Bicycle commuter: ‘Never in my life has any other human being so directly and purposefully threatened my life’

Was it part of what some fear is a “war” between drivers and bicyclists? An isolated incident? Or? A commuter who bicycles to his West Seattle workplace says he was almost killed by a truck driver this morning, just before the final leg of his trip, and he believes it was deliberate. He has since written and sent a letter to the mayor, published in its entirety below:

Dear Mayor McGinn,

My name is Kit Newman and I am writing you to inform you about a most outrageous incident I experienced on my bike commute this morning. I have been a resident of the City of Seattle for 21 years now and nothing like this has ever happened to me.

I live in the Central District at 22nd avenue and Yesler Way. I work at a small architecture firm on California Ave. SW in West Seattle. I have been commuting by bike between the CD and West Seattle most days for the past 4 years. My normal route takes me down Jackson street to the water front and then south along East Marginal way to reach Spokane street and thus over the little bridge to West Seattle. This incident happened along the southbound lane of East Marginal way very near the Coast Guard port facility and the US Customs warehouse. Having just crossed the intersection of S. Holgate St. and E. Marginal right in front of the entrance to the Hanjin container port terminal, I proceeded south in the southbound lane of East Marginal. There were many bike commuters from West Seattle coming the northbound direction in the temporary bike lane along the west side of the street. Seeing the southbound lane ahead was clear of any vehicle traffic, I elected to ride in that lane rather than against the opposing bike lane traffic coming northbound. The long line of opposing vehicle traffic in the northbound lane of E. Marginal was stopped at that time because a freight train was using the rail crossing at S. Holgate behind me.

As I proceeded in the clear southbound lane ahead, to my utter astonishment, one of the several 18 wheeler container trucks that were stopped in the traffic of the northbound lane, pulled out of that lane, crossed the double yellow center line between lanes and proceeded to accelerate coming northbound head on to me in the southbound lane!

I was so astonished at this, that it took me several seconds to realize that the truck would not stop. He was accelerating the whole time as I could hear the upshifting of the trucks engine as it came at me head on with no extra room to spare. When I finally realized that this truck would not stop and that MY life was at stake, I immediately braked to a halt, unclipped from my pedals and threw the bike over the jersey barrier and dove over after it just as this truck sped past me. Had I not done so, I am convinced that I would be dead now under the wheels of that fully laden truck! Dead.

To add great insult to this injury I did see the face of the driver as he sped past. He was grinning triumphantly having scared me out of his way with a classic game of chicken. I was so consumed in that moment with the urgent need to save my own life that I was not able to get a clear view of the trucks license plate or any other identifying marks. All I do know is that it was a black Kenworth cab, with a container loaded behind it and it was driven by a black man. Perhaps of East African descent. It reached the north end of the southbound lane and turned left at S. Holgate into the Hanjin terminal. I could not give chase as my bike was damaged in my throwing it over the jersey barrier. I was hysterical for several minutes before I could compose myself to attempt to continue on to work. I slowly made my way to work with only one front gear available.

I am well aware that there has been much talk in the local news lately about the “war ” between cars and bikes in Seattle. I also understand that you have called for a summit soon on this issue because of the many deaths of bicyclists on our streets in recent months and years. As a citizen of the city and a bike commuter, I must urge you to do more and quicker. If there is a “war “going on it is only the bicyclists, and not the drivers, who are dying in this war. This incident I have just described to you is indicative of the deep animosity that some drivers and truck drivers hold for all bicyclists. That truck driver made the conscious decision to violate several of the most basic traffic laws we have, and did with intentional malice, put my life at direct risk! There was no way he did not see me coming. I have a bright white flashing LED headlight, which was on at the time. I was the only thing in the southbound lane. He saw me coming and decided to do what he did anyway. I am beyond outrage at this incident! Never in my life has any other human being so directly and purposefully threatened my life like he did this morning.

I know there are bad cyclists out there whose reckless actions give us all a bad name. I can understand the frustration of some drivers in light of their actions. But this is beyond outrageous!
We cyclists are DYING out here! Today I was almost another sad statistic in the death toll of the “war between cyclists and drivers.


I urge you to bolder and quicker action to stop this contemptible “war” and help save the lives of Seattle citizens!

Yours respectfully,

Kit Newman

180 Replies to "Bicycle commuter: 'Never in my life has any other human being so directly and purposefully threatened my life'"

  • wait, what? September 21, 2011 (9:21 pm)

    not crazy about this as a lede:
    Was it another salvo in the perceived “war” between drivers and bicyclists?

    • WSB September 21, 2011 (9:51 pm)

      Well, “wait what?” I guess the one thing I could do to improve it is to add, “or was it an isolated incident?” The so-called “war” is referred to in Kit’s note. As a purist, I probably should bag the word “salvo,” which is stock stupid headline terminology (like “solon” for legislator or “blaze” for fire). Or is there some other aspect to which you object? Sincerely interested … TR

  • ellenater September 21, 2011 (9:24 pm)

    Kit, I am glad you wrote your letters. I hope you are doing better now and have a safe trip tomorrow! See you at coffee. :)


  • Bryan F September 21, 2011 (9:42 pm)

    Sorry for your scary ordeal, Kit. I know that route well, as I commute from West Seattle to downtown occassionally, and that is my least favorite part of the ride – the area around the track crossing with the detours due to construction.

    Too bad that you were unable to get the truck’s plate – that driver should have his license suspended indefinitely and his professional license terminated permanently.

    Yes, some cyclists do give safe riders a bad name – but I witness horrible driving habits by motorists on a daily basis (can’t remember the last day I haven’t seen some run a red light downtown) – and as you say, their life isn’t threatened by a crash with a bicycle. I am not anti-car by any means – I stopped by the West Seattle Car Show this weekend and loved seeing the vintage cars. But I am tired that we have become so dependent on sole occupancy vehicles as a primary means of commuting and the sense of self-entitlement that motorists have the right to drive anywhere at anytime. I believe that we need to convert some of the downtown streets from 5-6 lanes of car traffic, to two lanes with a separated bike/pedestrian thorough fare – NYC and other major cities have done this kind of conversion – I can’t understand why Seattle, which considers itself so progressive, fails to take action to be among the leaders of bicycle/pedestrian facilities.

    More than anything – this “war” is ridiculous – we all share the roads – no one has more rights or entitlement to its usage than others. If someone does something bone headed, it also doesn’t make it ok to escalate or retaliate in an equally bone-headed manner. That is Cold War mentality! Can we please try harder to be more polite and cordial to each other – especially in the most dangerous task we all regularly perform?

  • CCW September 21, 2011 (9:46 pm)

    This above is an extreme case. It’s so extreme, in fact, that I’m not sure it’s relevant. That trucker was clearly nuts – not just mad at cyclist nuts, but crazy pants psychopath nuts. Cyclists face less overt threats every day however, from people who aren’t crazy in general, and I’m becoming convinced the animosity that some drivers feel is in part to blame.

    My recent experience:

    A few days ago, I was crossing the street in a cross-walk on my bicycle along with a green light, and a car turned right through the cross-walk and intentionally almost hit me. She drove right in front of me, fast, all while flipping me off out the window.

    What I was doing was legal, in fact, and necessary, because I was coming off a bike lane on Spokane and not the actual road. To have turned myself into a vehicle and used the road instead of the cross walk wouldn’t have been possible. Because of the way the bike lane and streets are set up, I had to behave as a pedestrian in this instance.

    I actually confronted the driver and she yelled at me that I needed to follow the law. I’m really not interested in debating the law – I had no choice but to do what I did, and if you’ve ever had to bike through the various bike lane / road transitions in Seattle, you know that whether one is a “pedestrian” or a “motor vehicle” is necessarily ambiguous at times. Whether I was actually breaking the law almost doesn’t matter, though.

    Regardless of whether I was violating the law (I wasn’t), this person thought I was and decided to use her car to attack me. Do cyclists threaten the lives of folks who drive cars? Even crazy law-violating cyclists? I just don’t understand the animosity.

    P.S. the woman who did this to me was dropping cats off at the cat shelter on Harbor. A good deed, probably. I think maybe she likes cats more than people. Or at least more than cyclists.

  • shfy 1 September 21, 2011 (9:54 pm)

    have you contacted hajin and notified them of the dangerously unsafe driver? perhaps that will get you the name of the driver and some much needed legal recourse.

  • JN September 21, 2011 (9:59 pm)

    I have seen trucks do this constantly whenever traffic is stopped by a train, and I am always struck dumb by the sheer danger of this move. The truck drivers in this area are incredibly rude and threatening, constantly blocking the northbound crosswalk that connects the bicycle lanes here.

  • Denny September 21, 2011 (10:02 pm)

    I was in my small truck the other day headed northbound in this area stuck in container truck backup 1 mile long due to train switching. At one point 10 or more of the container trucks behind me took onto the southbound lane to drive north & enter the terminal. It was loud, lots of trucks honking about those jumping the line. The trucks that crossed over just missed some southbound vehicles (no bikes this day), with a lot of chicken going on.

    Not sure if this is purely a war on bikes, or also a reflection of how much we have condensed and jacked up traffic in this little area that so many people converge on with so man modes (bike, car, semi, train). Either way, glad you are physically ok, hope you can get your bike repaired.

  • michael September 21, 2011 (10:07 pm)


    There are definitely terrifying drivers behind the wheel that operate their vehicles with malice threatening the lives of cyclists, pedestrians, and other drivers.

    On September 21st just before 5pm in the evening, I was nearly hit by an aggressive and hostile driver as I biked home.

    I had just come out of Lincoln Park and was traveling south, downhill, on Fauntleroy Way SW. I was traveling on my bicycle in the sharrows lane staying in the rightmost portion of the lane.

    As I descended the hill, a green van came hurtling down the hill passing me far too closely and the driver yelled out the open window, “Stay in your own lane!” The van was obviously speeding and swerved recklessly in and out despite having plenty of room to pass safely and at a reasonable speed.

    I was infuriated, but even more so when I realized the van was a Metro Rideshare VanPool. The driver was recklessly violating the law, endangering my life, and completely ignorant of the law. I was riding exactly where the law expects me to ride my bike. The only other lane present was the reserved parking lane/ferry terminal waiting lane. There was no where for me to go except for the lane where the driver nearly struck me while I traveled home.

    As I came down the hill, I saw the van turn right on SW Barton St into the ferry terminal. I pulled up on my bicycle and took photographs of the van to document the vehicle number and license plate (#207502, License Plate #07010). I didn’t confront the driver, but continued on my way home.

    Upon arriving home, I immediately called the posted number for Rideshare (206-625-4500). To my further frustration, the afterhours operator couldn’t take a report or complaint about the driver because they didn’t consider it an emergency. I should have called the police, but wasn’t thinking clearly about how much danger this driver had put me in and was instead intent on reporting the driver to Metro.

    I was able to submit my complaint the next day to a Metro phone operator, but I really felt a lack of urgency in Metro’s response. I gave them all the details, but they really didn’t react in a way that made me feel they took this as a life threatening incident. They assured me they would investigate and would sit the driver down for a talk to see if some punishment was merited, but again I didn’t get any sense that they really considered this a significant incident. They were quick to point out that there would be no way for me to know what course of action they pursued against the driver.

    Now, I make at least five 30 miles rides along West Seattle every week and I have to say that it isn’t uncommon for some ignorant driver to pass me in a reckless manner and even to shout out the window at me to get out of their lane, despite it being marked as a shared lane for bicycles and motor vehicles. This however was some private citizen who is being allowed to operate a King County Metro vehicle. I’m astounding by the possibility that Metro would not pursue this incident in the most serious possible manner and make certain that this individual never operates a King County Metro vehicle again if the investigation validated my complaint.

    There is a war going on, but it is ignorant and hostile motorists that are waging it. Unfortunately, I haven’t yet seen or heard of any response by the authorities that would lead me to believe that they take it seriously. Bicyclists lives are in danger from careless and/or reckless drivers. When are we going to start taking the threat seriously and appropriately condemning and punishing those that use motor vehicles in a life threatening manner?

  • wait, what? September 21, 2011 (10:11 pm)

    gosh, thanks for yr interest wsb! yr response and genuine concern is emblematic of the thing that elevates WSB as a news source for me and, i’m sure, many others.

    in jouro shorthand, the lede seems to hyperventilate a bit too much for me. y’know?

    “war/salvo/question mark”!

    • WSB September 21, 2011 (10:22 pm)

      thanks “wait.” I have to go rush out and check out a report of police somewhere but will check it out on return – TR

  • Sean J September 21, 2011 (10:18 pm)


    I share your concern. I am also a regular bike commuter that heads through the same area daily. Twice now, I’ve had the exact same experience in the afternoons (5ish), dealing with a truck coming northbound in the wrong lane.

    I don’t consider this egregious behavior from a few truck drivers to be indicative of the larger population, but something clearly needs to change soon.


  • Tom September 21, 2011 (10:25 pm)

    I find the details sketchy. There were a line of bikers, so the rider chose the change lanes, and ride against the flow of oncoming traffic?
    A renegade 18 wheeler bore down upon him and he had to dismount and pitch his bike over the ledge to save his own life, but didn’t get the tag or any other of the many identifying marks on this rig, but was able to note that the driver was “black man. Perhaps of East African descent”? Also, not a single one of the other riders attended to their fellow rider? No one thought to assist in documenting such reckless behaviour?
    Something really seems fishy here.
    Re: Bryan F, if your proposal is to stand, I would counter with a requirement that bicycles, riders and equipment be saddled with the same tax structure, licensing requirements and saftey inspections that motorized vehicles are.
    Face it good neighbours, gas taxes, registration fees and licensing funds pay for roads. Vehicles/drivers pay for said taxes and thusly have access to said roads. Until the cyclists open up their eyes and pocketbook to this fact, you may assume the same animosity will continue.
    Back to Kit’s letter, I think this is a figment of one’s imagination. Too many witnesses, too little documentation with all of the eyes that were on the situation. I do love though how Kit speaks of a war, curious. Maybe sending a letter to a fellow cyclist who is severly in favor of taking cars off the roads, and has some (albeit fleeting) say in such civic matters is an interesting tactic.

