Updates: Bicycle-car crash on Admiral Way at West Seattle Bridge

(Scroll down for the latest – we’re still adding info and images)

ORIGINAL 8:32 AM REPORT: We’re on our way to a “heavy rescue” call where Admiral Way meets The Bridge – it’s a vehicle vs. bicyclist and Admiral is blocked in both directions, per the scanner. More as we get it. 8:37 AM: Adding a photo sent by Shauna Causey – the crew you see in the background is working to help the bicyclist, who was reportedly trapped under the vehicle. 8:52 AM: The bicyclist is out. We don’t know about their condition. This shot shows the rescuers and the raised vehicle (the patient is NOT in the shot):

WSB co-publisher Patrick Sand reports from the scene that an articulated bus got into trouble up the Admiral hill trying to turn around – it has been emptied and its passengers are now walking. (added 10:33 am, short clip showing them)

Again, stay away from Admiral north/west of The Bridge, since that’s where all this is unfolding. 9:04 AM: Briefing from authorities at the scene: The bicyclist, a man around 35-40, was coming down the Admiral hill, while the driver was going up – how the vehicle ended up over the bicyclist, is not yet clear. He’s been taken to Harborview Medical Center and was described as “relatively stable.” No word how long Admiral will be closed. 9:24 AM: They’re about to reopen an uphill lane – and the exit off the westbound bridge – but downhill will remain closed TFN; more investigators have just arrived. 9:32 AM: The northwest edge of the closure, by the way, is at the top of the hill at SW Olga (the pedestrian light). 10:19 AM: Heading back to the scene to check on the road. Meantime, some witnesses have posted in comments, including Susan, who writes:

I was ~6 cars behind the crash, here’s what I saw: I first noticed the bike because it had some type of bubble/windshield thing. I believe it was either in line with traffic or biking on the left side of the line of cars; I remember wondering if it was some type of small motorized vehicle because of the windscreen and its location in traffic. I saw the motorist turning left from Avalon and thought that the trajectory of car + bicycle/motorcycle thing didn’t look quite right. Then a car passed between me & the scene (in the opposite direction) blocking my view, and by the time it had passed the cyclist was under the car.

Rescuers had to cut up the bicycle as part of the extrication process – some of what was left can be seen in this photo:

ADDED 10:35 AM: Video of the earlier briefing from SFD Battalion Chief Phil Jose, who explained to us and other media at the scene how they got the bicyclist out, among other updates:

BOTTOM LINE (10:41 AM): To recap – a bicycle and car collided just before 8:30 am on Admiral Way by The Bridge. The bicyclist, a man described as 35-40, was trapped under the car; rescuers got him out, and he was described as “relatively stable” as he was rushed to the hospital. The car’s driver was not hurt. We will update Admiral’s traffic status shortly – en route back to see where things stand now. 11:22 AM: Admiral is still closed southbound/downhill from SW Olga to The Bridge; uphill, the outside lane remains open coming off The Bridge (etc.); investigators are still onscene. 11:40 AM: Also note: Route 56 is still rerouted; the detour from southbound Admiral atop the hill is putting a heavy load of traffic onto one-lane-each-way 35th SW north of Fauntleroy, so that is VERY slow going (we have just waited through about six lights to get the last few blocks to Fauntleroy. Also just got a call back from Harborview: The bicyclist is in serious condition, “headed to intensive care.” 12:58 PM: Admiral Way is now FULLY REOPENED, and the 56 is back to normal. 4:00 PM: We have published a separate followup with information from a comment regarding the bicyclist’s condition, plus SPD’s call for witnesses to get in touch with them – see that story here.

128 Replies to "Updates: Bicycle-car crash on Admiral Way at West Seattle Bridge"

  • Laura May 20, 2010 (8:37 am)

    We drove by just after it happened, no rescue was there at the time. It looked very serious, the bicyclist was fully under the car – it was terrifying. I am so hoping things turn out alright for that cyclist…

  • Dan May 20, 2010 (8:45 am)

    this kinda stuff gives me a heart attack. cars have got to slow down on admiral. jeez.

  • chris May 20, 2010 (8:45 am)

    My prayers are with the bicyclist. As with the previous comment, no rescue was there yet when the bus went by. Cyclist was clearly under the vehicle. It looked horific.

  • miws May 20, 2010 (8:50 am)

    I hope the cyclist is okay.


    No matter where something like this happens, or to whom it happens to, it always saddening to hear of these incidents. But, knowing that many of the regular posters here on WSB are bike riders/commuters, I always wonder and worry if it’s someone we “know”. :(



  • Mama o' four May 20, 2010 (8:52 am)

    I pray that everybody is OK…

  • Dave May 20, 2010 (8:54 am)

    So sad. I hate that stretch of road, you could be going 95 up the hill and some jackass would be on your bumper. It’s an autobahn atmosphere there. I’m praying for a positive outcome here.

  • Josh w May 20, 2010 (8:56 am)

    I was seconds away walking when it happened…. I ride my bike that way alot… This is horrifing me to the extream… I am wishing the rider all my blessings… From the look of it, they need all the blessings the can get. I know I can reach speeds if 35-40mph at that point on my bike

  • Andy May 20, 2010 (9:00 am)

    That’s a sketchy area for cycling down there, without any really safe options for getting across all those merging lanes of traffic. Best wishes for all involved.

  • Erik May 20, 2010 (9:03 am)

    We were also one of the first to arrive on the scene. The bicyclist was conscious though in a lot of pain. A group of us were able to jack the front of the car up just enough to take some pressure off his chest before the fire department arrived. Praying for all involved and thankful for the incredibly fast response time of the fire department.

  • J.See May 20, 2010 (9:08 am)

    I was on the bus and thankfully didn’t see anything while walking by, that sounds absolutely terrible. I wish there had been a cop rediecting traffic at the top of the hill so our bus didn’t get stuck.

    Anyway, I hope the bicyclist is ok, it sound very scary and serious.

  • pam May 20, 2010 (9:13 am)

    If he was going down the hill, I wonder if he blew a tire or something to end up under a car going up the hill.

