Seeking a Samaritan: Recognize this truck driver?

July 2, 2009 at 3:33 pm | In Luna Park, West Seattle news | 13 Comments

Nicole survived a close call on Wednesday, but would like to find the person who helped her afterward. Here’s her story:

I have lived in West Seattle for four years. I have worked at Luna Park Cafe for a little over two years. I bike to work on a regular basis. I use the Alki Bike Trail to get there. Yesterday morning I had a traumatizing incident happen and I was hoping someone out there in West Seattle could help me find the good samaritan who came to assist.

Yesterday morning, Wednesday, July 1, 2009 around 6:30 am I was biking south on the Alki Bike Trail. I was about 1 block North of the ActivSpace Building. A driver of a Honey Bucket truck was traveling North on Harbor Ave. (the street that runs next to the bike trail) The driver of the Honey Bucket truck did not see me on my bike coming straight towards him. The driver of the truck proceeded to make a right turn into a driveway. I was on my bike traveling anywhere from 15-20 miles an hour realized that the driver did not see me and put on my brakes right away. I started screaming “HEY HEY HEY” to make sure that he would noticed me.

Before I knew it my bike and I were sliding on the pavement toward the truck that was still turning into the driveway. I must have slid about 2 feet still on my bike until the lower part of my body were under the front bumper of the Honey Bucket truck. Thank goodness the driver of truck did see me and stoped the vehicle. I was able to jump right up and grab my bike. The driver asked me if I was okay and I said yes, just scraped up. I asked him “How could you not see me? He replied “It was because the sunlight was in his eyes.” At this time another truck driver stopped his vehicle and came to help out. This other driver was already in the driveway near a gate. He helped me get back on my bike and made sure I was okay.

I am looking for this friendly, helpful man. He was wearing a cap and had glasses (from what I recall). He was somewhere around 6 ft. tall, slender, and perhaps in his 50s. He had grayish color hair, beard scruff on his face and lighter colored eyes. He said that he had been a truck driver in the area for the last 10 years and always stops to look for bikers on the bike trail before he turns into the driveway. I did not get this man’s information.

Nicole says she’s doing OK, by the way, though upset about missing work. If you have any idea who the man is, leave a comment or e-mail her at nicolevela@hotmail.com.

13 Comments

  1. Glad the cyclist is okay and people stopped to help, that’s how it should be. However, the cyclist was speeding on the trail if they were exceeding 15mph. If you wish to do speeds of 15+, please move onto the road and keep with the flow of traffic. As a cyclist myself, I’d suggest to all cyclist that EVERY intersection and driveway needs to be taken with extreme caution. Don’t assume people ever see you, not even pedestrians.

    Comment by Mike — 3:54 pm July 2, 2009 #

  2. I hate to see anyone get in trouble, but the Honey Bucket driver is getting off WAY too easy if this was not reported to the Honey Bucket folks to follow up.
    .
    The driver may not have seen the cyclist, but the cyclist still had the right of way!
    .
    Clearly a preventable accident! The driver stated that the “sun was in his eyes.” While that is certainly a valid answer for why this happened but is NO excuse to avoid being at fault.
    .
    Accident COULD HAVE been prevented by HB driver coming to a full and complete stop BEFORE making the turn into the drive since he admitted he could NOT see.
    .
    And I’m speaking from the standpoint of being an ex truck driver with over a half a million miles. And I took the blame for a few accidents in my career too!
    .
    My advice to Nicole is to address this with the HB company for bike repairs and time lost from work. What if she DID receive an injury that does not surface until a later date.
    .
    Nicole’s speed is not relevant. She had the right of way!
    .

    Comment by Kevin — 5:10 pm July 2, 2009 #

  3. I have an office in ActivSpace. This is a VERY scary situation. Cyclists are traveling far too fast on the trail, given the number of high-traffic driveways in that and the surrounding two blocks. I watch for them as a driver and a pedestrian but have had, and witnessed, several close calls.

    Slow down! Look around! It’s dangerous.

    Comment by fiz — 6:00 pm July 2, 2009 #

  4. Thanks Mike. My sentiments exactly. Unfortunate incident, but speed on bikes kill just as quickly as speed in a motor vehicle. See EVERYday here, where I live, and on Magnolia where I work.