  • Paul September 21, 2011 (10:27 pm)

    Kit: if you know the time, you could talk to the freight terminal. Terminals usually keep good records of vehicles entering and exiting, and wirh a freight train stopping traffic, there were probably very few entries at that time. Also, they tend to have cctv on their entryways, and freight yard people tend to have a very dim view of reckless truck drivers.

  • tk September 21, 2011 (10:35 pm)

    my instinct was this was not a classic car vs bike duel. The guy might be a sociopath. I tend to get frusteated with bikers because they always seem too eager and unafraid of me hitting them with their “right of way”. I actually don’t want to hurt anyone. Wish all bikers were more cautious.

  • lipbone September 21, 2011 (10:40 pm)

    Is there any chance that there is a security camera nearby? Might be worth finding out.

  • Jw September 21, 2011 (10:54 pm)

    Tom only .44% of gas tax pays for roads while 33% of property taxes go to roads. I pay my share I want my share of the lane.

  • J.J September 21, 2011 (10:54 pm)

    Love Tom’s comment–seems fishy, and well, you’re on a bike, so you should expect people to hate you. And get a license. Because drivers have licenses and they never break the law. Maybe you were driving that truck?

    I actually ride the same route Kit describes, and while the trucks are omni-present, I have never seen one recklessly endanger a cyclist. I have seen them pull across the yellow line when the trains block the intersection attempting to get in or out of the port. I think it’s one bad/crazy truck driver.

  • KBear September 21, 2011 (10:55 pm)

    Tom, your idiotic “tax the bicyclists” idea has already been discussed ad nauseam here, and you have no cause to call the victim a liar. Go back under your bridge. And please don’t ever drive.

  • datamuse September 21, 2011 (11:00 pm)

    Tom: Actually, no, and anyway it’s irrelevant. Your observations are akin to asking whether someone who just got mugged paid their property taxes this year, and are they sure they were mugged and didn’t just accidentally trip over someone’s fist? Please.
    Next you’ll be saying that pedestrians shouldn’t cross the street unless we own cars.

  • k2 September 21, 2011 (11:11 pm)

    I’ve been debating capturing this on video, i bike everyday from West Seattle to the WOrld Trade Center for the past 5 years, rain or shine…the construction has definitely put a strain on commuting that way, wonderful new pedestrian/bike path or not…the trucks coming out of that container yard, just south of the PMI building don’t stop when turning onto Marginal Way…
    The truck driver situation between there and harbor island is an rare case because a majority of them could care less, and only a few are respectful of bikers.

  • RT September 21, 2011 (11:29 pm)

    I saw a renegade biker run a stop light the other day and blow right through the intersection. No regard for anyone else.

  • JN September 21, 2011 (11:32 pm)

    Okay Tom, seriously? You hijack this thread to state AGAIN the same bull-smack others have stated on this thread, claiming that gas-taxes, registration fees and licensing funds pay for roads? SIGH…..Here it is again. PROPERTY TAXES and SALES TAXES pay for our roads. Your vehicle related fees make no measurable impact whatsoever. Here are the numbers:
    Cyclists have just as much, if not MORE, supposed right to the roads as motorists do. HOPEFULLY people like yourself will finally realize this fact and stop claiming the “gas-tax/car registration fees pay for the roads” idiocy.

  • datamuse September 21, 2011 (11:39 pm)

    RT: I saw a renegade driver run a stop light the other day and blow right through the intersection. No regard for anyone else.
    By your logic, I ought to get t-boned when I pull out of my driveway tomorrow morning.

  • Mel September 21, 2011 (11:58 pm)

    That’s exactly what I demand of my Mayor: “do more, and quicker.”
    But you know, the death penalty hasn’t stopped murder, either.
    Even a dedicated, safely separated bike lane didn’t help in this instance (the rider chose to not use it), so what exactly is the Mayor expected do do so quickly?

  • G September 22, 2011 (12:10 am)

    I’m another motorist who witness atrociously irresponsible behavior on the roads by bikers.

    For example, there are many places where dedicated bike path, ie Gilman, crosses a public walkway or street. I’ve seen bikers ride at irresponsible speeds through these intersections, despite the fact that much of the trail is hidden by brush until they suddenly emerge. There is very little time to react, even if a motorist is being cautious. Is this responsible behavior?

    The larger question is: is Seattle made for heavy bike use? I say no, based on the hilly terrain, poor visibility, lighting, and inclement weather during the majority of the year. No matter what improvements are made, biking is always going to be dicey.

  • Adam September 22, 2011 (12:59 am)

    I cannot for the life of me figure out where this happened. I cannot find the intersection of S. Holgate St. and E. Marginal – they do not intersect on both Google maps and Bing maps. Can someone post a link to where this occurred? I want to see Street View imagery.

    • WSB September 22, 2011 (1:29 am)

      Holgate is the south end of the current Viaduct construction zone (the project used to be called Holgate to King St. Replacement). As a result I don’t believe the street there looks the same as it looked pre-construction.

  • JAG September 22, 2011 (2:09 am)

    There was an article in the Seattle Times recently, about the difficulties those truck drivers face and how little money they make. Not to excuse this incident, but it sounds like they’re in a tough situation and are desperate enough to do crazy things like drive up the wrong lane to get ahead.

  • drdr September 22, 2011 (3:09 am)

    I have never seen a motorist intentionally hit or threaten a bicyclist. (Well, actually, I’ve never seen a motorist hit or threaten a bicyclist at all.) However, I have seen countless bicyclists ride recklessly on busy streets, weaving between traffic, cutting cars off, and not following street rules.

    If bicyclists want to share the roads with cars, they should have to follow the same/equivalent laws as cars.

    I am all for riding our bikes. (I do!) However, I have seen many near death/very close call incidents and, all that I can recall were not the motorists’ faults.

    As a motorist, I most definitely do not want to injure anyone (no matter their form of transportation).

    I am not trying to take away from the above story, or in anyway question the told story. It very well could be a true and accurate story, and I do not want to criticize Kit. That would be terribly frightening and beyond frustrating. If I were in Kit’s position, I would also want something to be done (and quickly).

    I am simply offering another perspective, as it seems, these comments have mostly been left by bicyclists.

    It is frustrating to have to worry about dangerous incidents caused by bicyclists, when we already are dealing with other crazy motorists.

  • Westside J. September 22, 2011 (3:56 am)

    I ride almost as much as I drive per week. That said, I think an awful lot of cyclists have a chip on their shoulder, probably due to the way the city (mayor?) gives us a sort if aire of entitlement. As cyclists we are entitled to our three feet, but we are not entitled to assume every car will heed way to us. And as both a driver and a rider, I know that it is my responsibility to NOT get hit while on my bike.

  • Caprial September 22, 2011 (5:23 am)

    I still say that if a cyclist is on the road, they need to be licensed for identification just as motor vehicles are required to do (cars, trucks, motorcycles).

    But beyond that nobody has more rights than someone else when it comes to endangering someone. While I don’t agree with bikes having their own lanes at motorists’ exclusive costs (for a few bicyclists) it is never ok to instigate possible injury.

  • sydney September 22, 2011 (5:45 am)

    Unemployed ‘builders’ are manning trucks these days: a bunch of relative troglodytes are among them I suspect. I used to work in the trades. There were a lot of troglodytes!

  • Mandy September 22, 2011 (6:18 am)

    Just to add, these incidents are not isolated to our lovely city of Seattle. I was riding my bike down in Oregon wine country (country roads, noted in bike books) and I received a few honks, along with some person who decided to open their door / yell at me as they were driving by. It was terrifying. I still don’t understand why they would risk my life like that…I wasn’t doing anything wrong.

    Also, as a rider in a vanpool, I am

  • Jason September 22, 2011 (6:35 am)

    “Cyclists have just as much, if not MORE, supposed right to the roads as motorists do.”
    “the sense of self-entitlement that motorists have the right to drive anywhere at anytime.”

    It’s comments and attitudes like these from the “purist” bicyclists that help further the “war” they imagine exists. At least in their minds.
    What do you expect the Mayor to do, Kit? Spend more non-existent money that will somehow end the “war” problem? Build protected, separate lanes for bicycles? Put more cops on the street dedicated solely to bicyclist safety? Maybe install cameras along ALL bike lanes? How about a dedicated bike tunnel from West Seattle to downtown? I imagine you’ll get a nice letter back from the Mayor, maybe with an empty promise or two, but nothing will change.

  • redblack September 22, 2011 (6:38 am)

    one purpose of the south end viaduct replacement is to separate the grade between rail and east marginal with a “flyover.” once construction is complete, trucks will no longer be backed up by rail crossings. and i think the bike/ped path will no longer be woven through the truck route.

  • RT September 22, 2011 (6:51 am)

    Yes Datamuse, a car was t boned by a bike in Admiral District. The rider went to the hospital.

  • TA September 22, 2011 (7:06 am)

    Kit, thank you for posting this. Have you reported this to the police? To the Port of Seattle? I ride this area daily and I know precisely where you are talking about. The driver who was going the wrong direction in the southbound lane should be disciplined big time, that is unacceptable. the city could do a ton more to make this area work for all users, but they generally don’t pay any attention here, they would rather focus on the all-important Burke Gilman trail. I do however feel compelled to say that in my ten years of bicycling from West Seattle that I have actually noticed that it is generally the truck drivers who are the most predictable. They are the pros out on the road and their livelihood will end if an accident of some kind occurs, including one with a bicyclist. I have never heard of an accident yet between a freight truck and a bicyclist here. It is the impatient car driver talking on their phone that I worry about.
    Your “crazy” driver aside, I suspect the truck drivers in that area could use a reminder about who and what they are sharing the road with given the amount of detours and construction that are occurring as a result of the Viaduct work.

  • w.s. maverick September 22, 2011 (7:10 am)

    bike are just as much fault too. I watch them race across crosswalks and almost get hit a lot of the time. I will still throw up the license plate idea for bikes so they can be identified like a car can. then we can even have them get tabs. all these complaining bicyclist think they get a free ticket to do what they want just because the mayor rides a bike. think again

  • Danny September 22, 2011 (7:23 am)

    Sounds like the cyclist is overreacting like a crazy person to a maneuvering these truck drivers constantly make. The maneuver the truck driver made was illegal yes, but from what the letter says the cyclist left the bike lane to ride in the middle of the road. Both are at fault. And this whole story screams of shenanigans.

    This Kit fellow needs to take a deep breath and stop hallucinating that every person behind the wheel is a maniacal serial killer bent on ridding the city of cyclists.

  • Alki Area September 22, 2011 (7:27 am)

    While scary, what’s the point? If this is some nut case drive, something that hasn’t happened to you in 21 years of biking…why are you writing a letter to the mayor? This is a police matter, not a political one. Does some action that happens once in 21 years need some new political initiative? You can’t prevent crazy or bad judgement. Just arrest/fine/deal with it as you run across it.

    SORRY you were put in that situation, that would scare the pants off anyone! Wow. And to the bike commuter yesterday that ran the stop sign as the bottom of the hill in West Seattle on Beach Drive, doing 20+mph straight through an intersection without stopping, who I almost pulled into…YOU are an idiot! Your bike isn’t a toy, pay attention and follow the road rules just like everyone else. This goes to the cyclists AND the car drivers. Everyone…pay attention and stop ‘short cutting’. That’s how people get hurt.

  • hammondbacon September 22, 2011 (7:28 am)

    I’ve had harrowing experiences here as well. I notified the Port of Seattle about safety issues here. Shortly thereafter, a temporary pedestrian crossing sign was put up at both ends of the pedestrian crosswalk. Pedestrians and bicyclists know there is a marked pedestrian crosswalk there; it’s the truckers who don’t seem to notice it. When they block that intersection with their tractor-trailers, pedestrians cannot see the crosswalk signals enabling them to cross the entrance to the port facilities. The next best step is to notify WSP’s Commerical Enforcement people to come down there and at least educate the truckers about public safety when they’re operating their vehicles. The road doesn’t belong to them, regardless of their “right to work” mentality.

  • coffee September 22, 2011 (7:32 am)

    I drive that area all the time to get back to west seattle from sodo. It would be wise if the police could patrol this area more. I see the truckers all the time do things that are not considered legal.

  • hammondbacon September 22, 2011 (7:33 am)

    One more note. Just because the traffic flow has changed makes no excuse for drivers, commercial or otherwise, to play dumb to the challenges in the area. Traffic flow changes are made all the time, usually during construction necessitated reroutes. That’s no defense for ignorance for commercial vehicle operators, regardless of where it is. And, presumably, as they drive this route daily, they well know of the rerouting change.

  • bebecat September 22, 2011 (7:34 am)

    This appears to be pretty cut and dry. This is a person who chose not to use the bike lane provided to him/her and got in trouble in traffic. End of story.

  • ddd September 22, 2011 (7:38 am)

    Maybe I missed it, but where in the letter (or WSB follow-up) does the author say that he contacted the police?
    If he has not contacted the police, why not?
    If he did contact the police, what was the response?
    If I thought someone had tried to run me over, my first response would be to call the police — not write a letter to the mayor.

  • hammondbacon September 22, 2011 (7:40 am)

    RT, you saw a renegade bike rider run a stop sign? Say it isn’t so. I see a lot more drivers running stop signs everyday. So what?

  • Mitch September 22, 2011 (7:48 am)

    I vote with Tom. These drivers are desperate to make a living these days and to turn one example of that desperation into some politically correct screed is one of the reasons that many of us are fed up with many of the oh so superior bikers. Riding a bike during the commute in Seattle is just plain dangerous. Get over it. And please, quit forcing me into on-coming traffic while you’re at it.

