Update: Traffic back to normal after California/Graham crash

No other details of the crash but you’ll want to avoid that area north of Morgan Junction for a while – already tends to be slow, especially southbound, heading into the construction zone. 6:56 PM UPDATE: The crash scene is clear now. Adding photo(s). We have no official information on this yet but several witness accounts say a car and bicycle collided. ADDED 7:35 PM: Here’s a photo that Chas Redmond shares, showing medics firefighters tending to the bicyclist:

43 Replies to "Update: Traffic back to normal after California/Graham crash"

  • Scott July 15, 2009 (5:54 pm)

    Apparently a cyclist was heading south on California and hit a car trying to pull onto California from a parked position in front of 6041. I think might be able to get down there and get a picture of the bike and the dented car.

  • WSB July 15, 2009 (5:58 pm)

    Thank you – both of us are out of position at the moment but co-publisher phoned in the info while en route belatedly to something else … I am leaving the Muni Tower and will be heading to the scene en route home but The Viaduct looks a little unhappy in the distance so it might not be a fast trip … TR

  • Scott July 15, 2009 (5:58 pm)

    I also heard the cyclist was told that Harborview is full and they can’t take him there.

  • Jam July 15, 2009 (6:18 pm)

    We saw this happen, the cyclist collided with a car door being opened. He flew pretty far and seemed to have injured his left side / ribs / arm when he landed. He was conscious and his injuries did not seem life threatening, but certainly very painful. I hope he recovers soon. Everyone please be careful, drivers and cyclists alike!

  • Scott July 15, 2009 (7:24 pm)

    I wasn’t able to get any pics, but I know someone did at the scene. Hopefully they’ll contact you.

  • WSB July 15, 2009 (7:30 pm)

    Yes, Chas Redmond is sitting right behind me now at the Morgan Community Assoc. mtg and sent pix, although some clearly show the injured bicyclist so we won’t be using those – got one I think will work. Thanks again for the updates – TR

  • Jam July 15, 2009 (7:54 pm)

    Also, a huge thumbs down to the unbelievably self-centered lady in the black car and green shirt for throwing a total hissy fit about the scratch on her bumper (!!!) as an injured person lay on the concrete next to her car. The cyclist grazed her car as he landed, and she was way more concerned about the damage to her car (which was extremely minor) than about the cyclists well-being. As other people were calling 911 and tending to the injured, this lady gets on her phone and starts yelling about “some f-ing a-hole on a bike” who just scratched her car. Wow. Real classy. Luckily there were plenty of other people around who have their priorities straight. Wishing the bicyclist a speedy recovery.

  • CS July 15, 2009 (8:00 pm)

    This is very sad and it is right near the newly painted bikes on the street.. People have to learn to be cautious when sharing the roads and no amount of wasted painting is going to change that. I pray the cyclist is ok. Also for the poor motorist.. We need to repair and widen roads and make lanes for cyclists where they can go along at their pace Not paint arrows on already existing streets that are not equipt for both.. Again I pray for safety of the injured cyclist.

  • Jam July 15, 2009 (8:10 pm)

    I think the cyclist will be okay, but he probably broke some bones. I also hope the door-opener is okay, he seemed genuinely concerned. This is just one of those unfortunate accident that could happen to anyone. Even if you are very diligent about checking your mirrors etc, it can still be difficult to see cyclists. It is sad. I wish I could ride my bike on city streets more, but I am scared of things like this happening. I too wish streets could be widened to accommodate more dedicated bike lanes, but I’m not sure that is a realistic solution. So we all need to pay even closer attention!

  • bikejuju July 15, 2009 (9:29 pm)

    My thoughts are with the cyclist, and also the motorist if it was an innocent mistake (though if they were on a cell phone at the time, let’s just say my sympathy would evaporate pretty quickly).

    Let this be a nice reminder to motorists not to get annoyed with cyclists “in your lane” who are staying three feet away from parked cars, especially while traveling at speed. This is why we “take a lane,” to try to avoid winning a “door prize.”

