Update: Bicyclist killed in crash east of West Seattle low bridge

May 1, 2013 at 8:19 am | In West Seattle news, WS breaking news | 145 Comments

(UPDATED 9:58 PM with photo of ‘ghost bike’ memorial at the crash scene)

(Intersection of E. Marginal/Hanford around 9:40 am; victim was a short distance north of photo’s right edge)
8:19 AM: Just a few blocks northeast of the east end of the low bridge, a collision this morning has killed a bicycle rider, along the route between West Seattle and downtown. Via SPD Blotter, Seattle Police report:

Seattle Police and Fire responded to a fatality collision between a bicyclist and a semi-truck this morning at South Hanford and East Marginal Way South.

Witnesses called 911 at around 7:15 this morning informing first responders of the collision. Witnesses began giving the adult male cyclist CPR at the scene until Seattle Fire arrived, but the cyclist did not survive his injuries. Detectives from the Traffic Collision Investigation Squad (TCIS) are enroute to the location where they will process the scene and begin their investigation.

According to SDOT, East Marginal is blocked at the scene for two blocks to the north and to the south, as is Hanford for a block eastward. We’ll add more information to the story as we get it; it’s too early for any word on the rider’s identity.

8:32 AM UPDATE: KING 5 reporter Roberta Romero at the scene quotes witnesses as saying the bicycle hit the back of the semi-truck (update here). Meantime, in a tragic coincidence noted by commenter Lizben, today happens to be the first day of Bike to Work Month.

(Unmarked police car at scene around 9:40 am; bicycle is on road toward right side of photo)
9:32 AM UPDATE: We went to SODO in hopes of finding out a bit more – parked a few blocks away and co-publisher Patrick Sand walked to the scene. The Medical Examiner has just arrived, and that means, police say, the scene will likely be closed another hour or so.

(Semi-truck, stopped north of the crash scene)
10:24 AM UPDATE: Called SPD media relations to ask if they had any updated information yet such as the rider’s age – SFD had estimated “30s” in an early report. Det. Renée Witt says they won’t get that information until the Traffic Collision Investigation Squad clears the scene; she promises to update us when that’s available.

11:08 AM UPDATE: Police have just announced via radio that East Marginal is open again; they are clearing the scene. Another note, as Kathy pointed out in comments – the city Bicycle Advisory Board meets tonight, and this is bound to be discussed (location/time are on the SBAB home page).

4:25 PM UPDATE: No new official information so far. As pointed out in the ongoing comments discussion, The Seattle Times (WSB partner; paywalled link here) quotes a spokesperson for Mayor McGinn as saying the city will consider some quick safety improvements at the scene, perhaps striping.

7 PM: We are at the Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board meeting and will publish a separate update later. The meeting began with a moment of silence for the still-not-publicly-identified bicyclist who was killed. SDOT’s Dongho Chang elaborated on the mentioned-earlier mayoral commitment, saying SDOT will report to the Mayor “within 30 days” about some actions that can be taken relatively quickly, though he had no timeline for then making them happen. Most of the meeting is about the project that’s been a big one for the board – the Seattle Bicycle Master Plan update; city reps say a draft should be out within a month.

9:58 PM UPDATE: Kathy Dunn, one of the West Seattle Bike Connections members who were also at the SBAB meeting, has shared this photo taken as she rode back to West Seattle tonight, past the scene of this morning’s crash:

8:51 THURSDAY MORNING: SPD Blotter has updated the crash report with some early findings, and has also reported that the victim was 54. We’re working on a separate followup including more on last night’s board meeting but in the meantime, here’s where to see the police update.

145 Comments

  1. I just rode in by this. Awful. The most jarring thing to see on the first say of bike to work month and the first time being on a bike this year. Quite a reality check to be careful. Road was still blocked but cyclists and pedestrian could get around it. Be careful out there!

    Comment by Lizben — 8:28 am May 1, 2013 #

  2. Very sad news…My thoughts go out to his family. I ride through there every morning at 6:30. That “T” intersection is typically pretty empty of vehicles.

    Comment by Cowpie — 8:31 am May 1, 2013 #

  3. I didn’t witness the crash but, biking in to work this morning, I arrived there right before EMTs gave up on chest compressions. Talking to a couple of the witnesses, I gathered that the semi was making a left turn and the bicyclist thought he had enough clearance to cross the street from the sidewalk to the bike lane but his bike bag got hooked in part of the truck and he got pulled under and run over by four tires. The driver didn’t even realize until he was flagged down by witnesses. Bicyclist had a black bike and, according to the witnesses, was around 55 years old.

    Comment by Nathan Dufault — 8:35 am May 1, 2013 #

  4. I rode by this accident, too – I was going south and passed the scene before the medics got there. I saw a big black pickup, not a semi. I also noticed that the cyclist was down 100 yards north of the intersection (and not in the bike lane.)

    Nice days bring out lots of bikes – be safe out there people.

    Comment by Geronimo — 8:35 am May 1, 2013 #

  5. Geronimo – without being too grisly, I’d note that where a victim in any kind of collision winds up is not necessarily where they were when the impact happened.

    Comment by WSB — 8:40 am May 1, 2013 #

  6. I was there right after it happened. The cyclist was crossing and went in front of the semi. It did have a trailer with no container on it.

    A crew from the Coast Guard was passing and stopped immediately to block traffic (so many thanks to them) and began helping (looking for a pulse, etc) I called 911 as another witness was not able to. A nurse on her way to work stopped and began CPR with Coast Guard crew until the medics arrived. Everyone did what they could.

    My heart goes out to the cyclist and his family, as well as the truck driver.

    Ride safe, drive safe.

    Comment by EN — 8:41 am May 1, 2013 #

  7. I rode by this morning and was stunned to see this. The victim was north of the intersection of Hanford and East Marginal. There is no “left turn” that could be made that would have dragged the victim to that location. A right turn from Hanford onto Marginal perhaps.

    Comment by BPP — 8:46 am May 1, 2013 #

  8. My deepest condolences to this man’s family and loved ones. This is a terrible tragedy.

    Comment by CEA — 8:50 am May 1, 2013 #

  9. Let’s not guess at what happened. If you are a bicyclist, please be careful. If you are a driver, please be careful.

    No matter who was in the in the right, the result is the same for the bicyclist.

    I saw him lying in the intersection I cross twice a day. I won’t forget him.

    Comment by Bob Anderton — 8:52 am May 1, 2013 #

  10. Oh, how truly awful.

    Comment by Heather — 8:54 am May 1, 2013 #

  11. I rode by as well. The cyclist’s body was not 100 yards north of the intersection — more like 10-20 yards.

    Comment by Russ — 8:55 am May 1, 2013 #

  12. My heart is broken this morning for this man’s family and friends. Please be safe and super alert to your surroundings as a rider/driver/walker/person sharing the space.

    Comment by Elizagrace — 8:56 am May 1, 2013 #

  13. I don’t think the black pickup was there when I arrived but there was a sedan next to the bicyclist. Witnesses told me that the sedan was not involved in the accident. Semi was parked in the middle lane a couple hundred yards north of the accident. You are correct that he didn’t make it to the bike lane.

    Comment by Nathan Dufault — 8:56 am May 1, 2013 #

  14. Horrible, no matter what. Ride safe, people.

    Comment by Ian — 8:57 am May 1, 2013 #

  15. Please ride safe. DO NOT follow the lead of many of the foolish risk taking bicycle riders out there. DO utilize community assets like West Seattle Spokespeople. A safe route through that corridor is a reoccurring ride theme. I feel sick that we haven’t reached out to more new riders to help with safe route selection and transitioning to bicycle use.

    Comment by alkistu — 8:57 am May 1, 2013 #

  16. Well said EN and Bob Anderton. Thinking of all those involved and thanks for our wonderful community to help at the scene.

    Comment by Seattlegal — 8:58 am May 1, 2013 #

  17. I was one of the many that passed / paused at this scene this morning. The folks (commuters, Coast Guard, and what appeared to be a nurse) who stopped should be acknowledged for doing what they could for this man before fire/aid showed up.

    What a horrible beginning to the month and a grim reminder that we (all of us – cyclists, peds, and vehicles) should always be vigilant out there. Of course, thoughts are with his family.

    Comment by onshay — 8:59 am May 1, 2013 #

  18. Thank you, Bob A, and I echo that. Also, as the day goes on, if anyone believes they know who the victim was, please remember that WSB does not publish names until we know from authorities that next of kin have been notified – that goes for comments, as well as the story. Thank you. – Tracy

    Comment by WSB — 9:00 am May 1, 2013 #

  19. I was by there about 7:30, still stunned a hour and half later. My heart pours out to this man’s family and loved ones.
    I ride this route every day and will continue to do so holding thoughts of my fellow bicyclist in today’s tragedy.

    Comment by TK — 9:01 am May 1, 2013 #

  20. This is just awful. My heart goes out to the family of this person. I used to bike between WS and downtown regularly but gave up, partly because that very stretch of road felt so unsafe.
    .
    I hope the tragic and needless loss of this person’s life yields greater realization and acceptance of the need for separate bike-only lanes on routes (such as this one) which are meant to be used by bicycles. Riders of bicycles CANNOT be a planning afterthought, mixed in amongst 15,000 pound semi tractors. What happened today is the result of that approach.

    Comment by Ben — 9:08 am May 1, 2013 #

  21. This stretch and the one at the beginning of delridge where there’s no great bike lane are the reasons I gave up riding to work. My thoughts are definitely with this rider and his loved ones.

    Comment by D Bean — 9:16 am May 1, 2013 #

  22. My sincere sympathy for the family. What a terrible way to start the bike to/from work month. :(

    Please be extra cautious out there, everyone.

    Comment by Dan — 9:23 am May 1, 2013 #

  23. I rode by, too, and am so sorry for the rider and his family and loved ones. For the truck driver, too, and his family. I would like to echo Bob Anderton’s wise counsel and thoughts.

    Instead of blaming or flaming today, I will try to focus on breathing, on the road and the people around me, and on life.

    Comment by Don Brubeck — 9:31 am May 1, 2013 #

  24. Wow. This is gut-wrenching to read. I must have rode by maybe minutes before this happened. There is not much traffic (trucks or otherwise) around 7am in the mornings there. I deleted my GoPro video footage when I got to work (before reading this), but there would not have been anything related to this incident.
    .
    Here is the King 5 report:
    http://www.king5.com/news/cities/seattle/Bicyclist-killed-after-collision-with-semi-in-Seattle-205601511.html
    .
    The intersection at Hanford and Marginal can be tricky because the automobile turn lane (from northbound Marginal to eastbound Hanford) crosses the bike lane (where it is painted green).
    .
    Most people riding bikes usually ride on the sidewalk from the bridge all the way to this traffic light and then cross back (diagonal) onto Marginal (heading northbound). This can be unsafe, but there is no “easy” way to cross Marginal after coming off the bridge (because of the poor intersection design and sidewalk route at Marginal & Spokane).
    .
    The ENTIRE length of Marginal, from Spokane to Atlantic, should be a physically separated two-way cycle track on the west side of Marginal.
    .
    The street surface on Marginal is in TERRIBLE condition. Especially at the Hanford intersection. I have flatted there and almost wrecked several times because of the road conditions, and I have excellent bike-handling skills with rugged/puncture-protection tires (700×42).
    .
    From the video in the King 5 report, it appears the truck was heading northbound on Marginal and the bike was laying on the west side. I have an idea about how this collision could have happened, but won’t speculate. I am very interested in the report conclusion.
    .
    This is significant because Marginal is a major thoroughfare for freight and people riding bikes. Painted bike lanes are not acceptable here. The road conditions need to be improved, especially at the Hanford intersection. This will become even more critical as the Viaduct comes down and more vehicular traffic uses Marginal.
    .
    I hope this has an impact on the Port and Freight Advisory Board, because something needs to be done along this stretch of road. Riding next to semi-trucks with only paint separating me is not pleasant.
    http://westseattlebikeconnections.org/2013/04/16/freight-advisory-board-meeting-notes/

    Comment by Jeff H — 9:31 am May 1, 2013 #

  25. I biked by as well earlier this morning and I’m still stunned. Everyone be safe.

    Comment by Greg — 9:33 am May 1, 2013 #

  26. We are just leaving the crash area – came down to try to see if we could find out anything more. Not much, but adding to the story. In addition to Don’s note about “blaming and flaming” I also need to say that too … we try to keep this site a “bike vs. car” flame-war-free zone but especially in relation to a tragedy like this. The safety issues of the area are certainly grounds for discussion. Generalizations about riders and/or drivers are not. Thanks yet again – TR

    Comment by WSB — 9:38 am May 1, 2013 #

  27. Also passed by this tragic scene this morning while biking to downtown. Already mentioned but thanks so much to those who stopped to assist and sincerest condolences to the family.

    I only recently started commuting via bike – perhaps it is the timing I but don’t find that particular stretch of road very hazardous…traffic is light around 7:15 when I come through and the semis are usually parked further down the road (waiting for signal to come load up?). In any case, a reminder for everyone to be aware of their surroundings and slow down.

    Comment by Jason — 9:40 am May 1, 2013 #

  28. Jeff H…. I agree with everything you stated! I would love to see;

    “The ENTIRE length of Marginal, from Spokane to Atlantic, should be a physically separated two-way cycle track on the west side of Marginal.”

    Comment by Cowpie — 9:42 am May 1, 2013 #

  29. I just rode past there half hour ago as part of my daily commute to Bellevue via downtown. Im gutted. That intersection sucks. Even on a good day. I stopped riding thru the road part of that intersection a while ago when busy because the surface is terrible. And ride on the sidewalk carefully. My heart goes out to that mans family. I have so many more miles to cover in training for the stp and I pray they will be safe ones.

    Comment by themightyrabbit — 9:45 am May 1, 2013 #

  30. I’m amazed that more cyclists don’t use the sidewalk on Marginal Way. It is legal to ride on sidewalks in Seattle…

    Comment by NE — 9:46 am May 1, 2013 #

  31. So sad.

    Comment by West Seattle since 1979 — 9:50 am May 1, 2013 #

  32. Ugh. As a (ir)regular commuter I know this intersection all too well. I usually cross from the sidewalk trail on the west side of E Marginal to the sharrow lane on east side of E Marginal right before S Hinds St. more or less even with the ILWU Hall. That would put me right into the bike lane where this occurred. What’s the consensus for safest route? Stay and ride north on sidewalk and then cross to east side of E Marginal north of S Hanford?

    Comment by MattT — 10:00 am May 1, 2013 #

  33. I’ve ridden that route hundreds and hundreds if times and this is extremely sad. My heart goes out to EVERYONE involved. We all need to share the roads and we all need to be safe.

    Comment by Heath — 10:00 am May 1, 2013 #

  34. I’m heartbroken.
    .
    This IS a really dangerous area to cross, with no clear/easy place for bikes to get from the West Seattle separated trail to the northbound bike lane into Downtown. I usually stay on the west side of E Marginal Way S until the first light, stop and hit the crosswalk button, face East, and turn left like a car with a protected left. The road surface is still terrible, though.
    .
    Be safe, everyone.

    Comment by Kelly — 10:04 am May 1, 2013 #

  35. There must be a serious design problem with that intersection if, as it is claimed, the driver could not see a bicyclist crossing in front of him as he was turning on a clear sunny day, even though, as it is assumed, he was looking ahead to where he was going.

    As for blaming drivers, there is no point. Driving over a cyclist or pedestrian is not a crime in WA, even when the driver ran a red light, drove the wrong side of the road, or whatever, so long as they where sober when they did it. Legally, it is the cyclist or pedestrian’s responsibility that he or she was hurt or killed. Drivers are not held accountable. Their insurance may have to pay up to their usually low coverage. It seems the worse the driver, the lower the insurance coverage they carry. But the drivers themselves are always off the hook, no matter what they did.

    Comment by Chicama — 10:04 am May 1, 2013 #

  36. Came upon this as I was heading to work. Made my heart heavy to see someone had just lost their life so tragically. I don’t like that the bike lane crosses over Alaska at Hanford (granted the bicyclist was on the other side of the intersection – I was heading from the viaduct towards downtown) it’s always made me nervous that the bike lane crosses the intersection there and I drive this route everyday. My thoughts are with his family and the driver of the semi regardless of who may have been at fault.

    Comment by Kim Grummel — 10:15 am May 1, 2013 #

  37. How absolutely horrible. Yes, that’s a TERRIBLE crossing, and there’s no really reasonable way to do it. You are dumped onto the sidewalk from the bridge, heading the wrong way (left side of the road), have to jump the curb or try to time a safe crossing at one of the curb cuts, and cars and trucks are not only using the road but pulling out from both sides. Traffic varies considerably day-to-day.
    .
    So, so sorry for the cyclist’s friends and family.

    Comment by amalia — 10:19 am May 1, 2013 #

  38. Ditto — well said, Bob Anderton and EN. I passed by the aftermath. Shocked and heartbroken.

    Comment by Ted Diamond — 10:20 am May 1, 2013 #

  39. WOW, how horrible.

    What a terrible thing to happen, for the rider, the truck drive and their families.