  • A September 22, 2011 (7:54 am)

    That stretch of road is a nightmare for all commuters – drivers and bicyclists alike. The difference is that the driver of a car may or may not walk away from a crash, while a bicyclist almost definitely will not.

    I have seen many aggressive truck drivers in the general Hanford St area, between 1st Ave S and Alaska/Marginal. They play chicken with cars on a regular basis, with the “I’m bigger than you so you have to stop” seeming to be the most common attitude.

    That said, that area is absolutely full of road ragers. Between train crossings (stop/backup/stop/forward/stop/backup) and traffic diversions, people are just insane behind the wheel.

    I had a woman decide to try to run me off the road THREE TIMES at different points in two blocks along there. Whether it was a case of mistaken identity or just plain jerkiness I don’t know, but she very deliberately tried to run me off the road even as I was on the phone dialing 911 after the first time she did it. I got her license plate and a picture (while at a stop light, NOT while moving) and followed long enough to give the police a description of her, the vehicle, and where she was headed along with the plate #. The 911 operator really didn’t care at all, and didn’t dispatch. *sigh* Yes, that again.

    It’s just a really bad location, and it’s bad for everyone. Commuting through this particular detour really feels like taking a life-or-death risk daily.

  • Tony September 22, 2011 (7:58 am)

    Kit, that sounds like a close one. You have quick reactions.
    I used to commute from Beacon Hill to my job on Pier 70 along East Marginal Way while I was in high school. One day I was riding southbound – far to the right in the right lane (I don’t remember how many lanes there were – at least 2 in each direction and the entire road was empty). A truck came up behind me and laid on the horn just as he came alongside. I have a vivid memory of the wheel being only a few inches from me. I freaked a little, or maybe because the road was so pot-holed – I hit the curb with my front tire. To have gone over would have been to die under the truck wheels. My whole body, especially my arms, ached afterward from holding the bike up long enough until the truck got by. I decided then and there and I wouldn’t be riding a bike in Seattle any more.
    That was 1974.

  • CCW September 22, 2011 (8:08 am)

    If there are any bike-haters in the audience… I would truly like to know why you care if a bike blows through a red light or otherwise breaks the law. Some anti-bike people behave as if it is their lives that are in danger because of reckless bikes. Now, I’m sure you *could* think of circumstance where a car swerves to avoid a crazy biker and gets into a wreck, but I’m pretty sure if you’re honest with yourself, you’ll acknowledge that isn’t the issue. What IS the issue? Is it that bikes are sometimes in your way and so slow down your commute? Are you just mad because bikes are getting somewhere faster than you? I honestly don’t get it.

    (By the way, I always try to bike respectfully of cars, but there are circumstances where I will run a red light; for example, when I’m on a bike path on the right side of the road, and there is no actual road turning to my right. Generally, in circumstances where I am converted into a pedestrian by the layout of the roads / trails, I behave as most pedestrians would, i.e. jaywalk when it’s obviously not an issue.)

  • A September 22, 2011 (8:15 am)

    PS: Kit, I completely sympathize. While I was driving and slightly more protected than you were, it was still terrifying to have someone so blatantly try to harm me. I was shaking and panicky for a couple of hours afterward too. It’s not a good feeling at all.

  • Jim September 22, 2011 (8:24 am)

    You’re not going to be able to wave a magic wand and create harmony on the roads. The only solution is to quit complaining about bad drivers and focus all your energy on riding defensively. You cannot tune out for a second when you are riding in the city. I see alot of cyclists who ride as though they expect drivers to obey traffic laws. You can’t act this way even if you are driving a car. It may be someone else’s fault if you get hit but you will be the one who dies.

    Ride like you are expecting drivers to do crazy things and you will be safer.

  • LivesinWS September 22, 2011 (8:52 am)

    CCW — if the person was dropping cats off at the shelter on Harbor, that may not have been such a good deed — more likely she didn’t want the “bother” and responsibility of keeping and caring for those cats. Hope they get a better & more responsible home & person.

    More of us would ride bicycles if we weren’t so worried about the percentage of reckless motor vehicle drivers.

  • Cowpie September 22, 2011 (8:57 am)

    East African Drivers….Lets talk about them. I spent one year traveling in Kenya, Ethiopia and Eretria….along with several additional years throughout Africa. I’ve seen how they drive there and ‘yes’ they’ve brought that same style to Seattle. I also ride my bike to work along that same path and I’ve noticed a high majority of the law breaking truckers are East Africans. You might ask how can I tell….trust me if you’ve every traveled through all of Africa (like I have) you can name the region of Africa they’re from. These drivers need to be retrained, period! I’ve had them pull directly in front of me as they enter the terminal without a care that they’ll hit me. They trust that I’ll come to a complete stop to prevent from being hit by them.

  • AJP September 22, 2011 (9:04 am)

    And the yet the mayor wants a surface street option in that area and no tunnel. Can you imagine how much worse it would be? Sorry this happened to you Kit, please keep cycling.

  • CMP September 22, 2011 (9:09 am)

    I drive back to West Seattle from SODO every day via Holgate/East Marginal/Harbor Island and the truck drivers are the worst part about the commute (well, the roads are pretty lousy too). Most trucks are inconsiderate of cars so I can’t imagine what it’s like on a bicycle. Have a bit more compassion for people that bike/run/walk on our streets and pay attention. You have no idea of how inconsiderate and oblivious drivers can really be until you’re out on the roads outside of a vehicle.

  • datamuse September 22, 2011 (9:14 am)

    CCW: This article may help answer your question. I came across it earlier this week and found it to be pretty insightful. The author interviews a guy who commutes by bike from Pound Ridge, NY to midtown Manhattan every week (50+ miles).
    Actually, everybody who regularly participates in this topic should read this article, and if you’re one of those who regularly criticizes all bicyclists for the sins of the few, but don’t do the same for drivers, you might ask yourself if there’s a grain of truth to Vanderbilt’s conclusions.
    Bicyclists aren’t “the other”. They’re your neighbors, your friends, your family members, and part of your community. But I swear, you’d never know it from some of the comments here, which make me afraid to be out on the road with you in my car, never mind on my bike.

  • RT September 22, 2011 (9:18 am)

    Hammondbacon, you’re saying you see cars running through red lights and stop signs everyday? Are you serious?

  • Al September 22, 2011 (9:21 am)

    While I haven’t had the experience Kit has had with a truck or car bearing down on me, travelling the wrong way down the street, I have seen drivers (both car and truck) preparing to cross the double-yellow (most often between Atlantic and S. Massachussetts by the Coast Guard Facility) after I passed them. I *have* seen them do so when they think there’s no traffic coming from the other direction and I *have* seen and experience drivers making quick u-turns in spite of on coming traffic (which includes cyclists). SDOT refuses to put up “Bikes may use lane” in this area because they say we already have the right to do so. Even though many drivers don’t understand this concept.

    I would highly, highly recommend that anyone who has problems with a roadway (or drivers, motorcyclists, buses, van pools, or other cyclists) REPORT it to SPD via this mechanism unless it’s an emergency…SPD will call you back and it is permanently recorded. So if a specific area has reported consistent problems or a driver is consistently aggressive at least it will be on the record:

    And yes, I do see drivers run red lights every day. Every ride I take in fact. Just hang out at some of the most eggregarious intersections: Alaska/Calfornia, Westlake/Mercer, Denny/Fairview, King/Alaskan and you’ll be shocked at the dangerous speeds and aggressiveness drivers use to run the lights, even with pedestrians present. Don’t even get me started on the cell phone use I see.

  • Klause September 22, 2011 (9:31 am)

    =>JN – Really JN? “Cyclists have just as much, if not MORE, supposed right to the roads as motorists do.”
    MORE Rights?? Why would they have MORE rights? I have a car, a bicycle and pay both property and gas taxes. I don’t feel that by having all these gives me more rights to the road than anyone else…period. I don’t have any issues with cyclists using the roads, just an issue with anyone who believes that they have more of a right to the roads than anyone else. We all pay for the Roads one way or the other, we all just need to have better manners with the “Rules of the Road”.

  • Wendel September 22, 2011 (9:31 am)

    I would like to challenge all of you arrogant ones chiming in that somehow this is the bicyclists fault, to actually commute to downtown Seattle from West Seattle for one month. Come back after that period of time and then you will have a valid opinion on this topic. Until then, you have absolutely no valid experience with which to judge what is happening down there.
    Bicycling is currently the most cost and time-effective way to get to and from West Seattle and it will only get more so beginning next month when they close the viaduct for two weeks. We should be working to make this as viable an alternative for those who would like to do so as possible.

  • Scott September 22, 2011 (9:40 am)

    Kit –
    The Terminal 46 facility is operated by Total Terminals International, LLC. (877)-884-1234.
    They do have cameras over the entry lanes, but not certain this feed is recorded.
    I know the area pretty well. I believe that there is currently signage, at least northbound, “directing” cyclists to use the barrier-protected bike lane (don’t quote me here). There are puddles and potholes in the protected bike lane, and the southbound lane of E. Marginal is much nicer to ride. I do it too, but ride it quickly to get through this 1/8 mile long tight section. And yeah – the short haul truckers you get around the terminals are pretty aggressive, but IMHO also respond to courtesy, respect and clearly signaled intent. They’re just trying to hustle a buck like the rest of us. Except the psycho that you piffed off by not taking the bike lane. He needs to be reported. Sorry for your scare, thanks for sharing.

  • WTF September 22, 2011 (9:48 am)

    Dang Kit, I am so sorry this happened. So wish the guy was caught.

    I drive that route and I can tell you that many (when I say many, I mean more often than not), I see the truck drivers: speeding, cutting across 18″ double lines, tailgating, running red lights, making illegal turns, and flipping off bike riders and other drivers.

    If the police put an unmarked on this stretch of road, they would be kept VERY busy.

    These truck drivers think they own this stretch of road and they do not care how they drive nor who they hurt or offend in the process.

    Ah, Mayor: THIS IS NOT NEW NEWS!!!

  • Tony September 22, 2011 (9:49 am)

    Based on a recent encounter I had with a bicyclist in the Morgan Junc I’m left wondering if some of this driver vs bicylist rage is now spilling onto our sidewalks. I was walking out the front door of Zeeks and was met by some guy barreling down the sidewalk on his road bike and shouting at me to “get out of the way!”. Fortunately I snapped out of my post pizza/beer stupor in time to let this a** hole pass w/o incident. Next time we’ll be having a little neighborly “block party” and get to know each other a little bit better.

  • Eric Goetz September 22, 2011 (9:50 am)

    Wow, what a horrible story. I’m so sorry, Kit, but glad you are safe. I bike from West Seattle to downtown three days a week, and have generally found 18-wheelers to be more courteous than most. It’s a great reminder for all of us to be careful.

  • 3rd Party Witness September 22, 2011 (9:52 am)

    @CCW…. Let me give a different perspective.

    Yes…you did confront her. I was the other person that came out because I heard you yelling. I understand you were upset. So was she. Having not seen the incident, I cannot comment on the circumstances.

    The two of you had very different perspectives of the incident…and both of you thought the other was in the wrong/ had broken the law. Based on your description and her description of what happened—and my familiarity with the area– plus being a driver and now ex-cyclist, it appears that your differing views are related to the following:

    Section 11.44.100 RIGHT-OF-WAY IN CROSSWALK.
    1. A person operating a bicycle across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk shall have all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances, but shall yield to pedestrians upon and along a crosswalk.
    2. No person operating a bicycle shall suddenly enter a crosswalk into the path of a vehicle which is so close that the driver cannot yield safely.

    In reading the above, it sounds like you saw it per the first sentence and thought she should have yielded. And…she saw it as the second sentence, and that you should have yielded.

    Also, when you loudly called her a B***h, you lost the discussion. I told you the discussion was over at that point and to leave—several times. You kept arguing, loudly, and we both ignored you until you finally left.

  • DW September 22, 2011 (10:05 am)

    I think part of the problem is that the rhetoric coming from city hall makes it sound like there’s an equal number of bike, bus and car commuters. The fact of the matter is that bike commutes are an incredibly small part of the commuting population compared to the other options. Having the mayor constantly harp on more benefits and infrastructure for bike commuters does breed some resentment.

    That’s compounded by the fact that we seems to think that painting a bike symbol on the road somehow makes it a “bike land”. It does not. I’d be fully behind any effort to create true bike lanes and trails, but it seems that our leadership prefers to take the path of least resistance and then act surprised when these type of instances happen.

    Before the angry comments start, I’d point out that I am an everyday bus commuter who’d bike if it was feasable (I commute to downtown Bellevue)

  • 3rd Party Witness September 22, 2011 (10:07 am)

    @ LivesinWS. The cats had just been spayed/neutered and were going to go home to their low income owners after they recovered from surgery.

  • mtnfreak September 22, 2011 (10:07 am)

    I ride more miles in Seattle than I drive. I invite the SPD to begin a crackdown on bicycle traffic violations. Seriously. One reason my fellow riders don’t wear helmets, blow through stop signs and stop lights, and hop onto and off of curbs without notice is because there is no enforcement.

    Bicycle registration has been considered – here and in other communities – but was determined to cost more to enforce than the potential revenue it could generate. I think the pro-registration argument would have more merit if vehicle registration contributed directly and significantly to road maintenance, but that’s not the case. Even the new additional tab fees being debated have less than 10% earmarked for bike [i]and[/i] pedestrian improvements. Hmmmm.

    And I’m as guilty – or guiltier – as anyone else. That may have been me blowing through that stop sign yesterday. I notoriously commit “rolling stops” at stop signs. The car that came close to cutting me off as he made a left turn didn’t use his turn indicator to give me a clue. So I rolled through the intersection, he failed to indicate. Are we even?

    Just like in every other community conversation, those one the far ends of the spectrum tend to speak up the most and the loudest and threaten to drown out the moderates in the middle who are most likely to reach a workable compromise. Keep that in mind as you read through these comments.