  • Phillip Jefferies July 15, 2009 (10:03 pm)

    It’s a sad thing, and I hope the cyclist is OK. At the risk of having a lot of PC stuff dumped on me, does anyone have a feel on how fast the cyclist was traveling? This may not be the case here, but on many occasions, I do note cyclists acting as ‘neither fish nor fowl’; that is, they act as road users or pedestrians, depending on what is most advantageous to them. If this cyclist got clipped by a car door and ended up flying quite a ways, I do wonder if he was riding faster than conditions warranted. But it IS a ‘two-way street’ here; cyclists must understand they are bound by the same ‘rules of the road’ as cars, and motorists MUST look all about and ensure things are clear before they turn/open doors/etc. The fact of the matter is that motorists by and large aren’t conditioned to ‘see’ anything smaller than a car, so anyone on less than 4 wheels must assume they’re invisible.

  • vincent July 15, 2009 (10:17 pm)

    The dude in the car broke the following RCW:
    RCW 46.61.620
    Opening and closing vehicle doors.

    No person shall open the door of a motor vehicle on the side adjacent to moving traffic unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so, and can be done without interfering with the movement of other traffic, nor shall any person leave a door open on the side of a vehicle adjacent to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.

  • Tim K July 15, 2009 (10:35 pm)

    This is very unfortunate. It’s one of my major fears for my entire riding family. Just this morning we had a lady in a Mercedes scream at us to “get on the sidewalk” because we were keeping away from the parked car’s doors by riding in the main road a bit and slowed down her trip to McDonalds or Target or something. My kids were _not_ impressed.

    Sheesh, let’s all slow down a bit a get along. These incidents (at least at the rate they happen) aren’t really accidents. They don’t need to happen EVER.

    Here’s hoping this rider is OK and back on two wheels soon!

  • Phillip Jefferies July 15, 2009 (10:49 pm)

    Good call Vincent and Tim K. Bikes don’t belong on the sidewalk, and motorists MUST exercise the highest level of caution, ‘coz they have the least to lose, AND IT’S THE LAW!!!! If we’re ever to get a handle on controlling greenhouse gasses, folks have to know that they can be ‘green’ and safe. The streets of Seattle can’t be allowed to become “Death Race 2000”

  • Kara July 15, 2009 (10:54 pm)

    For good reason, I hate bicyclists. Share the road? No. It’s yeild to all the people that decide that because they save on gas and instead spend it on tight and often neon or brightly colored spandex, they get the right of way. Just as cars should do, bikers should pay attention. Just because you were hurt more doesn’t mean you’re right. My thoughts go out to the poor guy who was injured but seriously, West Seattle bikers… You’re not that great. Thanks for giving me an extra headache during my already crowded commute. Also, you got Fauntleroy Way so stop complaining.

  • vincent July 15, 2009 (11:11 pm)

    wow, AWESOME bike hate! your logic is so flawed its difficult to follow.

    I hate bicyclists. Share the road? No. It’s yeild to all the people that decide that because they save on gas and instead spend it on tight and often neon or brightly colored spandex, they get the right of way. Just as cars should do, bikers should pay attention.

    So I take it you don’t yield to other cars, slow moving vehicles or anything else on the road? You can hate it all you like, but nationally bikes are recognized as traffic, so sharing the road means “literally” to share. Consult a dictionary if share is a tough concept. I ride a bike to go to the store, to get to the bar, and to work, I don’t wear spandex and I am a person who pays taxes on my cars and house just like you. Oh and on top of that, I am your neighbor.

    Just because you were hurt more doesn’t mean you’re right.

    nope thats what the RCW above was for. You commute comment is the one that really throws me, instead of being a bike, I could be in my full sized pickup blocking you in traffic as well. getting hysterical about it doesn’t change the fact we *all* need to get somewhere. Thanks for your perspective though.

  • THERMO July 15, 2009 (11:38 pm)

    Are you kidding me Kara? Paying attention while you are on a bike doesn’t stop an idiot in a car from not paying attention to you. How many seconds do think the bike rider had to react to someone opening a door? How many seconds did the person opening the door have to CHECK before they opened the door? Do you know how many people I see riding bikes while talking on a cell phone? ZERO! I constantly see people driving and talking, who needs to pay more attention?