    To those who stopped to help, thank you.

    As a member of the West Seattle Bike Connection and a year-around daily bike commuter I would like to put out a call to any and all cyclists who would be interested in doing a memorial ride in this gentleman’s memory.

    I will purpose this to our group and imagine they will all be in favor, maybe the Cascade Bike Club too. Once things have been planned we (WSBC) will put the info on our website westseattlebikeconnections.org/ as well as the WSblog for everyone to see.

    And as stated by so many already, stay safe, no matter what your mode of transportation is.

    Comment by sbre — 10:20 am May 1, 2013 #

  40. This is really sad. The city needs to get bikes off that route, and have a dedicated lane on 1st, and a safe link between the lower deck bridge and 1st, and just let the port have that stretch. I won’t ride in SoDo at all. Too dangerous for any kind of transportation that is not motorized. I send my prayers.

    Comment by daddy — 10:20 am May 1, 2013 #

  41. @NE, the sidewalks on the west side of Marginal way aren’t any good either. They are bad condition and go up and down and have barely enough space for one rider.

    Comment by Marco — 10:21 am May 1, 2013 #

  42. My heart is heavy. I’m so sorry.

    Comment by AJP — 10:24 am May 1, 2013 #

  43. MattT….. in my opinion the safest route is to simply stay on the west side sidewalk all the way into town. Just look out for the 2 fire hydrants the City, for some odd reason, placed in the middle of the sidewalk.

    Comment by Cowpie — 10:27 am May 1, 2013 #

  44. As cyclists, please let this be a reminder to us all to be careful out there. As riders, it’s all too easy to get carried away in our commutes, and thrill of two wheels. Too often we take unnecessary risks, and lose touch with the real risks we put ourselves in. It’s also easy to blame cars, and others we share the roads with. I’m not implying that’s the case here – but I do think it’s a reminder to take care out there, and to ride responsibly for yourself. Please remember that, take care on the road, and Watch out for yourself. My heart goes out to all those involved.

    Comment by Jon — 10:27 am May 1, 2013 #

  45. Extremely sad, I rode by around 8:15 and saw the aftermath.
    I have biked this route for 6+ years, everyday.

    I stopped crossing that intersection 4 years ago and I ONLY use the sidewalk on the west side of that road.

    This is such a tragedy and I really hope everyone affected by this, myself included, can come to their own terms with the fragility of life this incident highlights.

    Peace be with you.

    Comment by k2 — 10:28 am May 1, 2013 #

  46. As a daily bike commuter along that route, it was very sobering to ride by the accident an hour or so later.

    I concur completely with Jeff H – our poor bike infrastructure is an indirect cause of these situations that can lead to this kind of tragedy. Painting a stipe or sharrow on a street (usually only for portions) does not create a safe environment. I know people dont like taxes, but I’d be happy to pay a commuter bike fee if that revenue was used for planning and improving bike routes – real SEPARATED bike routes. I also think cyclists should be licensed and need to take mandatory safety training.

    Regardless, my heart goes out to the cyclist and all others involved – let’s learn from this horrible event and do what we can to prevent it from happening again. God bless you, my cycling brother.

    Comment by B-Check — 10:30 am May 1, 2013 #

  47. Earlier in the thread, someone mentioned a sedan. If it was black, it’s a police vehicle. We are back from the scene and adding a few photos, including one with that car and the victim’s bicycle, as well as one with the semi, which was stopped further north. We’ll continue to add information to the story as/if we get it through the day. Have not yet been able to research that intersection’s history but will be working on that – TR

    Comment by WSB — 10:32 am May 1, 2013 #

  48. And thank you, Jeff H, for not speculating. I, like you, have been running through this in my mind, and have settled on a likely scenario, given what I know about the way trucks and bikes move through that intersection. But that’s for later. Right now, shock and sadness.

    Comment by Ted Diamond — 10:33 am May 1, 2013 #

  49. @Marco – I have to disagree. I am a regular bike commuter and take the sidewalk all the way from the lower bridge to Royal Brougham when going north into Seattle. They do go up and down at (gated off) entrance ways into the port, but they’re not in bad shape, and there is room to pass. Plus there is hardly anyone ever on them aside from the occasional work crew.

    I’m not that fast of a biker, but I do not find that they slow me down, and they are safer.

    Comment by Andy — 10:35 am May 1, 2013 #

  50. My heart goes out to his family.

    Comment by Ali — 10:36 am May 1, 2013 #

  51. So very sad. Be safe out there folks and look out for your fellow cyclists.

    Comment by Jakealyn — 10:38 am May 1, 2013 #

  52. Just widen the sidewalk on the west side of E. Marginal Way and turn it into a two way cycle track with a separated sidewalk for pedestrians. There is plenty of room for bikes, pedestrians and and traffic. Bikers would still have to cross to get to SODO but well marked crosswalks should take care of that. I think the time has ended for SDOT to paint bike lanes that just disappear in dangerous areas. Another example is the bike lane going up Admiral Way that disappears at the top. It’s another accident waiting to happen. Please add your voice to advocate for safer routes in the Bicycle Master Plan hearings. There is a Seattle Bike Advisory Board meeting about the Bicycle Master Plan tonight from 6-8 pm in the Bertha Landes Room at City Hall.

    Comment by Kathy — 10:40 am May 1, 2013 #

  53. That sidewalk is safe if you take it slowly, but there are trees and hydrants in places that can make unsafe obstacles. And the surface was buckled in several places in the Feb 2001 Nisqually Earthquake. It was repaired in typical Seattle fashion, with asphalt patches making for a bumpy ride.

    Comment by Kathy — 10:45 am May 1, 2013 #

  54. @sbre, the annual Ride of Silence is ironically coming up on May 15. I will be contacting the organizer to have this year’s route visit the intersection of this morning’s accident, not only to honor this cyclist’s memory, but to raise awareness for the horrible design of cycling infrastructure along the East Marginal Way corridor.
    .
    http://seattle.rideofsilence.org/

    Comment by 2-wheels-a-go-go — 10:48 am May 1, 2013 #

  55. Terrible news to read this morning. My heart goes out to the victim’s family and also the truck driver. What an awful accident.

    Comment by vinyllover — 10:53 am May 1, 2013 #

  56. Such tragic news. I know the cycling community in Seattle will do the right thing and come to the aid of this poor soul’s family. My heart is with them.

    Once the grieving is over, I hope you all can get a lobby together to establish a better route from West Seattle to downtown. This rivals the worst supported, most heavily used, cycling corridors in the country.

    Comment by KFC - Former Seattle cyclist — 10:53 am May 1, 2013 #

  57. I’ve feared this scenario for years, and even warned our local city councilman about it. Now now it’s come to be, and odds are I know the victim personally. I’m sad, sick to my stomach, and angry at this utterly foreseeable event. Bikes and semi trucks traveling mere inches from each other? Madness.

    Comment by pjmanley — 10:57 am May 1, 2013 #

  58. @Kathy – Making that sidewalk into a bike track is a good suggestion. And it would probably only have to be one way (north), as southbound bikes can safely go in the bike path on the road since there are no cross streets.

    Comment by Andy — 10:57 am May 1, 2013 #

  59. I commute through here every day and am usually thinking about my wife and kids while avoiding pot holes, exposed railroad tracks and debris while semis pass by only a few feet away. I’ve had several close calls and seeing this this morning really puts the fragility of life into perspective. I’d love to see a safer biking solution from West Seattle to downtown. I’m all for sharing, but vehicles and bikes don’t play well together. Dedicated bike paths need to be made a priority.

    Comment by Jason Grube — 11:06 am May 1, 2013 #

  60. How criminal is it that the city dumps thousands of new apartments in WS, cuts public transport, then completely fails to provide a safe passage for bike commuters who are doing the right thing? How can they not make a safe corridor for one of the busiest roads in the city? The council needs to hang their collective head.
    We should all demand a safe corridor in this man’s name. In his memory.

    Comment by Neighbor — 11:11 am May 1, 2013 #

  61. I’ve been lobbying for simple safety improvements to this route for years and years. How about simple paving of rutted, potholed, crevassed pavement. Cyclists need to cross from the west side of the street to the east side while looking out for vehicles AND making sure they don’t ride into a crevass, pothole, rut, or ancient exposed train tracks.

    Though there are exceptions, I find semi-truck drivers to be professional drivers as opposed to car drivers who are all amateurs. Particularly in this area, semi-drivers tend not to be going fast. There’s a freight yard entrance there.

