 pm)

    Thanks, Stevo! I heard a medic discussion on the scanner as soon as we tuned into this call and I recall the mention of “broken femur,” but didn’t know for absolute sure it was the same case – till now – and no official word is available re: condition in a case like this without a name, so we rely on hearing from somebody reliable with firsthand knowledge – you fit that bill! Send him our best wishes for as fast a recovery as is possible … TR

  • Diana March 24, 2009 (8:19 pm)

    Dear West Seattle neighbors…the problem intersection is identified. So let’s do something about it. We did on 35th, we did on Admiral, and we made a difference. Contact SPD. Contact SDOT. File a complaint. Request additional enforcement. The system works if you use it and the more input the better. I’m on it and hope you will jump in too.

  • cjboffoli March 24, 2009 (8:20 pm)

    A broken femur is a very serious injury. You can easily bleed out if you don’t get medical attention right away.

  • Paul in Gatewood March 24, 2009 (8:30 pm)

    My girlfriend and I just bought a house on Othello just off of 35th, and I’ve already witnessed a near-accident at the corner. On Saturday a guy in a wheelchair was crossing the street (no marked crosswalk but still legally a crosswalk) and although one car had stopped for him an SUV almost hit him head-on going at least 40, passing the stopped car. The driver swerved to the right and missed him by about two feet – and kept right driving south. Really scary.

    People need to realize that their driving affects others. Please be careful!

  • Creighton March 24, 2009 (8:41 pm)

    Thanks for the update sTeVo. On behalf of all the West Seattle riders out there tell him we’re glad he’s ok (relatively). Looking forward to giving the clutch hand wave to him again when he gets better.

  • toddinwestwood March 24, 2009 (8:50 pm)

    Another WS rider here wishing this person a speedy recovery.

    I have been hit by a car from behind. Drunk driver in Los Angeles. lots of things go through your mind while you are flying through the air waiting to hit the pavement.

    The other thing I have noticed lately is the no-stopping right hand turn.

  • preaching to the choir March 24, 2009 (8:51 pm)

    Glad to hear the motorcyclist survived and hopefully will eventually recover. Sad that people don’t realize that while it may take a few more of the precious minutes in there day to go around the block to get where there going – instead of breaking the law many times – and almost killing someone. We all need to stop think about our driving habits to preserve the precious lives of our neighbors. Please people slow down, get off your phones and pay attention to the rules of the road – we are privileged to have a license to drive but nowhere does it give us the right to endanger others as well as ourselves.

  • datamuse March 24, 2009 (8:54 pm)

    SarahScoot: I got that–my comment wasn’t intended to snark at you. More of a general observation.

  • SarahScoot March 24, 2009 (9:28 pm)

    Sorry datamuse; it’s sometimes hard to tell around here when I’m being taken too seriously. ;-) I did think it seemed out of character for you to not catch the sarcasm!

  • Ron March 24, 2009 (9:30 pm)

    West Seattle has bad drivers and so does every town, city and state. JUST DON’T BE ONE YOURSELF and that includes paying attention. Take it from a retired Teamster who has seen it all.

  • yeehaw March 24, 2009 (10:02 pm)

    Hope the rider is alright, sounds like they got hit pretty hard. West Seattle is not hard to drive around, no idea how or why people can’t grasp intersections and roundabouts. I find most people cutting on the left of roundabouts and it drives me nuts every time I see it.

  • Mo March 24, 2009 (10:12 pm)

    I witnessed this accident, and it has been re-playing in my mind since it happened around 4:30 p this afternoon. I was westbound on Alaska, the 2nd car west of California. We were stopped at the light. I saw a motorcycle and a man flying (yes flying!) through the air toward the northwest corner of California and Alaska. I am so relieved to find out the motorcyclist is not more seriously injured. I pray that he will be OK! This accident shook me to the core, and I will become a more cautious driver because of it!

  • sTeVo March 24, 2009 (10:54 pm)

    Thanks for the nice comments. I’ll have Aaron look at the West Seattle Blog while he’s recovering so he can read your posts.
    It’s scary out there as a rider. Drivers are still not aware and alert to motorcyclists.
    As the weather gets nicer, you’ll see more and more riders out there. Many, I hate to say, ride like idiots! But most know the risks and ride with caution. Please be aware of us two wheelers out there! Thanks! sTeVo

  • ozzy March 24, 2009 (11:11 pm)

    my grandmother and i were just comming back from a nice boul of pho. and we were just turning on th intersection right next to the cup royal when i saw a moterbike go by so i looked right as the impact occurrred. it was very loud. from the angle i was at it looked like the biker more or less jumped rather than fell off the bike. but he looked hert when he went down. so i just glad he doesn’t have any neck injeries or just thank god he isn’t dead!!!

  • WSratsinacage March 25, 2009 (12:09 am)

    Take care Aaron. I happened upon this intersection about 4:45. I was shaken to see what had happened.

