Update: Car-motorcycle crash at 35th/Holden sends driver to the hospital

May 9, 2011 at 3:51 pm | In Safety, Sunrise Heights, West Seattle news | 35 Comments

Thanks to the WSB’ers who have e-mailed and called about a car-motorcycle crash at 35th and Holden, by Fire Station 37, whose Engine 37 was dispatched to check out the people involved. Helen reports the motorcycle ridera woman was seen on a stretcher.

3:55 PM: As the photo sent by Fulay shows, the crash actually was north of the fire station, right by the Chevron station. We’re checking to see what we can find out about the rider’s condition and the crash circumstances. This was dispatched as an aid call, not a more-serious medic call, so that would generally suggest NOT-life-threatening injuries.

4:05 PM: Updated information from Seattle Fire, via Lt. Sue Stangl: The motorcycle rider “refused treatment.” The car driver was taken to the hospital as a precaution; she was reportedly complaining of arm pain. Police at the scene tell us they’re still trying to sort out the circumstances of the collision; tow trucks have arrived so the scene should be clear soon. By the way, the 35th SW safety rally is still on for 4 pm this Wednesday, at 35th/Juneau, which is roughly a mile north of today’s crash scene.

35 Comments

  1. *shudder* hoping everyone is okay…

    Comment by Cakeordeath — 4:05 pm May 9, 2011 #

  2. Actually, I saw a woman on the stretcher but I’m not sure if she had been on the motorcycle, in the car, or maybe even a pedestrian.

    Comment by Brontosaurus — 4:06 pm May 9, 2011 #

  3. My dad had a motorcycle wreck in that same spot about 20 years ago. Shattered his wrist. People PLEASE be on the lookout for motorcyclists!

    Comment by HelperMonkey — 4:13 pm May 9, 2011 #

  4. Is anyone else surprised at the number of car/motorcycle accidents that have occurred lately? There seem to be an increase of them in the last month and a half. Springtime/summertime is here…everyone needs to start paying more attention!

    Comment by JanS — 4:17 pm May 9, 2011 #

  5. Thanks, Bronto. Straightened it all out when talking to Lt. Stangl. Motorcycle rider, male, refused treatment. Car driver, female, went to hospital (private ambulance, not serious enough for medic unit/aid car). – TR

    Comment by WSB — 4:35 pm May 9, 2011 #

  6. thats kind of a weird area (intersection)

    Comment by w.s. maverick — 4:38 pm May 9, 2011 #

  7. The woman on the stretcher was the car driver according to an employee at Chevron.

    Comment by MB — 4:38 pm May 9, 2011 #

  8. Oops, just saw the TR’s post :)

    Comment by MB — 4:40 pm May 9, 2011 #

  9. As a 20-year motorcycle rider I just want to say to all the moto riders out there, do what you can to raise awareness of us, but expect nothing from other drivers. Never assume anyone can see you unless you’ve made eye contact and gotten an acknowledging nod from the driver. Never expect another vehicle to do anything expected. Try to stay out of blindspots. Don’t be bashful about using your horn as a communications tool (honking a horn can have many other meanings than just “FU”). When riding on the right-est lane on streets like 35th, try to stick to the left-est side of the lane to increase your visibility to cars coming in on intersecting roads. Bottom line, it’s great that more and more drivers are becoming aware of us, but when it comes right down to it, you have to do all you can to cover your own butt. Be safe out there!!

    Comment by Phinneas — 5:09 pm May 9, 2011 #

  10. I was one of the first people on the scene. The driver of the car was an 87 year old woman who luckily did not kill anyone. By her own words she should not be driving anymore.

    There needs to be legislation that requires elderly drivers to take driving tests on a yearly basis. Many accidents could be prevented if licenses are revoked when people can no longer safely operate cars.

    Comment by elizabeth ;ee — 5:27 pm May 9, 2011 #

  11. Thanks, Elizabeth – SFD did not have her age in the system; they indicated “older” but I have been burned before, recalling the days of a co-worker who typed “elderly” regarding a 60-year-old woman … TR

    Comment by WSB — 5:31 pm May 9, 2011 #

  12. “Refused treatment” usually means “can’t/doesn’t want to pay thousands in Ambulance and E-room charges”, another example of the private sector doing everything better. Not.

