Kenmore 19-year-old killed while biking in crosswalk – UPDATED: RIP Caleb Shoop

Approximate location of collision. Image from Google Street View

Approximate location of collision (looking northbound on 61st Ave NE at NE 190th St). Image from Google Street View

A 19-year-old Kenmore man has passed away after a man driving a pickup truck struck him March 18 while he was biking in a Kenmore crosswalk.

According to the King County Sheriff’s Office, he was crossing 61st Ave NE at the marked crosswalk at NE 190th Street when he was struck by a 29-year-old man driving a pickup truck.

The victim was crossing eastbound after a vehicle in the left northbound lane stopped for him. However, the person driving the pickup in the right northbound lane did not stop and hit him.

After several days in the hospital, he passed away Friday evening shortly after 9 p.m., according to the Sheriff’s office.

Our condolences to his friends and family.

Photo from the YouCaring crowdfunding page

Photo from the YouCaring crowdfunding page

UPDATE: The man has been identified as Caleb Shoop.

“He was absolutely beloved of everyone who ever knew him,” said Ben Shoop, Caleb’s father told Bothell Reporter. “He embodied the spirit of giving to others.”

Shoop was an Inglemoor High School graduate and was very active while attending school. He participated in marching band, track and field and water polo. He volunteered for Ski for All, an organization that works with teaching disabled children and veterans how to ski and snowboard.

He was hoping to become a firefighter.

Caleb’s memorial service is at 1 p.m. March 29 at the University Place Presbyterian Church, located at 8101 27th St. W University Place.

A crowdfunding campaign has been set up to help the family cover any costs. Any money left over will be donated to Ski for All, a charity where Caleb volunteered.

The following message from Caleb’s Mom was posted to the crowdfunding site:

From Caleb’s Mom on Facebook, March 21st: Tonight we said goodbye to our sweet boy Caleb, or Kaleb VonShoop as he liked to be called, who passed away gently, surrounded with love and prayers, at 9:16pm. Thank you to the army of people who held us up the last few days, prayed over him, wept, sang, and reminisced with us as we honored his memory. We were stunned at the sheer volume of friends and family that flooded the halls of Harborview this week to sit with us and honor our child’s life. Please say a prayer for the organ recipients that are in surgery tonight as well.

Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 1.51.07 PMThe man’s death comes as the City of Kenmore is still reeling from the death of Sarah Paulson as she crossed the street in a Juanita Drive crosswalk March 14. Paulson, a Special Olympics athlete headed to catch a bus to Bellevue College, was 20 years old.

In response to the heartbreak on their city’s streets, the Kenmore City Council will discuss walking and biking safety at their meeting today (March 24). Details from a council press release:

The City Council and officials of the City of Kenmore are concerned by several pedestrian accidents that have taken place in recent months, including three crosswalk accidents that have occurred within six days of each other (3/14, 3/18 and 3/20).

The City is taking these incidents seriously and is proposing a number of short and long term actions intended to improve safety and awareness in our community. Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety has been added to the agenda for the March 24, 2014, City Council meeting. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the City Council Chambers at Kenmore City Hall, 18120 68th Avenue NE. Public comment is welcome at the meeting. To review the report for this agenda item, go to www.kenmorewa.gov/council and click on the March 24 meeting agenda.

Our thoughts go out to the victims, their families, and others who have been involved in these tragic circumstances.

The dangerous and all-too-common scenario that appears to have contributed to the man’s death is a serious safety issue that arises on streets with more than one general traffic lane in a single direction. Sometimes referred to as a “multiple threat,” below is a description of the problem from an SDOT presentation about last year’s NE 75th Street redesign:

NE-75th-Street-July-25-multiple-threatSpeeding, drugs and alcohol do not appear to be factors in the case, the King County Sheriff’s Office told Bothell Reporter.

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27 Responses to Kenmore 19-year-old killed while biking in crosswalk – UPDATED: RIP Caleb Shoop

  1. Mark in Kenmore says:

    This is just heartbreaking and it hits too close to home for me, for obvious reasons. I never want this to happen again. My wife and I plan on living in Kenmore for a long time, and we’d like to raise our daughter somewhere where it’s safe to walk or ride a bike.

    If any readers of this blog live in or near Kenmore, please come out and show some support at the city council meeting tonight. For a city that has a phenomenal trail cutting right through the heart of it, we need to make it easier and safer for residents to actually get to it.

