Man biking in Bellevue catches his own scary hit and run on video

Still from the video. Police are looking for a black Ford F150, possibly with a license plate starting "D9"

Still from the video. Police are looking for a black Ford F150, possibly with a license plate starting “D9”

Dan Scarf was in a pretty “mundane” part of his bike commute home to his wife and three kids on a street marked for 25 mph and calmed with speed humps when someone driving a black Ford F150 struck him hard and fled the scene without stopping.

“I’m really angry at the guy, and I’m just shocked,” Scarf said. “How could you actually do it?”

Scarf’s hip was broken in the crash, which happened around 5:30 p.m. April 13 on 161st Ave SE just south of SE 28th Place in Bellevue.

He caught the collision on a handlebar-mounted camera, but the video didn’t get a shot of the person driving or the license plate number. Scarf posted the video to YouTube (collision happens at the 2:00 mark):

There were witnesses, and Bellevue Police are investigating. Police are looking for a black F150 (a YouTube commenter says it could also be a Ford Expedition), possibly with a license plate starting “D9.”

Scarf called Seattle Bike Blog from the hospital to get the word out about the hit and run and tell his story. As you can see in the video, it was not raining and there was no oncoming traffic at the time.

“I was tracking with the sharrows, which is where you’re supposed to be,” said Scarf. The street has a parking lane, but it is typically safest to maintain a predictable position in the lane rather than weave in and out around each parked car. This path is marked with “sharrows” on this street. So Scarf was doing everything exactly right.

“Most people just move over, but this guy didn’t.”

The person driving veered into Scarf and sideswiped him. Its not clear from the video if the collision was intentional or not, but it certainly seems possible. Running from the scene, however, is intentional. It’s also cowardly and disgusting.

As painful and disruptive as his injuries are, it could have been worse. 

“Frankly, I’m most disappointed that I’m gonna have to be off my bike,” he said. The doctors told him it would be at least six weeks before he could try biking again.

This hit and run comes just weeks after another hit and run in Bellevue that left Jane Kriehn in critical condition. In that case, there were no apparent witnesses, so the person who fled the scene left her to die in a ditch. She was found an unknown amount of time later and rushed to the hospital.

Kriehn has a long road to recovery, as her family told Q13 a few weeks ago:

People who injure other people and run away represent humankind at its most shameful. The only way to begin the road to redemption is to turn yourself in and take responsibility for what you did.

This entry was posted in news and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to Man biking in Bellevue catches his own scary hit and run on video

  1. Gary Yngve says:

    Hope the cyclist recovers to ride again. This is partially why I ride with a rear camera in addition to a front camera. On the note of hit-and-run being shameful and shirking responsibility, it is also harmful — it delays the victim from getting definitive medical care, and for serious trauma, even seconds can matter.

    • Doug Sauvage says:

      I’d like to set up something similar to your dual camera setup, can you tell me more about your setup?

      • John says:

        Fly 6 and fly 12 camera/light systems by Cycliq provide rear and front facing HD recording on a loop. The front camera will also mirror to your iphone over bluetooth, and can overlay “3 foot” lines on the video. I’ve caught some choice footage with my fly 6 over the last year and a half.

    • Jeff Dubrule says:

      For this reason, all hit & runs on vulnerable users (people walking, bicycling, or motorcycling), and “hard” hit & runs on motor-vehicles should be prosecuted as attempted-murder.

      • Van Wolf says:

        Agreed! though with the progress Vision Zero is making in this part of the world, I’m not going to hold my breath.

  2. Jeff Dubrule says:

    These sharrows are the worst-of-the-worst. Placed by the side of the road, they do not leave enough room for a safe pass, but do leave the opportunity for “close” pass, which encourages drivers to do so. This is the “uncanny valley” of bike-infrastructure: giving the appearance of improving safety while actually putting you in the worst possible place.