    Kit, I hope you have contacted the SPD by now. It would be simple for them to have an officer on watch there a few times a week for potential traffic issues. But they have to be notified to be aware – you can’t rely on them to monitor the blogs non-stop. I’m glad you’re unharmed.

    This is a freak occurrence – in a city this big things like this can happen. I’m sure anyone who’s commuted for more than a year – by foot, bus, bike, or car – has some great examples of near-miss stories.

  • beenthere September 22, 2011 (10:09 am)

    The debate on dangerous drivers vs clueless bikers is one that can be argued forever. Let’s face it, they will always be out there so both have to be vigilant.

    I’ve been riding in WS for over 35 years and have just a few incidents with cars/drivers. While I do consider myself lucky it may also be because I avoid arterials and heavy traffic. Every day I see bike riders who don’t seem to realize that there is a lightly travelled road just a block or two in either direction. Just because you drive on an arterial doesn’t mean you have to ride on it.

    Sure, there are some places where there is no alternative, like the one mentioned in this story, but riding on a heavily trafficked bike path or a road with a “sharrow” is no guarantee of safety.

    I do ride the path along W. Marginal quite often and have found the truckers courteous. More often than not they actually back up to yield to bikes using the path.

  • Neighbor September 22, 2011 (10:09 am)

    Kit-With all the security cameras around that area it’s possible that one of them may have caught this on tape.
    I’m glad your alive!

  • pjmanley September 22, 2011 (10:13 am)

    The best way to stay alive and healthy is to heed Jim’s advice above. He’s absolutely right. You can spend a lot of time and energy complaining about drivers, passing laws to stop them from texting, talking, playing with their stereos and GPS devices, but there will always be plenty of nuts and idiots out there, across the entire spectrum of transportation modes. We can scold, ticket, fine and even suspend licenses – all after the fact, i.e., too late.

    The key advantage bikers will always have over drivers is superior vision, yet rarely is that acknowledged in the car vs. bike debate. Combine that with your ears and keeping your head on a swivel, and you’ll avoid most trouble, including life-threatening encounters.

    Eye contact, observation, and communication work wonders when folks knock the chips off their shoulders and make an effort to get along.

  • Ex-Westwood Resident September 22, 2011 (10:15 am)

    “Cyclists have just as much, if not MORE, supposed right to the roads as motorists do.”
    I’m just curious as to why you think cyclists have MORE supposed right to the road than motorists do?

    As far as cyclists being opposed to paying a nominal fee, I am at a loss to why they are so against it. Is it because they feel that they are already paying it through their car tabs (if they own one?) Well to counter that, if I owned a motorcycle (or scooter) AND a car and rode the MC occasionally, why should I pay fees on the MC/scooter? Or is it because they feel that since a MC (or scooter) is powered and a bike isn’t? Even if I owned two cars why should I pay for both when I only use one at a time?
    I would think that if it can be guaranteed that the fees that cyclists pay go 100% toward establishing SAFER bike paths/lanes they would be all for it. I do support bike lanes being placed on routes are heavily used by bikes; maybe an idea would be to have a curb or barrier placed to separate the bike lane from the car lane. But I am opposed to the so called “road diet” that replaces a lane for cars to give it to bikes esp. when bike make up so little of the commuters each day.
    On the roads most drivers AND cyclists obey the traffic laws, unfortunately there are a small percentage of BOTH that give the others a bad reputation. The HUGE difference is that a car can be traced for committing violations and dangerous acts while a cyclist can get away ALL their transgressions. Even as far as hitting someone then riding off.
    But lets face facts here; as a percentage of the commuting trips conducted each day, only about 5% is by bike.
    When I see a cyclist on the road I can tell in 30 less than seconds if they are a conscientious biker (as I try to be as a driver) or not by the way they are riding on the street. If they are making an attempt to stay close to the curb then I know they are, but I have seen cyclists that believe they have a right to travel in the middle of the lane no matter how slow they are going or how many cars they are blocking.
    One last item…cyclists need to decide how they want to thought of; as pedestrians or as vehicles. I have been hit and grazed by more bikes on the sidewalk than I care to remember.

  • CCW September 22, 2011 (10:17 am)

    @3rd Party Witness. She intentionally drove her car close to me and flipped me off out the window as she was doing it. I think that’s when the argument started, and when it was lost. She then proceeded to say “follow the law – you guys are all the same,” (or something to that effect) evidencing some sort of weird anti-cyclist feelings. That’s when I called her a bitch. I shouldn’t have, and I really regret it, but seeing your life flash before your eyes, getting flipped off, and then being condescended to can bring out the worst in people.

  • amused September 22, 2011 (10:29 am)

    Kit, buy a car. You can’t handle the bike anymore.

  • Ben Dobbeck September 22, 2011 (11:03 am)

    I commute from North Admiral to First Hill on daily basis. Traffic was stop and go leading up to the James street light on Boren, and rather than ride on the sidewalk, I waited behind cars to get through the light. As I made it through the intersection and cars sped up, I veered to the far right shoulder like I always do to allow motorist to pass. In my rear-view mirror I saw an Orange Cab (with a fare on board!)veer to the far right and, without exaggerating, miss me by no more than the width of a pencil before pulling back into the center of the lane. It was deliberate. Lucky for me, the light at Yessler was red and I pulled next to him, heart pumping like crazy, and pounded on his window. He rolled it down and I yelled, “3 feet, (rather colorful metaphor)” His response to me was, “You ride on sidewalk”, to which I repeated my 3-feet + metaphor rant.

    This was deliberate, and while in retrospect I wouldn’t have confronted him so aggressively, I was completely blown away by the threat. I did absolutely nothing wrong. I called Orange and let them know, but had no cab number, etc., due to the heat of the moment. This is the closest call I’ve had in over three years of riding.

  • Elizagrace September 22, 2011 (11:08 am)

    I am so sorry this happened to you. I ride more than I drive and my route used to take me on the lower bridge and by the truck line up. Last year, when the roads got torn up and the bike bath demolished I decided that it would be taking my life into my hand every day and it wasn’t worth it.

    I now ride, from Fauntleroy to the water taxi, take the most relaxing ride across the water, onto the waterfront bike path and to South lake union. It is the perfect beginning and end to my work day and I have had no huge instances of road rage or anger from other cyclists or drivers.

    I highly recommend any cyclist coming to and from WS to utilize the water taxi instead of the cluster f*ck that is the lower bridge. Load up your orca card and spare yourself the agony.

    happy commuting all!

  • 3rd Party Witness September 22, 2011 (11:14 am)

    @CCW…You are seeing it from your perspective/experience. Hers is different than yours, i.e., she did not intentionally drive her car close to you–you intentionaly rode close to her/broke the law. Things happen in a split second. I believe both of you saw it from your own view and beleive what you experienced.

    The two of you will never agree about what actually happened. You also many heated, condescending statements…I heard them. Don’t blame someone else for what you decide to say: ‘That’s when I called her a bitch. I shouldn’t have, and I really regret it, but seeing your life flash before your eyes, getting flipped off, and then being condescended to can bring out the worst in people.’ No one makes you say anything.

    When you used called her a ‘B***H, which I find very offensive, I could have decided to say inappropriate things to you. Instead, I said you lost all credibility; the conversation was over; and to leave. Which I had to do several times before you would leave.

    Would you find it surprising that I found your resistance to leaving, somewhat threatening and worrisome?

  • Norma September 22, 2011 (11:15 am)

    Putting your life knowingly at risk is beyond my comprehension. I find that sharing the road with cyclists is dangerous. Biking to work everyday would be wonderful but again not worth risking your life. No matter what laws are written & enforced, there will always be this danger. Biking near the port is asking for trouble. You won’t change the drivers but you can change how you commute to work. My friend bikes 5 miles every day but she goes to a bike path. I guess I am suggesting that bikes be banned from certain areas for the safety of those riders.

  • ad September 22, 2011 (11:20 am)

    “I would truly like to know why you care if a bike blows through a red light or otherwise breaks the law.”

    CCW, I care because I do not want to kill a person or have anyone go through pain, suffering, or death, period. This includes the car driver. Riders are more vulnerable when they break laws. They shouldn’t put themselves or car drivers at risk of a nasty situation.

    edit: I just noticed you posed this question to “bike haters.” I would not classify myself as a bike hater.

    I believe we can all share the road. Just takes some common sense.

  • walker September 22, 2011 (11:35 am)

    Silent but Deadly… The other day a biker stop fast, with two feet and a front wheel on the ground, not 10 inches behind me.

    We both stop, shut our mouths and took a deep breath.
    He said he tried to go around me, I said get a Bell.

    I love bikes, some of my best friends ride them but, if you use the sidewalk get a BELL, That is the only thing one can hear on a noisy street sidewalk. Or go walking speed.

    don’t be “Silent but Deadly”

  • walker September 22, 2011 (11:37 am)

    What is the European model for pedestrians, bikes and cars?

  • Mark September 22, 2011 (12:12 pm)

    Sorry gang, but until you’ve experienced all facets of this yourself, your view is limited… Most, if not all, cyclists are also drivers and bus riders. I can’t say with any certainty that most drivers are also cyclists and bus riders. Empathy is critical.
    That said, there are some technical issues that are often disregarded. Many (I’d guess most) street intersections don’t work the same way for bikes and cars. Most intersections have embedded magnetic sensors that sense when a car/truck is waiting for the light. Bikes often don’t activate them. And if they do, it’s not often clear where your bike needs to be located to do so. Sometimes there is a painted “T” that marks the location of the sensor to sense bikes. Often there isn’t.
    So what is a cyclist to do?
    Getting off your bike to go press the pedestrian button is akin to parking your car, unbuckling your seatbelt, getting out, and walking over to press the button. I know when I’m driving, there’s no way I’d tolerate that.
    People will say that cyclists are “opting in” to those challenges by riding, but really? I thought there were some set “rules” I needed to follow? And right with those rules come some reasonable expectations from the cyclist, right?
    It’s basically saying that, as a traveler (bike, car, whatever), I’ll work to follow the rules provided I can have some reasonable expectations that will be met by the people who are in charge of building and maintaining the roads and making the rules.
    Frankly, as far as rules go, I’d rather ride on the road all the time, because the rules are pretty straightforward, and, as an experienced driver, I understand the rules. The people in charge of the roads go to great lengths to make sure drivers know exactly what to do, especially when things change during construction (detours, etc). But, as I said before, that’s tough for a cyclist, because intersections don’t work the same for a bike, I can’t ride at the speed limit most of the time, and when the rules change, the signage/instructions for cyclists tends to be reactive rather than proactive.
    Case in point – the lights are timed on 2nd Ave for car/truck traffic, so if you’re going the speed limit, you can pretty much zip along. They aren’t timed for the speed of bikes, so cyclists can find themselves in a pretty painful stop and start situation. Now 2nd ave is downhill, mostly, so bikes can get going ok, so maybe this isn’t the best example, but I hope you get my point. And most people in cars/trucks would never even think about this.
    If you take this all in, it’s no wonder why drivers see bikes breaking the rules. This is not an excuse for irresponsible cyclists, but, for the technical reasons above, a person on a bike who is following the rules EXACTLY can literally sit at a stop light FOREVER. The rules change.
    So walk a mile in my shoes, or, more to the point, ride a mile on my bike seat.

  • Alex September 22, 2011 (12:15 pm)

    Did any of you read the story in the Times recently about the poor working conditions of short-haul truckers under the bridge? It was interesting. Basically it said that these guys are mostly non-english speakers (i.e. dependent on that job) who earn something like $40 per container delivered (from the docks to warehouses all around the metro area). All their expenses (truck payments, repairs, insurance, fuel, etc.) are out of pocket, so they simply MUST make a certain minimum number of deliveries per day, otherwise they lose money. You can understand how even the financial implications of a mere traffic jam could place extreme stress on someone worrying how he is going to provide for his family that week.
    Obviously this guy was crazy, but I’m just saying that the truck drivers have their own perspectives too, and the stress they feel has a real impact on their friendliness. The Times story said the Port hasn’t raised per-delivery pay for 10 years, so possibly some of the blame lies there.

  • w.s. maverick September 22, 2011 (12:20 pm)

    maybe the mayor can build a tunnel for bikes. get all the bikers together and get some shovels and start digging. it could help

  • Jiggers September 22, 2011 (12:24 pm)

    I almost got cleaned out by a cylcist by Lincoln Park crossing the street when I had the right-of-way. That person on the bike didn’t want to stop at the light because he was huffing and puffing and didn’t want to lose his momentum and restart his peddling..Brother.

  • datamuse September 22, 2011 (12:31 pm)

    There’s no one model in Europe, Walker. Every country is different. But if I were to pick one to emulate, I’d go with the Netherlands.

  • DF September 22, 2011 (12:42 pm)

    I upset some gal once there at the cat rescue and I admit I was was wrong I was also on my bike and 3 to 4 minutes later after I screwed up she came after me in her vehicle yelling all to beat hell. Lets me know I have to cool it!

  • atrucker September 22, 2011 (12:50 pm)

    I can honestly tell you that when you’re driving a truck there is nothing scarier than almost hitting someone. Whether it be a pedestrian, a bicyclist, a car or even another truck. Most truck drivers appreciate the fact that they’re responsible for a truck that can weigh up to and over 100,000lbs.

    Unfortunetely trucks just can’t stop quickly. I’m not saying what this driver did was right at all, he broke the law.

    But when I see people riding their bikes down the center or right hand lane on West Marginal it honestly scares me. Especially when there is a perfectly good bike path that runs the full length of the road right next to the street. I think that if people respect the size of the truck, and use the areas of the road that are intended for them, there would be fewer instances of these types of things happening

  • JAT September 22, 2011 (12:57 pm)

    @ Ex-Westwood Resident,
    “When I see a cyclist on the road I can tell in 30 less than seconds if they are a conscientious biker […] or not by the way they are riding on the street. If they are making an attempt to stay close to the curb then I know they are,…”

    It appears, Ex-Westwood, that your sole criterion for judging the conscientiousness of a biker (sic) is whether they stay the hell out of motorists’ way. All road users make their lane positioning choices based upon their own perceptions of the best and safest route; you don’t know whether a cyclist is avoiding debris or has made the judgement that preventing other roads users from passing on a blind curve is the safest choice for the moment.