    • Nigel Herbig says:

      Mark,

      Thanks for coming out and speaking tonight. The public show of support for action was amazing to see, and sent a strong message to me and my colleagues on the Council.

    • Saul says:

      Sad to hear that a young man was killed here. We need to push the city to better design the streets to address pedestrian safety. I live less than a quarter mile away and saw all of the flowers today, so I Googled to see what happened. While the Sheriff states that speed did not appear to be a factor, I find that hard to believe, the right lane in that section of road is a Defacto Passing lane, much of the traffic makes a left into Brier a few feet further up the road, so people floor it to get around them. Probably should drop the road to one lane, everyone can just chill, it’s not that big a deal to get home 2 minutes faster and pick off some poor kid.

  2. BGM says:

    Having lived in that area for 28+ years before moving into Seattle a couple of years ago, seeing where that collision occurred gives me chills because the way the road is set up always seemed to me like a disaster waiting to happen.
    As the road goes north leaving Bothell Way approaching that intersection, there are 2 lanes, very few houses, and the road has an almost highway-like feel. Speed limit is if I recall 35 but the actual speed of cars heading up that way is regularly much faster. You head north up the hill, suddenly there are houses and apartment buildings, including a large complex on the right/east side of the road teeming with kids.
    And about 100 yards past that crosswalk to the north, the road transitions from 2 NB to one NB lane and you inevitably have the fast drivers in the outside lane effectively racing to get ahead of just one more car before the road becomes 1 lane.
    Of course who knows what the circumstances of this terrible collision were, but that little stretch there is really dangerous.

  3. Jeff Dubrule says:

    So, while it’s illegal to pass someone who’s waiting for a pedestrian to cross, the law isn’t as strong as it could be
    —————————
    RCW 46.61.235:
    Crosswalks.

    (4) Whenever any vehicle is stopped at a marked crosswalk or at any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection to permit a pedestrian or bicycle to cross the roadway, the driver of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass such stopped vehicle.
    —————————
    It seems likely that a valid defense, in such a case, is that you didn’t know why the car was stopped at the crosswalk, because you didn’t see the pedestrian (maybe because he was obscured by the stopped vehicle).

    This should be amended to required a driver to come to a complete stop before proceeding, whenever they approach a car stopped at a crosswalk. It’d make it a lot easier to issue tickets for unsafe driving, even if nobody got hurt, and eliminate a potential loophole, in cases where someone does get hurt.

  4. bill says:

    I would like to see a shift in the language used in cases like this. There was nothing accidental here. The driver chose to pass the stopped car unsafely. This was a collision, not an accident. It was a result of the decision the driver made, not some unforeseeable act of god. Calling this an accident lets us throw up our hands and opine nothing can be done. We need to shift society’s attitude about motor safety. No matter how much road engineering we do, safety or its absence will remain a choice, a result of deliberate actions by drivers. Calling such incidents accidents de-emphasizes personal responsibility.

    • Andres Salomon says:

      Indeed, that’s disappointing language coming from a city council.

      I sure wish that there were more local groups out there (*cough*KenmoreNeighborhoodGreenways*cough*) pushing for ped/bike safety improvements.

    • meanie says:

      It has to be called an accident, that way all the people who drive can console each other in the knowledge that it could have been them who killed a reckless darting, not dressed in safety orange clothing ( other other excuse ) and they would have to feel really really bad about it. Mostly because they don’t have to be concerned with criminal charges, as long as their was no malice its a slap on the wrist, or even losing their license for ending a human life.

      Until its actually illegal to kill people with cars, this is all for nothing.

  5. Southeasterner says:

    Crosswalks across a four lane road without traffic lights is asking for trouble.

    If you want further proof come up to Ballard and hang out near a crosswalk without traffic lights on Leary or 24th street. My friends who live in a condo facing 24th say not a night passes when they don’t hear a car slamming on the brakes to avoid taking out a pedestrian or cyclist in the exact same situation as described above.

    But I guess the cost of installing lights and delay to drivers isn’t worth the safety.

  6. Gary says:

    My kid totaled the family car with a similar deal. Right lane stopped to let them out into the middle turn lane, left lane slammed into the front of the car.

    At least on a bicycle if you stand on the pedals you can look over the first car to the following lane.

    Still a sad day all around.