    If drivers of Bellevue were sane, riders should be positioning themselves in the middle of the lane to prevent a pass, and maybe, if the road is clear, courteously sliding over every now & then, when the parking lane is clear, to let a bunch of cars by. However, the odds of running into a Bellevue driver that will intentionally injure you for doing this are high enough that you should probably ride on the sidewalk, or avoid this place entirely.

    I wish Dan a speedy recovery.

    • marcus says:

      While I agree with your complaint about the sharrows in this location being insufficient, please be careful never to recommend cyclists ride on the sidewalk, especially not under the assumption that doing so will make them safer.

      Cyclists are up to 4.5 times more likely to be involved in a collision with a motor vehicle if they ride on the sidewalk than if they ride on the road.

      The reason that this is the case is cyclists which approach intersections do so at a speed much greater than pedestrians, while being obscured by trees, signage, and other objects. They are difficult to see for motorists, especially when motorists are mostly paying attention to other vehicles.

      Deliberate attacks on cyclists (and pedestrians) by aggressive motorists continue to be a problem unfortunately, but this problem can only be solved through education, awareness, and proper law enforcement, not by moving cyclists onto the sidewalk.

    • mongo says:

      Get better soon Dan,

      The placement of those sharrows is borders on criminal, bikers should be encouraged to fully take the lane with the sub standard width of those roads. After riding along the Westlake bike path which will end up being even more dangerous than the parking lot route as there are already jogger, encroaching parked vehicles and inattentive, more vulnerable pedestrians.

      It is fairly well established that taking the lane is the best way to reduce the risk of this style of accident and I truly wish that there was an advocacy group whom would fight for realistic, safe infrastructure. While I do respect the efforts of CBC they seem to take what they can get and subscribe to the “model minority” myth for moving cycling and infrastructure forward.

      Thanks for sharing this Dan and hopefully it will encourage people to ignore the dangerous sharrow placement and take the lane. We as cyclists are under no obligation to put our health and safety on the line to appease self entitled motorists.

      • mongo says:

        Note that my measurements based on the video indicate that the travel lane seems to be around 10 feet wide and the sharrow seems to be placed less than the DOT suggesting from the curb. Does anyone have an exact address for where this happened. I’ll go measure and document every single sharrow on this path for compliance this weekend.

      • Josh says:

        MUTCD only requires a minimum distance from the curb, regardless of the relative width of the travel lane and parking lane, and it doesn’t give any clarity on when sharrows should be more than the minimum distance from the curb.

        ITE’s Traffic Control Devices Handbook has text explaining the concepts behind centering sharrows in the effective travel lane, and tables so you don’t have to do the math yourself. But it’s not an official standard, it’s a guide to best practices that are optional.

        MUTCD is the standard, where there’s parking it it allows the center of the sharrow to be just 11 feet from the curb, so that the sharrow is mostly within the door zone. That street appears to have a fairly wide parking lane, so the sharrow would be very close to the fog line.

        Where there isn’t parking, the center of the sharrow only needs to be 4 feet from the curb. The sharrow itself is supposed to be 40 inches wide, so there only has to be 28 inches from the right edge of the sharrow to the curb, or roughly 3/4 of the width of the sharrow itself. The concrete gutter pan is part of that offset to the curb.

        SDOT installed miles of sharrows to bare-minimum standards like this when they first started using sharrows, and it took explicit language in the 2014 BMP Update to force them to start centering sharrows in the travel lane.

        This incident being in Bellevue, I don’t know what their standards say about sharrow layouts, but it’s entirely possible they’re still in the bare-minimum-compliance mode rather than following best practices.

  3. Michael Howell says:

    I have an idea that might help catch the perp, assuming they are a commuter that uses that route, and, it would give you something to do while you are recovering, which is to place a temporary (discrete) cam attached to a tree or mailbox in the vicinity to record around the time of your accident +/- 60 minutes.

    You could canvass neighbors of the vicinity of your crash to see who would let you do it, and perhaps even attach to a local wifi for a wireless camera so you wouldn’t have to get the memory card out of it each day.