  • GSXRcommuter March 25, 2009 (8:02 am)

    I hope that the rider has a speedy recovery. Femur breaks are a serious matter. And to all of us W Seattle riders, be careful. As it is getting nicer out there will be more cars, bikes and obstacles out.

  • Note March 25, 2009 (9:08 am)

    This past weekend I was stopped at the opposite corner near Easy St.when I saw the same car, blue Prius make the same illegal turn on a red light…wonder if it’s a habit with the driver?
    What is with the drivers in WS? During that same trip I had a bronze Hummer purposely stop in front of me in the middle of Admiral with no others cars in front of him. He proceeded to do the same thing to another car further down the road. I honked, then this freak then decided it would be fun to follow me around for a couple miles literally on my ass the entire time. I drove to the Junction to find a cop, that’s when I noticed the blue Prius turn on the red. If you know this guy..he was with an Asian middle age woman, tell him I made a police report.

  • Mike March 25, 2009 (10:30 am)

    “bronze Hummer purposely stop in front of me in the middle of Admiral with no others cars in front of him.”

    Big chrome wheels? I think I’ve seen this joker before.

  • Note March 25, 2009 (10:45 am)

    Mike-I don’t know about the wheels but the driver is between 40 and 55 years old, white short blondish brown hair, obviously lacking a couple inches and a complete jerk.

  • RS March 25, 2009 (11:12 am)

    Yikes! I’m about to take my motorcycle endorsement class this weekend and I’m nervous enough so this was not an encouraging story to read! PLEASE watch out for motorcycles, people!!

  • SarahScoot March 25, 2009 (11:39 am)

    RS – where are you taking the class? I really enjoyed the class, and it teaches riders many defensive maneuvers to use in a situation like this one. I’m not saying this rider could have avoided this – obviously there’s only so much you can do – but I’m guessing he probably did all he could to lessen the impact. Someone above mentioned it looked as though he jumped, and that’s altogether possible. We were also taught that as a last resort (i.e. you realize a car’s about to plow into your bike), to hit the kill switch and bail out of the bike. The injuries can be compounded if you’re left with a several-hundred or 1,000 pound motorcycle on top of you afterward.
    Anyway, good luck in the class!

  • Ms Pam March 25, 2009 (11:46 am)

    I am so sorry that this poor guy got so injured!
    I wish him a quick recovery…

    I am curious as to what charges will be filed against the driver. I have seen this happen there before. The instructions are pretty clear “No left turn during such & such hours”.

    So People, follow the directions and care about the drivers and pedestrians around you. It is not just “all about YOU!”.

  • RS March 25, 2009 (1:15 pm)

    SarahScoot- thanks! I’m taking the class at South Seattle Community College. My partner rides and always says that two-wheelers become better drivers because they learn to be so much more aware of their surroundings and just don’t have the option of spacing out like car drivers do. I wish more people recognized that cars are massive machines easily capable of killing someone and not just a moving lounge where you can eat and chat on your phone en route to somewhere!!

  • swimcat March 25, 2009 (2:30 pm)

    WHy am I not surprised that a Prius driver caused this accident??? Volvo, Jetta and Prius owners are the worst drivers around. If you don’t believe me, just start paying attention to when you are frustrated by someone out on the road or nearly hit- 90% of the time it will be one of those three cars causing your angst.

    I’m glad the motorcylist doesn’t have even more serious injuries and hope he has a quick recovery.

  • Steph March 25, 2009 (4:04 pm)

    Not all acidents are caused by people on cell phones. Get off the kick of outlawing them. There is a lot of other things that distract drivers (i.e.) radio, eating, kids, etc.

  • datamuse March 25, 2009 (9:07 pm)

    Hmm, Swimcat, most of the time that it happens to me, it’s a Beamer.
    But then, I drive a Prius…
    (I thought 90% of the cars in the Northwest overall were Volvos, Jettas, and Priuses. And maybe Subarus, too.)

  • chris March 26, 2009 (10:58 am)

    “Yikes! I’m about to take my motorcycle endorsement class this weekend and I’m nervous enough so this was not an encouraging story to read! PLEASE watch out for motorcycles, people!!”

    RS- I’ve been on motorcyles for 30 years and what I’ve learned int hat time is that cage drivers *will not* watch out for you no matter how much you plead.
    As a rider you will need to watch out for yourself. When you ride assume that you are invisible (since most cages will ignore that you exist) and take the neccessary precautions yourself, esprcially in regards to left turns, leagal or not.
    You just need to *know* that they are going to turn in front of you.

  • epl March 26, 2009 (8:53 pm)

    God speed Aaron. Hang in their bud. So sorry this happened….

  • Betty April 1, 2009 (3:04 pm)

    I know the driver of the Prius. He is a very kind and consciencious man. He feels absolutely horrible that this happened. He has never had a speeding ticket before, let alone got into a car accident. This does not make it okay by any means….but the morotcycle was speeding thru a yellow light and he came from behind a metro bus. The Prius was almost halfway thru the intersection and the motorcyclist hit the Prius. The Prius did not hit the motorcyclist.

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