    • Tom Fucoloro says:

      Good point, Gary. Though the illustration shows a person walking and this story is about a person on a bike, the “multiple threat” scenario injures people in all modes.

      If you are an engineer trying to minimize traffic injuries, you quickly learn that t-bone collisions are among the most dangerous (head-on is the worst). So your primary goal is to reduce t-bone collisions since that is how people get injured and killed.

      One of the best and most cost-effective solutions we have is the humble road diet. Redesign a street so there is one lane in each direction. It’s that simple. The extra space can be used to install a center turn lane, bike lanes and/or on-street parking. The space can also be used to widen sidewalks or install bus bulbs/bus islands to speed up transit. The space can even be used for planting greenery, either for beautification or stormwater retention purposes (or both).

      In an urban environment, especially in neighborhoods, streets with multiple lanes in each direction are not efficient and are ridiculously dangerous. These are our neighbors, co-workers, friends and family members who are getting hurt, and for what?

      • Josh says:

        In an urban environment, attempting to have *fast* multi-lane streets is inefficient and dangerous, but many cities manage to have wide boulevards where traffic flows steadily but slowly, giving motorists plenty of time to see and stop for pedestrians.

        Urban boulevards should *not* be built to highway standards — look at the right-turn-only lane and corner radius in the photo, for example — that’s a corner engineered to be driven without slowing down much unless you see the crosswalk is occupied. That’s a terrible design for any place people live or work.

  7. Josh says:

    This is a *very* common type of accident, especially on 4-lane stroads with high prevailing speeds. Motorists who notice crosswalks are looking for pedestrian-speed traffic, even a fast walker may be going faster than they’re expecting, and our culture of impatience encourages noncompliance with crosswalks.

    Active countermeasures can be expensive — flashing crosswalk signals, stop lights, etc. I’ve really appreciated the improved driver compliance since the city of Auburn installed an RRFB on the crosswalk where the Interurban crosses 15th SW, a street where motorists routinely drive 45+ despite the speed limit.

    Other countermeasures are relatively inexpensive — putting crosswalks on speed tables, for example, not only reinforces pedestrian crossing rights, but encourages all drivers to at least slow down for the crosswalk.

    But even with speed tables and traffic signals, until we have a culture that actually holds drivers accountable for the risks of driving, I will bike multi-lane crosswalks at a crawl, watching for the driver who doesn’t care enough to follow the law.

    • Tom Fucoloro says:

      Like you, I also crawl across these crosswalks, assuming that the second car will not stop until proven otherwise. But even being cautious like that leads to hairy and unexpected situations. I’ve had several close calls on streets like NE 45th in the U District or 23rd Ave in the Central District where I was being as cautious as possible and still got buzzed by someone impatient or not paying attention.

      While I certainly agree that our laws let people behind the wheel off the hook for the devastating damage they can cause, I also understand that many streets are essentially telling people to disregard even marked crosswalks (let along unmarked crosswalks). That’s why compliance is so low, and it’s not because there is something inherently wrong with each individual driver. If the penalties were harsher and enforcement was better, there would certainly be some change in this behavior.

      But it’s so overwhelmingly common that only a complete streets redesign will address the core issues driving the behavior. Sure, it will take a lot of money and political will, but we must do it. We don’t have a choice. Every excuse we give ourselves to hold off on making road design changes is just passing the buck to the next family to lose a son or mother or close friend.

    • Tom Fucoloro says:

      Oh, and yes, raised crosswalks are awesome, I agree. RRFB crosswalk lights are clearly better than no lights at all, but I am not entirely convinced that they are enough.

      • Josh says:

        Data isn’t the plural of anecdote, and they’re still fairly rare so good data will be hard to find, but at least in my experience, RRFB crosswalks have motorist compliance as good as the WALK phase of a full traffic signal.

        Still far from perfect, of course, had a Metro bus sail through an occupied crosswalk in front of me just this morning near the end of the WALK phase.

        In part, I suspect it’s because the RRFB only flashes when a crosswalk is actually in use, unlike a standard signal that gives a WALK phase when nobody is using the crosswalk. The beacons tell drivers that they’re nearing an *occupied* crosswalk, even if they can’t see who’s using it yet.

  8. David Gill says:

    The role of police in this is being passed over. Many cyclists have been victims of near misses in situations like this but calls to 911 are routinely ignored. There is a culture among the police as well as the citizenry that safety for bicyclists and pedestrians has not been a priority. I hope that the police will start to take these complaints seriously, it is unfortunate that these two young people had to die before that could happen.

