Woman biking critically injured in Bellevue collision, person driving flees

If you see a suspicious vehicle missing one of these, that may be the suspect. Photo from Bellevue PD

If you see a suspicious vehicle missing a headlight like this one, that may be the suspect. Photo from Bellevue PD.

Map of the incident location from Bellevue PD

Map of the incident location from Bellevue PD

Someone driving an unknown vehicle struck a woman biking in Bellevue this morning, critically injuring her. The suspect left the woman in critical condition on the side of the road and fled the scene without even calling for help.

The location is a major crossing of the I-90 Trail. 118th Ave SE is also a popular north-south bike route in Bellevue. There has been no indication yet from police how the collision happened.

In fact, KOMO reports that a passerby spotted the woman lying on the road around 6 a.m., but it’s not yet clear how long she was lying there. She was thrown 100 feet from the collision site, and the person driving left her for dead.

She was rushed to Harborview with critical injuries. We send our best wishes.

Image from Google Street View.

Image of the collision location from Google Street View.

The collision comes just hours before a public meeting about a “rapid implementation” bike safety plan the Bellevue Transportation Department is proposing (5–7 p.m. tonight at Bellevue City Hall). See our previous story for details.

Bellevue City Council also endorsed Vision Zero in December, calling for safer streets to end traffic deaths and serious injuries in the city.

UPDATE: The Seattle Times reports that the call came at 6 a.m. (I’ve updated the story above). The woman was crossing in the crosswalk when someone driving south struck her. She has “extensive” life-threatening injuries, Bellevue PD told the Times:

The woman was taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with “extensive,” life-threatening injuries to her head, leg and torso, Bellevue Police Department spokesman Seth Tyler said.

Tyler said the woman was riding on the Lake to Lake Trail, which crosses 118th Avenue Southeast at a crosswalk. Investigators believe she was hit in the crosswalk by a vehicle traveling south.

A person driving by saw the woman about 100 feet south of the crosswalk, gave aid and called 911 at about 6 a.m., Tyler said.

“As far as how long she had been laying in the road, we don’t know at this point. We don’t have the driver of the car,” he said.

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41 Responses to Woman biking critically injured in Bellevue collision, person driving flees

  1. Josh says:

    From the description, I think you’ve got the wrong crossing in your photo — there’s another crossing that’s actually *under* I-90 there, as described by Bellevue PD.

    Unlike the crossing south of I-90, the one under the freeway has no crosswalk, no warning signs, and lousy sight distances.

    See https://goo.gl/maps/VbFwt8LSBBo and look to the right, at the second overpass. That’s the trailhead. If you scroll forward slowly you can see the bollards for the trail, but if you’re driving, even under the speed limit, it’s almost invisible until suddenly someone is riding out into the street.

    • Josh says:

      A nearer view of the crossing:
      https://goo.gl/maps/yUPXvfCoQX92

      • Gary says:

        This view of the “trail” on the left actually leads to a chainlink fenced parking lot under the bridge that WADOT seems to use occasionally to store stuff. No one would cross here coming or going to North Bend.

        But it does show how with the bend in the road, you can’t see cars approaching from the North very well.

      • Josh says:

        The northern crossing is more useful if you want to go east on the Lake to Lake bike route, since that route starts by going north on 118th as far as SE 8th — you either turn north on 118th at the trailhead, or you ride south to the marked crosswalk, then turn north and ride back under the freeway on that stretch with no shoulder and lousy sight lines. Neither approach is really very good.

    • Josh says:

      Not something I’d usually suggest, but honestly the trailhead under I-90 is so bad, I don’t know why they haven’t closed it to force crossing at a better location.

      Most people I’ve seen riding there use the southern crossing, the one in your photo with the marked crosswalk. But Bellevue PD’s map pin is on the invisible crossing, not the marked one.

    • Tom Fucoloro says:

      See the update from the Times. Sounds like they are referring to the crosswalk (I’m assuming they mean the marked crosswalk). The pin drop in the map may be more of an estimated location.

      But yes, I agree with you that this crossing has serious design issues. Even the marked crossing could be a lot better.

    • Andy says:

      I use the trailhead there when heading clockwise around the north end of the lake, but when going counter-clockwise I go down to the crosswalk itself before cutting over to the northbound side of 118th.
      None are great in terms of sight distances, though. The safest thing is probably to go on that trail that runs parallel on the west side of 118th and then cross at the top of the hill where there are long clear sight lines.
      The crosswalk needs some RRFBs for folks continuing across to Factoria, too.