    Good luck with the recovery

    • Nate says:

      Michael that’s a great idea – Can someone from Seattle Bike Blog reach out to someone on the street where it happened?

      • ChefJoe says:

        and, once you have a picture of someone driving the same vehicle on that street, are you going to prosecute them in the court of public opinion or are you hoping that’s sufficient for a warrant to somehow obtain more definitive evidence ?

  4. Jim says:

    That’s attempted murder.

    Get well Dan. You did nothing to deserve that.

    • Andy says:

      Unfortunately, it’s not. From my own experience, for attempted murder to even be considered, you have to prove that the person INTENDED to kill them. And actions seen on a video aren’t proof enough in a video like this. The DA in my town drastically reduced charges against a guy that tried multiple times to hit me simply because the guy said he didn’t know I was there – even though you could see him stopping and waiting for me. Probably a crappy DA, but proof of intent in any case is extremely hard to prove.

  5. Jim says:

    A coworker of mine was hit in Woodinville on the way to work about 2 weeks ago. He broke nearly every bone in his body except his spine and head. He was doing nothing wrong. Thankfully, the driver stopped and took responsibility.

    I’m not sure what else we can do. This is a very bad start to the summer.

  6. don says:

    Gosh, it would sure be better if we just got rid of those darn cars.

    Bike only streets would eliminate the need for protected bike lanes and sharrows.

    Alas, we can only dream…..

    don

    • Southeasterner says:

      Cars don’t kill people, people do. Getting rid of drivers is a much more likely scenario and driver-less cars will get us there sooner than we all think due to liability and insurance costs of not adapting the technology once it’s fully available.

      • anthony says:

        Your right that cars don’t kill people but, they sure do make it easier to do so. I am all for driver-less cars, but I don’t think that a lot of people will want to give up the ”power” and ”freedom” we associate with driving in this country.

    • squirrel says:

      From a Seattle-centric perspective, maybe there are ways to encourage them to stay in Bellevue. Like a clandestine organization that periodically puts disabled cars on westbound 520 during morning rush hour? Oops sorry my alternator wire fell off or whatever…

      (kidding)

      • Ben says:

        People already are much more interested in texting and surfing Facebook that paying attention to the road, so yes, they will certainly make the transition to driverless cars. And cost and safety eventually will be the big driver, at least in urban areas (initially). In city, no car purchase, no insurance, and use an app akin to Uber. The “I hate everything on the road but me” crowd will start to die off and be replaced by millenials many of whom will never own a car.

  7. anthony says:

    As someone who lives in Los Angeles, and is relocating to Seattle, it doesn’t seem to be any better up there then it is in the car capitol of the States. Sharrows do next to nothing for rider safety. Down hear you have to be super aggro or you will get hit by someone trying to squeeze past you. I piss a lot of people of by riding like I do, but It can be scary down here if your not assertive, I don’t trust that most drivers know how to control there cars. This looks like it was intentional though. or maybe someone texting? Regardless, fleeing the seen is so ChikenS@#t. People that do this should never be able to drive again period, let them navigate this world with out a car and should see some jail-time IMO. All to often drivers that pull this kind of crap get of with a slap on the wrist and are back behind the wheel

    • Dave says:

      I’m an ex-Angeleno; grew up in West Hollywood and the SFV in the 1960’s/70’s. It should not surprise anyone with California cycling experience that John Forester, author of Effective Cycling and major “vehicular cycling” advocate learned his riding there. It was instinct for me–there really wasn’t an obvious middle ground between riding the sidewalks and behaving like a car where and whenever I could get away with it. I have made a southern Washington suburb home for the last 24 years after 10 in Portland; the scariest roads to me will always be the slowly suburbanizing country roads. I believe a lot of traffic conflicts and bad driving habits come out of suburban/rural residents wishful thinking that their roads will be drivable at high speeds with no interruptions forever. Metro Seattle and central Portland seem to have way better driver behavior than any suburb, the same with real rural areas. It’s the halfway areas that are the scariest either for cycling or driving.

