Followup: Bicyclist identified as Lance David; crash brings safety concerns back into spotlight

May 2, 2013 at 3:40 pm | In Safety, Transportation, West Seattle news | 48 Comments

(Photo by Eric Shalit – rough pavement at E. Marginal/Hanford; ‘ghost bike’ in background)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

The bicycle rider killed in the East Marginal Way crash on Wednesday has just been officially identified by the King County Medical Examiner’s Office as 54-year-old Lance David of Federal Way.

We also have learned that a memorial ride for Mr. David is being organized for this Sunday, 1 pm, from Marymoor Park – full details are on this Facebook event page.

Meantime, since the crash, safety concerns continue to percolate, with two crashes today leaving riders hurt.

First, what happened today: Just before 9:30 am in the 400 block of Alaskan Way, blocks from yesterday morning’s crash, a 53-year-old man lost control of his bicycle and crashed to the ground, the impact breaking his helmet, according to public-safety radio communications. So far, authorities have not reported any other vehicles involved; the man was taken to the hospital.

A few minutes before that, we later learned, a 32-year-old woman had fallen from her bike after colliding with a car on Delridge Way SW alongside the Boren school building. Seattle Fire spokesperson Kyle Moore says she “suffered minor scrapes and bruises” and didn’t want to go to a hospital, so firefighters took her home.

Bicycle safety was already on many people’s minds since the deadly crash on Wednesday morning. Many bicycling advocates are reaching out – May has long been Bike to Work Month and Bike to School Month, so some events already were scheduled; for example, tonight, riders can stop by the West Seattle Tool Library for free bicycle repairs, 6-9 pm (northeast side of Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, 4408 Delridge Way SW). Says Stu Hennessey, “Our goal is to help our bicycle community ride smooth and safe.”

And there’s a bigger picture to safety, as discussed at last night’s Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board regular monthly meeting downtown – which began with a moment of silence in honor of Mr. David.

Before key points about the meeting, here’s the latest from police regarding the Wednesday crash, investigated by the Traffic Collision Investigation Squad, which handles cases involving death and/or serious injury.

We inquired with SPD first thing this morning and they pointed us to this update added to their original SPD Blotter report:

Preliminary investigation indicates that a 53-year-old man driving a flatbed semi-truck was attempting a right turn from westbound South Hanford Street to northbound East Marginal Way South. At the same time a 54-year-old male bicyclist was northbound on East Marginal Way South approaching South Hanford Street. For reasons that have yet to be determined, the bicyclist collided with the truck-trailer’s left side wheels in or near the intersection and went down. … There were no citations issued at the scene, which is standard procedure in serious traffic collisions requiring extensive follow up investigation and collision reconstruction.

The extensive discussion in the comment section following WSB coverage took on multiple safety issues at the scene. One is shown in photos shared with us last night by West Seattle bicyclist Eric Shalit – the one atop this story, and this next one:

Eric says he went to the scene yesterday for a closer look at the road, and he believes “a likely contributing factor in the accident and death is not comingling of trucks and bicycles, but that the cyclist had to simultaneously navigate a road surface of crevasses, potholes, exposed partially buried railroad tracks.”

Over that surface, as shown in the top photo and in Kathy Dunn’s photo added to our Wednesday report, a “ghost bike” now watches. Kathy also shared this photo of a notice on the pole beneath it:

The memorial went up sometime in the early evening, which is also when the Bicycle Advisory Board was convened at City Hall for its regular monthly meeting. Chair Allegra Calder, in calling for the moment of silence, called it a “terrible day.”

The events of the day led to an unscheduled agenda addition right after that, with a brief appearance by SDOT’s Dongho Chang. He remarked – as did many yesterday – that it was a tragic coincidence that a bicyclist was killed in the first hours of this year’s Bike to Work Month.

He noted that East Marginal Way, “a critical link to West Seattle,” shifts in the area from what he called “a nice bicycle facility” to an “onroad facility, and then an offroad facility.” He also acknowledged that while the city’s Bicycle Master Plan calls for “major separation” of bicycle traffic from motorized-vehicle traffic in the area, there are “obviously some competing interests,” but, he said, they’ve been working with the Port of Seattle to address that.

More urgently, he elaborated on Mayor McGinn‘s statement following Wednesday’s crash (as published in the Seattle Bike Blog‘s report), saying that SDOT will “get back to the mayor within 30 days” on recommendations for safety improvements in that area. “It could be as simple as restriping,” Chang said. “… We’ll see what we could do with existing resources, as well as (with the) pavement.” He promised the SBAB would be briefed.

A meeting attendee asked what the timeline would be for action, following that 30-day timeline for reporting back to the mayor. Chang said it was too soon to say, but he hoped there would be some “easy implementation,” adding that his co-workers can be “pretty innovative.”

A board member subsequently observed that fast action would go “a long way toward helping people deal with the tragedy.”

As the meeting moved on to its central scheduled topic, the city’s Bicycle Master Plan Update, the crash was mentioned multiple times over the course of the evening. It was observed that the update must be seen as a “living document,” knowing that circumstances will change, as will priorities, as seen in the discussion of the East Marginal Way safety challenges.

The ensuing discussion touched more on process points than on the contents of the update itself, which has been in progress for some months, and will be public soon, since the SDOT reps said a draft version of the BMP update will be available within a month, so that it can be reviewed before summer sweeps in and takes centerstage in most people’s attention, with a “final” draft in the fall.

Board members urged them to be sure it focuses on looking ahead, not so much on recapping what’s happened since the plan itself was issued in 2007. And there was some discussion that even though plans are supposed to look way ahead, updates like this one are inevitable every five to seven years or so. The updated plan’s prioritization, in fact, might even need to be revisited annually, within “a framework,” it was suggested.

They also discussed “getting projects moving” with initial funding, instead of waiting until a giant pot of money is available – if it ever is. And there was talk of a reality check – realizing that the city, for example, can’t be the “lead agency on everything” – it can’t, for example, be the lead agency for “teaching people how to ride.”

Instead, the city should focus on where it might get the most bang for its buck, such as educating people about how different types of bicycle facilities work (one example: the bike boxes, like the one that popped up at Andover/Delridge before signage), and supporting safety education for young children.

Also suggested: Find ways to be sure the BMP update doesn’t come out with a big splash – and then hover undiscussed in the background somewhere – “be out there all the time promoting it,” suggested one SBAB member.

But before the meeting ended, discussion came back around to the death on East Marginal Way.

One West Seattleite identifying himself as “just a concerned citizen” mentioned the emotional impact of driving past the scene yesterday morning, and the difficulty of reconciling that with his role as a Commute Challenge captain “encouraging folks to (ride) with me … Anything that this group can do to change the (safety) reality, especially on that stretch, is really appreciated.”

West Seattleite Kathy Dunn added, “We are way behind on having decent routes in and out” of West Seattle.

Postscript: The Cascade Bicycle Club has posted a sample letter that concerned citizens can send to City Councilmembers to urge action – the form is here.

ADDED 11:16 PM: Mr. David’s wife Jane David has just posted a comment after our Wednesday story:

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.

ADDED FRIDAY AFTERNOON: This is already in the comment section, but we want to make note of it here in the story as well: West Seattle Bike Connections and West Seattle Greenways plan a ride in memory of Lance David, next Tuesday, leaving Seacrest at 5:30 pm. Here’s the Facebook event page/invitation.

48 Comments

  1. You know I don’t understand why our roads everywhere in this great city of ours are in so despair…when all those fees and taxes are on our car tab renewals??? It just puzzles me where that money is going.
    Do you hear a little sarcasm in my voice?