  • Robert2715 May 20, 2010 (9:18 am)

    When a bike goes down on its side you can slide a long way which would explain why they guy ended up in the opposing lane.

  • Zibby May 20, 2010 (9:18 am)

    I also was on the bus and it was very confusing for our amazing driver on route 56 – who just wanted to get us all to work. Thanks to WSB for being on top of things, otherwise we would not have known what was going on.

  • sam May 20, 2010 (9:23 am)

    prayers for all involved and I hope the cyclist will be ok. did anyone see what happened ?

    if a bike going downhill went out of control, the cyclist could end up under a car going in the opposite direction whether that car’s going 20 mph or 45 mph.

    I imagine speeding, while a popular debate topic for this stretch, could have something or nothing to do with what happened. I’m sure the driver is traumatized as well.

  • jodi May 20, 2010 (9:23 am)

    Sending positive healing thoughts to the cyclist and driver. Terrifying. My husband and I bike that route daily. Always thankful when we make it to work/home safely.

    Pam, I am wondering the same. Hard to tell from the photos, but doesn’t look like a typical pattern of where a cyclist would go.

    Again – healing thoughts to all involved. And thank you all responders for being there.

  • Al May 20, 2010 (9:27 am)

    I drive on Admiral a lot and am always conscious of the speed limit. Just yesterday a motorcylce cop was ticketing a couple of drivers. Prayers go out to those involved in this mornings accident.

  • D May 20, 2010 (9:31 am)

    I was there and heard it, though it was right behind me so I didn’t see the accident. The bicyclist was on a recumbent bike, which of course is low to the ground. The driver was turning on Admiral from Avalon.

  • amy May 20, 2010 (9:35 am)

    Please don’t let this turn into yet another discussion about speeding on Admiral. We don’t know how fast the driver was going but even if they were going the speed limit, this could have still happened. The real issue here is the horrible accident and the condition of the cyclist.

  • Bikejuju May 20, 2010 (9:38 am)

    Thoughts and prayers with the cyclist. Maybe I don’t even need to point out that it’s Bike To Work week. Be careful out there people.

  • Traci May 20, 2010 (9:41 am)

    I agree with Amy. If the driver was turning from Avalon to Admiral, speed wasn’t a factor at all. That turn can be tricky in the morning with activity coming from all sides. Thoughts and prayers for the driver and the cyclist, it looked horrible this morning.

  • Looking Forward May 20, 2010 (9:53 am)

    I biked past shortly after 9. There were bits of bike parts in the center turn lane right at the intersection of that Avalon spur and Admiral. The car the bicyclist was trapped under was 40 to 50 feet further up the hill. My guess is he got hit by the SUV turning left from Avalon onto northbound Admiral and dragged until the car stopped.

    I bike down that hill most mornings and am always at highest alert when passing that spot. It would be safer if that intersection was right turn only. Left turners at the AM peak get impatient waiting for the endless line of cars going down.

  • Susan May 20, 2010 (9:53 am)

    I was ~6 cars behind the crash, here’s what I saw: I first noticed the bike because it had some type of bubble/windshield thing. I believe it was either in line with traffic or biking on the left side of the line of cars; I remember wondering if it was some type of small motorized vehicle because of the windscreen and its location in traffic. I saw the motorist turning left from Avalon and thought that the trajectory of car + bicycle/motorcycle thing didn’t look quite right. Then a car passed between me & the scene (in the opposite direction) blocking my view, and by the time it had passed the cyclist was under the car.

  • Scott May 20, 2010 (10:09 am)

    I was on my bike about 15 seconds behind this rider. He was riding a recumbent with a yellow rain/wind cape on. He was in the right lane and began to merge into the left to continue down to Delridge/Spokane instead on exiting at Luna Park. He was under the car (Ford Edge) in that small merge lane for traffic headed up Admiral from Avalon. The driver of the Ford was very upset, but said he never saw the rider, only felt the impact.

    I have no idea if why the rider was in that lane. Wind, mechanical (tire) or trying to pass (traffic was slow…stop and go) on the left. My thought go out to all involved.

  • Anon May 20, 2010 (10:33 am)

    I have it on good authority that the individual is in stable condition

    • WSB May 20, 2010 (10:43 am)

      Anon, that’s what we reported we were told at the scene, “relatively stable.” Will continue checking but as is usually the case in these situations, family/friends will have the best info, as media information is often restricted by medical-privacy rules – TR

  • uglybrowncrow May 20, 2010 (10:35 am)

    Cars shouldn’t be on the same road as bikes. cmon guys. Bikes have the right-of-way.

  • pam May 20, 2010 (10:38 am)

    Oh my goodness, It may have been my neighbor. Did it look like a big banana on a bike?

    • WSB May 20, 2010 (11:46 am)

      For those who haven’t checked the story lately (we continue to add info) – I just talked with Harborview, which *is* releasing the victim’s condition: The bicyclist is in serious condition and headed for intensive care. – Tracy

  • johnnyblegs May 20, 2010 (10:44 am)

    uglybrowncrow: Bikes have the right-of-way….YES
    Cars shouldn’t be on the same road as bikes?…um, roads were/are built for cars, so….
    From the comments above, sounds like an honest mistake. The driver didn’t see him, which sounds reasonable because of the style of bike, low to the ground. Hope everyone is okay.

  • Robert2715 May 20, 2010 (10:50 am)

    I’d second the recommendation to make that spur off of Avalon to be right turn only onto Admiral.

  • coolmama May 20, 2010 (10:51 am)

    How awful. I hope for a speedy recovery for the injured cyclist.

  • Dan May 20, 2010 (10:51 am)

    Wow, very sad. Positive thoughts going out to the cyclist.
    Being an avid cyclist, I know of the many dangers on the road. Without all the info in this case, it is hard to know who is at fault, if anyone.
    But as with every other car/bicycle accident, the cyclist loses big time while the driver walks away. So just keep an eye open for us when you’re driving. We don’t want to end up in the hospital.

  • kat May 20, 2010 (10:52 am)

    Bikes may have the right of way BUT.. if they are going to be on the road with cars they are SUPPOSED to follow The SAME RULES AS A CAR!!