      • anthony says:

        I agree, I live in East Hollywood now, But spent some time in the SGV. Plus lived in Portland for 15 years prior to SOCAL, While I don’t advocate ”Vehicular Cycling” for everyone. I Feel safer and seem to get more respect from cars if i’m Assertive. I saw the rise of bike lanes and the back lash in PDX during the late 90’s and 2000’s, and got a little spoiled to be honest with you, I had no idea what agresive was till I moved down here. Yer right about the burbs though people feel like its there given right to drive as fast as they want where ever they want, We are moving up in June, and I was curios about what was going on in the cycling world up there. I hope Dan gets well soon, and is back on his bike sooner. Peace and love from a former Portlander and soon to be fromer Angeleno

  8. Ben says:

    The best deterrent to intentional hit and run is for the criminal mind to believe they WILL be caught. The way to do that is to somehow convey unequivocally that they have been seen and documented, e.g. a small flash by a proximity aware camera. This technology cannot be far off — it is essentially similar to what it being build into vehicles today for crash avoidance. A module that plugs into one’s smart phone could do the trick, even auto-uploading photos taken.

    99.9% of these would-be-criminals simply would not initiate a crime if they knew that there was certainty of being caught, instead of the < 20% chance now. Probably lower.

    I don't want to document somebody running me down and perhaps killing me or my wife, who is usually right behind me — I want them to drive past safely!!

    • Josh says:

      Way back before digital photography was a thing, I had a rear-rack mount for a 35mm camera, with a remote run up to my handlebars. I built it for taking pictures of group rides, but when I was testing it out I immediately noticed improved passing behavior by drivers who saw an extremely obvious rear-facing camera on my bike.

      I’ve sometimes thought of rack-mounting one of those cheap dummy security cameras with the blinking red light, like http://amzn.to/1NmR6bJ

      I have a real camera, but it’s small and inconspicuous — great for taking pictures or video, but not a visible deterrent.

  9. Mathias Ricken says:

    I wish a speedy and complete recovery to Dan and Jane.

    The rear camera is a good suggestion. But in order to prevent this kind of road rage attack, the drivers need to know that the camera is there and will record their license plates.

    So maybe a big sign on the back or backpack: “SMILE, YOU’RE ON CAMERA”.
    http://www.harborfreight.com/14-in-x-10-in-smile-youre-on-camera-sign-69831.html

    • (Another) Tom says:

      I’ve thought about doing this exact thing with a rear fender flap. Yellow with a smiley face and “Smile You’re On Camera!”

      I don’t even have ride cams but agree with Ben that most of these cowardly bullies wouldn’t engage in these aggressive, dangerous, and criminal behaviors if they thought there was a real chance they would be caught.

  10. Doug Bostrom says:

    Ff a significant proportion of pedestrians and cyclists were equipped with cameras perhaps we’d see a favorable outcome in statistics? Not to say anything approaching 100% or even 50% of a complete solution, but luck is mostly where we make it and I have to think that awareness of an eye-witness guaranteed to live through an “accident” must surely change behavior somewhat, as a general matter.

    For instance, would the guy in the Ford have done this if he’d known there was a camera recording his approach? Surely not.

  11. Ivan says:

    There is a distinct double honk immediately after the cyclist is hit. If it is the honk of an F-150, I should think that should suffice to establish the driver’s awareness and intention, particularly considering the perfect weather and lack of oncoming traffic. I sincerely hope he is caught and prosecuted. I am not, however, holding my breath. I console myself with the hope and expectation that considering the driver’s utterly reckless, criminal behavior, he will eventually end up in jail, one way or another.

    • Dave says:

      The only reasonable response to hit-and-runs is the temporary suspension of the enforcement of any laws regarding auto theft and vandalism–the state should offer drivers’ property no more regard than drivers offer the lives of other road users. 180 steal-a-car-free days for every vulnerable user hit and run. No irony or humor intended.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *