‘The medical bills for Steve’s care have started to come in’: Crowdfunding for West Seattle bicyclist’s widow

(‘Ghost bike’ memorial at crash site – WSB photo from December)

Two months ago, 66-year-old Steve Hulsman was riding his bicycle in Arbor Heights when a 53-year-old man driving a car made a left turn and didn’t see him in time to stop. It was less than two hours later, according to the police report, when Mr. Hulsman died at the hospital. Now his widow is dealing with the bills, saying their coverage has been exhausted, and that the driver was uninsured. A friend asked us to write about her crowdfunding page, so we also looked into the status of the case. King County Superior Court and Seattle Municipal Court files don’t show any charges filed, so far, in the incident, though the officer who wrote the initial report noted that the driver “operated his vehicle in a manner that endangered a person.” As was first reported by Seattle Bike Blog, records show the driver had a suspended license and a history of DUIs, but officers said that at this scene there was no indication he was impaired. Meantime, SDOT has told us in past cases that they evaluate sites of traffic deaths for possible modifications; we asked them about this location, and a spokesperson replied, “We conducted review of the site at Marine View Dr SW and 46th Ave SW as part of our fatal-review process. We will carefully assess the findings and engage in discussions to determine the most appropriate next steps for this location.” We’ll continue following up. Meantime, Mr. Hulsman’s widow is also hoping that crowdfunding will help with the costs of a memorial for her husband and for bike safety projects, which were a passion of his. Here’s the link.

36 Replies to "'The medical bills for Steve's care have started to come in': Crowdfunding for West Seattle bicyclist's widow"

  • Alki resident February 28, 2024 (10:18 pm)

    Driving past my old neighbors ghost bike breaks me every time. He will be so missed. Such a nice family he had. 

  • Admiral-2009 February 28, 2024 (10:48 pm)

     It’s not fair to have the cost be borne by Steve’s widow (I’m sorry for your loss). This is why the State needs to clamp down on motorists who fail to buy insurance as required by law.  One idea is to require proof of insurance when you renew your car tabs each year.

    • Cal February 29, 2024 (6:35 am)

      I 100% agree, Admiral-2009!

    • Tony February 29, 2024 (6:52 am)

      I agree, but that would also require more enforcement of car tab renewal. The amount of vehicles just in West Seattle with expired tabs is astounding. Hopefully a civil lawsuit will clean this guy out in-lieu of having insurance.

    • T Rex February 29, 2024 (7:15 am)

      AGREE 100%

    • 2 Much Whine February 29, 2024 (7:25 am)

      The only problem with that approach is that a significant portion of people no longer renew their tabs because they know they can no longer be stopped for expired tabs.  That would be just one more reason to not renew tabs and the problem would get worse. . . . . and the state would need to find another way to generate that lost revenue and it would likely fall on the people that do follow the rules.

      • Mickymse February 29, 2024 (9:41 am)

        To be clear, police aren’t allowed to chase you down for expired tabs or use that as an excuse to pull you over for a traffic stop … That doesn’t mean you can’t be cited for having expired tabs — especially by Parking Enforcement. And it doesn’t mean the police can’t cite you if they pull you over for speeding, running a red light, or something else. Some police cars in Seattle have license plate readers and pick up plates all the time while they drive around looking for stolen cars and such.

    • 937 February 29, 2024 (7:48 am)

      This state? enforcing anything? Good luck – there are those that STILL want to defund or “re-envision” policing. Now you’re going to require underpaid staff at the DMV to “police” valid insurance?

      It’s also a very hefty assumption that people are even registering their vehicles. Especially those who choose not to insure them.

      I became annoyed with this YEARS ago when I chose to purchase “uninsured motorist” protection.

      • Neighbor February 29, 2024 (1:36 pm)

        Are you under the impression that the police work at the DMV?  Why not ask those people to do a simple check at a leisurely pace that reduces the workload on actual police officers?  This is the reinvisioning you mention.  It’s a pro-police movement.  We ask too much of the police already.

        • 937 February 29, 2024 (4:52 pm)

          No. I do not believe the police work at the DMV. That is why I put “police” valid insurance. in quotation marks. As in – the poster I responded to would ask the DMV worker to verify the status of a driver’s insurance. Which they won’t.

          “Reinvisioning” of policing doesn’t actually need to be done. Police are fully capable of honoring their commission (most of em anyway – but I also know some bad doctors, lawyers, bakers, bartenders etc) What we need is a “reinvisioning” of respect for law enforcement and quite frankly Rule of Law (I will end here, I have hijacked enough)

    • Stickerbush February 29, 2024 (8:19 am)

      I’m surprised the state doesn’t already require that registrant have insurance on car when tabs are renewed. This could probably be done electronically. I don’t know how much difference this would make though–may just result in even more vehicles out there with expired tabs.

    • Bubbasaurus February 29, 2024 (8:30 am)

      What’s crazy is that if he was killed while driving a car, if he had uninsured/underinsured coverage, this wouldn’t be an issue. For those of us who commute by bike, it’s something worth talking about with an insurance agent to make sure we’re covered if we end up in an accident.