    Comment by Fiwa Jcbbb — 5:39 pm May 9, 2011 #

  13. Well, whatever it means, that’s what SFD said. At the scene a bit later, police characterized it as that he was in good enough shape to “walk away” – TR

    Comment by WSB — 5:42 pm May 9, 2011 #

  14. I concur with w.s maverick, that is a funky intersection indeed. Although this deosn’t appear to be the case in this situation, lots of red light running in that intersection.

    I agree, pay attention to motorcyclists out there. Lots of new and inexperienced riders on the road due to the high price of gas. Stay safe.

    Comment by Recall McGinn — 5:47 pm May 9, 2011 #

  15. There is speculation that high gas prices are partly to blame for increased numbers of accidents involving motorcycles. To my mind this is due not only to there being more motorcycles, but to the fact that they are being driven by people who aren’t as experienced, having recently switched from a vehicle that guzzles more gas.

    Personally I encourage people to look for safer ways to save gas. Your first mistake as a new motorcyclist can all too easily be your last. Or your first encounter with someone else’s mistake, for that matter (as may be the case here). My car gets over 40 miles to the gallon and runs on biodiesel. And it’s got four doors, four wheels and airbags.

    Comment by WS Steve — 5:57 pm May 9, 2011 #

  16. While the comments about “new motorcyclists” are not specifically speculating that the rider in this crash is new, I still want to reiterate, we have NO idea how old he is or how long he’s been riding. Nor do we know who police think was to blame – we’ll be checking with them again later tonight. (Just because the car driver allegedly said she shouldn’t be driving, doesn’t mean it was necessarily her fault.) I can tell you one thing you wouldn’t know from our photo, though – according to our crew at the scene, the motorcycle was a vintage Triumph. Maybe not necessarily a beginner’s bike? – TR

    Comment by WSB — 6:18 pm May 9, 2011 #

  17. Another factor in the increase of car/motorcycle collisions may be the weather just got nice. There are a lot of fair-weather bikers just dusting off their ride and rolling it out of winter storage.

    I’m not sure it’s all about the price of gas. My wife’s Prius gets better mileage than my old bike, and I’m sure it pollutes less. :-)

    Comment by west seattle steve — 6:23 pm May 9, 2011 #

  18. More motorcycles? Most riders only carry 6 month insurance April to September.

    Intersection: Before it went smart, this intersection use to stagger the lights. It didn’t matter which direction you were going, North or South, if you made the first light, you’d make the 2nd light. Cross traffic would snake through the intersection with a free right, but someone turning on to 35th would have to wait in the no man land in between. The problem I see with this light now is the 2nd light changes at the same time as the first light in the direction of travel on 35th. A left turning car sits in the intersection while the oncoming car runs the 2nd red light. But are they running a red light?? For a light to be a legal traffic light by the traffic code I would presume the green light has to be visible further away than 15 feet from the intersection. With the fresnal lense that green light is only intended for cross traffic entering the intersection. But the yellow and red lights don’t have the fresnal lense. So is it a legal light or not?? I don’t think it would stand the test of a traffic judge.

    Comment by Jim — 6:43 pm May 9, 2011 #

  19. I’m with Elizabeth: seniors should have to periodically be tested to make sure they still have the capability to drive safely.

    Comment by Kim — 7:54 pm May 9, 2011 #

  20. As a veteran rider who has been T-boned by a guy with a license plate saying “OLCOOT”, I am particularly aware of elderly drivers. I-35 is a nightmare for motorcyclists. It has a ton of pedestrian, parked car hazards as well as the maniacs crossing the yellow line. I try to avoid it at all costs. There are so many enjoyable routes to and from the bridge that don’t involve long sections of 35th.

    Drivers please slow down, and watch for us little guys….