    Comment by nemobeansmom — 4:12 pm May 2, 2013 #

  2. Those roads around there are not suitable for any traffic. They need to fix them for everyone’s safety.

    Comment by Parent — 4:18 pm May 2, 2013 #

  3. There are so many dangers in that first photo, probably the most dangerous part of any ride out of west Seattle

    Comment by eaglelover — 4:19 pm May 2, 2013 #

  4. I’m a friend of Lance and I shared many bike rides with him. I also happen to commute the same route and that is a very poor intersection, as many have noted in the comment section of the original article. Let’s hope this tragedy brings some changes & improvements for all who travel those roads. He was a very skilled rider and I cannot begin to understand how the mistake was made the other morning. The response from this community has been very cool, it’s really great to see. Thank you to all who were close by and helped as you could.

    Comment by GD — 4:25 pm May 2, 2013 #

  5. Thank you Tracy for being at the SBAB meeting. You have reported this as well as anything I’ve seen.
    .
    It’s a shame that Washington State needs BILLIONS of dollars for NEW mega-projects, but can’t find money to maintain existing infrastructure.
    .
    It has even been difficult just to get East Marginal Way swept, especially over the winter. The bike lanes do not get swept unless we rally a bunch of people to consistently call in to SDOT to ask.
    .
    Here’s a video clip I made from this morning’s commute, which I also posted in the original story.
    .
    https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B4tABQg492CvcURQMDRtblpqc1k/edit?usp=sharing
    .
    The bottom line is that East Marginal Way is in terrible condition and needs to be improved (resurfaced at a minimum).

    Comment by Jeff H — 4:26 pm May 2, 2013 #

  6. I understand that those big trucks drive over and over on those roadways, let alone the cars but geez come on fix/patch up these roads!

    Comment by nemobeansmom — 4:31 pm May 2, 2013 #

  7. here’s what a friend of mine who is a transportation professional suggested:

    “A modest proposal for an immediate fix to the problems at this specific intersection…

    The trail dumps cyclists on the wrong side of the road, with no safe crossing. Pavement is awful, there’s no money to rebuild the whole road, so cyclists are dodging traffic at the same time they’re navigating road hazards. So….

    Identify one good spot for a crossing from the trail to the bike lane on the opposite side of the road — something with adequate sight distances.

    Break out the deteriorated pavement at that identified crossing and construct a concrete crossing, built strong enough to survive years of truck traffic, with heavy texture or tactile warning bumps instead of just paint for the crossing markings — a crossing that will still be a safe cycling facility after a decade of freight traffic.

    Install a button-actuated rectangular rapid-flashing beacon system on that crossing. (For those who haven’t used an RRFB crossing, think bright amber strobe lights at the road edge and in the center of the road, over a crosswalk, lights that flash only when there’s someone actually using the crosswalk. The strobes are visible over and around traffic, even truck traffic, so motorists don’t have to see the cyclist or pedestrian, they see the signals telling them to stop for an occupied crosswalk. See http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/intersection/resources/techsum/fhwasa09009/ for more on RRFB systems.)

    It won’t fix the whole route, but it would provide a single, safe crossing place for cyclists. That would give truck drivers one place to watch for cyclists, and a very visible warning system to help them notice cyclists. It would minimize traffic delays for freight – unlike a standard signaled intersection, RRFB only activates when there’s a user in the crosswalk. And it imposes traffic some calming on cyclists who tend to zip across at speed without really taking time to scan for conflicting traffic — you have to at least slow down enough to hit the button.

    FHWA says the RRFB would typically be only $10-15,000, don’t know what a decent concrete crossing would cost. But it’s a small enough project it could be finished this summer if there’s the will to do it.

    Comment by I. Ponder — 4:36 pm May 2, 2013 #

  8. Unbelievable. Money should be spent to fix those roads, not on educating riders on how to use those goofy bike boxes or what a “sharrow” means. We need better and safer riding conditions, free of debris and hazards, not education. The only education needed is for drivers, who should be tested every five years to renew their licenses so that they’re aware of those things!

    And the road conditions here are deplorable, not just for cyclists. My poor Subaru has so many rattles and shakes from these crappy roads that I’ve given up and requested an ORCA pass for commuting to work. I also plan to mix in bike rides but very cautiously at this rate! SDOT, make an effort!

    Comment by CMP — 4:43 pm May 2, 2013 #

  9. Eyeman cut the licensing fees for motor vehicles. And the voters approved it. REMEMBER.

    I still haven’t seen the free lunch, but apparently many of you have…

    Comment by Vincent Vega — 4:48 pm May 2, 2013 #

  10. Great video Jeff H! I’m not a regular bike commuter and luckily get to cut over to 1st Ave at Hanford instead of continuing north on East Marginal…a harrowing ride indeed. I run that periodically and it’s not a pleasant stretch. If it makes you feel any better, I complained to SDOT about signal timing along 1st Ave. S recently and was brushed off. Waiting that long for a light to turn green when there is no traffic is irritating to say the least!

    Comment by CMP — 4:51 pm May 2, 2013 #

  11. If they instituted I. Ponder’s friend’s suggestion at one of the crosswalks where Hanford meets E Marginal, that seems like it would be a good solution. That’s usually where I cross because it’s not clear where to cross at Spokane, plus I often see trucks parked in the bike lane between Spokane and Hanford.
    .
    It’s been really good to see so many positive comments and positive (in the sense of seeking a solution) discussion here. The comments I’ve seen on most other coverage of the accident have been awful.

    Comment by datamuse — 4:53 pm May 2, 2013 #

  12. The roads around here are hazardous to motorists, let alone cyclists. Be careful out there everyone! And don’t Text while driving. So sick of seeing people do that.

    Comment by Matt — 4:58 pm May 2, 2013 #

  13. My heart if broken that another bicyclist has died.
    we need to be sensible about this and stop pretending that our streets are safe enough for bicycle commuting. They aren’t. Even if all of the cracks and potholes are repaired we shouldn’t pretend that painting lines and labeling lanes for bicycles make them safe riding in traffic next to cars. And telling drivers to be more careful doesn’t fix the problem either.
    My husband who used to commute by bicycle to work would disagree with me but I’m really glad he’s not doing it any more!

    Comment by Norma — 5:09 pm May 2, 2013 #

  14. There is a crossing for cyclists to get from the lower bridge bike path on to E Marginal Way heading north in the bike lane — at the pedestrian cross at Spokane St and E Marginal. While it was true that riders were dumped off during the Spokane Viaduct construction, that is no longer the case. It’s still awkward to do because of the length of the light, but with some road repairs and avoiding the alternate crossings, it’s somewhat safer than the other methods of crossing.

    Bottom line — this transit area needed attention ages ago. Lets get done what we can before someone else is hurt, through advocating a standard and predictable cycling pattern as much as possible, etc.

    Comment by Thomas — 5:20 pm May 2, 2013 #

  15. Jeff H, thanks so much for posting that video of your ride. That really helps me visualize the place and what it’s like for bikes.
    .
    Theoretically, a bike riding northbound on the E side of E Marginal Way has right of way at that crossing, correct? (If the light’s green for them, of course.) So a truck would be obliged to hold off on turning right onto E Marginal Way until after the bike passes?
    .
    I agree with all who wrote on the original thread that cyclists should consider ourselves invisible as the ultimate defensive riding, so I sure didn’t count on right-of-way when I used to ride that stretch. Just interesting to know what the rules are.
    .
    The part of your video with the fencing a couple of feet away on your right and the 18-wheeler a few feet away on your left really was heart-pounding. Pretty scary stuff. Thanks for posting.

    Comment by Pat — 5:31 pm May 2, 2013 #

  16. Fix the damn roads Seattle! Many roads are even horrible to ride on a motorbike.

    Comment by Keith — 5:33 pm May 2, 2013 #

  17. As Jeff’s video shows very well, the east side bike lane is just too narrow squeezed between truck traffic and a fence or the RR tracks. The trucks can’t leave 3 feet because trucks are parked in the center lane. There needs to be a buffer of some kind.