  9. Josh says:

    The FHWA has a Desktop Reference for Crash Reduction Factors — how well do various measures reduce various types of accidents.

    Adding pedestrian signals reduces pedestrian accidents by up to 50%.

    Raised pedestrian crossings reduce accidents up to 36%.

    Speed enforcement is better than either of those expensive infrastructure interventions, it reduces pedestrian accidents by up to 70%. (And if it’s done right, it can even pay for itself.)

  10. Then again says:

    This was a real shame of duel operator errors, and the lac of a lit safe crossing light.
    Regardless, the bicyclist must adhere to bicycle / vehicle traffic laws. The cyclist did not stop to cross at the crosswalk. He turned around from the far right lane. The driver of the vehicle who passed the crosswalk, did not take notice of other vehicle motorist stop, they are not exempt.
    By all accounts both are at a fault. This is a highly unfortunate outcome of two who chose to act poorly. The street in which this accident happened on is well lit with street lights on both sides of the road. So that must be eliminated from the issue. Drivers must stop as must bicyclist at a crosswalk. A bicycles by Washington State Law is to walk across the crosswalk, or follow traffic safety laws.
    No one want’s a youth to be hurt, no one should have to feel that pain of loss. It’s with a reality check one must see the issues clearly and act accordingly. The only thing that may have prevented this accident is a lit crossing crosswalk. This crosswalk is not the only crosswalk in Kenmore with the exact same issue, with the exception of poor lighting in their case’s vs. the case of this vehicle / bicyclist traffic accident. A life was lost, a family tragically effected. Peace be with you and yours.

  11. Bob Anderton says:

    I appreciate reading the thoughtful comments to this tragedy. I agree that this was no accident and, as I suspect most of you do, hope that we will update our laws to make our roadways safe for everyone.

    My own view is that drivers who hit pedestrians or bicyclists should be presumed at fault. Never mind the niceties of crosswalks, bike lanes or sharrows, like an uphill skier or a powerboat yielding to a sailboat, people in steal cages with seatbelts and airbags should always have the duty not to run down significantly more vulnerable people.

    Mr. Shoop should have a long life ahead of him. Updated laws that make crystal-clear a driver’s duty to yield to pedestrians and bicyclists might have allowed him to continue to live it.

  12. Then Again is Wrong About the Law says:

    Then again, the law in Washington State does NOT require bicyclists to dismount before crossing the street at cross walks. You need to check your facts. I agree with some of your other suggestions but is tantamount you know the rules of the road both as a driver, rider, and pedestrian. Car’s have to yield to bicycles in cross walks the same that cars yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. There is ONLY dual liability if the car did not have adequate time to yield. That is not the case here as the other that had stopped, clearly had time.

  13. bill says:

    The basic principle of right of way is that the powerful yield to the weak. We have lost sight of that.

  14. Jay Jentoft says:

    I was turning to head south down 61st just as the EMTs were arriving and instantly knew what had happened. “I KNEW it!” I’d hoped the day wouldn’t happen but felt it was inevitable.

    It’s extremely dangerous for pedestrians in multiple lane crosswalks at intersections because not only are they hidden by the outside lane motorist, the stopped outside lane motorist might look like it’s waiting for a pedestrian to cross the intersecting street before it makes a right hand turn. Sure, the right turn taillight should be flashing but we live in an area of the country that has extremely inconsistent driving habits.

    I’ve lived in the neighborhood since 1968 and my grandparents lived a block from the accident since 1960. I often drive through that intersection 4-6 times daily and it amazes me something like this had not happened sooner.

    From either direction drivers transition from relatively nothing more than a stop sign for quite some distance to traffic merging from around an island, a crosswalk, lanes merging, a flashing speed limit sign. Unfortunately, the crosswalk competes for attention.

  15. Pingback: Kenmore is reviewing negligent driving charges in death of Caleb Shoop | Seattle Bike Blog

  16. Pingback: Person who hit and killed Caleb Shoop in Kenmore gets $175 ticket | Seattle Bike Blog

  17. Pingback: Mother of Caleb Shoop: ‘Our son’s death warrants a just outcome’ | Seattle Bike Blog

  18. Pingback: Kenmore residents call for an end to traffic deaths, remember Caleb Shoop | Seattle Bike Blog

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