    Much has been made in the comments that Kit wasn’t using the bike lane, but bike lanes aren’t always safely designed and built. In the face of a large volume of bike traffic going the other way Kit chose to use the general traffic lane and the semi driver chose to break the law and nearly cause grievous bodily harm. I don’t see how there’s room for debate here.

    If I don’t like stuck being behind a bus at a bus stop I don’t get angry at Metro – after all, I know that buses stop. Most times I could have changed lanes earlier and evaded the problem. Likewise, cars are occasionally slowed slightly by bicycles, but had the motorists been more aware they probably could have positioned themselves to go around earlier, and in any event motorists invariably speed up after they’ve gone around the cyclist and arrive at their destination delayed not one whit.

    As for the rights of cyclists to the road – it comes down to the Privileges and Immunities Clause of the US Constitution – it is only in the operation of a motor vehicle that the State has a legitimate interest and authority to regulate and license you. Arcane? Yes, but a valid argument – yes also.

    In the meantime, sorry this happened, Kit, you need to call the police and the Port of Seattle; homicidal motorists need to be stopped.

  • Aman September 22, 2011 (1:10 pm)

    Anyone ever drive or bike in Rome Italy? For those who have not yet had the opportunity be greatful for what you have in West Seattle. Ha!

  • VBD September 22, 2011 (1:19 pm)

    @ Mark, as a fellow cyclist, I agree with everything you’ve said. But there are far too many cyclists who simply ride like they don’t care about ANY rules. The vehicle sensor at a traffic light is a legitimate reason why I would run a red light – AFTER A FULL STOP. But a regular stop sign should be respected by bikes just as cars would; stop, look, proceed. Bicyclists should stop at occupied cross walks. And passing the same cars over and over in stop and go traffic, then forcing the drivers to repeatedly pass the same cyclist is just rude.

    If more cyclists rode with respect and a sense of common road rules, rather than an assumption of entitlement, the spats between cars and bikes would be less frequent.

  • ad September 22, 2011 (1:25 pm)

    Mark, thanks for your insight.

  • Silly Goose September 22, 2011 (1:28 pm)

    Kit first of all I am so sorry this happened to you, I use to commute that route in car and some of those truck drivers are creeps, with that said and the increase of bicycles being used for transportation along with all the bike lanes being built,signage and new laws for bicyclist how would you feel about a law that stated all bicycles had to be liscensed with a tab and all the money went to road improvements for cyclist and if you didn’t have a liscensed bike or current tab you were cited? Just curious!

  • hammondbacon September 22, 2011 (1:28 pm)

    Hey, RT, do you know the difference between a stop sign and a red light signal? Apparently, not. And, yes, people jump yellow and red lights everyday all over town. I’ve counted 7 so far today while out on my normal rounds.

  • Kayleigh September 22, 2011 (1:37 pm)

    The whole culture of aggression and victim/victimizer between cars and bikes needs to stop. And I honestly think it’s the cyclists that fuel it the most, though both sides share the blame. It’s a choice to take the risks associated with biking, but there’s a weird sense of entitlement (maybe born from fear and adrenaline?) that cyclists should be immune from the inherent high risk of injury and death while being largely unprotected on a major city street. I don’t get it.

  • jon September 22, 2011 (1:57 pm)

    My experience has been that for every say 2000 cars I share the road with, there are say 3 or 4 real idiots. For every say 15 cyclists, there are the same number of idiots.

    -Ive also noticed that reflectors, helmets, and other bike saftey equipment are optional? or maybe just uncool?

    -If I were to bike i would do everything in my power to prevent myself from becoming a road stain, rather than expecting evryone else to keep me safe.

  • JN September 22, 2011 (2:02 pm)

    @ Klause, if you read my post correctly you would realize that it was in response to the claims by motorists that since they “pay for the roads”, then they have more right to it than cyclists, which is why I used the qualifier “supposed” to indicate that it was a false idea. I continued to say that cyclists had more SUPPOSED rights since riding a bicycle does not contribute to road deterioration. Is that clear enough for you? I don’t actually believe that anyone has more rights to the roads than anyone else, I was merely responding to the claims by some selfish jerks on this blog that cyclists need to “pay for the roads” with fees, legislation, licenses, etc. And, by the way, those tab fees and license fees merely pay for the actual cost to issue that license or tab, so PLEASE, stop trying to say that these are actual MONEY-MAKERS, because they are absolutely not. Is that clear enough for you, or do you need to go back to high school?

  • datamuse September 22, 2011 (2:10 pm)

    Aman, I wouldn’t even try driving a car in Italy! Or Greece, for that matter–if you’re ever feeling a lack of adrenaline in your life, take a ride in the front passenger seat of an Athens taxicab. Boy howdy.
    Kayleigh, I agree with your first sentence, but I honestly don’t know where you’re getting the rest of this. I ride and I drive, and I see bad behavior in about equal proportion.
    “Inherent high risk of injury and death”? This isn’t Greece (which had, last I checked, the highest accident rate in Europe). It’s not entitlement, it’s asking people to remember that there are others on the road, and not just bicycles either.
    Ex-Westwood Resident, I’m glad you don’t live in Westwood anymore, because you would’ve hated me yesterday–I had the nerve to ride close to the center of the lane to pass a series of parked cars at high speed so that I wouldn’t get doored because an occupant didn’t see me. There was also one killer of a pothole that I wanted to avoid. I’ve faceplanted over my handlebars before and four stitches in my face isn’t an experience I care to repeat.
    Fortunately, that road has a dotted yellow line, so you could have passed me as soon as oncoming traffic cleared. Ten seconds, maybe thirty?

  • Mort September 22, 2011 (2:18 pm)

    It’s not that we hate all bicyclist/commuters in Seattle, just the sanctimonious, self righteous ones that we’ve all seen breaking traffic laws, being reckless, and flipping us off at the slightest real or imagined affront to their specialness. And there seems to be a lot of them here.

    And while I’m glad you have the luxury of cycling to your job at some boutique creative services company, many of us have to drive long miles to get to our crap job. And when you throw your weight around and slow us down we resent you. Ask any professional bus or UPS driver what they think of you some time.

    It’s precisely because Seattle is such a tolerant and unpretentious city that we find your self important smugness so galling. We’ve poured tons of money into making this city bike friendly, the least you could do is show a little gratitude and humility.

    We also find the spandex thing pretty annoying as well.

  • RT September 22, 2011 (2:18 pm)

    Hammondbacon, please grace me with your knowledge of stop lights and stop signs.

  • 2 Much Whine September 22, 2011 (2:27 pm)

    Can’t we all just get along? I tend to ride as close to the curb as possible but I have ridden with folks that hang about 2 feet into the lane of travel. Drives me crazy. I asked them why and they indicated it’s for their safety and helps to ensure that it is easier for inattentive drivers to see them and take action to avoid them. This approach makes some sense to me and is not “arrogant” or “malicious” yet I could see how it might be bothersome to some drivers. Personally I find it not too hard as a driver to move the steering wheel about a half inch to the left and then another half inch back to the right to give the cyclist a wide berth. Can’t we all just get along?

  • DMBiker September 22, 2011 (2:28 pm)

    As a biker and a driver I feel the mayor of Seattle has again let the people down by shoving bike lanes down our throats without thinking. He has destroyed the relationship between cars and bikes. One more year?? Really?

  • Mike Lindblom September 22, 2011 (2:46 pm)

    Chances are, the trucker was making a desperate move to evade a traffic jam, as JAG suggests. Usually they are trying to get one more load for the day, or are just pissed off by spending hours slogging through Sodo. Not an excuse for running people off the road. (As a cyclist, I don’t ever want a hard surface like a Jersey barrier blocking escape. Assume every driver will hit you until they prove otherwise.)
    Just yesterday, I saw a trucker make a similar wrong way move, but not toward me. Often drivers will use the “wrong” lane to reach the SIG railyard in Sodo, or at the five-way intersection
    The State Patrol has a crackdown underway, but these improvisatons are pervasive among truckers as well as car commuters — and especially bicyclists. The truckers tend to be courteous in the morning when there is less pressure, and cyclists are using the low-bridge trail near Terminal 18.

    Stay safe, Kit. Bicycling is about to become more popular on Oct. 21……

    — Mike Lindblom, Seattle Times transportation writer.

    Here’s my article that JAG references

  • WSSpartan September 22, 2011 (2:52 pm)

    Hey CCW…Good for you for calling that lady out! I hope that the psycho driver was offended and I wouldn’t care if any third party witnesses were offended too.

    You wrote, “I shouldn’t have, and I really regret it”…Why? She almost hit you! She deserved to called a b*tch.

    As for you folks calling this a war. Get real. This is a bunch of self righteous whiners with superiority complexes engaging in a weird power struggle for the road. This whole thing is oddly entertaining to me.

  • Seattlite September 22, 2011 (2:56 pm)

    People get a grip — this rift between bikes and motor vehicles will not be solved. Why? Because Seattle’s Mayor McSchwinn and his so called City Council have shown absolutely no leadership in solving the ongoing rift between bikes and motor vehicles. Mayor McSchwinn’s lack of leadership only perpetuates the rift.

    VBD and Kaleigh I totally agree with your comments. 90% of the time my encounters with bicyclists is negative. I don’t even walk around the Lincoln Park shoreline path anymore. The bicyclists do not abide by the posted rules located at the southern and northern entrances of the shoreline path. Bicyclists are supposed to ring their bike bell or verbally call out “to your left” or “to your right” when approaching pedestrians from the rear — never once have I seen or heard any bicyclists follow the posted rules. I have witnessed numerous times bicyclists barely missing senior citizens that walk this route. Bicyclists have taken the pleasure from a lot of seniors who like to walk for exercise but fear they may be hit by a bicycle.

  • drdr September 22, 2011 (3:01 pm)

    “If there are any bike-haters in the audience… I would truly like to know why you care if a bike blows through a red light or otherwise breaks the law. Some anti-bike people behave as if it is their lives that are in danger because of reckless bikes. Now, I’m sure you *could* think of circumstance where a car swerves to avoid a crazy biker and gets into a wreck, but I’m pretty sure if you’re honest with yourself, you’ll acknowledge that isn’t the issue. What IS the issue? Is it that bikes are sometimes in your way and so slow down your commute? Are you just mad because bikes are getting somewhere faster than you? I honestly don’t get it.”

    I am not a “bike hater”. I drive my car and also ride my bike.

    However, maybe I can help you understand our (motorists’) frustration…

    Why wouldn’t I care if a bicyclist runs a stop sign? It is dangerous. For me. And for that bicyclist. I do not want to hurt or kill someone. It’s not only about my own life. In addition, besides, obviously not wanting to hurt someone or be hurt, I do not want to deal with any bullshit legal issues because a bicyclist was acting recklessly, and I could not stop in time. It’s the same frustration I would have if a car pulled out in front of me. The difference is the bicyclist is probably more likely to get hurt and I am more likely to have to pay for it. I don’t want my life to be in danger OR ANYONE ELSE’S.

    And yes, it is frustrating when a bicyclist is gong 10mph on a stretch of road that has a speed limit of 45mph. Do I freak out and get road rage? No. I politely drive behind them until I can go around them…if I can. I would get upset if a car was going 10mph in front of me also. It’s especially frustrating when there is a huge sidewalk or curb next to the road, but the bicyclist chooses to continue to ride 10mph in front of me.

    And no, it is in no way upsetting that a bicyclist gets to where they are going faster than me. Although, I doubt that is true if they are going 10mph and I’m going 45mph.

    Another problem is the sense of entitlement that has already been discussed above.

    Does that help?

  • drdr September 22, 2011 (3:07 pm)

    @2 Much Whine – Thanks for your comment. I agree that it should be much easier to get along than this. For being such a tolerant city, neither side seems to be very tolerant.

    @Mort – Hahaha! Had to laugh at that. There is quite a bit of truth to your statements…whether we like to admit it or not. The “slightest real or imagined affront to their specialness” is what bothers me also.

  • Danny September 22, 2011 (3:09 pm)

    Mort wins

  • WSSpartan September 22, 2011 (3:14 pm)


    “It’s not entitlement, it’s asking people to remember that there are others on the road, and not just bicycles either.”

    Kudos for making the most sensible comment on the subject.

  • drdr September 22, 2011 (3:16 pm)

    @VBD – Thank you, thank you, thank you. If all bicyclists had your common sense and respect, this issue would not be nearly as inflamed as it is. You are a bicyclist that I would be proud to share the streets with. There just are not enough like you.

    There are rude bicyclists and rude motorists. If we could all use a bit more common sense and be a tad more rational, we wouldn’t even have to make this a political issue.

    “But there are far too many cyclists who simply ride like they don’t care about ANY rules. The vehicle sensor at a traffic light is a legitimate reason why I would run a red light – AFTER A FULL STOP. But a regular stop sign should be respected by bikes just as cars would; stop, look, proceed. Bicyclists should stop at occupied cross walks. And passing the same cars over and over in stop and go traffic, then forcing the drivers to repeatedly pass the same cyclist is just rude.

    If more cyclists rode with respect and a sense of common road rules, rather than an assumption of entitlement, the spats between cars and bikes would be less frequent.”

  • JAT September 22, 2011 (3:19 pm)


    I encourage you to ride the entire length of the “perfectly good bike path” along W Marginal way – I think you will find that it ends abruptly leaving cyclists little choice but to cross to the sidewalk on the opposite side (legally dubious) or to ride in the general traffic lane (perfectly legal).

    Bike facilities are often added as afterthought to existing infrastructure, they’re occasionally ineptly implemented, and they never provide a complete routing solution for people trying to go places on their bikes.