    Comment by Kathy — 5:33 pm May 2, 2013 #

  18. Where do car tabs and gas taxes go? They go for roads and streets, but they haven’t kept pace with inflation in decades and cover only one-third of the cost of roads in Washington, according to the Tax Foundation.

    The rest of the cost comes from general fund subsidies, and there just isn’t enough other people’s money to fund maintenance, let alone construction.

    Eventually, if we want good roads, we have to be willing to pay for them.

    Comment by Josh — 5:38 pm May 2, 2013 #

  19. @Vincent. Exactly! It always blows my mind that people bitch about the state of infrastructure and so on, but vote for Eyeman’s initiatives and won’t even consider hearing the benefits of an income tax. You get what you pay for.

    Comment by villagegreen — 5:47 pm May 2, 2013 #

  20. If you “fix” this crossing danger by installing another button activated crosswalk, lighted or not, most bicyclists will bypass it, or blow through it. It simply takes to much time to constantly stop, press a button, and wait . . . . . Just observe what happens at other button activated crosswalks! This is NOT the way to fix this. We need a “fix” that will allow us to stay on the west side of the street all the way to down town. The safest and fastest way is to not have to cross at all!

    Comment by Sue — 5:51 pm May 2, 2013 #

  21. Thomas: there’s a crossing at Spokane, but there doesn’t appear to be a curb cut. Am I missing something?

    Comment by datamuse — 6:06 pm May 2, 2013 #

  22. Roads here are terrible, but in a great part due to the rain/erosion and terrain/topography. Beach Dr is a classic example of undergound springs lubricating soil that slips off the clay base, causing slides and cracking of the pavement. Not a lot you can do about that without a great deal of money.

    With all the obstacles to bicycling here, including narrow streets and poor visibility, I wonder if we’re trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. I wouldn’t ride my bike anywhere except a few blocks around my neighborhood and on bike paths – too dangerous.

    My condolences to the family of Mr. David.

    Comment by G — 6:09 pm May 2, 2013 #

  23. Here is a good website that every biker and driver should read.
    http://www.bicyclesafe.com/

    The woman on Delridge was “right-hooked” by a mom in a hurry to drop off her kids to school.

    Comment by Aaron Goss — 6:11 pm May 2, 2013 #

  24. Side note – the woman who was hit this morning was right before the bell at STEM. So – traffic is supposed to be traveling 20 MPH. I am thankful in this case she lived and that it was not a child hit.

    As a parent of a STEM kid PLEASE slow down!!! Cars FLY by children getting on and off school buses.

    Bad roads, bad drivers – it just seems like such a never ending list of problems that cost lives.

    Be safe.

    Comment by wsmama3 — 6:27 pm May 2, 2013 #

  25. There is no point in fixing those roads; trucks will have them back to abysmal in a couple years. It’s the same in every city. Where the trucks are, the roads are crap. Spend money on neighborhood and downtown roads or a bike arterial (can’t believe I am saying this)that bypasses this intersection all together. 20-ton trucks will ruin whatever you do; it’s physics.

    Comment by CandrewB — 6:38 pm May 2, 2013 #

  26. This is insane that the city/state keep pushing public transportation/bicycling/reducing the number of parking spots per apartment building without creating any system solutions. No matter how hard they try a big cylinder is not going to fit through a square peg. Copenhagen seems to have found a way to create safe places for people, bikes and vehicles to co-exist while encouraging walking and cycling. I recently visited, and I don’t understand why we don’t include dedicated bike lanes with each new project http://www.copenhagenize.com/. A safer, healthier environment for everyone.

    Comment by Emily — 7:05 pm May 2, 2013 #

  27. I’ve lived in about a dozen places in this country (including cities bigger and older than Seattle), and have to say the quality of the pavement in Seattle is by far the worst I’ve ever experienced. It’s not even close. I believe city leaders when they say they don’t have the money to fix it. I would simply ask them: why don’t they study how everyone else manages to handle this and do the same?