    Im sorry this happened but.. If bicyclists would follow the rules of the road these things wouldnt happen as much

  • miws May 20, 2010 (10:56 am)

    ….and, kat, you know the bicyclist was not following the rules of the road how?



  • Andy May 20, 2010 (10:57 am)

    It’s a tough situation for everyone, kat. We can’t make it perfect, so we all just need to be careful and aware.

    Blame is a little out of place right now.

  • Scott May 20, 2010 (11:00 am)

    @Pam…yes, a big banana. I recognized him as reg. commuter, but don’t know him.

  • Looking Forward May 20, 2010 (11:04 am)

    Without knowing exactly what happened I suppose it is possible that the driver honestly could not see the bicyclist if he was very close or beside an adjacent car. But “I didn’t see him” is usually negligence. If you are on the road you are supposed to be aware of all other vehicles on the roads. The visibility is good at that intersection. You can see vehicles approaching without obstructions for a long way up Admiral when waiting to turn left onto it.

    I am not placing blame in this instance, just saying “I didn’t see him” is a poor excuse in most accidents.

  • on board May 20, 2010 (11:10 am)

    Fortunately it sounds like we will hear the full story from the bicyclist’s perspective sometime soon since he was described as being stable. While it is too soon to assign blame before we know what happened, I do agree with the previous poster that “I didn’t see him” is indeed negligence. When you turn that ignition key, you are in control of a powerful vehicle and it is your obligation to “see him” and be aware of your surroundings.

    I see so many people on cell phones and making dangerous turns these days, that it has simply gotten out of control on the roads any more.

  • JAT May 20, 2010 (11:13 am)

    Since we don’t know what exactly happened, our collective conjecture and blame-placement (and preexisiting biases) aren’t really very valuable.

    I drive that route three mornings a week and cycle it two mornings a week, and I know what I think probably happened, but rather than say it here and piss both drivers and cyclists off, I’ll just say I hope the blog follows up on this and we eventually will get the straight scoop.

    In the meantime: cyclists – please don’t pass stop and go car traffic in a stupid manner, and motorists – please keep an eye out for all the other vehicles.

  • Jeffro May 20, 2010 (11:15 am)

    That’s my route to work when I bike. That spot is one where I feel completely invisible to the cars coming off Avalon. It’s a tricky turn for cars because the flow down Admiral doesn’t let up for much of the morning. That spot alone has put me in my car more times than I can count. I’m hoping the best for everyone involved.

  • Alki Observer May 20, 2010 (11:20 am)

    Well said JAT. Hope all involved are okay. Awful way to start the day.

    • WSB May 20, 2010 (11:28 am)

      Also note, official results of the crash likely will not be public for MONTHS – the collision investigation squad is on it, they write up their findings (we’re in the area right now and they are taking measurements and all the other very careful things they do) and it usually takes a very long time, including even a decision on whether, if anyone was found liable, there would be a citation. We have followed up on some of the other major crashes in the past couple years and this is just how it goes – TR

  • Manning Resident May 20, 2010 (11:42 am)

    I use that intersection several times a day. It is almost ridiculously dangerous turning left onto Admiral and most if not all cars coming down the hill are exceeding the speed limit. SLOW DOWN TO POSTED SPEEDS AND WATCH OUT FOR GOD SAKE!

  • Al May 20, 2010 (11:46 am)

    @Amy – ‘…about speeding on Admiral..’
    yeah, it is about speeding. Speed limit is 35 up or down that stretch. If you’re paying attention and doing 35 regardless of the folks that give you stinkeye as they zip past you BREAKing the law…. You’d be more conscious of who’s on the road with you. And cyclists should also be able to do 35 on that stretch. If you can’t, then don’t take Admiral on your bike.

  • Scott May 20, 2010 (11:48 am)

    JAT—another well said. Today reinforced why I usually take the extra time and go the alternative route.

  • wseadawg May 20, 2010 (11:50 am)

    “There’s another one who had the right-of-way,” said the man reading the tomb-stone.

    Hope that biker’s okay, but safety trumps right-of-way every time. When I ride I follow the golden rules from my motorcyling days:

    1. Look at their eyes and make sure they’re looking back at you.

    2. Pretend everyone on the road is trying to kill you.

  • Carl May 20, 2010 (11:56 am)

    Long time bicyclist/motorcyclist here. I try hard to see everything on the road when I drive a car. Really, really hard. I know where the blind spots are, and I’m aware of what kinds of mistakes cyclists make when interacting with car drivers, having made them all myself at one time or another (in my youthful speedy past).

    Without commenting on the exact specifics of this accident, I will state that the very few times I’ve been surprised (to the extent of swearing loudly in surprise and shock) by the sudden and unexpected appearance of a cyclist at the side of my car, it’s ALWAYS a recumbent. Those things are freaking deathtraps on city streets, even taking into account flags, bright ponchos, etc.

    Let’s hope that’s not the case this time. I wish people wouldn’t ride those crazy things in city.

  • Manning Resident May 20, 2010 (11:56 am)

    I beleive the speed limit is 30.

  • rw May 20, 2010 (11:58 am)

    A fellow who fits this description goes by my house (recumbent, wind screen, bright yellow jacket) goes by my house almost every day, even in winter. I will be relieved if or when I see him again.

    I could easily have been on either end of this incident (as cyclist or driver). Recumbents in busy conditions always make me nervous.

    A left turn prohibition would be too severe, But there are times in the a.m. where I avoid making that turn because of the busy conditions. Perhaps a restriction during morning rush would not be unreasonable, in my opinion.

  • drb May 20, 2010 (11:58 am)

    wseadawg…well said… I have had both motorcycle and bike and can’t tell you the close calls I’ve had. Definitely look them in the eye (car driver) doesn’t matter who has the right of way.. I certainly do not want to end up right but dead.
    Lots of my friends ride bikes and for their own safety watch out for the car..
    That said…hope the guy is okay…

  • Barry May 20, 2010 (11:59 am)

    Those bike riders need to start riding with more care and stop thinking they own the road. If you can’t pedal as fast as a car stay out of the way

  • on board May 20, 2010 (12:01 pm)

    Thanks Barry. Way to join the community.