    Comment by ScottR — 8:10 pm May 9, 2011 #

  21. Well, normally I don’t respond to these sort of things.

    I was there at the accident scene. I stopped because I am a nurse and wanted to see if there was anything I could do to help while waiting for the paramedics to arrive. I can only imagine that the person declaring that the elderly are incapable drivers and should require yearly testing etc… I would argue the same point for the United States allowing 16 year olds to drive before their depth perception and executive brain receptors have completed linking. (which generally does not occur until the 18 to 20 year mark) blah blah blah, perhaps she has not ever been involved in an auto accident and has no 16 year olds or elderly lucid folks in her life . This lady was alert, scared and quite aware that she had just not seen the unfortunate cyclist (which is something that has happened to us all with motorcyclists and pedestrians). She told me he appeared out of no where. While she did not say she should not drive any longer, she did convey that she was worried about having her license revoked. I can only guess that Elisabeth was the person standing by my side at the wrecked car. Well, driving conditions were gray and cloudy the motorcycle was pitch black and though I did not get over to the cyclist, they appeared to be in very dark clothing as well. Again, one of the first things this elderly woman told me was that she would probably loose her license to drive, because of this accident. I do have a 16 year old son (who by the way will not be driving until 18) who was with me at the accident scene. He and I spoke about being alert, as he pulled the age card as well. This is the kind of accident that could happen to any of us. As many pointed out that is a tough intersection. I hope that both folks are okay. I wish that bikes of all kinds had better reflectors and maybe he could have had his headlight on in a gray day like today’s. Judging from the look of the bike he probably ought to have been seen at a hospital. To you Jim, she also appeared to be trying to enter the Chevron as she was aprox 10-15 feet from the actual intersection. Where she was executing the left hand turn.

    Well there you go this accident could have been about age , though I don’t think this was the case. Some of the best drivers I know are octogenarians.

    Thanks C Cannon

    Comment by christine cannon — 8:26 pm May 9, 2011 #

  22. In fact Christine I am the woman who was standing next to you at the scene. In fact I was in a car accident caused by an octogenarian who underestimating the left hand turn he planned to make, crashed into the car driven by my 45 year old mother. That accident caused significant physical damage to me. In fact, I have twin 16 year old boys who after passing all of the requirements by the state of WA as well as hundreds of behind the wheel hours with their dad and me, will be getting their licenses.

    I am suggesting that like any other licensed “practitioner” drivers should be tested. Doctors, lawyers, even real estate agents, need to complete continuing education hours and testing to maintain their licenses. Simply being handed a drivers license at 16 or 18 does not give you the right to hold on to that license for 70 years.

    Comment by elizabeth — 8:54 pm May 9, 2011 #

  23. All accidents can happen to all kinds of people and all kinds of drivers. To say otherwise is ridiculous. It does not however change the fact that as you get older, your reflexes and reaction times change. There is nothing insulting about requesting that your “septuagenarians”, “octogenarians” or otherwise take driving exams in order to show that they are still capable of properly sharing the road.

    Comment by Amanda — 9:16 pm May 9, 2011 #

  24. I hope every one is ok, and I hope the woman finds a way to get checked out cause traffic injuries often do not appear as bad as they are till later on. I have a knee that will never be the same even after therapy, when at the time of the car accident over 15 years ago it seemed fine.

    Comment by cj — 9:54 pm May 9, 2011 #

  25. @Christine I noticed the turn into the Chevron, but the intersection had been mentioned as a problem. I’m not one to speculate, but this intersection with its interesting light setup, can fool many into thinking no one would be coming through a red light from the opposite direction. But point taken. An older Triumph motorcycle will have an equally older headlight. And unlike modern bikes, it is probably not locked on. once again speculation though.

    As a year round rider of 30 years, depth perception of a single headlight is a problem for motorists of any age. Even with my new bike, I modified the turn signals to provide marker lights, increasing visibility and depth perception to oncoming cars. My fog lamps stay on during the day too, and when faced with possible turning traffic a wiggle of the bars is as good as flashing high beams at someone. Last but not least it is amazing how many motorcyclists don’t know what the term “counter steering” is. A motorcycle steering geometry reverses after moving just a few miles per hour. Turn left to go right, and turn right to go left.

    Comment by Jim — 10:36 pm May 9, 2011 #

  26. Dear Elisabeth,
    In fairness and the spirit of care I will say I do agree with you about testing being more rigorous on both sides of the driving ages. As a nurse I have seen my fair share of auto accidents doesn’t matter to me what the age factor as the lic in the state of washington could def. be improved upon. We can agree there for sure Elisabeth.