    Comment by Daldart — 7:33 pm May 2, 2013 #

  28. Lance was my former boss. He was a good man and an avid biker. I can’t believe that he wasn’t being safe so I must therefore consider the main issue to be the road conditions. I implore The Mayor and the city to do something about this terrible section of road. Lance’s family, friends, and colleagues now have a very big void in their lives. I hope and pray some good will come of this tragedy.

    Comment by Chris P — 8:23 pm May 2, 2013 #

  29. @datamuse: Sorry, I don’t know what a ‘curb cut’ is. The crossing at S Spokane and Marginal Way is where the bike trail terminates into the road, and there is no curb from the sidewalk into the road (sorry, it’s been a few weeks since I’ve ridden my bike on there as I changed jobs and have to bus now).
    .
    Essentially, the sidewalk from the bike path extends all the way to the last point where the pedestrian walkway crosses the yield lane (for right turns of south-bound E Margin Way) and southbound’s Margin Way lane, allowing a cyclist to cross when the north/south light is red. If Google Maps was up-to-date, I would post a link, but it isnt. This is where it occurs (but with the construction that is now complete): http://goo.gl/PlKNM . Obviously it isn’t ideal and it makes a 90-degree angle, and thus the longest possible merge from Alki Trail into E Marginal, but it is the most predictable (and honestly, I’m the slower of the bikers on this commute, so adding a few hundred feet isn’t a big deal to me).
    .
    I’d like to point out that this is just a defensive driving tactic. I’m not suggesting that this could have avoided the tragic incident yesterday. Lets all be safe out there and respectful, no matter what vehicle we’re behind.

    Comment by Thomas — 9:55 pm May 2, 2013 #

  30. My heart goes out to the family of the cyclist, to the truck driver and the first responders. We are all so very sorry. I will keep them in my thoughts as I ride through this stretch of road.

    Comment by peg staeheli — 9:56 pm May 2, 2013 #

  31. Thanks for the great coverage of this tragedy. I agree with the other posters that repaving this stretch of road won’t solve the problem for more than a couple months. We really need a separate bike path on that stretch. It would save lives and encourage more riders, thus easing congestion on the bridge and viaduct. Not cheap, but still a good bang for the buck, all things considered.

    Comment by Eric G — 10:10 pm May 2, 2013 #

  32. Can’t seem to see the video on a mac as it’s a wmv, but it is a scary stretch. I ride a Vespa into Belltown from W. Seattle and over just the past year the condition of that road has deteriorated dramatically. There are holes big enough to easily kill anyone on two wheels plus exposed, sharp ends of railroad track jutting out of the pavement- deep holes/cracks you can’t see until you’re right on them. It’s disgraceful that it’s so neglected. I won’t be riding that route unless it’s fixed and will be forced to mix and mingle on 1st ave. Though after seeing Lance lying on the pavement the other morning, I’m re-thinking a two-wheeled commute altogether. Just not safe.

    Comment by Brooke — 10:26 pm May 2, 2013 #

  33. I agree with Eric, the only solution is for a separate bike path. In general, we also have to be realistic about the role of a bikes in a city that will never be Amsterdam, for a variety of natural and man-made reasons.

    Comment by G — 11:19 pm May 2, 2013 #

  34. Thanks, Thomas. A curb cut is where the curb slopes down to the street for bikes, wheelchairs, etc. I’ve never seen one in the spot you’re indicating, and frankly my back won’t take riding off the curb without one.
    .
    I don’t mind getting off and walking at that point, but usually what I do is ride north on the sidewalk and use the pedestrian signal at Hanford because for me, it’s easier to see other traffic.
    .
    Anyway, I think we can agree that that spot is rather confusing and potentially hazardous. Be nice if the city finally agrees. :(

    Comment by datamuse — 11:51 pm May 2, 2013 #

  35. Since 1991 I have been bicycle-commuting on this route. We were a hardy bunch. The lower bridge was still under construction. During the day we could ride in the van that pulled the large flat trailer with bike racks on it that would take us over the high bridge. Afterhours we had to detour way south over the 1st avenue bridge, which at that time had no bicycle amenities, and few pedestrian amenities.

