Jake Vanderplas’ story of a road rage hit and run in West Seattle we published yesterday drudged up a lot of scary stories from readers, who left their tales in the comments.
One of those comments was from a friend of mine: Maile Martinez. Her sister is in town visiting and has been biking around town during her stay. But she was the victim of a nasty hit and run Saturday night at Dexter and Nickerson (see more details on Maile’s blog).
She was struck from behind in the bike lane heading south on Dexter. The person driving did not slow or yield (as is clearly marked) when turning from eastbound Nickerson to southbound Dexter. Alana Martinez never saw the car.
Adding to the frustration, the person driving never stopped and fled the scene. Neither Alana or her husband biking behind her got a good look at the make, model, license plate or suspect. They are hoping that someone out there saw what happened and can help out by calling SPD.
Or better yet, maybe the person responsible will do the right thing and contact police.
Alana is very sore and has bad bumps and scrapes, but is luckily not more injured. She credits her helmet for bearing the brunt of the fall.
Maile’s blog post made the rounds yesterday and KOMO picked up the story. Here’s their report:
UPDATE: Biking by the location of the hit and run today, I noticed something troubling: Reflective plastic bollard intended to corral right-turning traffic into a safer bike lane crossing have been destroyed and are missing. Without the bollards, people driving do not have to slow down and cross the bike lane at a 90-degree angle, which is safer. Alana describes being hit from behind, suggesting that this is exactly what happened in her situation.
Plastic bollards have a vital flaw: They are easily destroyed. In the comments below, Ted Diamond describes a very similar serious collision at the same spot. Clearly, the plastic bollards and yield sign combination is not enough.
I don’t have the exact answer for what would make it safer, but it seems that something more permanent than the bollards are needed. Perhaps a more permanent curb of some kind is more appropriate. Also, while a signal might be overkill (as SDOT’s response to Ted suggests), perhaps a stop sign would be more effective.