    Simply put, bikes will be on regular roads. You should expect to see them and to share the road with them. Hopefully they’ll be riding predictably and courteously and obeying traffic laws at least as well as motorists do.


    Stooping to the lame McSchwinn meme isn’t very productive. As a thought experiment, pretend you were the mayor and show some leadership on the “rift”; what would you do? How would you fix this? What laws would you pass, what enforcement would you enact? I’m curious.

  • Norma September 22, 2011 (3:23 pm)

    @DMBiker, I totally agree with you & until downtown Seattle is designated a car free zone – i see no reason to allow bikes among the chaos. Those ,however, who earn a living on their bikes should be exempt. When was the last time a biker was ticketed for not wearing a helmet or flying through a crosswalk? Any takers?

  • liveherenow September 22, 2011 (3:30 pm)

    Dear Mort: That is the note that I’ve been wanting to write to my sanctamonious ex for 5 years. Thank you. The sight of a Colorado Cyclist catalog still makes me cringe. When I travel to Germany it is lovely to see people commuting by bicycle with their work clothes on and not dressed up like they’re riding the Tour de France.

  • Ex-Westwood Resident September 22, 2011 (3:34 pm)

    Hey JAT and datamuse…

    Did I say that there was NEVER any reason for cyclists to ride away from the curb?????

    NO!!!! I UNDERSTAND that there may be plenty of reasons…potholes, old style drain covers, people getting out of cars (but if you ARE paying attention you can see them through the rear window and avoid the “sudden” opening of car doors), debris…etc.
    What I was talking about were the cyclists that ride in the middle of the auto lane ALL THE TIME!!!
    Both drivers AND cyclists NEED to be aware of each other. I do ride occasionally for recreational purposes and I ALWAYS keep an eye on cars.

    Cyclists can scream all they want about THEIR rights on the road (and they do have them) but when they get in a tussle with a car guess whose gonna win? A 4,000 lbs car, traveling upwards of 30-35 MPH, or a 200 lbs (rider included) bike???
    I TOTALLY agree with the running of a light at an intersection that is empty due to being unable to trip the sensor, but that ISN’T what everyone’s talking about when the see cyclists running red lights.
    A few weeks ago I was by Lincoln Park heading south, and just passed a cyclist. The light at the crosswalk light just turned red as I approached it and I stopped to let the person cross from the EAST side. I saw the cyclist coming up in my rear view mirror. What happens next??? The A$$HOLE blows through the crosswalk and misses the person crossing by about 2 feet.
    THAT happens more than you think.
    If you are an conscientious cyclist that pretty much abides by the “rules of the road” then GOOD FOR YOU, but what you NEED to do is to put pressure on YOUR FELLOW cyclists THAT DON’T BELIEVE THEY:
    1) NEED TO
    2) Think that R-o-t-R don’t apply to them
    Have a bit of common sense about this. Cyclists rights are grand, but they are a poor shield from a driver/car.
    It is too bad it is that way, but cyclists NEED to have their head on a swivel and BE AWARE of the cars around them.

  • JAT September 22, 2011 (3:40 pm)

    You’re talking about bike-lane implementers Mayors Rice, Schell, and Nickels, right? Get your facts right, okay? And Norma, as an ex-messenger, I can tell you those who earn their living on their bikes are not generally a force for chaos amelioration…

  • cakeitseasy September 22, 2011 (3:48 pm)

    Riding your bike in the street in an industrial zone with tons of truck traffic is plain reckless! You’re just a tiny speck next to those big rigs. A bike buzzing around on those roads like a little gnat sets up hazards for drivers. Visibility is not always easy. It’s an *Industrial Zone* you’re in their ‘hood. I don’t know if there are “sharrows” in that area, but if there are, it’s bad urban planning. Bike should not be encouraged to ride in the street there. Big rigs and bikes don’t mix. Period. Keep to the dedicated bike lanes. ( there is one there, no?). Leave the busy roads, arterials and industrial zones to the motor vehicles they were designed for, and lobby for more dedicated bike lanes separated from traffic! I’d be happy to see my tax dollars used for better urban planning that includes separate bike lanes/trails and wider sidewalks for pedestrians.

    And by the way, this isn’t Holland. We can’t insist that we can safely use cycling as a major source of transportation and commuting without the appropriate infrastructure. Sharrows are of little consequence on busy roads. Better to invest in proper, well placed bike trails.

  • jno September 22, 2011 (4:05 pm)

    Ex-Westwood Resident, it’s awfully hypocritical of you to chide cyclists for thinking “that the R-o-t-R don’t apply to them” right after asking, “when they get in a tussle with a car guess whose [sic] gonna win?” As if being the “winner” in a collision somehow absolves the driver from their legal obligation to share the road safely. It is as much about the driver’s responsibilities as it is the cyclist’s rights.
    Along the same lines, I’d like to know where drdr is safely passing cyclists at 45mph. I can’t think of a single road in the city with a speed limit higher than 35mph that is not a limited access highway.

    (edit: as soon as I posted I realized W Marginal Way SW has a limit of 40. However it also has the Duwamish trail alongside.)

  • datamuse September 22, 2011 (4:15 pm)

    All right, Ex-Westwood Resident. My mistake. You do seem pretty pissed off though.
    Mort, I commute 70 miles a day by car to south Tacoma, so, uh…

  • Curiouser September 22, 2011 (4:16 pm)

    Sean J said that similar things have happened to him with trucks going on the wrong side of the road. I know that time is money for the truckers, but breaking the law and putting others at risk is no excuse. We need a strong police presence here to ticket those drivers. Perhaps enforcement will reduce the risk.

    BTW, I used to commute to work from Lake City to the south end of the UW campus, but was very careful to take the least busy streets, even if it meant going a longer distance.

    It seems that this is a very risky road for bikers, due to the illegal behaviour of the trucks. If I were biking there, I would avoid riding where there is any risk of a truck coming at me or even swerving to avoid another vehicle.

    Very scary. How do we get some police presence there?

  • atrucker September 22, 2011 (4:39 pm)

    @JAT Have you ridden the bike path on West Marginal Way lately? There are crosswalks with stop lights at both the north and south ends of the road. Although I guess you can decide if you want to trust that big truck next to you who’s driver probably can’t see you to not change lanes on top of you. Your choice…

  • orca September 22, 2011 (4:42 pm)

    I agree…Mort wins.

  • Mark September 22, 2011 (4:50 pm)

    If anybody who hasn’t experienced this area on a bike would like to join me on a ride there, I’m happy to show you the way. I guarantee it will be enlightening.
    Think of it this way… Once you know the route, you’ll have one more way to get around when the viaduct closes for a week in October. And a little exercise does the body good.

  • Byron September 22, 2011 (5:09 pm)

    Don’t know if Kit has ridden in a vacuum and a special happy place for years or what, but this is not an uncommon act. The drama-queen letter likely hurt the cause. Get active in existing support groups and let Cascade know that people ride there bike past SoDo. There is no defensive riding in this City, it’s all aggressive to not get killed.

  • Reader September 22, 2011 (5:50 pm)

    I would truly like to know why you care if a bike blows through a red light or otherwise breaks the law.
    Until I came across your comment, it bothered me because I’d have to slam on the brakes to keep from killing the biker. In the future, I won’t stop for a bicyclist who crosses my path. Happy now?
    I encourage you to ride the entire length of the “perfectly good bike path” along W Marginal way – I think you will find that it ends abruptly leaving cyclists little choice but to cross to the sidewalk on the opposite side (legally dubious) or to ride in the general traffic lane (perfectly legal).
    This is so typical of the bicyclist mentality. You want to be able to ride anywhere — sidewalks, bike paths, the street. But you accept no accountability whatsoever for your behavior. Then you wonder why people are upset with you. You want to “declare war” on cars? Bring it on, cyclists. You’ll be crushed. Literally.
    As for the rights of cyclists to the road – it comes down to the Privileges and Immunities Clause of the US Constitution – it is only in the operation of a motor vehicle that the State has a legitimate interest and authority to regulate and license you. Arcane? Yes, but a valid argument – yes also.
    So now the constitution confers special rights upon bicyclists. Oh, the smugness and arrogance!

  • Mike September 22, 2011 (6:02 pm)

    I commuted along there a few times on my bike at my last job downtown. Its suicidal to try and avoid the beat up road much less the big rigs. Take the Water Taxi. Nice daily cruise and far safer.

  • BobLoblaw September 22, 2011 (6:35 pm)

    Amen, Mort! There are jerk drivers and jerk bicyclists. There are jerk walkers and jerk pogostickers. A jerk is a jerk. Hell, I’m a jerk too, as I’m sure many of you will now point out. But dear jumpin’ jelly-filled Jesus I have never in my life had to endure such a constant, consistent “us vs. them” message from one group of people as I do from the bike riders in this city who have, without a doubt, decided to declare a war they cannot possibly win.
    I’d love it if we had spent our tax money on more bike lanes that separated motor vehicles from pedal-powered ones instead of studies for the eventual Mono-Fail. That didn’t happen. So realize there’s an issue and work to fix it. Take your collective angst over every perceived wrong and channel it into fixing the problem.
    Sorry this happened to you Kit.
    Also, I don’t have an issue with Spandex outfits. Many of them are quite stylish …

  • Pat September 22, 2011 (6:53 pm)

    I have a factual question. Does signage in that area say that bicyclists are REQUIRED to use the bike lane, or only ALLOWED/encouraged to use it? I’m asking because from the story it sounds like Kit was riding legally (going southbound in the southbound lane of the road, per usual law). If he was riding illegally, that changes my interpretation of the situation — although it wouldn’t in the least excuse the truck driver’s reported behavior.

    In any case, Kit, I am so sorry about this traumatic thing happening to you.

  • Mort September 22, 2011 (7:01 pm)

    Liveherenow – I believe your ex may be my neighbor, the one who gives me that tight little smile whenever she sees me get into my car, or haul out the full sized trash can instead of the ‘micro’. I’ve tried to ‘kill her with kindness’ because of her disability, but just recently realized that her mincing awkward style of walking was because of the bike shoes. She’s in a cast now though and seems to be walking much better. I hope the garage sale went well, but jeeze, $600 for a bent bike? I hope it included the shoes.

  • JN September 22, 2011 (7:03 pm)

    If any of you motorists tried to ride in Seattle’s streets you would realize that this city has zero regard for cycling as a viable transportation alternative (which it is if you live in the city instead of living 30 miles away from your job). There is no safe, efficient bicycle transportation to speak of. The 2nd Avenue “bike lane” puts you straight in the path of errant passengers’ doors, so you have the choice of either getting doored by some car passenger who isn’t looking or just doesn’t care, or ride in one of the travel lanes. The only solution to this enmity between motorists and people riding their bicycle is to provide infrastructure on the scale that Amsterdam has. And if you take away some parking here or there (btw, parking your private vehicle in the public right of way is the BIGGEST waste of space on our roads that there is) or one travel lane out of three to give a safe, reasonable width bicycle lane, then what is the big deal? More people will cycle because it is safer, congestion will ease, and motorists will not have cyclists “darting in and out of traffic”, because there will be a totally separate, sectioned off area of the street for bicycles. It is really past time for Seattle to catch up with New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Minneapolis, and yes, Portland as a liveable city for pedestrians and cyclists.

  • JN September 22, 2011 (7:07 pm)

    Oh, and Reader, why are you threatening cyclists with your car? If I carry a handgun, and you don’t have one, that make me the winner, right? So cyclists are supposedly arrogant, YOU however are the one who is actively murderous in your intent. And bicyclists didn’t start this “war”, right-wing radio talk jocks did. I guess we know where your affiliations lie…..

  • Jiggers September 22, 2011 (7:32 pm)

    Go to Europe if you want to ride your bike. They have plenty of roads built for that purpose.

  • JN September 22, 2011 (8:03 pm)

    Roads here were built for that purpose as well, Jiggers. In fact, downtown Seattle was built for the horse-carriage, pedestrian, and cyclist. Cars are the ones who stole the roads from all other users. In fact, bicyclists were solely responsible for getting roads, which had previously been either dirt or cobblestones, paved smooth. So you see, you motorists owe your smooth (or as a result of car traffic, not so smooth) roads to cyclists. You’re welcome.

  • Eaglelover September 22, 2011 (9:21 pm)

    Are these “guys on bikes” that you are pulling out or real cyclist?

    The right wing is confusing “hippys on bikes” with responsible commuters and cyclists. There is much hate on the hippies on bikes by the license and tax them croud and think this is getting taken over in the discussions. Most “cyclists” pay PLENTY of taxes as others do and most cyclists I know get out of the way in front of cars/trucks. Way to go those that cite bikes blowing through lights (see above–guys on bikes)
    We can get along–motorcyclist and others on the road? Kit sounds like you were in the way of a socialpath,recently while driving home several of them ran me off the road before while in my CAR while taking over the N bound lane and taking over the S bound lane going north. Most semi’s give the right of way, its not about who has the right of way but seems like more of who can intimidate more with metal. C’mon!

  • Mike September 22, 2011 (9:41 pm)

    Actually JN, most existing Seattle roads are not the same roads horse-carriages were on. Seattle is many feet higher than back then, Denny exists from massive amounts of earth moved into place, SODO exists because marsh land was filled with earth from construction projects, Harbor Island exists because it was made by man, the Black River no longer exists, etc.
    Sorry to burst your bubble, but the current road structure in Seattle was built for Automotive purposes in mind.

  • Reader September 22, 2011 (10:12 pm)

    Oh, and Reader, why are you threatening cyclists with your car? If I carry a handgun, and you don’t have one, that make me the winner, right? So cyclists are supposedly arrogant, YOU however are the one who is actively murderous in your intent.
    I haven’t “threatened” anyone, but you’ve just upped the ante with handguns. So that’s where this goes, I guess, with bicyclists now saying they’ll be shooting motorists?