    From then to now I see enormous (yet incremental) improvements in certain isolated areas, yet the entire route overall is quite harrowing, especially in wet, dark, or icy conditions.

    Generally the same difficulties present themselves now: Poorly maintained road surfaces, heavy trucks passing too close to cyclists (cyclists forced too close to heavy trucks?), poorly designed intersections and crossings (from the standpoint of the cyclist), and deteriorated RR crossings under/over/emerging from the “pavement.”

    On the plus side, it has REALLY IMPROVED my bicycle handling skills!

    We stopped at a SDOT outreach table setup on the route one day about a year and a half ago– they were handing out PC shopping bags, pens, mini energy bars, etc., telling us how they were going full steam on improving the route and asked for suggestions. Which we gave, and they promised to attend to…

    Never saw any evidence of that.

    Sorry someone had to die to get any real movement on this. Apparently he was a fine citizen. Maybe I knew him?

    Comment by bolo — 12:39 am May 3, 2013 #

  36. My husband and I commute from 35th and Morgan to downtown every day and have always worried about our safety and that of other cyclists along E Marginal. Since Wednesday morning we have switched to taking the Water Taxi as an alternative to E Marginal. Not everyone’s solution I realize, but we have found that it only adds about 10 minutes to our commute if we time it so that we get to the dock as the ferry is arriving. It’s lovely to have a few minutes on the water everyday, but if there was a really safe way to travel on E Marginal, I suppose we’d go back to using that route as it is just so much more direct.

    Our deepest condolences to Ms. David and family.

    Comment by Molly — 7:41 am May 3, 2013 #

  37. This will blow your mind! http://youtu.be/ebXTjNS4trQ

    Traffic in china! See how they do it.

    Comment by tk — 7:53 am May 3, 2013 #

  38. I just watched the ‘Traffic in China’ video. One thing I noticed is the beautiful condition of their road. Not potholed and crevassed like here.
    Bicycles and pedestrians ARE able to navigate all kinds of hazards, like buses, trucks, and cars. But could they do it while simultaneously navigating street ruts, potholes, and crevasses? I think not.

    I hope as we go from being a third-world nation to a first-world one that values the importance of infrastructure that we can have roads as good as we saw in China.

    Comment by I. Ponder — 8:56 am May 3, 2013 #

  39. I witnessed a near bike/car accident at the same intersection heading south after work yesterday. The biker was coming north on Marginal in the west sidewalk. Immediatley after the intersection he starting to cross diagonally and found himself having to serve back into the middle turn lane, because a small car was turning right like the semi truck did that same morning. Why the biker was crossing so close to the intersection, I don’t know, but I thought I was going to see the two hit. The car had to break. The biker was at fault.
    Then…when I got to the east side of the lower bridge I was swinging around on the sidewalk after coming out from underneath the bridge and saw a biker looking to cross diagonally at that intersection. He was coming west bound, started to do the head looking and jumped the curb. He had to break and swerve back against the curb, because there were cars heading west. Why he thought he could make it across, i don’t know. I yelled at him to go around, but he didn’t listen. When the cars went by he illegally crossed at a diagonal and headed west up the bridge behind me. I’ve been riding my bike to work since 1988 and I see this all the time…people are in way to much of a hurry.

    Comment by Cowpie — 9:31 am May 3, 2013 #

  40. Like Lance, I have ridden East Marginal many, many times as a year-round commuter for the past 7 years. On several occasions I have almost crashed due to huge potholes and gaps in the road, even semis swerving into the bike lane to avoid potholes – as happened to me just two weeks ago.