    The sidewalk route only goes so far and as noted previously has 2 fire hydrants right in the middle of the path. What planner idiot thought that was a good idea.

    Some improvements have been made along this route, particularly on the north end approaching S. Atlantic. Improvements need to be made in the south section where this tragedy occurred.

    It’s unfortunate, but we all know there’s no political momentum for basic safety improvements until someone dies, and even then it’s not a sure thing.

    Comment by I. Ponder — 11:22 am May 1, 2013 #

  62. I rode by about 15 minutes after the accident. I was shocked and extremely saddened, and I echo everything that has been said regarding the need for improved infrastructure along this stretch of road (as well as elsewhere).

    I have no idea who, if anyone, was at fault in this morning’s accident, however, I have to say that I was literally dumbfounded to watch the actions of two cyclists directly in front of me. Almost immediately after passing the accident scene, both bikers cut across East Marginal directly in front of another semi leaving the port and were nearly hit. Unbelievable.

    Comment by Andy — 11:25 am May 1, 2013 #

  63. Like so many others, rode past this and am sad, stunned (and mad at times). Wonder how I’ll feel on the ride home.

    Since nobody has mentioned this option for getting from West to East side of northbound marginal….

    After the lower bridge, now riding East on the North side of Spokane Street, we take the crosswalk at that first intersection (Spokane and Marginal), before turning left onto Marginal. This is a reasonably well controlled crossing with good visibility. Once there, you’re on the E. side of Marginal, in the bike lane. This is, IMHO, the best option if you’re OK riding the bike lane. You still need to navigate the Hanford intersection, though I’ve never had issues with it or the bike lane going in to the city.

    Having said that, I’d definitely like to see a path, separated by concrete barriers, to get cyclist all the way to Royal Brougham.

    Ride safely and confidently.

    Comment by BilCoh — 11:26 am May 1, 2013 #

  64. for those asking about the best way to get thru that ghastly intersection, I recommend take it slow along the sidewalk from w.seattle. remember at the intersection there can be cross truck traffic going into or out of the port. so yield and drop your speed.

    there is no need to go fast thru there after the intersection with the fire hydrants and other obstacles. once there’s a safe gap then head back over onto the roadway and then you can get back up to speed. that’s what’s kept me out of harms way from that bad road surface, trucks and cars trying to jostle for space.

    maybe after this the city will improve the road surface soon. we should be writing the city to influence their decisions. they’ve at least fixed most of the disaster that was Hanford St – that was worse all these years since I started riding this area back in 1996. hate that road.

    Stay safe and heartfelt thoughts for the family and those involved.

    Comment by themightrabbit — 11:27 am May 1, 2013 #

  65. I ride that stretch entirely on the sidewalk from Spokane to the waterfront. As crappy as that sidewalk is, the results of my cost analysis is pretty clear; bumpy vs. today’s news.

    That sidewalk on the west side of Marginal/Alaska could be easily repaved with adding the space of the so-called bike lane on the east side of the street and be perfect at a minimal expense. Just repaint the car lanes a few feet to the east.

    Ride like half the people out there cannot see you, and that the half that can is actively trying to kill you. Cynical, but safe. Poor guy.

    Comment by MCJ — 11:28 am May 1, 2013 #

  66. @daddy “The city needs to get bikes off that route, and have a dedicated lane on 1st,”

    no. completely disagree. 1st avenue is another complete nightmare to bicycle on (except for maybe later in the evening) with the cars jostling to get to starbucks and up to the city avoiding route 99.

    I’ve had more close calls on that road than east marginal way. People do not care about bikes there. And don’t get me started on 4th.

    The only decent thing in SODO is a brief bicycle trail next to the light rail on 5th. But it’s incomplete. And just getting between E.Marginal and 5th is another roll of the dice game. Lander St is rough. Hanford is worse between 1st and 4th.

    No idea how it’s going to be solved but it’s frustrating given the amount of asphalt in SODO that there’s not more safe choices.

    not safe at all.

    Comment by themightrabbit — 11:33 am May 1, 2013 #

  67. Like other bike commuters that have previously commented, that stretch from Harbor Island and Spokane up past Hanford is super sketchy and I’ve had the same close calls as others as I try to watch for semi trucks and car traffic in both north and south directions while keeping one eye on the asphalt to avoid holes, cracks, tracks and debris as I make my way from the west side of the street to the east side of the street. My suggestion: get rid of the bike path on the east side of the street and make a bike/pedestrian only trail that extends from the WS bridge/Spokane Street all the way up to Atlantic Ave where the “Elliott Bay trail” starts and heads north from there. My heart goes out to the cyclist’s family. Peace be with you.

    Comment by Dave — 11:33 am May 1, 2013 #

  68. @MCJ
    absolutely. Ride more paranoid about other road users than your average motorcycle rider. everyone’s out to get you, even if they’re not. wear a mirror.

    Stay safe!

    Comment by themightrabbit — 11:34 am May 1, 2013 #

  69. sorry to spam, but here’s what they’re doing on the new Apple campus for bicycling lanes, with an extra buffer zone. this particular road would be ideal for this.

    http://appleinsider.com/articles/13/04/24/apple-files-updated-campus-2-build-plans-adds-pedestrian-walkways-and-bicycle-pats

    Comment by themightrabbit — 11:39 am May 1, 2013 #

  70. I haven’t been biking to work lately but used to do this route every day. I also used to ride in the bike lane on the east side of Marginal getting there in one of the ways mentioned above which was always a bit hairy. Also didn’t really like being that close to the trucks going by me so had been just staying on the sidewalk all the way into town. Sure, there are some obstacles (bumps, hydrants, trees) and it definitely slows you down but I thot it was worth it and safer. Definitely would be better with a separated bike lane tho!

    Comment by Jerry Hoffmeister — 11:41 am May 1, 2013 #

  71. I passed this accident on my way to work. All I could say was “oh, no” when I saw the bike and the man covered with a white blanket. My thoughts go out to his family.
    Be safe out there fellow cyclists, don’t take chances, always assume danger is around you and plan your escape route should it occur!!!

    Comment by Jerry — 11:44 am May 1, 2013 #

  72. Just tragic. What we have here is a sad loss of life. Blame takes a far back seat to that. My heart goes out to his love ones.

    Having spent a short time downtown, I have learned very quickly one very important thing; NEVER ASSUME. As a driver and a pedestrian I have seen bicyclists hit cars and cars hit bicyclists. I’ve seen cars hit pedestrians and pedestrians walk into cars. All with right of way or breaking the law. Just because the street lights or walk signs show a particular safety indication – never assume because you could end up like this man. Be careful, and be mindful and the only thing to assume is that the others out there are NOT paying attention to you and your well being.

    Comment by Carter — 11:50 am May 1, 2013 #

  73. Agree with Dave, extend the Elliott Bay Trail and eliminate the bike lane. Only problem is port traffic. They’d have to learn to look before entering trail space.
    .
    I feel so heartsick about what precipitated this conversation. Improvements will come too late for the cyclist who got hit today. So sad.

    Comment by amalia — 11:52 am May 1, 2013 #

  74. I am very sad for the rider, diver and their families. What a tragic accident. I pray they all will find the strength and peace to somehow get through today and the other hard days that lie ahead.

    Comment by alkiobserver — 11:56 am May 1, 2013 #

  75. I also ride this route every day and am saddened by today’s death. As cyclist, we all have to make our own choices of what we feel is the safest way to ride based on our speed, traffic conditions and our ability level. There is no “right” to deal with an intersection like that (I usually stay on the sidewalk until I’m practically at the Coast Guard facility). For a faster rider, though, this may be impractical due to other cyclists, joggers, and the fire hydrants in the middle of the sidewalk. I do think dedicated, separated bike lanes are always the best option for both drivers and cyclists, but obviously that costs big money.

    As has been said by others, my heart goes out to the families of the cyclist and the truck driver and everyone feeling affected by today.

    Big thanks to WSB for reminding us not to turn this into a bike vs. car flame war. Nobody wins when tragedies like this happen. Finger pointing only serves to extend the tragedy. This WSB comment section reminds me that constructive conversation can happen without name calling.

    Comment by B. Billy — 11:58 am May 1, 2013 #

  76. God, as i was riding in this morning i was asking myself what the hell was going on since they had this street completely blocked. I was using the sidewalk on the west side of the street as i recommend everyone else does. It gave me a horrible feeling even though i didn’t know what was going on. What a horrible accident, I wish the best to this person’s family.