  • Al May 20, 2010 (12:01 pm)

    “The original Al”
    Very scary. I’ve ridden down Admiral before, on my bike and motorcycle and via car. That intersection is extremely dangerous and I’ve had some close calls even in a car when a vehicle pulls out from that stop sign with no real room or right of way to do so. This is purely supposition but I’ll bet the cyclist saw the car pulling out and didn’t have time to stop. He then swung out in front of the car hoping to get around it while the driver continued forward, striking the cyclist and pushing him forward and under even further. That’s how they ended up in the median. Horrifying. I hope he is ok…looking them in the eye is no guarantee either. Many drivers look straight at you and pull out anyway.

  • bleebah May 20, 2010 (12:09 pm)

    Maybe some speed bumpy things at the bottom of the hill (for traffic coming DOWN only) would help – like the ones on Fairmont?

  • Dan May 20, 2010 (12:24 pm)

    “Those bike riders need to start riding with more care and stop thinking they own the road. If you can’t pedal as fast as a car stay out of the way”

    Barry, your whole comment is a huge contradiction.

    So if I can pedal at 35mph, I’m actually riding with more care? How is that possible? Have you even ridden a bike that fast? It is freaking scary!!

    And since when do bike riders think they own the road? We are just trying to survive!!! If that means blocking your lane, so be it. I’d rather be seen than not.

    Barry, get out of your car and get on a bike. See what it’s like. Maybe you will have a little more sympathy and respect for cyclists!!!

  • Cami May 20, 2010 (12:31 pm)

    Pam – yes on the news you could clearly see the yellow sleeve he wears over the bike. Hope he’s okay!

  • peopledust May 20, 2010 (12:32 pm)

    My thoughts are with all involved and to their families. How horrible.

  • peopledust May 20, 2010 (12:36 pm)

    Barry- this is not the time or the place for your generalized rant. Take your negativity elsewhere.

  • Carson May 20, 2010 (12:37 pm)

    Barry. actually, I do own the road. Just as much as anyone else does. That’s on my bike (unless the road prohibits bikes, horses, etc) in my truck or in my car. Buy a kayak or a helicopter if it bothers you so much.

  • mamo o'four May 20, 2010 (12:49 pm)

    I take that Avalon-Admiral turn twice a day, 5 days a week. It IS scary – cars coming down the hill on Admiral over the speed limit and cars going up the hill from the freeway AND the road under the bridge. I am always extra cautious when I take a left there.
    And PLEASE PLEASE PLASE show some compassion all aprties involved – blaming anyone right now is in fact out of place.

  • Baffled May 20, 2010 (12:56 pm)

    Is it a tragic accident? Yes.
    Was it unexpected? No!
    The roads were built for cars and there is nothing you can do to change drivers behavior or expectations.. you ride at your own risk! And, yes, I do ride a bike, but I sure as hell don’t try to compete with the busy traffic on streets like Admiral Way!!

  • Michael May 20, 2010 (1:00 pm)

    A car making a left turn is probably not doing 30, making this line of discussion moot and unproductive.
    Paying attention: good on the road, and good in a discussion, too.

  • ElevenTruckmen May 20, 2010 (1:04 pm)

    Sound like the car was coming up from Avalon and turning onto Admiral. The Recumbent Cyclist was traveling down the hill on Admiral. He moved into the middle turn lane towards the bottom of the hill. The traffic was stop and go on Admiral for the usual morning rush hour. The Driver of the car pulled out onto Admiral through the stopped cars and couldn’t see the Recumbent cyclist over the stopped cars. The driver was surely looking to the right for traffic coming off the bridge once he got the opening in the cars and pulled out. This whole story is sad and it really doesn’t matter now who was the right or wrong party. Two lives are forever changed for the worse.

  • John May 20, 2010 (1:16 pm)

    As someone who drives and bikes this route, especially that time of morning the drivers turning left from Avalon are looking for signals from cars going downhill that they will let them through, especially if the traffic is at all heavy. If a car slowed down to let them out, and the cyclist did not notice and also start slowing down, then it would be very easy for the car to not see the cyclist. As a biker whenever I see a car in front of me slowing down, I make sure I know why before I go by them – this is also important in a car on a four lane road, as someone may be crossing the street. Everyone – bike or car, when a car going the same direction as you, in front of you starts slowing down, you should slow down until you know WHY… Once again just supposition, but I have seen close calls for this very reason at this same location before.

  • Manning Resident May 20, 2010 (1:34 pm)

    Michael, your point as well as your superfluous comma are so very relevant to this discussion. My point (which seems to have been lost in your critical zeal) is that cars are speeding which makes a hazardous situation more hazardous. But thanks for keeping everyone on topic. Maybe you should direct traffic on Admiral instead of on the blog.

  • 22blades May 20, 2010 (1:37 pm)

    The intersection: The usual direction a driver looks at that intersection is to the left for speeding cars coming down the hill. During rush hours, however, people will shift their attention more to the right since the downhill traffic is stop and go. In all, there are three directions that motorists should look to, ON TOP of bicyclists. The normal way to negotiate that northbound merge from Avalon also requires gunning it across the downhill lanes. A very bad combination.

    The cyclist: I’ve seen the bicyclist many times and wish him the very best. I don’t recall if his recumbent was equipped with a tall flag for conspicuousness. With the lower profile, they should all have them.

    Speed: It IS in part about speed. Most people think of the impact speed has but a equally important aspect is the reduction of reaction time to things like this. People drive too fast on Admiral. Period.

  • Dale May 20, 2010 (1:43 pm)

    Since were discusssing the dangers of speed and Admiral what became of the Fataliy Investigation at the top of the Hill about a month ago? Could WSB get a copy of the final MAR (Major Accident Reconstruction) report from the City of Seattle under Freedom of Information? Thanks if you can.

    • WSB May 20, 2010 (1:46 pm)

      I doubt that investigation is done. But I will check with TCIS as soon as I get a chance – TR

  • michael May 20, 2010 (1:56 pm)

    My thoughts and prayers to ALL involved.
    So Sad that this even happens!