    What I want to add to this comment stream is the following – I returned Tuesday to the scene of the accident to get an idea of what happened, as I had been saddened and perplexed, as most other riders. At around 6:50 am, the sun was just about to rise over the viaduct and hit the sidewalk on the west side of East Marginal. I believe Lance was crossing at the intersection just as the truck was turning right onto East Marginal and the sun was hitting the sidewalk. Lance would have been heading directly into the sun just as the truck was turning right. I have noticed that trucks tend to swing wide while taking a right there, due to the railroad tracks. Lance possibly never saw the truck until it was too late. I believe this was a ‘perfect storm’ of an accident. This sort of thing usually doesn’t happen to an experienced cyclist. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.

    Comment by Tim — 10:37 am May 3, 2013 #

  41. I.Ponder, China has only recently started to have an automotive boom, thus the nice new paved streets. In 1990, it was unlikely you’d see many cars driving around.

    Comment by mike — 11:33 am May 3, 2013 #

  42. That pavement will always be rough based on the type of traffic it carries: full sized tractor trailer rigs. That’s fine.

    Still, the only solution appears to be a separate path.

    Comment by MCJ — 11:35 am May 3, 2013 #

  43. the west side of that road has ample space to make a 2 way path for pedestrians and bicycles. They just need to make sure the trucks actually stop when they come out of terminal T-30 making a right to go southbound on Marginal. In 6 years I have never seen a trucker stop coming out of that terminal if the southbound lane is free of oncoming traffic

    I never take the bike line, I always ride the sidewalk because of the point made above regarding the inability of vehicles to respect the 3 foot rule when you have trucks lined up in that center lane and concurrent north/south bound traffic.

    This is an unbelievable tragedy, I just hope it doesn’t go for not, and it looks like there was just another hit & run in the same area: https://twitter.com/veloeccentric

    Comment by k2 — 12:51 pm May 3, 2013 #

  44. 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 — 1:23 pm May 3, 2013 #

  45. My heart is heavy for Jane and all the other people who knew and loved Lance David. I am so sorry for your loss. My husband rides from West Seattle to his job near Pike Place Market and I worry about him every day. He too is a careful and experienced cyclist, and the conversation Jane reported above sounds very familiar. He has also told me many times that there are several truly hazardous stretches of roadway along his route. He’s tried communicating about it to various agencies and it seems one of the problems is there are multiple jurisdictions converging and everyone’s pointing to someone else to fix the situation. I hope that this will be one tragedy too many and encourage the City, the Port and WDOT to work together–FAST–to come up with safer solutions to a riding route in the south/west Seattle corridor.

    Comment by twicksea — 1:53 pm May 3, 2013 #

  46. My heart breaks for Jane and her family. I was in NY when this happened, and I got an email from my husband (who bikes this often) that said “I’m not the biker who was killed.” I posted that on Facebook in a state of relief, but it quickly turned bittersweet in that a long-time friend of mine is one of Jane’s sisters, and she told me of their loss. I pray that something is done about the road there so that there are no other senseless deaths.

    Comment by Sue — 3:41 pm May 3, 2013 #

  47. Mayor McGinn needs to ride from the Chelan to the connection under the viaduct. both directions. then east on handford from e marginal then 1st to lander to 4th or 6th north. sodo has a lot of street problems.

    Comment by mike parker — 4:26 pm May 3, 2013 #

  48. It is terrible to mix bikes, trucks and cars. There is no way to avoid this mix in Seattle. Furthermore the roads are full of potholes and one nearly killed me a couple of years ago. I should have sued the city. I have stopped riding a road bike in Seattle. I built a 29r style bike with a suspension fork and seatpost but narrower tires for less resistance. I ride on sidewalks a lot and side streets and trails where available. I am a little slower in the city, that is what I can do. Just a note, for the price of one aircraft carrier we could link every city in America with separate bicycle trails. The payback would be lots of tourist dollars and opportunities for hotels every 50 or 100 miles.
    I can guarantee French, German, Dutch, Italian and Spanish tourists as well as me.

    Comment by Allan — 6:10 am May 4, 2013 #

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