    Comment by kaveh — 12:07 pm May 1, 2013 #

  77. Sad news indeed. I do completely agree with BilCoh. This is the way I go when I ride my bike.

    Comment by Benjamin — 12:09 pm May 1, 2013 #

  78. @themightrabbit “The only decent thing in SODO is a brief bicycle trail next to the light rail on 5th. But it’s incomplete.”

    Agreed. Getting all the way to 5th presents another set of issues though. Two sets of tracks, blind u turn routes along Spokane.

    Maybe a dedicated n-s path on the east side of the rail, from Spokane to behind Home Depot to Lander? What a cluster it all is.

    Comment by daddy — 12:10 pm May 1, 2013 #

  79. I rode past this scene as well, and my heart is broken for this cyclist, for his family, and for his friends. What a terrible terrible way to start the day, the spring, and bike to work month.

    Comment by Bikejuju — 12:11 pm May 1, 2013 #

  80. Really sad news. I hate to hear of anyone getting killed.
    I have ridden that route for over 25 years.

    I remember when the Port reprimanded the truck drivers for not being nice to bikers and driving too fast. It looks as if the truck may have been going to fast and cut in front of the biker. Semis without a trailer can really accelerate fast!

    I advocated for the removal of the tracks. There used to be 6 sets that cyclists had to go around or risk crashing on. I think all of West Seattle deserves a nice route to downtown. The Cycletrack idea on the west side is a great one! Besides First Avenue this is the best route to downtown. We have over a quarter (maybe even a third) of the population of Seattle here so we NEED a good route !

    Another thing that would make cycling downtown more accessible would be a bus route along East Marginal. Then if someone had a mechanical they could not fix, they could just hop the bus! Lots of my customers have told me it is scary to ride downtown.

    The new sidewalk is an improvement but the standing water and fire hydrants in the way need addressing.

    Ride Safe,
    Aaron’s Bicycle Repair

    Comment by Aaron Goss — 12:12 pm May 1, 2013 #

  81. Carter is correct – drive defensively, ride defensively, slow down, always pay attention to everything that is going on around you. People are hit and killed when legally using marked crosswalks.

    Comment by Jim — 12:13 pm May 1, 2013 #

  82. I ride that road every day too from WS. I’ve never had an issue with the trucks or the traffic. I actually think the semis are pretty good about yielding. I do have a problem with the street surface. The surface at the intersection of E. Marginal and Hanford is particularly unsafe. Who do we talk to to get that intersection resurfaced? It’d be nice to have the entire stretch of road repaved, but I’d settle for bits and pieces.

    Comment by Cameron — 12:15 pm May 1, 2013 #

  83. Very sad and scary.
    -
    As an occasional cyclist, and as other have commented, I’ve always been confused about how to get from the bike trail on the west side of Marginal to the bike lane on the east side when heading into downtown. There isn’t any clear or safe way to cross Marginal.

    Comment by Peter on Fauntleroy — 12:20 pm May 1, 2013 #

  84. Another cyclist from another part of the country here. So sad. Condolences to the family of this rider, the truck driver, and the Seattle bike community. Let’s be kind and careful out there …

    Comment by Chris — 12:48 pm May 1, 2013 #

  85. This is SO sad. I echo all of the concerns of you good people commenting here.
    -
    I always ride the west sidewalk because it is separate from the traffic. The trucks have a big wind bubble they create around them that can blow a biker around when riding so close in that bike lane and people usually drive very fast on that road as though it was a highway.

    The city should extend the bike trail and separate it from the traffic so this cannot happen again.

    Comment by Family Bike Rider — 12:53 pm May 1, 2013 #

  86. I, too, am a daily bike commuter on that route, including this morning. In support of not pointing fingers I want to say that I prefer riding around the semi’s compared to regular cars. I find that the truck drivers tend to act reasonably and pragmatically, and are more likely to be aware of bicyclists than most other drivers. I know nothing about this instance, of course. The other posters are completely correct that this is the most hazardous part of the ride from West Seattle to Downtown.

    Comment by Tom O'Brien — 12:53 pm May 1, 2013 #

  87. I agree, Tom. I find that the truck drivers are usually very courteous to and careful around bicyclists.

    Comment by Russ — 1:05 pm May 1, 2013 #

  88. When I first saw the blocked road, I thought it was way too early for May Day protesters. Then I saw the sheet and the bike. I ride this stretch to and from work at least once a week. Southbound, I’m always on the sidewalk, since I like the (small) sense of security of having a curb between me and the trucks. Northbound, I flipflop between riding the sidewalk and the bike lane. If there’s a north wind, I’m always on the sidewalk so that I’m more sheltered. If it’s a south wind, I sometimes shifted over to the bike lane if I could find the space.

    IMHO, the big benefit to having a separated bikeway along the west side of Marginal is that there are about 3 crossings in the mile and a half between Spokane Street and the Coast Guard station. There’s far less chance of getting hit by crossing or turning traffic than on 1st, where there are turns on every block. Keep the bikes away from the cars and trucks and everybody wins.

    The whole job could be done ridiculously cheaply if Marginal was repaved (which it needs anyway for freight mobility if nothing else), bike lanes on both sides were removed, and space was allocated on the west side of the street for a dedicated lane. Ideally, they would also put in a Jersey barrier as well. The only added cost over needed maintenance would be the Jersey barrier.

    Comment by Eric — 1:08 pm May 1, 2013 #

  89. The problem with the Spokane and E. Marginal way intersection for bikes is that we have to ride on the sidewalk. The recent redesign of the sidewalk after the completion of the Spokane Street Viaduct was obviously done for Pedestrians. On foot it is clear you stay on the sidewalk and continue north on the west side of E. Marginal. For bikes, the start of the bike lane just north of the intersection signals you to cross the street illegally. I think fixing this intersection should be a top priority.

    Comment by Aaron Goss — 1:12 pm May 1, 2013 #

  90. Very sad to hear and heart felt condolences to the family of the cyclist.

    I agree with an earlier comment by Cameron, I ride through this intersection every day. All cyclists coming from West Seattle have to cross at this intesection or nearby to get into the north bound bike lane. The road surface is extremely rough with old railroad tracks and potholes all along E marginal way, I’ve had a few pinch flats from hitting potholes near the intersection and all along this stretch of road. Also the stop light at this intersection seems inconsistent. Sometimes the southbound lane does not have to stop but the northbound lane does stop so if you are heading north it seems as if you can cross the intersection from the sidewalk to the northbound bike lane but in reality the southbound lane still has a green light. If you are not paying attention a southbound vehicle could be there as you are crossing and a serious head on colission could be possible.

    Hundreds of cyclists pass through this intersection each morning, I’d bet it is one of the more frequently traveled bike routes in Seattle. DOT should review the light sequence and figure out a better way for cyclists to cross from the sidewalk into the norhtbound bike lane and also work toward fixing the potholes along Marginal way. Perhaps consider putting a dedicated north/south bike lane on the west side of marginal way so that cyclists don’t have to cross the street to the north bike lane.

    Comment by Jason — 1:19 pm May 1, 2013 #

  91. This could just as easily been one of us. Definitely, my condolences to the family.

    I couldn’t agree more that the problem is no clear crossing option to the northbound biking lane. Further temptation hits when one is biking in the northbound lane before the intersection and sees other cyclists who have chosen to stay on sidewalk zipping across the west side entrance to the port. This leads some to cross back to the sidewalk to avoid the light. I’ve done that myself and I think the general assumption by many is the light does not apply to sidewalk cyclists. Further endangering the situation is the often lengthy red light facing those who choose to ride in the northbound bike lane. It is typical that there is no car heading west on Hanford, which leads to the temptation to run the red. We have a condition of a very biker unfriendly intersection with sometimes risky biker behavior. Tough spot.

    Comment by Ted — 1:50 pm May 1, 2013 #

  92. No matter what the details, this is most tragic.
    As a regular biker on this route, I have seen illegal behavior by a few trucks and a lot of bikers. However, I will gladly let cooler heads prevail here, and echo the call for safety upgrades. Those two blocks of E. Marginal Way are at best difficult, at worst quite dangerous.

    Comment by MindDriver — 2:11 pm May 1, 2013 #

  93. My heart goes out to the bicyclist’s family. This is so very tragic for all involved.

    Comment by kayo — 3:05 pm May 1, 2013 #

  94. My heart cries out to all who have suffered in this incident. It’s time to redouble our efforts to develop safe bike infrastructure through the Bike Master Plan, perhaps by prioritizing improvements that would most contribute to safety. This area has to be near the top of the list.