    This has nothing to do with what happened,just a thought…….

    Hopefully we all can go forward from this horrible event with a desire to communicate with our fellow commuters by working with each other regardless of what type of vehicle we are in or on, sharing the road making eye contact, letting each other merge properly, using our signals hand or electronic so others on the road know our intentions.
    Slowing down so we are doing things legally, with out the phone to our ears, focus on what you are doing and do it right.
    Give the same respect and courtesy that you would ask in return

  • D May 20, 2010 (2:05 pm)

    I was there, and speed was not an issue. It was as John said, slow traffic down the hill, Avalon driver pulled out at an opening to go up the hill. Didn’t see the bike. I was driving down the hill with the bicyclist and looked carefully at his bike because it had something written on the yellow wind sleeve. No flag, and he was going with the (slow) flow of traffic. This kind of accident scares me more than any other, because I just don’t see how anyone did anything wrong. No one was speeding, no phones (that I could see), no one breaking any obvious rules.

  • speed limit? May 20, 2010 (2:19 pm)

    30 is the speed limit on the down hill right there.
    Remember posted speeds are the limit, not the minimum. Any adverse condition (wet roads, rain, fog, night) EACH LOWER THE LIMIT BY 5 MPH.
    So the limit right then if the roads were wet was 25 mph, right? Bikes do not have to go the speed limit to be on the road, but cars do have to watch out and be careful when passing. Everyone is in such a hurry!
    Hope the cyclist is OK.

  • Scott May 20, 2010 (2:47 pm)


    Which lane of travel was the rider in? The driver stated to me that a driver had stopped to allow him to to make the left. From where cars generally cross to where the incident was was up the hill 50ft by my guess

  • becky May 20, 2010 (3:03 pm)

    very scary, really hope he is ok. too anyone that might know this person, does anyone know where he works? I am trying to figure out if it is someone at the UW.

  • Tina Gilbert May 20, 2010 (3:09 pm)

    I was with 20ft from the accident (third car back). The driver was not speeding nor was the cyclist. I am a cyclist and a driver. Today I was driving. I also watched the cyclist changed lanes 2x without signaling. I feel terrible for the cyclist AND the driver who was clearly shaken. Heck, I was shaken up. I was proud of all the West Seattlites who hopped out of our cars and immediatly called 911 and were doing their best to help. BTW: The cyclist was on a recumbant bike with no flag which makes it very hard for other drivers to see him/her.

  • jimmy May 20, 2010 (3:15 pm)

    “didn’t see the bike”- D, i think the driver is negligent if thas what happened. didn’t see what has been described as a giant banana? that sounds very yellow to me…

    everyone gets into a psycho-trance during commute times. the rage and stress is palpable.

  • D May 20, 2010 (3:26 pm)

    Scott, the rider was in the left lane. I was actually in the right lane turning right onto Avalon. I saw the driver turn left onto Admiral, heard the impact a second later and turned to see that the car had hit something. Even though I watched the rider biking down the hill and saw that the car hit something, I thought it was only a fender bender with a car that was heading onto the bridge. I never put two and two together. It looked like the accident was right where the cars do cross, where a car would have let the driver in.

  • Laura Wood May 20, 2010 (3:27 pm)

    I am the wife of the cyclist in this accident. Doug is in ICU awaiting surgery on his pelvis. Overall doing amazingly well given the severity of the accident. Still it will be a long road back. Also want to say that Doug is a very consciencious rider, always obeying rules of the road.

    • WSB May 20, 2010 (3:34 pm)

      Thank you for the update, Ms. Wood. We send our hopes for your husband’s rapid and thorough healing.
      Also, for everyone reading: We have just heard from SPD and they have asked that we put out a call to “anyone that witnessed the collision event between the SUV & Bicyclist on SW Admiral Way & SW Manning St., to contact Detective Tim Wear at (206) 684-8935. Would like to hear from anyone that witnessed the collision event. Thank you.”
      Will put that in a separate update shortly as well … Tracy

  • D May 20, 2010 (3:33 pm)

    jimmy, I totally disagree. The rider had a yellow wind sleeve, but it did not cover the front of the bike, where that driver would have been looking. There was no flag, and it was no more than 4 feet off the ground. There are cars turning onto Avalon (as I was), cars turning uphill onto Admiral, cars going onto the bridge from Admiral, cars coming up Spokane waiting to turn on Avalon, and cars coming off the bridge directly up Admiral. A reclined biker in the middle of all that would be very difficult to see, no matter what color.

  • D May 20, 2010 (3:36 pm)

    I’m so sorry this happened, Laura. Thanks for letting us know. Hoping for a speedy recovery.

  • vannamocha May 20, 2010 (3:37 pm)

    WSB: GREAT reporting.

  • Susan May 20, 2010 (4:01 pm)

    @Laura Wood: Thanks so much for the update. I’m very glad to hear he’s still with us based on what I saw this morning. Best wishes to both of you.

    +1 on the thanks to WSB for their reporting; if I lived in any other neighborhood I imagine I’d just be wandering around today wondering what happened and whether the cyclist was okay.

  • Mike May 20, 2010 (4:09 pm)

    Glad to hear that your husband has a good prognosis. Thanks for sharing the info with us, Laura. I don’t know Doug, but regularly see him heading up or down Admiral Way.

  • heather May 20, 2010 (4:13 pm)

    Laura – so sorry this happened! I work in the building with Doug and while I don’t know him, I would always smile at his “banana” bike and as a fellow bike rider, and colleague i wish him the best recovery possible! Others here are also concerned and hope he is ok. We are very sorry this happened.

  • Justin Moser May 20, 2010 (4:19 pm)


    I was one of the first people out of my cars and on the scene. I checked Doug’s vitals and talked to Doug trying to keep him calm while we were waiting for paramedics to arrive on the scene. I am glad he is stable and doing okay. Please keep us posted on his recovery.

  • Josh W. May 20, 2010 (4:30 pm)

    Laura, my thoughts are with you and your husband…

    I did not see the collision but I saw seconds afterwards. I ride that route when I ride to work also so this has really had a harsh effect on me… I have had the shakes all day.