      • Matt says:

        I was the third person to arrive on scene this morning. Very sad. The debris in the road (headlight lens, bumper parts) was at the crosswalk pictured. I was on my bike heading north, the first arrival was a cyclist heading south that I see every day that I ride. The other person there was a motorist heading north.

  2. Gary Yngve says:

    Hit and run is denying someone the golden hour of definitive medical care and should be treated as attempted murder

  3. Steve says:

    If she doesn’t make it, the driver should be charged with murder and do 15+ years, but who am I kidding.

    By running, the driver at least probably got themselves some prison time. Sad state of our justice system though that you can hit someone in crosswalk and get off with just a ticket if you stay behind and say “I didn’t see them.”

  4. Josh says:

    Not sure I’d trust the Times description, though, since the Lake to Lake bike route doesn’t actually connect to the marked crosswalk.

    • Andy says:

      Yeah, it’s more likely they meant the Mountains-to-Sound trail which crosses at that crosswalk.
      Regardless, it’s a tragedy, and I hope the cyclist makes a speedy recovery, and the person who left her to die is identified and prosecuted.

      That crosswalk could probably stand to have some RRFBs installed.

  5. Gary says:

    I cross here twice a day, and yes the sight lines are terrible. I always look twice and still had a couple of close calls, both cars a bicycles traveling South.

    BTW this morning the BPD was measuring from the crosswalk North.

    And if the bicyclist was coming from North Bend, she would have crossed at the crosswalk.

  6. Bob Anderton says:

    I hope this bicyclist recovers and the driver is caught. But for those of us reading the comments to this story, do yourself a favor and stop.

    Instead, check and make sure you have UIM insurance. It’s car insurance, so if you don’t have a car, there are only a few places to get it, but if you have a car and ride bikes be sure you have it and as much coverage as you can afford. UIM protects you if you are the victim of a hit and run… it’s insurance for people who don’t have insurance, don’t have enough insurance, or are simply evil like this driver. Here’s hoping it’s a waste of money and you’ll never use it…

    • michael strausbauch says:

      UIM medical coverage was a godsend for a hit and run I was on the receiving end of! Moped here instead of my usual bicycle (moped considered a bicycle in my state so auto insurance wouldn’t cover it and I had to seek additional coverage out) + 200K medical later I was glad I had it.

    • Josh says:

      At least the last time I checked, Farmers Insurance still offers a Non-Owner Endorsement here in Washington. (Disclaimer: years ago, I was a Farmers agent. This is just personal info from me, not endorsed by Farmers.)

      Non-owner coverage is designed for people who don’t own a car but need to have car insurance. Typically, that means people who drive someone else’s car, so it’s still underwritten like normal auto insurance — you need to be a licensed driver, and the rate depends on your driving record, prior insurance, etc.

      The law for car insurance says you can’t carry higher limits of UIM than you can liability (otherwise, too many people would carry minimum limits for the injuries they might do to other people, and max out protection for themselves.) That means that if you want $250,000/person UIM, you also need to carry $250,000 liability for hitting other people with a car.

      Non-Owner coverage can also include PIP, minimal no-fault medical and other expenses.

      In general, keeping in mind that I have not read your policy and every company is different, both UIM and PIP apply any time you’re involved in a motor vehicle collision — they cover you when you’re driving, a passenger, bicycling, or walking, as long as your injury was caused by a motor vehicle collision.

      One caution that might trip some people up: your policy may exclude coverage if you are operating a “motor vehicle” that you own but don’t insure. Some companies in some states consider an electric-assist bicycle to be a “motor vehicle” for insurance purposes. I believe California now requires a disclosure with every electric-assist bike sold, “YOUR INSURANCE POLICIES MAY NOT PROVIDE COVERAGE FOR ACCIDENTS INVOLVING THE USE OF THIS BICYCLE. TO DETERMINE IF COVERAGE IS PROVIDED YOU SHOULD CONTACT YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY OR AGENT.”

      • Josh says:

        One other thought: even if your insurance company sells Non-Owner coverage, your insurance agent may not know about it.

        There aren’t all that many non-car-owners around who want car insurance, especially in the suburbs.

  7. koston says:

    Shared this with my car forum – historically, they’ve been very helpful identifying hit and run cars based on fragments left behind.

    http://forums.vwvortex.com/showthread.php?7762633-TCL-Detectives-hit-and-run-help-identify-the-car!-%28seattle%29&p=94682001#post94682001

  8. Blair says:

    I hope the bicyclist recovers and the driver is caught and prosecuted.