  • CS July 15, 2009 (11:38 pm)

    WOW War is not the answer..lol Safety however IS!! Poor planning is definitely the Issue here. Bikes are green but not all cyclists are thoughtful or respectful on the road we are now sharing.. I do both bike and drive and try to be curteous and follow the rules of the road but not all of us do..Bikes and cars. Having said that some of the powers that be have really screwed up by using silly painted little symbols on our streets called “sharrows” (How cute is that) and HOW COSTLY!! Shame on that stupid fix..Already accidents occuring with them all over the place.. Lets make the STREET safe not a grafitti patch of goofy bikes in the middle of the road for as far as the eye can see. I wish all of us out there bikes and motor vehicles a safe road experience..

  • chas redmond July 16, 2009 (1:21 am)

    Of course, if we knew what kind of car and the license number, we could all avoid Kara when on the road and all of us, including Kara, would be better off. Hopefully most of Kara’s driving is when other folks are NOT on the roadway. Sheesh. Seriously, Kara, do you understand the responsibilities of your driving license? I was there, saw what happened. I’ve been doored myself. Not paying attention causes bad things to happen, we know that. The solution is to pay attention – to turn completely around in your seat, to roll down your window and look backward before you open your door. But, alas, Kara doesn’t know what the responsibilities are for driving.

  • Kara July 16, 2009 (8:34 am)

    While I may be the only one that says it, I am not the only one that thinks this. I know what the literal term for “share” means and currently it is not balanced between bikers and drivers. And I absolutely agree with CS in the last comment made. Safety needs to be shared by everyone. While I cannot comment on this particular accident because I do not have all the facts, it furiates me that the blame almost always falls on the motorist, if not by the law by the community. Most bikers (empahasis on most not all, so Vincent if you are the exception I commend you) do not follow the rules of the road and the courtesy that we give eachother on the road. You assume that because I feel strongly about the conflict between the two that I do not yield to others. If there was a faster car behind me, I would pull to the side to let them pass as I would hope others do. Including bikers. When something like this happens, don’t crucify the motorist just because they didn’t roll down the window and hang their head out before exiting. I’d like to meet someone who actually does that. My prayers still go out to the biker that was hurt and they also go out to the motorist who has been critized for opening their door.

  • datamuse July 16, 2009 (8:56 am)

    Most bikers (empahasis on most not all, so Vincent if you are the exception I commend you) do not follow the rules of the road and the courtesy that we give eachother on the road.

    Really? Got any evidence for that?

  • Al July 16, 2009 (9:18 am)

    Sorry Kara, I am another cyclist who follows the road laws, like Vincent does. Here’s an interesting article written about all those so-called “scofflaw cyclists” you refer to…http://washcycle.typepad.com/home/2008/07/the-myth-of-the.html.

    Legally speaking, in nearly every state a bicycle is considered to be a “vehicle” and therefore, just like motorists, cyclists must follow the rules of the road. When it comes to collisions, liability usually boils down to who had the right-of-way — the car or the bike. It is not mandated that a slower vehicle move to the right to allow other vehicles to pass (unless on a highway or freeway), but that the slower vehicle MAY move right when the person controlling the slower vehicle deterimes it is safe to do so. Many street in Seattle are too narrow for a vehicle to safely pass a cyclist in the same lane, or there are hazards to the right (such as potential opening car doors) therefore for saftey, a cyclist may ofter take the lane. It is up to the passing vehicle to execute the manouver of passing in a safe manner.

    So where do you get your facts that most of the blame falls on the motorist? In this particular case, in fact it does. If a motorist violates the right-of-way laws an hits a cyclist, yes, the motorist is at fault. The RCW is quite clear.

    I hope the cyclist recovers quickly.

  • CMP July 16, 2009 (9:22 am)

    Thanks for posting that RCW vincent. I was always wondering about that, as I see drivers open their doors along California Ave daily without looking for oncoming traffic. It’s not that hard to do: check your left side mirror before opening your door to make sure there are no bikes or cars coming. If people pay that little attention from a parked vehicle, I fear what they’re like when it’s moving!

  • Kara July 16, 2009 (9:29 am)

    Seriously? Yeah, let me check my records. Let me make something clear. I have respect for those who obey the road rules to the best of their ability. Bicyclists and motorists alike. And there are some people who ride that have an exceptional awareness. Although, in my personal experience (emphasis on that since apparently it wasn’t picked up on) there are many bikers who do not adhere to the same rules and it is very very frustrating. Especially when it is the motorists who always have the finger pointed at them. Please do not take my opinion personally but please understand that it is my opinion.