  • austin September 22, 2011 (10:32 pm)

    Based on the comments here, it should obviously be way more difficult and expensive to be licensed to drive and to own a vehicle. The majority of you are not qualified and are a hazard to others.

  • datamuse September 22, 2011 (11:17 pm)

    So “In the future, I won’t stop for a bicyclist who crosses my path” is…what? Friendly advice?
    (That said, the gun comment was out of line. Really?)

  • JN September 23, 2011 (12:19 am)

    By the gun comment I was responding to Readers’ comment “You want to “declare war” on cars? Bring it on, cyclists. You’ll be crushed. Literally.”. That is an implicit threat to use your 2 tons of steel and glass to “crush” me if I get in your way. To me, that is using a weapon to force your “right” to the road, just as if I had a handgun and forced you off the road. Cars kill, guns kill. I don’t understand how my comment is construed as out of line when Reader is actively threatening legal road users with horrible death by automobile. In 2004 (latest year I could find with statistics), 29,569 Americans were killed by guns. In the same year, 42,836 Americans were killed by cars. Readers’ threat carries much more weight in my opinion, considering that cars kill more Americans every year than something purposefully designed to kill people. And to clarify, I do not own a gun, nor would I ever want to. However, it seems that some people on this blog are more than willing to use their cars to intimidate, threaten, and abuse others who do not have the luxury of the protection of said vehicles.

  • JN September 23, 2011 (12:43 am)

    @Mike, so what’s the problem with re-designing city streets to safely accommodate bicycles now? Times are changing just as they did back then, and the personal automobile has been proven to be inefficient, dangerous, and detrimental to the workings of the city and the daily lives of the people who inhabit it.

  • austin September 23, 2011 (6:06 am)

    JN is correct, a driver threatening a cyclist or pedestrian with assault by a vehicle is no different than a person threatening another with assault by a firearm. Again, most people are not qualified to operate motor vehicles in public.

  • orca September 23, 2011 (6:54 am)

    Is there an official stat on how much the City of Seattle spends on Bike lanes and other related Bike road items each year? If it is broken out somewhere, I have not seen it.

    How many bike commuters are there actually. Not an inflated number by activists, but a number that is realistic. Does this info exist?

  • Jim September 23, 2011 (7:03 am)

    Here’s the deal:

    Harassing a person on a 20lb bicycle with your 4000lb car is extremely dangerous. It’s Road Rage plain and simple.

    If SPD starts yanking you and you negligent driver friends into the back of a police car, a change in attitude may ensue.

    There is absolutely no justification for someone intentionally endangering another persons life.

  • Sherman Potter September 23, 2011 (7:21 am)

    Crazy bikers have been here forever.
    Same as moronic drivers.
    I’ve been hit by both. Once as a pedestrian by a crazy bicyclist traveling too fast on a downtown hill, and once by a car while driving a car by an idiot on a cell phone.
    Get on a bike, watch out.
    Same as in a vehicle.
    Angry truck driver = get away quick.
    I have lived here 23 years, same crap.
    I don’t think there is an easy “designated bike lane” fix.
    Some people just don’t care enough to pay attention.

  • JAT September 23, 2011 (7:27 am)

    I think “Reader” is a misnomer.

    Freedom of travel is constitutionally protected. Freedom to travel by motor vehicle is validly regulated. I try not to impute motivations and mental states to entire classes of people based on my narrow interpretation of my limited experience.

    Otherwise I’d be calling for trucks to be banned form the roadways – they’re all driven by homicidal foreigners with no regard for the safety of others, after all. Right?

    (hint: No, that’s not right)

  • Seattlite September 23, 2011 (8:43 am)

    WestSeattBlog — Would you please forward all of these comments to Seattle’s Mayor and City Council? These comments show that the lack of leadership from Seattle’s Mayor and City Council has created conflict, hatred, and danger between bicyclists and vehicles on Seattle’s roadways.

    • WSB September 23, 2011 (9:20 am)

      Seattlite – Local government reps read WSB all the time, both electeds and staffers. But if you are truly concerned that this thread might be missed, the best thing you could do would be to forward the story URL to whomever you hope reads it. The direct link to any WSB story can be obtained by right-clicking on the headline; if you want to direct link to the comments, right-click on the part under the headline that lists the number of comments; you can also get the link to any individual comment by right-clicking on the “number sign” next to the name and date beneath the comment – TR

  • noteveryonecanbike September 23, 2011 (9:09 am)

    @JN “the personal automobile has been proven to be inefficient, dangerous, and detrimental to the workings of the city and the daily lives of the people who inhabit it.” For MANY people, the use of bicycles and similar people-powered modes of transportation is physically impossible or unfeasible. Your comment ignores a large swath of your neighbors, many of them older or with physical challenges.

    Similarly, for large numbers of your fellow community members, existing modes of mass transportation are pathetically insufficient to be able to keep up with demanding schedules and deadlines and meet the needs of a family in a city designed for cars.

    Had Seattle not destroyed its old streetcar infrastructure, if the city were as flat as Eugene or Amsterdam and began building bike paths into road infrastructure before everything became so overbuilt and prohibitively expensive, if city leaders had had the forethought of those in Portland when they cancelled the Mount Hood Freeway and went with Max in the 80s, if entrepreneurial residents had copied similarly water situated cities with more privately operated mini ferries and shared taxis before cheap gas and the ‘burbs changed peoples’ behavior and city forever, if Seattle’s population density and traffic gridlock were great enough for people to pay for whatever, then we would likely not be consumed with these issues on this blog.

  • walker September 23, 2011 (9:44 am)

    Interesting story in the PI.
    Study: Pedestrians safer with more bikes on the street.

    Maybe the truckers who jump ahead down by the tracks are the same people who jump their bike up on the sidewalk when traffic is to slow? Just saying.

  • Reader September 23, 2011 (9:47 am)

    JN is correct, a driver threatening a cyclist or pedestrian with assault by a vehicle is no different than a person threatening another with assault by a firearm. Again, most people are not qualified to operate motor vehicles in public.
    JN wants to declare war, along with his cyclist buddies at The Stranger. I don’t want any wars at all, but if JN really wants to go there, then we motorists are well prepared. It’ll be our two tons vs. your 40 pounds. You want those odds? Fine, bring it on. You’ll be crushed. As for the handguns that JN mentioned, and which another cyclist has declared “correct,” well, do you really want to go there? Honestly?
    Instead, cyclists, just pipe down and drive defensively like everyone else has to. Stop being such arrogant little weenies, for once in your stupid and pathetic lives. See that red light? It means “stop.” Same for that eight-sided red sign. If you don’t stop, you might be killed. I sure as hell won’t be weeping for you.
    And by the way, your other friend, Michael “One Term” McGinn, is even more of a joke than you are. With friends like that, you don’t need enemies. Bicyclists, your 15 minutes is up!

  • NFiorentini September 23, 2011 (9:56 am)

    This is less about a “war” between cyclists and drivers and more about a “war” between aggressive jerks on the road and the rest of us. There needs to be a *massive* police crackdown on both driving and cycling irresponsibly. This extra police work will probably require additional revenue and I believe the money can be generated via hefty increases in the fines of moving violations. Aggressive jerks on the road need to pay up, or they need to be off the roads.

    Also I am not a cyclist, but if I were, I think that I would find a way to mount a smart phone or some video recording device to the bike. I would record my commutes and take any video of aggressive behavior to the police. I’m not sure what SPD could (or would) do with the video, but perhaps victims could file a civil suit if the behavior was egregious enough.

    It probably would not be a bad idea if motorists also started video recording what happens out on the road.

    I believe that it is well past the time for a crackdown on aggressive people on the road…drivers and cyclists.

  • Seattlite September 23, 2011 (10:22 am)

    WSB — Thanks for the answer. It did not occur to me that city/state leaders and staff read this blog since they seem to not pay attention to the voters — especially when the voters vote NO on issues and the city and state leaders do the opposite of the NO vote.

  • Alki Girl September 23, 2011 (10:27 am)

    I think “a few bad apples” have tainted how people feel about bikers. My hubby is a bike rider and follows the rules, does not ride side by side with a fellow biker, and hugs the side of the road. I can’t tell you how many bikers I have seen riding side by side just chatting it up and also not riding close to the shoulder. It’s as if they forget they are on a bike and are taking up a good portion of the car lane. I have respect for bikers, but they also need to have some respect for cars too.

    **thanks Kit for sharing you story and I’m happy you are safe and sound**

  • datamuse September 23, 2011 (11:26 am)

    NFiorentini: a couple of friends of mine in the Bay Area have gotten very, very good at snapping smartphone pics while riding. You think the car/bike conflicts are bad here…imagine what it’s like in a place where drivers are much, much more aggressive.
    Reader, I sure hope you’ll stop for a bicyclist who has right of way…personally, I always assume that drivers can’t or don’t see me, even when my bike is blinking like, as a friend put it, “a tweaker in a smoky room”. And ride accordingly.
    This thread has only confirmed that I’m right to do so. So, uh, thanks for that, I guess.

  • UhOhRules September 23, 2011 (12:42 pm)

    Alki Girl, it would do you good to familiarize yourself with laws applicable to cyclists before you start talking about bad apples not following the rules. Riding two abreast is not only perfectly legal for cyclists in this state, it is also sometimes safer for the cyclist. The fact that a car diver might be griping about “damn scofflaw” duo of cyclists riding two abreast in a public roadway at the very least means that this driver saw the cyclists and, malicious sociopathic tendencies aside, would likely try to avoid them somehow.
    Likewise, safety is often the concern that dictates cyclists take the sidewalk, or NOT use the bike lane (both of these perceived as “illegal” by many ignorant drivers). It wouldn’t hurt to provide some education for drivers on laws that apply to cyclists.

  • amalia September 23, 2011 (12:45 pm)

    @Mort. You clearly don’t know any cyclists or bus/FedEX drivers. You’re wrong about everything. Biking to work is HARD, which is why most people won’t do it. We certainly don’t do it because we work at cushy boutiques a few miles from home (did you have a point there?). I have noticed over the years that the majority of professional drivers are respectful of cyclists (or at least professional enough to obey the law). It’s the self-centered arrogant single-occupancy vehicle driver that imagines that one cyclist is standing between him and his dinner that has the attitude problem. I could cite plenty of examples, including one from this morning, but I have to get back to my decidedly non-cushy job that is 26 miles from my house.

  • amalia September 23, 2011 (1:00 pm)

    Uh…”Reader”? Would you mind getting some anger management help before you kill someone? We are all humans, you know, and there are plenty of a**holes on each type of vehicle. You don’t exactly present as a sane, level-headed, law-abiding citizen yourself… You really don’t see that?

  • JN September 23, 2011 (1:01 pm)

    @noteveryonecanbike, actually the vast majority of people can bike, it’s just that there is no serious infrastructure in this city that makes it safe to ride a bicycle. And I agree, the worst decision this city, and many others, made was to give in to car companies and rip out the (now expensive to replace)streetcar system. And Reader, how can you seriously construe the attempt to make cycyling safe in this city and merely travel here as a “war” on cars? And you continue to seriously threaten me with death by your vehicle? How about I get a Hummer and run you off the road because, you know, you’re smaller, lighter and “in my way”?

  • jon September 23, 2011 (1:06 pm)

    -Very funny, I was just thinking that we could start a thread like the “Irresponsible dog owners” thread. Then take pics of the cyclists that ride irresponsibly/inattentively.

    -To bad they dont have liscences to track.

    -I guess we could tag and release them to se how long they last in the wild.

  • WS Ed September 23, 2011 (1:51 pm)

    The problem is horrible urban planning. How about some bike trails instead of painting a white line down the side of the road and calling it a bike lane. Downtown there are places where an entire car lane was turned into a “bike lane” with paint. Does anyone in Mcginn’s office understand conflict mitigation. The city say’s look at how much we are doing for you with our paint cans.

    I am not going to trash the cyclists here because frankly some people should be riding to work if they can. The cities lackluster attempt at appeasing with painted lines and then grandstanding is disgusting. The bikes generally need to be separated from automotive traffic in high density areas. If you don’t believe me go hang out on the Burke Gilman trail for an afternoon and see how little conflict there is with cars. Trails won’t work everywhere, but the city is at fault for pushing alternative transportation and doing a poor job as a facilitator. It goes way beyond the bikes. It’s endemic, for instance how about say a parking solution for west seattle ferry traffic. There is a mindset that we should all be transporting ourselves magically without the use of energy or impact to the environment. Oh and then there is the conflicting interest of commerce; oops magic just went out the window.

  • lucky chick September 23, 2011 (2:07 pm)

    Wow. I stopped commenting a few weeks ago because WSB deleted a comment I made commending the mayor for asking people to see cyclists as sisters, brothers, neighbors… (really?? I know I preceded it with a comment mocking the over-reacters, but really??), and now some “reader” threatens to kill cyclists and attempts to distort an analogy made using guns?? And that’s okay?
    Okay, bye-bye again, back to the Herald…

    • WSB September 23, 2011 (2:14 pm)

      LC, have no idea what comment you are referring to. If it is as you describe, it wouldn’t have been rejected for publication unless there was some other rulebreaking aspect to it. Our spam filter catches a lot of comments too, we do our best to fish them out, but I can’t guarantee that every non-rule-breaking comment ever submitted makes it through – nor that every rule-breaking comment is caught – no one has flagged us to a rule-breaking comment in this thread but I will read it through – TR

  • datamuse September 23, 2011 (2:53 pm)

    WS Ed: I agree, but just look what happens when the city tries to allocate funding for bicycling. We wind up not being able to afford anything other than half-assed measures.
    Which is really too bad. The river valley has some great interurban trails…

  • Alki Girl September 23, 2011 (3:58 pm)

    @UhOhRules – you are right, I need to educated my self. I was mainly referring more to some of these a-hole bikers (which are just a few, but enough). I know from hubby riding from WS to the Eastside that it’s a maze which involves bike lanes, downtown streets, sidewalks, etc.