    I ride this way quite often. While the site lines aren’t the best, they are adequate if cars are traveling at the posted 30 mph speed limit. I would not be surprised if they find the driver was moving at well above the speed limit, especially at 6am.

  9. Law Abider says:

    I’m a pretty rough and tumble cyclist, yet the image of that crossing makes me cringe. I can imagine people flying around that corner doing close to 60.

    Hope they catch the dirtbag.

  10. Gary says:

    Took a close look this morning on the way in and I did not see any skid marks on the roadway. So my assumption is that the driver never saw the rider. AND after hitting them, had no intention of stopping.

    Rumors are that the injuries are still life threatening.

  11. Randy Martin says:

    Hoping for the best for this poor cyclist thru these coming hours…

    I avoid the north frontage road (Eastgate Way) west of 148th if I can. Crossing 148th, you can get on the ped/bike path to the right that takes you up and over to the south frontage road (SE 36th). From there, crossing Factoria Blvd you have a clearly marked bike lane and straight access to the I-90 trail.

    • Randy Martin says:

      I am so sorry, I mistook the intersection where the accident happened. My comments were directed towards the Factoria Blvd / Eastgate Way intersection. My apologies…

    • Gary says:

      Randy,
      If you are riding the Mountains to the Sound trail coming from points East, you might consider taking the road (SE 37th) to the South under the freeway, then cutting through the parking lot at the Alberstons to SE 38th, then going straight onto SE 36th. It’s pretty light traffic, and you only get the one light at 150th and SE 38th

      https://goo.gl/maps/GjdjCeRSNa82

  12. Chris says:

    Looks like they have an ID of the make/model.
    2013-2015 Honda Accord
    https://twitter.com/BvuePD/status/712792560847101952

  13. AW says:

    I am just totally angry about this, in particular the news reports that claim the driver may not have noticed they hit a person on a bicycle. WTF ?

    • jay says:

      I don’t think that is really what they were saying, I think they were leaving the driver the option of doing the right thing and contacting the police without actually confessing to a felony. (Nudge, nudge, wink wink, say no more)

  14. Dave says:

    Even considering something like a “Vision Zero” idea will have to entail the reduction in the legal and civil rights of motor vehicle operators. I’m all in favor of that. Does any American politician have the spine to talk in these terms? Will this dumb-ass hick country of ours ever evolve this way and get beyond our insane affection for our cars?

  15. Page says:

    Does anyone know if she needs help with medical expenses? Has a funding site been set up?

  16. Kinley says:

    Any news about the cyclist’s condition? I live in the condos directly adjacent to where this happened. Gary is absolutely correct about the location… She was using the actual crosswalk when she was hit. I went out and spoke to the cops that morning. It is a very dangerous crossing because as a driver you really can’t see if cyclists are going to keep on going straight or if they are turning until they are in the crosswalk itself. If you didn’t know it was there and were speeding, there’s no way you could avoid hitting someone until it was too late. That does NOT condone what happened at all, but it seems like something needs to be done by the city to make this major cycling thoroughfare safer for cyclists and drivers alike. And the police have posted an updated vehicle description… It’s a Toyota Prius with drivers side damage.

  17. Rich says:

    As a bike rider who was hit by possibly a VW at west side of the I-5 bridge on South Center Blvd while riding in a bike lane 3 years ago, I recommend the bicyclist to check your automobile insurance policy. The amount of attention this is receiving compared to the numerous hit and run accidents that occur each year is enlightening as I was told in the ambulance at my particular event that the odds of finding my particular vehicle/driver was 20% and that was the last I ever heard. Hey, I was alive… What more could I wish for! I do hope this generates an increase interest in public safety.

    • Page says:

      Thanks Ginger. This is exactly what I wanted. I kept watching for something and was going my post here would get me the funding site. To Jane!

  18. Ginger says:

    If your interested in helping the victim in the hit and run there is a go fund me account set up.

  19. Andy says:

    Any update on either the injured cyclist or the hit-and-run driver?

  20. Chris Riley says:

    Thank you all for helping this woman! I was hit in crosswalk fifth mercer in Seattle on my bike
    and left for dead in 96 Still recovering ! No one stopped or called me in. Bless you and Bless Her

  21. Pingback: Man biking in Bellevue catches his own scary hit and run on video | Seattle Bike Blog

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