    Use your head!

    Comment by WTF — 6:34 pm July 2, 2009 #

  5. I must be missing something… If the driver was heading north on Harbor Avenue, then the sun could have been to his right (East), behind him (South), or to his left (West). It would NOT have been in front of him (North), the direction he was driving. If he didn’t see the cyclist approaching him from the north, it wouldn’t have been the sun’s fault.

    Comment by Larry — 6:42 pm July 2, 2009 #

  6. Could have been sunlight reflected off of cars or windows. This time of year I have to close my blinds at my shop even though I face East on California because of reflections off of apartment windows or cars. Hard to know unless you’re actually there. Nontheless, never assume somebody sees you.

    Comment by 56bricks — 8:58 pm July 2, 2009 #

  7. The other thing that causes visibility problems are the trees that line bike trail (between the trail and the street). It may not be as noticeable when in a lower riding car, but it becomes more problematic when riding higher in a truck cab.
    .
    I’m with Mike on this one. Cyclists and pedestrians should NEVER assume that other vehicles will see them. I thought cyclists were supposed to slow down at driveways. Why are vehicles always the ones “at fault”, no matter what pedestrians or cyclists do? What if a small child ran out of the same driveway chasing a ball and the cyclist ran over the child?

    Comment by alki_2008 — 10:16 pm July 2, 2009 #

  8. I ride a motorcycle and the flaw I see in this bicyclists comment was “how could you not see me?” I ride a Harley Ultra Classic,I never assume people see me! If you start making assumptions like that,you are definitely putting your life in jeapordy. Glad you were OK

    Comment by GG — 10:41 pm July 2, 2009 #

  9. Alki, probably has something to do with the fact that the cycle would probably harm the child, but the Honey Bucket truck would kill them for sure. Vehicles are not always at fault, but even if I had been cleared of wrongdoing, if I’m the driver of a car that just ran over a cyclist that’s not going to be much consolation. Let’s look out for each other out there, and let’s not forget that Nicole did have the right of way here, and is very lucky to be alive and just scraped up.

    Comment by KateMcA — 9:38 am July 3, 2009 #

  10. There would be fewer accidents if more cyclists rode defensively and got the chip of their shoulder regarding cars. My kids ride smarter and more defensively than many of the avid cyclists I see around here.

    Comment by Jim — 12:32 pm July 3, 2009 #

  11. I am a cyclist, I do not ever assume that people see me. I also ride slower in that stretch due to the mix of activity around there.

    Drivers have a responsibility when turning into or crossing a bicycle pedestrian right of way such as Alki, to make sure their movement is safe – bottom line.

    Too often drivers just turn into these driveways and never make the slightest attempt to look both up and down for bicycle traffic. Bicycles and Pedestrians have the right of way here, and the vehicle is required to wait until it is safe to proceed.

    Not seeing the bicyclist due to light in the eyes may or may not be the main reason, but in most of these cases, it is simply the failure of motorists to even consider looking both up and down the right of way for any movement. It simply does not occur to them that there is or could be traffic moving here that has the right of way (bicycles, skaters, walkers, whatever.)

    Cause of crash = most likely inattentiveness on the part of the motorist

    Comment by sa — 12:46 pm July 3, 2009 #

  12. Everyone has a point, but mostly Nicole we’re just glad you’re ok. One cyclist in Seattle (Aurora and Dexter, Wednesday night) and one from Portland (visiting Virginia) have already been killed by motor-vehicle accidents so far in the first two days of July.

    Comment by Bikejuju — 2:05 pm July 3, 2009 #

  13. Drive Safe. Ride Safe. We all must pay attention.

    Don’t turn blindly into a bike lane or across any sidewalk no matter the speed of bikers or walkers on the path. If someone were to die, “the sun in my eyes” isn’t a good excuse.

    Drivers, Bikes, Walkers, never assume anyone “sees” you until you make eye contact.

    I ride the trail nearly everyday, and I doubt Nicole was “speeding” as the trail goes uphill slightly at that point in front of the active space building. I agree with Kevin.

    I hope you find the man that helped you.

    I am glad you were not hurt.

    We must all stay vigilant in all we do.

    Comment by peopledust — 11:57 am July 7, 2009 #

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