      • Susie February 29, 2024 (11:32 am)

        Uninsured/underinsured protection on the victim’s automobile insurance policy DOES apply even if you weren’t driving a car. At least it did nearly 20 years ago when an uninsured motorist ran me down in a signaled crosswalk. Granted it was only a small amount towards the costs that I incurred then (and continue to incur due to subsequent surgeries, lost wages, and healthcare related to the original injuries) but it helped.  A lawyer will help push your insurance company to release the funds but will then take a portion of the award. 

    • David February 29, 2024 (2:39 pm)

      The crushing financial burden is from just two hours of unsuccessful medical intervention! For some reason we keep accepting the unacceptable with our healthcare system. It seems so…sadistic.

    • TS6 March 1, 2024 (10:08 am)

      How devastating. My condolences to his widow. Perhaps it will be helpful to her to learn any health insurance her husband had should be a resource.

  • Mike February 29, 2024 (3:10 am)

    Sorry for the loss of your loved one and friend.  Bills like these, such as uninsured motorists, should be covered by the state. The state should bear responsibility to recover costs from the driver in this case.  We live in a state that requires all motorists to carry a minimum of liability insurance.  When anyone drives violating that law, other means are necessary for loss recovery.  This is a failure of our state to enforce laws we’ve had for decades.  Although it’s not going to bring him back, my recommendation is to find a law firm that will open a class action lawsuit against the state for failing to enforce laws.  All our (law abiding individuals) insurance rates are greatly impacted by those who violate laws.

  • Robert s February 29, 2024 (4:55 am)

    Does a widow typically get stuck with medical bills when a spouse dies?  That doesn’t seem right

  • Lookingintothis February 29, 2024 (7:19 am)

    I hope the family contacts the Office of The Insurance Commissioner for Washington State. They may have rights and remedies they are not aware of.



  • Dog Whisperer February 29, 2024 (7:57 am)

    Our State’s unwillingness to enforce mandatory automobile insurance laws has made the cost of uninsured motorist coverage here about the highest in the country. 

  • Astrocat February 29, 2024 (8:05 am)

    Yes, agree totally. How can that come about? 

  • Mark47n February 29, 2024 (8:19 am)

    There have been numerous articles covering how the vast majority of car/bicycle incident, even those with injuries of fatalities, are uncited not only in Seattle but nationally. Also most collisions the car is at fault. So, what all of this indicates is that drivers can injure or kill cyclists with no consequences. This is what Critical Mass was protesting, by the way. As a reminder to drivers: as a cyclist I have the same rights to use the roads as cars and I have the same responsibilities. I can take the entire lane if I feel that it’s safer. I am not obligated to use bike lanes (many are pretty unsafe due to debris and how narrow they are, and I deserve to not be hit by cars or people in cars throwing things at me.Steve deserved to be safe while riding his bike. He was hit by a driver that simply was not attentive, for whatever reason. The driver has since received no consequences in any for… killing a man who was simply riding a bicycle in a place that he had a right to operate it.  Our various law enforcement department did nothing about it. All in all, this means that riding a bicycle in Seattle, and the US at large, is an extremely dangerous activity.For those that will invariably respond insisting that cyclists carry insurance I would point out that the stat’s don’t support this since, again bicycle/car accidents are disproportionately the fault of the drive. Get a life. As for the tired argument about taxes: I pay taxes on three cars and one motorcycle. I would say, seeing how much I commute, etc, on my bicycle I overpay. As do many other cyclists.

    • empathetic biker February 29, 2024 (8:39 pm)

      Maybe, the crazy thing is that drivers often just don’t see bikes.  It’s call “inattentive blindness” and bicyclist should be educated in it. The best thing I did as a cyclist was take a motorcycle safety course, which emphasizes this reality. https://road.cc/content/news/235330-new-research-finds-many-drivers-really-dont-see-cyclists-or-motorbikers-video

      I really sorry for this family’s loss.

      • Mark47n March 1, 2024 (10:20 am)

        So…even though the cyclist did everything right, as determined by law enforcement, the cyclist needs to be more careful, has a the higher duty of care, than inattentive drivers. This is basically saying that the cyclist is at fault because he was hit making a turn while the cyclist had the right of way.If you think cyclists aren’t painfully aware of their vulnerability on the road then you’re painfully mistaken and your assertion that this is something that cyclists need to educate themselves on rather than drivers need to be better aware of their surroundings is, again, placing a responsibility onto the cyclist that just isn’t theirs. AS for the motorcycle training…I ride a motorcycle and I don’t have near the number of close calls due to inattentive drivers as I do at cars. For instance,  yesterday I was crossing California at Alaska at about 6:30pm and the car on the left side of me wanted to be where I was. His blinker was on, and he looked right at me and kept on coming. I yelled at him. He looked right at me…and kept on coming. I don’t believe that drivers are simply inattentive. I believe that they act badly towards cyclists on a less than volitional level but not really accidental. They believe that we have no right to use their road and there is a tremendous missing piece of education for drivers as to the rights of cyclists.

