Vigil walk planned for man seriously injured in Madison Park crosswalk

The crosswalk where the collision occurred. Image via Google Street View

The crosswalk where the collision occurred. Image via Google Street View

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways and the Madison Park Community Council are planning a vigil walk for the man critically injured in Madison Park Friday.

The man was struck by someone on a bike headed downhill and received serious head injuries from the collision. The exact details of how the collision occurred are still unknown and police are investigating.

The walk will meet Saturday, 10 a.m. at the Wells Fargo next to the collision site. The manager of the Wells Fargo and other community members have voiced concern about safety at the crosswalk before. The meeting will voice support for the injured man and his loved ones and call on the city to make infrastructure and enforcement improvements to make Madison Park streets safer.

While serious injuries from collisions between people walking and biking are rare, this incident is a reminder that they can and do happen. No matter who police determine to be at fault, this should serve as a serious reminder to slow down in areas where foot traffic is common.

A few more details have come to light since out last post. Here’s what a witness told Madison Park Blogger:

The cyclist was reportedly traveling at a fairly high speed down Madison, heading towards the water, when the pedestrian stepped into the crosswalk on the Wells Fargo side of the street. A witness stated that the man appeared to be on his cell phone, stepped into the street from behind a tree, and did not look to his left when starting across the street.  The cyclist, who is reported to be 26 years old, attempted to slow down but was unable to stop before the man wandered into the path of the bike.

A commenter on our previous story also said he saw the incident and said the man might have been obscured by a car parked near the crosswalk:

I was there this morning. Prays and best wishes to the pedestrian who was in very bad shape. The cyclist was distraught as well. This crosswalk is at the bottom of a long hill, the cyclist had picked up a lot of speed. There was a car parked in front of the cross walk and the pedestrian was obscured as he walked into the street. The cyclist screamed out and hit his breaks for what seemed like about three seconds. I thought they were car breaks they were so loud. He hit the pedestrian straight in the head with his helmet, which is why the cyclist was relatively ok. The pedestrian flew about 10/15 feet, was initially unconscious and bleeding profusely.

The huge number of comments on our previous story also highlighted some issues of concern about interactions between people biking and walking (from all points of view). The conversation also devolved at many points into a a frustrating, yet common, almost tribal defense of the commenter’s chosen mode of transportation. “Cyclists” accusing “pedestrians” of never looking where they step, “pedestrians” accusing “cyclists” of going too fast and passing too close, and on and on.

There is no such thing as a “pedestrian” or “cyclist” or “driver.” Everyone is a person, and most people will be a combo of those labels throughout a typical day. Everyone needs to get around with courtesy and care for others. The bigger and faster your vehicle, the more damage you can cause and, therefore, the more responsibility you carry.

Accidents do happen, but improvements in infrastructure and behavior can lower the chances of serious injuries. It’s not an “accident” if we (city, state, neighbors on foot, neighbors on bikes, neighbors in cars, all of us) neglect our responsibility to make streets safer. We’re all in this together, so it’s frustrating to see people point fingers at others based entirely on the mode of transportation they choose.

More details on the vigil, from the Madison Park Community Council:

It could have been any of us.

A family and community are devastated by a serious collision in the heart of Madison Park. On Friday morning, August 23, a man walking in a marked crosswalk on East Madison Street was critically injured and taken to Harborview Hospital. He was allegedly struck by another man riding his bicycle past the Madison Park Wells Fargo Bank branch heading into the business district from the west.

According to the Madison Park Blogger, a collision this serious was inevitable. Wells Fargo branch manager, Michael Morrow, saw Friday’s collision and said there have been numerous collisions at that crosswalk in the three years he’s been in the job. Mr. Morrow was already involved with the efforts of the Madison Park Community Council, Madison Park Business Association, and Madison Park Greenways, to get a Seattle city grant to improve this crosswalk.

The Madison Park community is gathering on Saturday, August 31 at 10 a.m. at the Wells Fargo Bank, 4009 E Madison Street at the site of the tragedy. Community leaders and City officials intend to speak at the collision site about traffic safety and possible street improvements.

According to the Madison Park Blogger, “there is a lack of visibility both for those crossing the street and those traveling on Madison. In this incident, cars were parked on both sides of the south end of the crosswalk. The sight lines were blocked, the pedestrian did not see the cyclist nor the other way around.”

The Madison Park Community Council, Madison Park Business Association, Madison Park Greenways and Seattle Neighborhood Greenways support the goals of Seattle’s Road Safety Action Plan to achieve zero fatalities and serious injuries by taking action. With more effective public policy, better engineering, stricter enforcement and more responsive education, thousands of deaths and injuries such as this can be prevented.

Community leaders will walk with us. Please join us to pay your respects and to show your support for the victim and his family.

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10 Responses to Vigil walk planned for man seriously injured in Madison Park crosswalk

  1. Melinda says:

    Thank you saying “everyone is a person”.

  2. roaduser says:

    Seattle parking laws say that cars cannot park within 20 feet of a marked or unmarked crosswalk, yet people park too close all the time. Not ticketing these vehicles is a lost source of revenue. Painting the curbs red 20′ back from all crosswalks (marked and unmarked) would also let drivers know that’s a no parking zone and would provide more visibility for everyone at the intersection. Then if they still choose to park there, ticket them. People will always be distracted, whether it be by their phone, kids, dogs or whatever, but at least allowing enough room around intersections would give those not distracted a little more reaction time.

    • Jessica says:

      Good idea! There are lots of intersections where visibility is blocked by parked cars and so people are inching out into the street without being able to see.

  3. biliruben says:

    Indeed. This is primarily a story about car-centric infrastructure, and it’s lack of safety and usability for those who don’t happen to be driving. I would say 20 feet isn’t enough, though I would guess the local businesses might erroneously think they would lose customers if they took and extra spot or two hill-side.

    This is also good time to try and gain 10 feet of waterfront along the fence near the north-end of Broadmoor Golf Course. If bikes don’t have to climb the hill and then descend, and pedestrians have an easy, pretty, flat walk to the Montlake Bridge from Madison Park, that’s one huge win for anyone interested active transportation and safety in general. This neighborhood is an isolated eddy, that is really hard to access by anything other than with an internal combustion engine, and it doesn’t have to be that way.

  4. Another Ped says:

    Well said, thank you. And thanks also for the heads up on the vigil.

  5. stardent says:

    With this new information, I’d say the pedestrian was more responsible than the cyclist for the accident. I see pedestrians texting while crossing the street all the time. They basically are handing over the life or death decision to the cross traffic.

    • Destry says:

      If a pedestrian was in a crosswalk when struck by a vehicle, whether it’s a bicycle or an automobile, that pedestrian has the right of way and the person in control of, in this case, the bicycle is at fault.

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