  • Kara July 16, 2009 (9:34 am)

    I also want to clarify that in this case, the only information that I have about the incident is what has been posted, so much of my comments are general opinion unless otherwise noted. Thank you for bringing some good objective info to the board, Al.

  • Jen July 16, 2009 (10:00 am)

    I can’t count the number of times that I’ve had to swerve while driving my car when folks fling their car doors wide open on busy streets – seems like only a matter of time til it’s a car that shears off someone’s door … always look before opening (thanks to vincent for the RCW code posted above!!)

  • Jam July 16, 2009 (10:11 am)

    What if car traffic is stopped (or moving slowly) and a cyclist passes between the slow moving traffic and the parked cars, in the designated sharrows? seems legal and reasonable for the cyclist to do, right? I’d think so. But also makes me realize that a parked motorist could mistakenly think that it is safe to open their door, because the car traffic is stopped. I think the responsibility falls on the door-opener under the rcw regardless, but there are scenarios that could happen to any of us where everyone is trying to following the law, and unfortunate accidents still occur due to unforeseen conditions. It just sucks for everyone involved, and reinforces the fact that more traffic safety education / awareness is needed for cyclists and motorists.

  • Timothy Clemans July 16, 2009 (10:22 am)

    Here’s a photo that Chas Redmond shares, showing medics tended to the bicyclist

    I don’t see any medics in that photo. Seattle Fire Department paramedics wear white lab coats.

  • WSB July 16, 2009 (10:24 am)

    Pardon my imprecision. Firefighters would be a more accurate label, then?

  • Tim K July 16, 2009 (10:40 am)

    @Al — great link to the Washcycle post. Here’s my favorite part. Helps me understand _why_ this is such an issue:

    “Still, that doesn’t explain the anger. Drivers get – I feel – irrationally angry about this. I wondered why for so long; and then an anthropologist friend of mine helped me to understand. Running a red light is so dangerous for cars that it isn’t just illegal, it’s taboo. You’re breaking a social construct. That means people find it objectionable and abhorrent. So if education is needed, maybe it’s needed to explain why it’s safer for cyclists to do it than for drivers.”

    He then goes on to talk about solutions to this problem, including Idaho’s “stop sign for cyclists means yield”

    Good piece! Thanks.

  • Timothy Clemans July 16, 2009 (10:42 am)

    Pardon my imprecision. Firefighters would be a more accurate label, then?

    Yes firefighters would be a more accurate label. Had paramedics been on scene that would have been an indication of a serious injury. In Seattle paramedics only respond on an ambulance. It’s hard to tell the difference between an aid car and a medic unit. One has to look at the letter in the unit number, A for aid and M for Medic. Side note, all the South King County medic trucks say “paramedics” on the side.

    Sorry for being picky it just helps with identifying how serious a call is.

  • Jam July 16, 2009 (10:45 am)

    firefighters were first on the scene, then the ambulance/medics showed up right after this photo was taken.

  • WSB July 16, 2009 (10:46 am)

    (responding to TC) That much I know – I use that to explain to people all the time how we can gauge the severity of something and decide whether to roll out to check it in person or not. And actually, absent the now-obtained knowledge on who wears what, a medic unit WAS dispatched (Medic 32) along with an engine – see the 5:23 pm call in the 6000 block of California from yesterday’s archived 911 log:
    Anyway, thanks – TR

  • Timothy Clemans July 16, 2009 (11:10 am)

    Thanks! I stupidly didn’t realize that medics could have arrived later. Does anyone know if he was transported by the medics?

    Medics are often called out to do a patient evaluation. For example every patient complaining of chest pain gets a medic response. Medics then decide whether to keep the call at the advanced life support level or to lower it to the basic life support level. The same is true for injuries. If a patient is alert, coherent, has reactive and equal pupils, and controlled bleeding then most likely the call would be downgraded to BLS.

    The comment about not going to Harborview indicates that he did not suffer serve head trauma. Even when on divert, level one trauma centers must accept level one trauma patients.