        • Empathetic Cyclist March 1, 2024 (1:38 pm)

          Hi Mark.  It sounds like we have a lot in common.  I am also a cyclist and motorcyclist (and car driver).  I have also been high by a car on my bike when the car made an illegal turn.  When a started cycling as a child , I assumed cars would see me (because I am literally in front of them) and react to me like they reacted me when I drove a car.  I had some experiences (not even close encounters) that might have tipped me off otherwise, but it was not until I took a motorcycle safety course that I learned of inattentive blindness (i.e., a driver can be looking right at me but still not see me).  As a cyclist, I did not know about this or realize the full extent of my danger on the road.   I don’t think my lack of knowledge meant I was negligence or breached some duty.   This driver may have been actively negligent, distracted or worse.  But it is also possible, based on scientific studies, that the driver may have been paying as much attention as the average driver and simply not seen the cyclist (even though the driver’s “eyes were on the road”).  If this is the case, I think the driver should still bear the economic loss and pay the damages caused, but it does affect how we morally view the situation.  I can see how others might have a different point of view. 

          • Molly March 2, 2024 (7:56 pm)

            Hey Empathetic cyclist,I think you may not understand that Steve was a cascade bicycle club and High Performance Cycling (HPC) ride leader (which are taught on road safety). Or maybe you think that Steve wasn’t aware that cars don’t see him (in fact, a car saw him and was so mad that they hit him from behind and then fled- because they were angry that he was cycling *on this exact same road.*) In this case, I am almost entirely sure the car SAW Steve, but assumed they could turn *before* Steve got there, because they chose not to pay attention to the fact that Steve was in the roadway and was going as fast as a car would. Additionally, because the driver had a suspended license, no insurance, and was not even supposed to be ON the road, all of this discussion doesn’t matter. Steve did not deserve to die because a person driving was not supposed to be on the road, and did a risky thing. The woman who was in front of the suspended license driver DID see Steve. Do you see how that works? 

  • DC February 29, 2024 (9:11 am)

    Once again, Seattle letting us know a vehicle grants you a license to kill. No insurance, suspended license, no problem. Even in the rare case drivers are held accountable, the sentences are ridiculously low. Still upset the person who killed Robb Mason only got 4 years.

  • Pete February 29, 2024 (10:51 am)

    We are one of the few countries in the world where medical bills can bankrupt you. I don’t know why we stand for it. We do so many things so well, healthcare is not one of them.  What a heartbreaking story all round.

    • Lagartija Nick February 29, 2024 (4:26 pm)

      The worst part is that they’re not even her medical bills. This country is broken.

    • Mark47n March 1, 2024 (10:22 am)

      Actually, I don’t believe that medical debts can be discharged via bankruptcy, courtesy of the Republican’s and George W. Bush.

      • Lee March 4, 2024 (3:55 pm)

        Yes, medical debt is dischargeable in bankruptcy. 

  • Duckie February 29, 2024 (10:37 pm)

    Hopefully Mr. Hulsman’s family can qualify for free or discounted costs for the hospital care; information in the article below:


  • Admiral-2009 February 29, 2024 (10:43 pm)

    Lagartija Nick you are correct the bills are for the deceased person not the grieving widow.  I remember when my first wife passed away suddenly, getting some medical bills I contacted them and gave them the correct address to send the bills, Bonney Watson Funeral Home and the plot number.  Fortunately they got the message.  And I still remember her dentist sending a card waiving her last appointments billing!  

  • Peggy Harper February 29, 2024 (11:08 pm)

    I live in PA and indeed we must carry insurance and show proof of it on renewing registration, at inspection and if stopped by a policeman. It’s not foolproof as there will be those who try to get away with not having it, but it’s a lot better than this. Our DMV staff and police do  verify insurance coverage as part of their jobs.I’m sorry for what this family is going through.

  • D-Mom March 1, 2024 (6:04 am)

    Why is an uninsured motorist who is driving in an unsafe manner and who killed a cyclist not getting charged?  Instead they are looking at traffic revisions vs dealing with the person at fault?  So typical!  Blanket policy vs dealing with the problem. And this poor woman who lost her husband should not be strapped with bills. My heart aches as I pass this ghost bike every day. 

  • Christabella March 1, 2024 (9:19 am)

    Please encourage her to speak with financial counselor at the hospital, they should be able to help her with hospital charges- very sorry for her loss 

  • KM March 1, 2024 (11:47 am)

    I am very sorry about this devastating event, my deep condolences.  Our healthcare system is horrible.  It is very important for everyone to understand your auto coverages and to have enough Uninsured or Underinsured Motorists (UIM) Coverage.  In addition to covering you when in a car, it also covers you when walking or bicycling and a car hits you.  A few insurance companies will allow you to get excess UIM coverage as a rider to your umbrella policy.  There is a correlation between people who don’t have enough (or any) liability coverage causing more accidents.  An umbrella and the UIM rider are very inexpensive, but you have to have underlying liability coverage too.  I know about insurance from being rear-ended three times by guys without insurance or just the minimum.  In one of the accidents, my UIM insurance company paid me my policy limits without me having to get an attorney, unfortunately my limit was very low at $100,000.  It is very important coverage to have.

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