    Comment by Bob W — 3:31 pm May 1, 2013 #

  95. I’m not a bicycle commuter, but I have a vague recollection of this spot, as I ride my motorbike on that road often. I have a question: when the path crosses a road in that manner, should it be treated as a crosswalk, and are cyclists supposed to walk their bikes at crosswalks? I know it’s not necessarily practical, especially if you’re using toe clips, and I’m not ‘trolling’ here; just trying to understand the situation.

    Comment by BeachDriveBoy — 3:58 pm May 1, 2013 #

  96. I only cross from the west side to the east side after the Hanford intersection and only if it is COMPLETELY clear. Otherwise I’ll ride the sidewalk the whole way. People are often cutting it too close with cars when crossing Marginal. I’d be afraid of wiping out over one of the many potholes, train tracks, cracks and then getting ran over by a distracted driver. It’s kinda dumb how the path from West Seattle leads to the wrong side of the road. Sorry the fellow died.

    Comment by weiss — 4:10 pm May 1, 2013 #

  97. Seattle Times quote: “Mayor Mike McGinn wants to accelerate that work in light of Wednesday’s tragedy, and may order a few immediate changes such as new striping, said spokesman Aaron Pickus.”

    You cannot paint stripes over a crevasse in the road!!!

    In my conversations with SDOT planners, I often get the sense that they live in Idaho, because they have NO first-hand knowledge of the actual conditions on the streets.

    I’m a very experienced bicycle commuter who travels that route all the time. Here’s a scenario that can easily happen. You cross the street, carefully watching the truck and making sure you’re not going to collide with it. What you didn’t see is your front wheel go into a crevasse (I’m not exaggerating). Suddenly you’re down and falling under the wheels of the truck. With forward momentum you can be 10 feet from the truck when you start but under its wheels after you fall. The condition of the road where this cyclist was killed is an atrocity. I encourage anyone with an opinion to stop and take a look at it sometime before talking about the incompatibility of semis and bicycles sharing the same road. It’s amazing what we tolerate and have grown accustomed to. Third-world road conditions in this exact spot.

    Comment by I. Ponder — 4:10 pm May 1, 2013 #

  98. My condolences to the family. I ride this route all year long and have been recently taking the sidewalk route along the west side of E. Marginal like many others when heading north due to the unpredictable road users in this intersection. The pavement is in terrible shape as others have already commented on. I even rode right off the bike lane on the east side of the street this past winter because the street/lane was invisible under deep puddles and I couldn’t see the road surface.

    BeachDriveBoy, good questions. The “path” (i.e. sidewalk) crosses the intersection with the pedestrian way here if one chooses to use the lighted intersection to cross. Doing so on a bike, one doesn’t have to dismount, but has to ride slowly and carefully yielding to any pedestrians in the intersection. It’s perfectly legal for a cyclist to ride in a marked crosswalk in Seattle.

    Note that the lights here are notorious for not changing signal for cyclists and sometimes pedestrians so there’s a good chance one can be “skipped” in the light cycle.

    If it’s not a marked crosswalk and a cyclist or pedestrian is crossing at a corner, they have the right of way and motor vehicles should stop for them. However, there are no real unmarked “street corners” north of S. Spokane St. to S. Massachusetts so many cyclists, including myself, use driveway cuts to cross E. Marginal to get to the bike lane on the east side of the street. Perfectly legal to do so, so long as the cyclists yield to the oncoming traffic.

    Comment by Al — 4:14 pm May 1, 2013 #

  99. BeachDriveBoy – first to your question: perhaps if a path crossed a road in this manner then it should be treated as a crosswalk, however cyclists are not required to walk their bikes across crosswalks as long as they yield to pedestrians and do not enter the crosswalk at such a speed that motorists do not have time to stop.

    For those that say cyclists Should walk their bikes at various points in their travels, how would your compliance be if you regularly encountered signs reading “Uneven surface, Motorcyclists must dismount” or “School Zone, Drivers must push their vehicles” My guess is not very good.

    Having said that, this is not (and I used to cycle commute through this intersection, the primary route between West Seattle and Downtown, daily) a place where the path crosses the road; this is a place where some bicycle infrastructure was poorly pasted onto a wrong-side sidewalk, then abruptly ends and then recommences in the form of a standard (if poor) right side bike lane about 40 yards away. There is no proper way to navigate this band-aid half-hearted accommodation.

    It’s awful, it has been forever and the City doesn’t seem to have the will to do anything about that.

    Comment by JAT — 4:21 pm May 1, 2013 #

  100. I hope they check the truck drivers cell phone record to be sure he was not distracted.

    Comment by Mark — 4:35 pm May 1, 2013 #

  101. It took almost 100 comments for I.Ponder to finally hint at the most likely cause. Most of the experienced riders on this route are accustomed, very aware, and very careful (despite what it may look like to others)when navigating this gauntlet. We find ourselves moving at slow rates of speed (both trucks and bikes) at key points before picking up a cruising speed. There certainly could have been poor surface conditions that caused this. A really sad freak accident that was probably nobody’s fault. Sadly, in spite of what everyone is saying, this is probably one of the safest routes in the city. There have also been many comments about riding on the sidewalk. I have found this to be much riskier for a daily habit than carefully merging over to the east side, mainly because there are a couple driveways that exit over top of the sidewalk onto the road. The driveways are usually used by freight turning right onto the road to head south. They come out of nowhere and are blinded by fencing and it’s very difficult for a driver to see through their passenger windows in their high cabs. Be very careful if riding on the sidewalk, and ALWAYS ASSUME YOU ARE INVISIBLE, the cardinal rule of cycling. My sincere condolences to the families involved.

    Comment by hp resident — 6:09 pm May 1, 2013 #

  102. It’s one thing to say that the city council should be ashamed of the sorry state of safe bicycle passage in and out of West Seattle, but the fact is that it’s just a symptom of the reality that they just don’t care much about _anybody_ getting into or out of West Seattle by any means.
    *
    We can’t even get decent traffic or transit out here anymore, they plan to build thousands of new housing units, they obstruct the roads with bus bulges, cut transit, and then cry poverty when it comes to maintaining our roads, or to actually making transportation better.
    *
    I’d LOVE to see this city do something substantive to make bicycle commuting safer and to encourage people to actually do it, but honestly it feels like their real goal here is to completely isolate West Seattle. _Nobody_ has good options to get in or out of here, and until that problem is solved then I can’t see them even taking a glance at bike safety.

    Comment by burned — 6:33 pm May 1, 2013 #

  103. I am deeply saddened by this tragic event. I am thankful for the support I received when I arrived on the scene. The men were ready to help as needed. I was the only one who knew to initiate CPR. I ask for everyone to take a Basic Life Support class. Initiating compressions right away is vital. CPR has changed over the years and the focus is to start compressions ASAP!

    Lauren, R.N.

    Comment by Lauren — 6:42 pm May 1, 2013 #

  104. I agree with you hp resident. I ride that stretch everyday, cross in exactly the same place and rode past the scene this morning with my lips pulled back. I think it’s generally quite safe once in the bike lane, but the surface has deep pits and cracks that need to be threaded when crossing E Marginal and could easily grab/trip a bike right there. Hopefully the investigation determines what really happened — it seems there are several versions. So very sorry for the man, his family and friends.

    Comment by Goodguy — 7:07 pm May 1, 2013 #

  105. Thank you, Lauren. You are truly a hero. I passed the scene this morning on my bike and had many crying jags throughout the day and thought I was going to throw up passing the scene this afternoon. I am so shaken I feel like I have PTSD just from seeing the broken bike and the biker’s crumpled body covered with a blanket. I can only imagine how you are doing and I am sending you gracious thoughts (and I am a teacher and up to date on my CPR practices).

    This is an extremely challenging spot to ride at. I can completely see how this happened with neither biker or truck driver necessarily being negligent or wreckless, so let’s put our energy towards a solution.

    Comment by spparent — 7:10 pm May 1, 2013 #

  106. @Lauren: agreed

    Comment by Ted Diamond — 7:20 pm May 1, 2013 #

  107. The bike lanes on E Marginal Way, from the West Seattle Bridge to the Coast Guard Station are NOT safe for cyclists. They may be one of the safer commutes in Seattle, but that’s not saying much. Look at the painted line that separates motor traffic from the bike lane. It’s worn, because trucks and cars routinely cross over it, treating the bike lane as an extension of the road. I have seen, many times, both cars and semis veer into the bike lane to avoid the massive breakages in the road surface. And when it rains, “Lake Marginal” in the southbound lane forces cyclists to choose between riding on the sidewalk, riding an unseen surface, and merging with the motor lane. And finally, as I learned through personal experience (in another location), no amount of experience or caution will protect you from a car that runs you down from behind.