  • WSB July 16, 2009 (11:18 am)

    Two things:
    #1 – correction – rechecking the archive, it was Medic 28 and Engine 32, not M-32.
    #2, I just called Dana, the SFD PIO. The patient was NOT transported by medics. Doesn’t mean he didn’t go to the hospital some other way, but they didn’t transport him.

  • Donuts for all July 16, 2009 (11:33 am)

    And this incident wasn’t on a road with construction…..

    Please be especially careful on Fauntleroy and any other West Seattle roda projects.

  • Donuts for all July 16, 2009 (11:34 am)

    roda = road

  • mad cyclist July 16, 2009 (11:47 am)

    WOW! How many drivers have been injured in a bike/car accident? ZERO!!!

    How many drivers break the rules of the road one time or another? 100%

    Not you? Oh really! Turning left into the right lane? Not using a signal to change lanes? Cutting left around the circle in an intersection? Speeding?

    Sure, bicyclists break the laws all the time too, but we don’t win in ANY collision with a car! So show a little respect for others and remember the golden rule!!!

  • JAT July 16, 2009 (2:14 pm)

    mad cyclist makes some absolute statements; i bet there’s a driver somewhere that’s been injured in a bike collision, and I bet there’s a mortorist somewhere who follows every rule every time… (but m.c. is essentially correct)

    The big problem with cyclists on the road isn’t that we’re all scofflaws, it’s that the perception of a great many is that we’re all scofflaws. I’d hazzard to guess that Kara doesn’t notice when a cyclist signals intention, moves along at a competant clip in a predictable manner, and obeys posted signs, but every time some helmetless goober blows through a stop sign while she’s patently waiting in traffic it chaps her hide.

    (and she tell two friends and so on, and so on…)

    Now I’m not saying we cyclists need to go cap in hand to beg the indulgence of the motoring public. We have a right to our place on the roadway (and not on the sidewalk), but when we act irresponsably toward the cooperative system that is traffic we invite backlash and war and nobody wants that.

    I hope the doored cyclist is okay, and i hope the lady with the green shirt and the scratched black car comes to understand who legally caused the accident.

  • bikejuju July 16, 2009 (11:50 pm)

    I want to go back to Phillip’s comment:

    “I do note cyclists acting as ‘neither fish nor fowl’; that is, they act as road users or pedestrians, depending on what is most advantageous to them.”

    Yup, guilty as charged. I’m a cyclist. That’s what we do.

    I am not in a motor vehicle, and not a pedestrian. I’m a cyclist. The law allows me to use the roads and sidewalks and crosswalks that the taxes on my West Seattle house paid to construct, and I use all three of them, every day. (And a forest trail, and a bus!) And I use them in combination, moving from one to the other freely, and I use them differently than either pedestrians or cars. And that’s allowed, and safe, and legal.

    I can ride across the crosswalk, and you have to stop your car for me (SMC 11.44.100). I can ride on the sidewalk at “a rate of speed no greater than is reasonable and proper under the conditions existing at the point of operation” (ringing the elegant bell I bought at Aaron’s), and pass you when you are walking. (SMC 11.44.120)

    I can ride three feet out from parked cars (because seeing the picture above, that is what I feel is “as near to the right side of the right through lane as is safe” SMC 11.44.040), and you have to slow your car till you can safely pass. Or join me, on your bike!

    If you don’t like the laws, work to change them. Till then, look for me out there riding legally like ‘neither fish nor fowl.’ I’m on a blue Miyata. With a bell.

  • Gary July 17, 2009 (1:26 am)

    Those bicycles need a motor on them so they don’t go so damn slow and back up traffic! Good points Kara.

  • JAT July 17, 2009 (12:38 pm)

    Those cars need some pedal-power so they go so damn fast and keep killing people! Bikes don’t back up traffic; they Are traffic.

    Am I wrong? Why so impatient?

  • Gary July 18, 2009 (1:11 am)

    I often see bicyclist along Fauntleroy with 15-20 cars behind them. They just can’t pedal at the posted 35 mph. I don’t consider that fast. Hopefully the new bike lane there will be a hit (no pun intended) and keep the bikes from slowing down faster traffic, driving at the posted limit.

Sorry, comment time is over.