    I see now that you have been injured by an elder that is painful. I have been car accidents caused by others myself and the trauma of them lingers for sure. And I agree that there is nothing at all insulting about asking our elders to be required to go through more testing. I my self had to stop my father from driving after a massive heart attack and other issues I felt he was a danger to himself and others. So I certainly am not just thinking elders should just be able to drive and many states require more and frequent testing. Sadly we don’t.
    I also know What the driver said and I was not that she should no longer drive. I was that she was scared she would loose her lic. Driving at 16 is a big right of passage here in America. I happen to disagree with that law as I have seen many more terrible accidents at the hands of 16 year olds behind the wheel. I think many of my medical /prof. colleagues would agree. Many of us would like to see that law changed to 18.

    With love and respect to us all here it is nice to listen to all our opinions and thanks for listening C C

    Comment by christine cannon — 10:36 pm May 9, 2011 #

  27. Very interesting! My PhD advisor in graduate school many, many years ago said that “looking at the statistical evidence” you should avoid left hand turns at all costs. By avoiding left hand turns (e.g., turn right – go around the block and drive straight through the intersection) you will avoid many of driving’s most awful consequences!

    Comment by out for a walk — 10:43 pm May 9, 2011 #

  28. A motorcycle rider refused treatment but the driver INSIDE the car was citing arm pain?

    Comment by ummm — 12:56 am May 10, 2011 #

  29. I would “refuse treatment” for anything less than a broken bone, and have. A near 90 year old might be injured more easily, and arm pain could be anything, including something that needs to be checked out right away.
    .
    If a driver says that someone “just jumped out”, vehicles “appearing out of nowhere”, etc, all they are saying is that they weren’t paying adequate attention. Crashes caused by people not paying attention are not accidents.

    Comment by austin — 7:50 am May 10, 2011 #

  30. u hit the nail on the head austin its that simple

    Comment by DWHJ — 8:37 am May 10, 2011 #

  31. The woman who caused the collision should realize that it’s time to sell the car and quit driving. We don’t need to examine older drivers every year, older drivers need to examine themselves. A collision is strong evidence that your driving skills need attention. This is true for all ages.

    Comment by brn2bm — 9:31 am May 10, 2011 #

  32. It should be noted that “regularly testing seniors” would be age discrimination and is against the law. Instead, we would need to regularly test everyone, which I think would be a good move. If there is, in deed, a propensity for seniors to loose driving competence as they age, then regular testing for everyone would take care of the issue. This would, however, cost money, which the state does not have much of right now!

    Comment by Westsider — 10:37 am May 10, 2011 #

  33. As a rider myself I was coming by after the accident and the car and bike were still where it ended. It sent chills up my spine as the bike “a vintage type” had the front forks broken off and the front wheel still attached was bent horribly “also note the color of the bike was like an OD green not black” I’ve seen this bike around Westie before and on more than one occasion. I was immediately thinking the worst for the rider. This bike was a vintage well cared for project type bike and not just your everyday “need to save on gas” type bike. Types of crashes you see as to the type of gear and care that goes toward the bike itself greatly reduces the chances of an accident and speaks volumes about the “type” of rider. Case in point, go to a motorcycle yard and look at the street bike wrecks and almost all of them will have a BALD tire on the back. I am very glad the rider is OK and that the driver of the car is also well. If anything this has replayed “like a broken record” for riders is it’s up to us to be extra careful, because it is a very dangerous way to travel, especially in large metropolitan areas. Everybody just be careful out there. Car and bikes alike. Hope to get an update on the rider. If anyone knows anything please let us know.

    Comment by Nate — 11:38 am May 10, 2011 #

  34. I am interested if her attempted left turn was even legal ? I see double yellow lines. Oh that’s right, nobody realizes what double yellow lines are for

    Comment by Paul — 4:23 pm May 10, 2011 #

  35. I’m a still a good ways off from 70 or 80 and I nearly did the same maneuver to a motorcyclist this past weekend. It was scary and too close – and I am paying a heck of a lot more attention now. It had nothing to do with my age. It was a near accident.

    Comment by NotMe — 8:58 pm May 10, 2011 #

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