    And believe me, I give bikers as much room as possible. However all I saying is bikers shouldn’t be carrying on a conversation with another biker (riding side by side) and being clueless to the cars around who have to cater to their ways.

  • 2 or 4 September 23, 2011 (4:18 pm)

    2 wheels or 4 wheels, I’ll go both ways. I just started to dabble in the 2 wheel variety again and I like it! My 4 wheel eyes are more aware now of the 2 wheel creatures ( do not be offended by this term ) that surround me. I look forward to 2 wheels when I am stuck in 4. I’ve ridden in your shoes and I think I’ll keep’m. Going forward, I will support that which will make it safer to be on 2 even if I am stuck in 4.

  • orca September 23, 2011 (6:14 pm)

    Never have so few dominated a blog. ;)

    Mostly strange stories to impress fellow hobbyists.
    At least it sounds like that to me.
    Drivers are evil and bikers are saving the world.
    Or something like that.

  • JN September 23, 2011 (7:49 pm)

    Orca, are you implying that riding your bicycle is a hobby? It isn’t, it is a perfectly viable means of transportation. And no, most of us don’t think drivers are evil, we just want to have safe, separated infrastructure to use to get around this city, just like car drivers have.

  • Worried Driver September 24, 2011 (3:46 am)

    JN: There are drivers (I am one) who want safe, separated infrastructure for bikes too. Some of us go (or try to go) out of our way to drive carefully around bikes. It is really hard, though, to mix small, unprotected, light bikes, ridden by totally unprotected (except for helmets) riders with big cars that have less visibility, and a ton of stuff (pedestrians, other cars, bikes, etc.) to watch for. I am terrified that some day I am going to look in my rear view mirror (while turning left from the left lane on 2nd) and just “miss” seeing a bike coming up behind me in that most ill-advised of bike lanes.

    Here is what I wish: I wish that the city would pick a “general plan” similar to what they do for car arterials — for bikes. Take streets that end in 8 (or 3 and 8, if the cost and political will to do every 5th street works). Make it a “bike street,” limited to bikes and the cars of the people who live on those streets (just like they do on Bicycle Sundays — where the road is closed, unless you live there, in which case, your car can S-L-O-W-L-Y get from the corner to its house). Put bumps, or posts, or something at intervals to make it hard for cars (but not hard for bikes) to ignore the designation. Voila. Bike lanes, city-wide. Obviously, there are places where it won’t work — just like there are places where the arterials are NOT the streets that end in 5 or 10. But even if we could get 70 or 80 percent of this to work, it would help hugely. It would (or could) also mean that when they repair potholes on those streets (the 8s) — they stay repaired for a LOT longer, because vehicle traffic is so reduced — because much as I hate potholes in cars — they are far far worse for bikers. Bikes could end up with (relatively) car free streets that have fewer potholes. Cars would end up with WAY fewer bikes on all OTHER streets — which would vastly reduce the chance that some day we fail to see some bicycle rider, shooting out of a shady parking strip into an intersection where we are turning left (not speeding, not talking on the phone, not eating), trying our damnedest to drive with awareness.

    For the record — I no longer care whether bikes stop at lights/stop signs, or not. For years, I have watched them fail to do so — and I finally realized: leaving aside a few idiots on bikes who go way too fast and don’t look — most of them DO look both ways, and IF there is nothing coming — they go, because it is a whole lot harder, on a bike, to stop and get started again than it is in a car. It just is. Once I realized they weren’t really being maniacs, and it didn’t actually “hurt” me that they don’t stop — and most of them are pretty careful, and frankly, I realized that when I am on a bike, if I come to a stop sign and there are no other cars, and I am turning right — I turn (sshshh — withOUT stopping), all that animosity just ended. And when one of them explained WHY they often ride in the middle of the street — and that it has nothing to do with trying to claim the whole road, but likely is someone who has been doored recently, or is trying to increase visibility — well, that stopped bothering me too!

    And finally, I think there are LOTS of people — older women especially, but kids too, who would ride bikes a LOT more if you could, in fact, get the city to stop throwing bikes out on major arterials. The current plan isn’t safe. It doesn’t work well — even for the cyclists who are brave enough to use it. And my opinion is that thousands of would-be cyclists will never ride, and that dozens who DO ride will be unnecessarily injured, unless and until the City gets real about providing a safe, separated infrastructure for bicycles. But the cyclists will have to get McGinn to do this. He has no interest whatsoever in listening to people who drive cars.

  • KeithN September 24, 2011 (9:31 am)

    Oh boy. I ride that stretch a lot, making my way between W.Seattle, and to the bus for Bellevue. And those days I drive, I also take that section of street. Luckily no incidents yet for me, but with all the construction slowing traffic, everyone’s a little frustrated ( this incident seems like an extreme). Stay safe out there, people. The junction by the stop light/sign where the new bike trail starts is deadly. Watched a trucker not paying attention to the red light drive straight thru. Worth waiting for everyone to stop before making my way out thru that intersection. Also when coming West, taking a left onto East Marginal Way, it can be quite hairy with the train lines. Hopefully at some point this intersection will be safer for everyone at some point.

  • KeithN September 24, 2011 (9:42 am)

    Oh I just looked up some of the rest of the thread and it’s the usual heavy discussions about cyclists versus cars etc with everyone on the defensive and name calling. It’s so sad.

    Will this ever end?

    Tolerance and respect of each other, patience will go a long way for everyone. Stop policing others and think you can control them. Just do your own thing and chill.

    I used to have a dog, but still have a mountain bike, a gas guzzling SUV and children. My joke was I must be despised if I were to believe the things people say about each other of these on the various comment sections LOL.

    Really it’s time to take a deep breath, enjoy life, and stay safe.

    Life is too short for all this drama.

  • R September 24, 2011 (11:42 am)

    @ worried driver: You’re being to idyllic. Sure in theory less bikes would be in cars way, but more cars would be in cars way. That doesn’t really make any sense to me- traffic would ultimately be worsened and motor vehicle accidents would increase. The truth of the matter is bikes need to plan sensible routes. Many a biker chooses to go up hill, imagining they are fit enough to do so… protip 99% aren’t. They also need to route for less busy roads where drivers will not be as distracted so they can focus on seeing a bicyclist and be able to maneuver around them if need be. You might not think that’s your responsibility but it is. Just like if I knew my car couldn’t go over 35 mph I wouldn’t go traipsing on a freeway, but rather I’d route myself appropriately to my destination. Also you can make excuses out of the bike lanes being haphazardly designed- if you know there’s an issue with the lane abruptly ending, reroute. Its not that complicated. I manage to reroute to avoid known problems in my car everyday.

    #As for the 2 bikes right next to each other business; the argument being made isn’t that it is illegal, its that its part of this entitlement behavior- instead of being considerate of, oh, just about all the drivers behind them, they may continue to prevent vehicles from passing then as they fail to travel at an appropriate speed. Legal- technically right- no.

    #And for whoever mentioned that divers are mad because bikers are getting there faster… are you insipid? How exactly does a bike get you anywhere faster than a car except under extremely particular conditions.

    #And those who constantly harp on that bikers are the cause for the roads being paved… that’s only partially true. You’re basing these claims on extremely dated facts. Eventually it would have happened with the advent of cars becoming more popular. A large number of the roads paved at that time don’t exist anymore, or have been repaved over a dozen times. Using this tid-bit is irrelevant. Had cars been around and popular, divers would have been the ones who pushed for it. Its like saying aspirin has been used to treat more headaches than ibuprofen- its true because it was around before ibuprofen. Its meaningless.

    #And finally I still don’t believe the statistic people are throwing around that most cyclists are also car owners. It simply isn’t true. The cost to get a bike is minimal and there are no fees or licensing required. Many people can afford and use bikes, but the majority of people who can do that more than likely cannot afford or choose not to have a vehicle. Mathematically its obvious, and anyone who believes this imaginary statistic is a dolt. You know what they say “statistics show 90% of statistics are false”.

  • JN September 24, 2011 (6:48 pm)

    Worried Driver, thank you for being such a conscientious person. Your ideas sound great, and they don’t seem far-fetched to me at all. I just wish that other motorists would be as calm and sensible as you are.
    @R, cyclists already plan sensible routes. The only ones going out of their way to go up a hill are recreational cyclists, not cyclists who use their bicycle as transportation. And your comment that cyclists are mainly those who can’t afford a car is not only totally incorrect, but indicative of the double-standard cyclists are held to: either we’re very wealthy and have the “luxury of cycling to your job at some boutique creative services company” (And why would this be bad? It is still a job, after all, the same as any other, and no reason to deny infrastructure) as posted earlier on this blog, or according to you cyclists are too poor to afford a car. What you still can’t answer is why safe, separate cycling infrastructure is bad. That has been proven throughout the world to be the only barrier of mass cycling. Not weather, not hills, not the cold or the heat, but bad infrastructure.

  • Nancy Folsom September 25, 2011 (10:42 am)

    Not the first time I’ve said this, won’t be the last.

    I witness more violations of traffic laws and rules of civility by vehicle drivers than by bicyclists. By far.

    Drivers: stop being idiots about your responsibility for a 2000+- lb hurtling missile, okay?

    (I’m a driver or bus rider, not a bike commuter.)

  • Reader September 25, 2011 (11:18 am)

    Interesting. We’ve got some self-righteous, violent biker punk (“JN”) making threats to shoot motorists and run over people with a Hummer, but somehow his fellow biker punks say that it is I who have an “anger management” issue.
    Look, children, it’s you and your friends who are trying to turn the city streets into a “war zone,” with your darting in and out of traffic, your disobedience of signs and signals, your Critical Mass obstruction, your refusal to use lights or brakes, and on and on.
    And now one of you threatens to use a gun. Well, look, if that should come to pass (which I doubt, but you never know, given that your bicycle punks are poor and angry and righteous), this is a “war” you’ll lose.
    So keep your guns at home. Remember that you are outweighed and outsped, and that many bicyclists are alive today because this or that motorist was alert and managed to see that idiot without the light, no helmet, dressed in black, who blew through the stop sign at night.
    Don’t project your own lack of self-control onto others, and when the mayor who loves you so much gets kicked out in the next election partly because he was seen as a nutcase cyclist, try to understand that our patience is wearing thin.

  • Seattlite September 25, 2011 (11:41 am)

    Reader — RIGHT ON!!!!!

  • rosenlaw September 25, 2011 (11:57 am)

    I just love how these exchanges typically go back and forth, but predictably, nobody ever seems to find fault with the bikes and THEIR bad behavior. Just the cars, because, well -we’re bigger and we have deep pockets, right? (KC gov seems to think so)

    Ironically I was thinking of just this as I sat at that dreadful intersection under the two bridges yesterday and watched as not one, but *5* spandex riding jerks just rode right through the middle of that 7 way intersection, causing several vehicles to stop to avoid hitting them. One of them even waived at the car he nearly got hit by as if to say “thanks for not running over my rude stupid ass”

    But I guess like so many other that get badgered and drowned out by the overly loud and totally in denial ultra left PC crowd here, I’m just always in the rare wrong place at the rare wrong time. Totally just an isolated incident I’m sure.

    Did I mention there are other places in the states where the law makes it seriously less advantageous for bikes and pedestrians to blatantly violate rules because they can’t sue you or your insurance company under any but the most egregious circumstances. Think its the same in those states? you bet not!

    I’m not saying all drivers are blameless, but to drag up the tired, old argument- most of us pay taxes, tabs, insurance and fuel on our ONE mode of transportation and have a lot of accountability. Bikes on the other hand seem to have no accountability, and a toe-step lobby in city hall for their bizarre, selfish agenda.

  • JN September 25, 2011 (1:19 pm)

    Reader, for the last time, do you not understand what an analogy is? Since you don’t, here is a definition for you :”a form of reasoning in which one thing is inferred to be similar to another thing in a certain respect, on the basis of the known similarity between the things in other respects”. Cars kill tens of thousands of people every year due to the irresponsible or murderous actions of people, guns kill tens of thousands of people every year due to the irresponsible or murderous actions of people every year. I never once threatened to shoot anyone, since I was making an ANALOGY between your threat to “crush” any cyclist who got in your way, because you are bigger and heavier then they are. I merely said that because since you believe that if a larger, heavier vehicle would “win” in some sick war you think is going on in our streets, then I HYPOTHETICALLY said that IF I had a gun, and you were unarmed, then I would “win” in your delusional little war. I honestly don’t see how your disjointed, fragmented mind could make a connection between your REPEATED statements to kill cyclists and my analogy. I hope you can go take your meds now and stop poking people hoping for a reaction. Since your “patience is wearing thin”, I seriously would like to see your license revoked, since you have made several remarks, with no remorse or explanation whatsoever, to brutally murder other, legal road users because you THINK they are warring with you.
    And Rosenlaw, I have not once made any excuse for a cyclist committing a traffic violation. However, I believe the reason that motorists are held to a “higher standard” is that they are piloting a multi-ton vehicle around, and that has been proven to cause damage to cyclists, pedestrians, other motorists, the roads, even buildings. Obviously no one using the road is blameless, but the very reason for licensing and those other costs associated with driving is because it is an incredibly dangerous activity for yourself and others around you. I am absolutely sure that as soon as the death toll due to cyclists is equivalent to cars, cyclists will have to be licensed and pay tabs on their bicycles. And if you have any problem with paying for fuel for your vehicle (which is outrageously subsidized), take it up with the oil companies.

  • CDcommuter September 26, 2011 (7:11 pm)

    You really want to talk about rights….

    As a driver you have no “rights” at all to use the roads… you have a privilege granted to you by the state (ie a drivers license) to use them…that privilege can be revoked by the state.

    You have the right to be a passenger, you have the right to use the roads as a cyclist or a pedestrian, but there is no right to drive.

  • JN September 26, 2011 (11:12 pm)
    Motorists: You are all on the most pervasive welfare system on the planet. Universal Health Care, eat your heart out.

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