    I am so happy to know that he is going to be ok

  • rich May 20, 2010 (4:33 pm)

    Thank goodness Doug is recovering okay. Just read through all these posts. So hard to take.

    I had a car pull out in front of me from a stop sign last week while I was coming down a hill at speed (central district). I braked hard and swerved, trying to dodge the front of the car and ended up going over the handlebars headfirst like a missile. Amazingly, I skipped off the pavement, hitting the car’s rear hubcap with my helmet and bouncing off without being crushed. Scrapes and bruises, and a bent wheel, but I’ll happily take that instead of what almost happened.

    Bottom-line, like one of the cycle-riders said above, and it’s absolutely not hyperbole: you have to ride like every car out there is actively trying kill you.

  • peopledust May 20, 2010 (4:42 pm)

    Laura my thoughts are with you and your husband. Keep us posted.

  • bander May 20, 2010 (5:00 pm)

    I’m so sorry Laura, I can’t immagine what you’re going through right now. This is a horrible situation and as a bicycle commuter it freaks me out. It sounds as though neither the driver nor the cyclist was obviously at fault. I assert that the fault lies with the SDOT:

    The intersection “improvements”, traffic laws and speed limits in Seattle are all designed to take decision making away from driver in the name of safety. Because drivers never have to think about the road, they tend to not and instead indulge in distractions. They are lulled to sleep while half paying attention to the road, talking on their cell phones, eating, reading, etc. When a situation arises (i.e. this incident) drivers are not prepared to make split second decisions and tragedy ensues.

    Driving is an inherently dangerous activity and there will always be unexpected events. We need to put the responsibility back on PEOPLE rather than traffic lights to make good decisions. If drivers are out of practice in decision making, they won’t be very good at it when the skill is most needed.

    The SDOT has been making Seattle less safe and more congested for too long. Let them know that their approach is flawed and needs to change. They believe that drivers are incapable of critical decision making. Demand less controlled intersections in the name of TRUE safety!

    Seattle Department of Transportation
    PO Box 34996
    Seattle, WA 98124-4996

  • Bikejuju May 20, 2010 (5:04 pm)

    @WSB you have the email addresses of every commenter here who posted that they witnessed it. Maybe ping them to alert them that SPD would like them to get in touch? (Maybe you already did…)

  • Laura Wood May 20, 2010 (5:08 pm)

    Thanks to those of you who helped at the scene. And thanks for everyone’s good thoughts.

  • Babs May 20, 2010 (5:47 pm)

    Crossing my fingers he comes out of all of this OK. It happened, we all need to learn from it. That corner is scary for bikes, cars, walkers…it could be improved, with signs, direction, something…
    I ride my bike alot and I live at the top of Avalon Way. I put my bike in my Honda Element and drive down to Harbor Ave, unload and then ride away. I get alot of grief from people for doing that. Why? I’m not lazy. Biking down the Avalon Hill scares me, it just takes one time, one accident to change lives.

  • JimClark May 20, 2010 (5:56 pm)

    Praying for yor Husband Laura

  • Bobby May 20, 2010 (6:54 pm)

    I can not believe some of these car drivers. Cyclist are treated as cars. A cyclist can get any traffic ticket a car can get including DUI. However bikes are smaller and harder to see so drivers really need to pay attention cause cyclist have just as much right to use the road as cars.

  • Iggy May 20, 2010 (7:12 pm)

    So sad. Reason I’m posting is that my friend and I saw a fellow on a recumbant bike a few days ago. My friend is an experienced urban bicyclist, and he shuddered and said that recumbant bikes are way too dangerous to ride in traffic because they are so low that car drivers often can’t see them. Sounds like the accident was a tragic illustration of this.

  • Dennis Wulkan May 20, 2010 (7:28 pm)

    Recumbents are great as stationary exercise bikes. As on-road vehicles they lack visibility and are not highly maneuverable. Maybe this accident will make folks consider the heretical proposition that our roads were engineered for cars, not for mixed use. In some cases they cannot be re-engineered safely. I know this bespeaks of anti-green (sorry Mr. Mayor) hysteria, but driving one of those recumbents–or any bicycle for that matter– down Admiral, is akin to playing russian roulette. And I have seen some bike riders do this without helmets.

  • undertheWSbridge May 20, 2010 (7:52 pm)

    So thats what all the noise was about near my tent this morning. Its already hard enough to get some sleep living undertheWSbridge with regular traffic passing me bye. I hear all kinds of mild traffic accidents everyday. But today was a little scary. I normally don’t pop my head out of my tent but had to and hope the dude is alright.

  • Phil Hildebrand May 20, 2010 (8:13 pm)

    @Laura –

    I’ll also be praying for Doug.. I see him often on the bike as I too ride in daily through the winter, but didn’t know his name.

    I too was riding my bike down admiral a few minutes after it happened, and I had a very hard time finishing my ride into work, and will pray he makes a full recovery.

  • Dan May 20, 2010 (8:17 pm)

    I wonder if everyone who’s saying recumbents are unsafe would apply the same reasoning to giant SUV’s, which inflict more injuries, proportionally, on the other cars’ occupants in accidents?

  • Kathy Dunn May 20, 2010 (8:31 pm)

    @babs and @jeffro May I suggest leaving your truck or car at home and instead put your bike on the bus for the dangerous stretch of your route?

  • wseadawg May 20, 2010 (8:46 pm)

    Good points bander. Like many other issues the city is bi-polar about, traffic control is one of them. There will never be a perfect intersection where judgment and discretion won’t play a part. Cars run red lights, people dart into traffic, and bikers sometimes have to swerve around objects or chuckholes in the road. We need to give each other that extra cushion of room to operate, just in case the worst happens. As I said above, right of way or not, personal safety at all costs is priority number one. You have to assume the worst out there, every day, in every way. Best way to stay alive and in one piece.

  • Stu May 20, 2010 (8:50 pm)

    As with anywhere in this city, I am always saddened to hear of a fallen fellow bicyclist. Women and men who are really trying to make a difference in the quality of their own lives as well as the lives of others do put themselves at some risk. Doug is a good customer of mine and I wish him a speedy recovery. I know he will be back out there as soon as he can. Doug is a very experienced bicycle commuter so I understand his choice of Admiral Way as the most direct and fastest route out of West Seattle. I ride it almost daily. However, as it is Bike to Work Month and there will be some less experienced riders who want to also be a part of the solutions I really do not always recommend Admiral Way as a route. Spokespeople West Seattle as a function of Sustainable West Seattle has Sunday rides that are designed to help riders who want to use their bicycle for transportation but have apprehension to do so in a car world. The focus of this ride is on route selection as well as skills such as recognizing danger and planning an escape route . It is also important to note that Doug was riding a recumbent design bicycle which can be more of a challenge to handle. They look comfortable as you pedal in an almost couch like position but they are lower to the sight of drivers and are somewhat hard to get used to. There are transportation design bicycles that can increase your safety and decrease your risk. I hope this terrible incident will not discourage folks to start living the bicycle life. There are actually very few car/bicycle accidents relative to the number of cyclists these days. Also we found out at the last Sustainable West Seattle Community Forum that Admiral Way S.W. from S.W. Olga St. to Avalon Place S.W. will be going on a road diet to reduce the lanes down to one in each direction with a two way turn lane and bicycle lanes on each side. Like Fauntleroy Way. This will solve a lot of traffic problems and problem driving such as sneaking down the right lane to get ahead of everyone. It will also create more back ups than before. My advice is to start using a bicycle.

  • wife May 20, 2010 (8:54 pm)

    I finally got the courage to read the blog tonight as it was my husband who was the driver. He is a biker also and had forgot his cell phone so had to turn around and head back up Admiral this morning. I got the call to come down and be there with him which was horrifying. We are so thankful that the cyclist is alive and have not stopped worrying about him all.

    My husband had to have drivers who were stopped in traffic let him through the line of cars to the median between admiral and he did not see the cyclist but wishes every second that he had. It is quite a sad day and humbling experience as our family all ride our bikes. It enforces caution on everyone’s part as cars and bikes (including motorcycles) should share the road and follow the same rules at all times.
    We wish the cyclist a speedy recovery and hope that he returns to cycling soon. Our thought and prayers are with the family and we hope this is not a repeated situation.
    Thank you to the gentlemen who consoled my husband, prayed with him and let him borrow your phone.

  • WSB May 20, 2010 (9:04 pm)

    Wife – thank you for sharing your story. We also send good thoughts to your husband, for recovering from the trauma that any such incident would bring, regardless of whether a person suffers physical injury – TR

  • k May 20, 2010 (9:26 pm)

    @Wife and Laura,
    My thoughts are with both of your families. This isn’t easy for anyone.

  • Laura (cyclist's wife) May 20, 2010 (9:31 pm)

    To wife of driver-

    Thanks for posting your good thoughts, and I will return the good thoughts to your husband. I always think how horrible it would be to be the driver in such an accident. It certainly does not sound as though it was a result of any negligence on his part.

    Doug really is OK, relative to the severity of the accident. Your husband can be reassured by that.

    I’m also so grateful that the vast majority of comments on wsb are supportive. The comments to the story about this accident on komo4.com are really hateful, saying he deserved to be injured/they have no sympathy, etc.

  • JRF May 20, 2010 (9:46 pm)

    The roads are a public space, a connected network allowing people to get around. The road networks in the maps here http://www.worldmapsonline.com/seattlehistoricmaps.htm predate the automobile. The roads don’t belong to the cars, they belong to the people. Many people like to bring their cars with them when they visit the public space that is our road network, but it is absurd to propose that a car is required to use that space to get around.

    There isn’t anything wrong with optimizing some corridors for use of a particular vehicle at the expense or even exclusion of others–interstate highways or railroads for example–so long as it does not compromise the integrity of the connected network available for the general public. I’m happy to let folks have special roads to drive fast on, so long as I’m not required to use a car just to get from point A to point B.

    Unfortunately, as anyone who has tried to get around without a car knowns, while there are many safe places to cycle and walk in Seattle, the network is horribly fragmented, making it difficult if not impossible to get around without venturing into places where the roads have been built or adapted to exclude anything but automobiles.

    The network accessible to the WHOLE public needs to be reconnected to avoid tragedies like this.

  • Christi Stapleton May 20, 2010 (10:11 pm)


    I am hoping for Doug’s speedy recovery. I do not know you or him, but have driven many, many times beside Doug, while in my car. He’s kind of hard to miss! And always so courteous and careful!

    Please tell us what we can do to help you and your family…..West Seattle is stocked with some pretty serious community organizers….don’t hesitate to ask.

    Christi Stapleton
    my last name dot my first name at gmail.com

  • Velinda Vera Hookanson May 20, 2010 (11:42 pm)

    Thank God Doug is doing better. He is a wonderful father and Husband.Doug is a careful driver on his bike and his car. I believe this is called a accident. Love to Laura and Doug and children

  • Affriad of the legal liablility to drive anynmore May 21, 2010 (8:16 am)

    The shared road issue really needs to be worked out and dealt with!. Cars and Trucks need the road back and bicycles need to be separated from that traffic! These bike VS: car accidents will become much more commonplace until the legal liability of driving (a motorized vehicle)will force an ultimate end this traffic mix. I think it’s fair to say that bikes will lose since we love our cars, trucks, and SUVs much more than our bikes and the fact that roads where specifically designed for motor vehicle travel and that’s just the way it is! The new Mayor needs to come up with another idea!

  • White Center Gardener May 21, 2010 (8:39 am)

    To both of the families – our prayers are with you and how amazing is it that you wives were able to reach out to each other via this blog. Nicely done, West Seattle.

  • LunaPark May 21, 2010 (9:18 am)

    Prayers are with both families for a speedy physical and emotional recovery. We can only imagine how scary this has been for both families, but am happy that the wives of the driver and rider have communicated as it will be very healing for both.

  • Brian Pratt May 21, 2010 (10:30 am)

    As a cautious 50/50 bike and car commuter I just want to applaud all here for a thread that’s not ugly and hateful over what can be a hot-button issue. Best wishes to cyclist and driver and families, and to all cyclists and all drivers and all families.

  • dsa May 21, 2010 (11:28 am)

    Anybody see what stu wrote above? This would help the left turn and cyclists, but cause havoc in the morning and other times of the day:

    “Also we found out at the last Sustainable West Seattle Community Forum that Admiral Way S.W. from S.W. Olga St. to Avalon Place S.W. will be going on a road diet to reduce the lanes down to one in each direction with a two way turn lane and bicycle lanes on each side.”

    • WSB May 21, 2010 (11:46 am)

      DSA, thanks for pointing it out. I was just glossing over comments by that point looking for trouble – and since we know Stu, I didn’t expect to have to read it for great detail/trouble. I have just sent an inquiry to our SDOT contacts to see if that is true and if so, what’s the timetable etc. – the Fauntleroy proposal/plan certainly had some public meetings etc. ahead of it before the final decision was made and executed. We try to cover SWS meetings but unfortunately had multiple conflicts on Monday night (even our freelancers weren’t available), so we weren’t there and as far as I can tell no other journalists were either, so there’s no article about the meeting he mentions … TR

  • JRF May 21, 2010 (11:38 am)

    To “Affriad of the legal liablility to drive anynmore”: roads evolve over years, decades and centuries. Many roads in Seattle predate the automobile by a fair amount, and as the modes of transportation shift over time, there are inevitable conflicts between road users. There is no shortage of history on that.

    The current automobile dominant transport infrastructure is unsustainable as our urban population grows, so the roads are seeing conflict as we work out other more sustainable ways of getting around. The appropriate resolutions will vary depending on the individual point of conflict. Regrettably, it usually takes terrible accidents like this—and often multiple such accidents—before serious attention is given to a meaningful resolution.

    Humans have been building roads for thousands of years. The dominance of the automobile on the road is but a brief blip in this history. Claiming roads are the rightful exclusive domain of cars is a non-starter for any productive discussion about resolving the conflict over road use.

  • JRF May 21, 2010 (11:57 am)

    On Road Diets… I recall plenty of dire predictions of gloom and traffic jam doom about Fauntleroy Way being re-striped. And yet when all is said and done, I can’t tell any difference in driving time between the ferry terminal and the bridge. With one travel lane and a dedicated turn lane, the traffic flows much more smoothly than with two lanes and a lot of jockying around to dodge turning traffic and reckless lane switching by folks trying to “get ahead”. And look, there is enough room left over to dedicate space to cyclists! A well planned “road diet” is a win for ALL users.

  • NAH May 21, 2010 (12:19 pm)

    I work with Doug and hope him a speedy recovery. He is an experienced bike commuter but sometimes circumstances align and accidents happen.

  • not local but know the family May 21, 2010 (2:45 pm)

    The community may want to think of doing a bike ride to help support this self employed, hard working family with 3 young children (some with special needs). Being self employed, even with insurances, in this situation is a massive challenge, in an already challenging situation. Musicians, Scouts, and other organization that have benefited from this families quiet contributions might get creative and give (back) also. 4-6 months before he will be back at work I heard. Also, anyone who knows Doug knows he’s a geek and safety freak. He’s also almost 10 years older than one guessimate on his reported age, something that makes his ribs hurt laughing about in all this. Thanks for listening.

    • WSB May 21, 2010 (4:09 pm)

      Thanks, “Not Local But” … I crossreferenced databases after his wife posted here and noticed that. Obviously exercise helps keep you young! Anyone who starts to organize anything OR wants to put out an official call to do so, please let us know at editor@westseattleblog.com – an effort large or small – we are here to get the word out about many things, not just bad news as-it-happens … Meantime, re: an earlier exchange, SDOT has confirmed it is *studying* a “road diet” on that stretch, not that one is a done deal – I have published a separate story on that:

  • Larry Wood May 21, 2010 (7:11 pm)

    I am Doug’s brother. He comes from a large family scattered around the States – this posting from Pennsylvania. I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of goodwill, understanding, and compassion from all of you in West Seattle, thank you for your thoughts and feelings about our brother, his wife Laura and their wonderful kids. Even from all the way out here it warms our hearts and clearly they are living among friends in their community.

  • Schmoopie May 21, 2010 (7:42 pm)

    Our family respectfully shares the road with cyclists on our daily commute to work and school. I constantly worry about their safety, but am thankful they wear the brightly colored jackets so we can spot them easily. Though I am a careful driver, I have nearly hit a pedestrian crossing Avalon to get to the bus stop. I wasn’t going fast, they just happened to be right in my blind spot (area between the windshield and driver’s side window that you can’t see through) as I crept around the corner. My husband yelled for me to stop, and I did. I was shaking and very upset, but I was lucky to have my husband there to see for me. The driver in this case was not so lucky. But I think we all can understand how something like this could happen. It is truly unfortunate for these families, and we wish them nothing but the best!

  • Dale May 21, 2010 (11:18 pm)

    I think we can all agree that we could have done the same thing as the driver or the bicyclist if we cared to try that.

    My recommendation is that no Left hand turn be allowed on AM rush hours, (from Avalon to N/B Admiral) say 6-9:00 a.m.–so this wouldn’t happen again.

  • Malinda Powell May 22, 2010 (1:23 pm)

    To: Laura,
    I wish the best for Doug,you, and the rest of the family.
    M.Powell, RPT, PTG

  • Jeannie Grassi May 23, 2010 (9:22 pm)

    Heard about Doug the day after it happened. I have been with someone who had a similar injury (was in a car, however) and has recovered quite will. My best to you and Doug. He is a strong man and smart enough to know how to get better quickly. My best thoughts are with you.
    jeannie grasssi, Bainbridge Island

  • Chris Munger May 24, 2010 (7:51 am)

    We are sending our prayers so that Doug may have a speedy recovery.. our thoughts will remain on his family at home and around the world.. may they also find strength to get through the coming weeks maybe months..

    Chris Munger

  • I. Ponder May 26, 2010 (11:49 am)

    Any updates on his condition? I’ve met him on the road as a fellow cyclist. Later I realized he repaired my piano a couple years ago. Great guy. Wishing Doug a speedy recovery.

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