    Comment by Ted Diamond — 7:30 pm May 1, 2013 #

  108. This breaks my heart. My daughters teacher rides to work and I worry about his safety. More people are commuting via bike. We need to make it safer for these folks. Condolences to his family. What a tragedy.

    Comment by Cclarue — 7:30 pm May 1, 2013 #

  109. Let the city council know we need safer bike commuting to and from West Seattle / Downtown.

    http://org2.salsalabs.com/o/5719/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=13884

    Comment by Tim McGuire — 8:05 pm May 1, 2013 #

  110. Thanks for sharing that. Will include it in the text of the followup I’m writing now that the BAB meeting is over (with numerous references to what happened today, beyond the moment of silence at the start). – TR

    Comment by WSB — 8:09 pm May 1, 2013 #

  111. The bicyclist was a co-worker of my husband’s. It was a difficult and heart-heavy day. The lack of speculation and blaming here is so great to see. No wonder this is such a well-respected blog. I just want to say one thing, because it was implied above that he might be new to cycling — he was a semi-regular, experienced city rider. I don’t know if his name or other info has been released, so I’ll leave it at that.

    Comment by Jill — 8:31 pm May 1, 2013 #

  112. Thank you all, especially to Lauren…..and everyone else that helped our friend. He was a husband, a father, and a great man….

    Comment by C.J. — 8:59 pm May 1, 2013 #

  113. The cyclist was the husband of a co-worker and he was not only an experienced city rider, but a hard-core cyclist, participating in the Mountain to Sound rides, STP and Iron Man, to name a few. He was also an avid hiker, an excellent father and loving husband. A tragic end to a wonderful life. It was, indeed, a heart heavy day, as Jill stated. Hug your friends and family, because in light of all that has occurred of late, you just never know…

    Comment by Sari — 9:20 pm May 1, 2013 #

  114. Is there anyone out there with video production skills that would be willing to volunteer some time? I am a daily West Seattle bike commuter and I have been thinking for a long time about producing a video detailing the problems of the East Marginal corridor, for presentation to SDOT and the SBAB, but I don’t have these skills. If any of you have video production skills and would like to collaborate on this project, please let me know. I have a rough outline for the presentation, and some thoughts about format. Ideally I’d like to present this to the SBAB at their next monthly meeting.

    Comment by Jmland — 9:23 pm May 1, 2013 #

  115. Does Seattle do the white bike memorial thing at accident sites involving cyclists? I can’t recall seeing any here.

    Comment by Resident3 — 9:31 pm May 1, 2013 #

  116. Sari-Please let her know that former members of her AMCS family have her in our prayers. Lots of love to all of you. A

    Comment by Audrey — 9:37 pm May 1, 2013 #

  117. Resident – We actually went by the scene looking for a ghost bike – someone mentioned on a message board that they expected one to be placed there. As of quarter till 6, it wasn’t; did not go by in the dark on the way back from downtown. – TR
    .
    Update – there is a ghost bike at the scene. Kathy from West Seattle Bike Connections, who was also at the Bike Advisory Board meeting, went by on her way home and sent a photo. I’m adding it here rather than holding it till I write the followup story.

    Comment by WSB — 9:46 pm May 1, 2013 #

  118. Sorry, I wrote the above comment on my phone so it’s a little incoherent. He was a semi-regular bike commuter, but very much a regular rider in and out of the city.

    My husband will probably never commute by bike again, because he too has a short, unavoidable stretch of his route with a dangerous crossing, and this just hits too close to home to ignore.

    Comment by Jill — 10:02 pm May 1, 2013 #

  119. This is a beautiful song and a fitting tribute. I’m listening to it tonight and finding some strength to face tomorrow.

    Jim Page’s “Ghost Bike”

    http://www.myspace.com/music/player?sid=70601136&ac=now

    Comment by SaltyPineNeedles — 10:11 pm May 1, 2013 #

  120. My heart goes out to the family. Very sobering, this touches every one of us.

    Comment by Wet — 10:22 pm May 1, 2013 #

  121. I’ve been thinking about this tragic accident all day. The E Marginal Way/Spokane/Hanford segment of the West Seattle-downtown bike commute has always been a white knuckle one for me. I started using the crosswalk at Hanford rather than cut across E Marginal, but I’m still keenly aware of potholes and trucks until the trail picks back up near Atlantic. There needs to be a better route though this heavily used corridor AND better signage and education for cyclists and drivers alike.

    Comment by AlkiMom — 10:44 pm May 1, 2013 #

  122. @i. Ponder. And several others. I completely agree with you! I wrote a letter to the bike advisory board and city council long before the Viaduct replacement project started and I voiced these concerns (pot holes, exposed railroad tracks,crevasses and of course semi’s). I have taken this route for the last 12 years and I have had several close calls, several flat tires(due to pinch flats caused by these pot holes) and several unwarranted stressful bike rides to work.
    I took the exact same route this morning as this poor man did ( I just happened to be there 5 mins earlier) and it was rather ironic…as I was crossing through this intersection, I was thinking to myself this is dangerous! Why do we have bikers crossing a 2 lane semi truck driven road to get to a bike lane? It’s ridiculous! I am an experience biker and I generally feel safe biking (because I am a defensive biker) but this portion of my commute to work scares me everyday. I am saddened today because my worst fears have happened to someone else. We need to make some changes. Commuters unite, voice your concerns and lets make safer bike routes for all of Seattle. My deepest condolences and sincerest thoughts go out to this man’s family.
    Be safe, be alert and safe commuting.

    Comment by Jmac — 11:38 pm May 1, 2013 #

  123. This is very saddening. I too have seen rushed and illegal moves by those on two wheels, four wheels and eighteen wheels. The truck drivers, however, seem to be the most considerate and alert motor vehicle operators on the route. I feel so bad for the guy who died, his family and the driver involved.

    I have been a victim of the bad surfacing on E. Marginal as well. I went down hard, knocking myself out and chipping a tooth when my front wheel got caught in a crack obscured by water. We need to be carefully out there.

    Comment by ppena — 1:04 am May 2, 2013 #

  124. The rider was a friend of mine. I have known him since 1977. He was an accomplished biker and a wonderful athlete. He was a husband and a father and a brother who will sorely be missed. I hope to visit the site of the accident to better understand how it might have happened. Thanks to all the first responders on the scene who tried to help what was ultimately an impossible situation. At the very least perhaps this tragedy will lead to the necessary road repairs and safer bike routes for those who choose to ride.

    Comment by gary — 8:25 am May 2, 2013 #

  125. While I didn’t witness the accident I arrived on the scene while the biker was still being given compressions. I spoke to the two witnesses who flagged down the truck that he collided with. After hearing their description and surveying the accident scene I would like to add one possible contributing factor to the accident – the sun. When I arrived the sun was directly East, positioned over 99 yet still low in the sky. From the west side of Marginal Way looking eastward, which is where you would be looking when you crossed Marginal, the low angled sun could be blinding. In contrast, Hanford street and some of the Northbound lane of Marginal Way lies in the shadow of 99. This combination of lighting and shadows makes it difficult to see.

    I’ll share what the two witnesses I spoke to told me. They said the truck turned from Hanford onto Marginal, the biker was crossing marginal eastbound and collided with the middle of the truck bed. When he fell he was run over by the rear wheels. That’s all they told me.
    My condolences to everyone involved in this tragedy. It has and continues to weigh heavily in my heart.

    Comment by Brian — 8:27 am May 2, 2013 #

  126. I just sent this e-mail to the City Council

    I am sorry it has taken the death of another Seattle bicyclist yesterday to get me to write this e-mail.

    I am a 61 YO resident of West Seattle – Admiral and would like to bike to work in Fremont. The primary reason I have not started this bike commute is because of the dangerous, abysmal bike route from Spokane St. to Royal Broughm along the waterfront.

    The city cow tows to developers like Paul Allen but cannot make it safe for bike commuters in one of the biggest communities in the city. I will not ride my bike along the East marginal route until the bike lane is physically separated from cars and truck by a jersey barrier and the surface is suitably level and smooth. I know hundreds, if not thousands of West Seattle residents feel the same.

    Go to this Cascade Bike Club link to send a message to the City Council about how you feel about the sorry state of this waterfront bike route.

    http://org2.salsalabs.com/o/5719/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=13884

    Comment by Dick — 9:15 am May 2, 2013 #

  127. This is not the first time the ghost bike has made an appearance after the biking community has a loss such as this.
    When the gentleman from PATH was hit and killed in SLU a couple years ago the ghost bike lived chained to the stop sign near the crash site on Thomas and Dexter with fresh flowers for at least a month. http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2015760594_cyclist29m.html
    A solemn reminder to all who share the road just how fragile we are.

    Comment by Elizagrace — 9:28 am May 2, 2013 #

  128. As a bike commuter who rides this very route I am deeply saddened by this accident. In trying to make sense of this I looked at another link and found unfortunate blaming and negative cross talk on that site. I am deeply grateful this west Seattle blog is staying respectful and trying to offer insights and perspectives and possible actions. This accident is tragic enough. Thank you all for keeping your comments respectful
    Thank you to all that helped and to all who will move forward and advocate for safer conditions for all of us .

    Comment by Diane Hetrick — 9:29 am May 2, 2013 #

  129. This will be incorporated in our next story (writing now) but for anyone wondering – SFD is handling a bike crash right now in the 400 block of Alaskan Way. Someone called us about it. Radio communications indicated the rider, a 53-year-old man, took a spill – landing on his helmet – but there is no word at this point of any other vehicle involved. He is en route to the hospital – TR

    Comment by WSB — 9:51 am May 2, 2013 #

  130. I’ve been holding off on saying anything as I’m just heartbroken. I worked with this gentleman, and he was a kind soul. He was truly great to be around and will truly be missed. We’ve been in shock since yesterday morning when we found out. May he rest in peace and may his family be ok.

    Comment by MB — 10:28 am May 2, 2013 #

  131. Since passing through yesterday, immersed within the collision of peace and matter, I have several times caught myself levitating over self, wife and boys – out of body. As if I am mistaken by my own survival.

    With certain dread, I feel the firm condolences delivered by the police to my betrothed. And she to my two young boys. Panic and perseverance at picking up the pieces pulses the days ahead.

    Each time I am reconvened by gravity – more vulnerably to the soil.

    Ride on!

    Ride on you spirits all!

    Ride on!

    Comment by WSDude — 10:31 am May 2, 2013 #

  132. I ride this route everyday and was really freaked out to hear what happened here. As a father and husband I cannot imagine not coming home one day. This whole thing is awful.

    Contrary to most folks here when people ask me about my commute I always say this part of the route is where I feel the safest. The road sucks coming south but in the wide bike lane going north it is not bad at all. Coming home on Fauntleroy scares me more as all we have is sharrows and cars parking to our right. I will take professional semi drivers over stressed out folks on their cell phones passing by me at 40 miles an hour.

    As bikers I think we can learn a lesson from this and do better ourselves. I saw three bikers this morning do the same diagonal crossing of marginal that ended this guys life. I admit I have done it in the past but no more. We have 3 crosswalks to choose from to get to the other side of the road. The new one mentioned at spokane when you turn to come up marginal is great. You might wait 15 seconds for it to change and once on the other side the bike lane starts 50 feet from the light.

    Crossing at a diagonal at Hanford (and also as some do at the end of the low bridge rather then going under and around) is taking a risk. In these cases the reward is maybe a couple minutes off your commute time. Seeing the alternative like we did yesterday makes that reward seem totally not worth it.

    Yes we need better infrastructure and I will fight for it but as cyclists there is a lot we can do to keep ourselves safe. As bike to work month is upon us there are lots of new commuters on the roads. Lets be a good example to them.

    My thoughts out to this mans family and as a community I think the best thing we can do to remember him is to take a hard look at how we conduct ourselves on the road and start there.

    -sean

    Comment by Sean — 12:24 pm May 2, 2013 #

  133. Brian has it right.

    I was a few minutes ahead of the accident, but was myself in a risky situation as I turned east, up Jackson, at approximately the same time. Bad visibility to the trail across the intersection, and light coming in under the viaduct made it so I couldn’t see the turn. I had the green light but couldn’t see the southbound traffic until I was already exposed.

    Unfamiliar traffic patterns combined with changing conditions, and really bad surfaces make this a very hazardous area.

    My deepest condolences to the gentleman’s family and friends.

    Comment by Randy — 12:35 pm May 2, 2013 #

  134. Another bicyclist was hit by a car this am during the am drop off at my son’s school, K5STEM. Anyone know if everyone is OK?

    Comment by evergreen — 1:40 pm May 2, 2013 #

  135. Ev – it’s in the massive bicycle followup I’ve been working on for hours. She had bumps and bruises and didn’t want to go to the hospital, so firefighters took her home. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 1:42 pm May 2, 2013 #

  136. @Sean… I agree about your comment regarding the bikers that cross diagonally on the east side of the lower West Seattle bridge. It’s an illegal crossing and dangerous. I cringe when I see bikers making this dangerous crossing in hopes of saving 20 seconds of time. This is where I always thought such a horrible accident would happen. I truly feel for the families affected by this accident.

    Comment by Cowpie — 2:24 pm May 2, 2013 #

  137. Thank you, wsb.

    Comment by evergreen — 3:02 pm May 2, 2013 #

  138. The bicyclist who was killed has now been identified; our report on various developments since the crash begins with that new information, including a ride in his memory: http://westseattleblog.com/?p=150010

    Comment by WSB — 3:44 pm May 2, 2013 #

  139. I made a video clip from my morning ride (Thursday, 5/2) through this area. It’s very easy to understand why most people on bikes choose to use the route(s) they do along this corridor.
    .
    https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B4tABQg492CvcURQMDRtblpqc1k/edit?usp=sharing
    (I’m near my Vimeo quota for the week, so had to resort to Google Drive for now, but should be viewable by anyone with the link).
    .
    99% of the time I also stay on the sidewalk until I’m past the traffic light at Hanford, then cut across to the east side and continue heading north on Marginal. This is a behavior that I’ve adopted due to the infrastructure that’s in place. For me this has always been safer than taking chances of vehicles pulling out into the bike lane on the east side of Marginal between Spokane and Hanford (as I’ve had happen before). There is limited visibility on this stretch due to trucks parking along the railroad tracks.
    .
    One minute may not seem like a lot of time to wait, but 9 times out of 10 the traffic light at Hanford (when heading north on Marginal) is always red. And it appears to be a timed traffic signal. If all the traffic signals on my commute to work were like this, I’d more than double my commute time…literally. Of course that’s no excuse for doing something that may be unsafe.
    .
    In my opinion, the infrastructure should be changed to reflect behavior and use. If a person riding a bike, walking, running, rollerblading, or riding a scooter follows the “path” from the West Seattle bridge, it spits out on the west side of Marginal. On the sidewalk. Now imagine if there was just grass along this corridor. Where would the path be worn? I’m guessing it would be where the sidewalk is, on the west side of Marginal.
    .
    With all the comments I’ve read about people using the sidewalk here, and wanting to be physically separated from 2+ ton gas-powered vehicles, it seems like there should be an easy solution to make this a safer corridor for everyone to feel comfortable traveling on regardless of mode.

    Comment by Jeff H — 4:04 pm May 2, 2013 #

  140. Outstanding video, Jeff, thanks again for your camera and editing skills!

    Comment by Kathy — 5:13 pm May 2, 2013 #

  141. I am the wife of Lance David, who was killed yesterday. I just wanted to say thank you many times over to those who stopped to help Lance, and my heart goes out to the truck driver. My family is devastated over his loss, but we are lifted up by the incredible support of family, friends and fellow bicyclists. Lance was a highly experienced and careful road biker. He was aware of his surroundings, logged thousands of miles on his bike, and had ridden this route many times before. Each time he rode in, I would say “be careful” and he would reply “I always am”. We don’t yet know for sure what happened and maybe never will. I just hope and pray that some changes are made that will prevent this from happening to someone else’s loved one.

    Comment by Jane David — 11:10 pm May 2, 2013 #

  142. Thank you, Ms. David. We are so sorry for your loss – Tracy

    Comment by WSB — 11:11 pm May 2, 2013 #

  143. Jane – love to you & your family. We are all thinking of you with heavy hearts.

    Comment by Sassy — 9:57 am May 3, 2013 #

  144. When I read about Lance in the Seattle Times I thought “that could be me”. I’m a 50-something guy who rides every day and encourages others. I’ll be showing Lance my respect any way I can, as I reckon he would have done for me.

    Comment by Jim — 10:42 am May 3, 2013 #

  145. Several memorial rides are happening, and one will be out of West Seattle on Tuesday, May 7th, leaving Seacrest Park at 5:30 PM.
    .
    http://westseattlebikeconnections.org/2013/05/03/lance-david-memorial-ride-may-7th/
    http://westseattlebikeconnections.org/events/lance-david-memorial-ride/

    Comment by Jeff H — 1:24 pm May 3, 2013 #

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