SPD: Man driving pickup kills man biking near Northgate Mall

Approximate location of the collision. Image from Google Maps.

Approximate location of the collision. Image from Google Maps.

A man biking on 1st Ave NE near NE 95th Street was struck and killed by a man driving a pickup yesterday around 4:20 p.m., according to Seattle Police.

Both men were headed southbound in the area, which is adjacent to the construction site for the Northgate Link Station. We will update when we learn more.

Our condolences to this man’s loved ones.

He is the second man to die while biking in NE Seattle this week. On average, two people die while biking in Seattle in a year.

More details from SPD:

Traffic Collision detectives are investigating following a fatal bicycle/truck collision Wednesday afternoon at 1st Avenue NE and NE 95th Street.

At approximately 4:20 pm, a bicyclist was riding southbound on 1st Avenue NE approaching NE 95th Street when he was struck by the driver of a Ford F350 truck travelling in the same direction.

The cyclist sustained life-threatening injuries and was transported to Harborview Medical Center via Medic One.  The victim was pronounced dead at the hospital.

The 50-year-old driver of the truck stopped near the scene and was contacted by police. Detectives identified, interviewed and released the driver after finding no signs of impairment. Traffic Collision detectives continue to pursue the investigation. The department will provide updates on this case as they become available.

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44 Responses to SPD: Man driving pickup kills man biking near Northgate Mall

  1. Anon says:

    This is awful. The street is a potholed mess during this construction. I don’t like riding there..

  2. Adron Hall says:

    This seems to be occurring similar to Portland. This year the fatalities have been increasing. Extra road hostility or something else, I’m not sure, but motorists are killing people at an alarmingly increased clip. :-(

    • Law Abider says:

      I think it’s just that both cities are getting more and more crowded. This means more car traffic, but also more cyclists, which is unfortunately going to mean more incidents.

  3. Gary Yngve says:

    From looking at a year old photo on Google Streetview, it looks like the only safe way to ride through is by controlling the lane. In the way that climbers study accidents (e.g., Accidents in North American Mountaineering), we really need a similar thing for cyclist collisions.
    Where was the cyclist positioned laterally? Where was the car positioned? Where on the car did the bicycle collide?
    What was the speed of the motorist (and the speed limit)? Should a prudent motorist have seen the cyclist? Were there any conditions necessitating lower speed? (e.g., poor visibility)
    Did the motorist claim the bicyclist swerved out of nowhere?
    Should there have been a construction person calming/controlling traffic? Were there, as much as I hate the wording, signs saying “Bicycles merge in with traffic”?
    Are there safer alternative routes for cyclists nearby?
    Condolences to the deceased’s loved ones, but if we don’t ask these questions, we don’t get answers, and we cannot fix anything.

    • M Leal says:

      Thank you for your wonderful and intelligent questions and perspective.

    • Sven Tice says:

      I’m pretty familiar with this street; the crash happened literally in front of my apartment building. 1st Ave. NE is signed as a designated bikeway, it’s straight, and the sightlines are about as good as it gets, but it’s very narrow, one lane in each direction, with literally, absolutely no room to pass if there is oncoming traffic. However, this does not deter some drivers from trying to pass: sometimes they veer into oncoming traffic, and sometimes they pass within inches of me, even when the four way stop at the end of the block is only 10-20 yards away. The biggest problem, though, is speed. It’s near an I-5 off-ramp, and drivers, acclimated to highway speeds, don’t seem to realize that driving 45 mph on a narrow, two lane, 30 mph local arterial might present a problem to others. I usually ride on this street very early in the morning or later in the evening, when traffic is light, but I have to admit that when I have to ride during peak traffic times, especially on Friday evenings or busy weekends, I sometimes resort to the sidewalk out of fear for my life, even though this street is literally in front of my house.

      • Gary Yngve says:

        Thanks for the information about the street. Scary that it is a designated bikeway but is signed 30 mph and has bad speeders. Seattle really should reduce the speed limit there and add traffic calming, and it should do so elsewhere too without needing the fatalities to happen first.

      • Night Rider says:

        Howdy neighbor, I live on that corner too. You’re right about the speeds. Additionally there is huge amounts of traffic going to North Seattle College at certain hours. The four way stop is just crazy sometimes. There is not appropriate signals in that area.

        They really do need a bike lane on the southbound side (going uphill) to accommodate traffic issues.

        Seattle roads were not designed for what they’re being subjected to now (more cars than expected and the need for designated bike lanes, in areas that don’t even have sidewalks!) I really give SDOT credit for the good work that they’ve done. Too bad so much more is needed.

  4. RT says:

    Any information as to who the cyclist was?

  5. Gary Yngve says:

    Tom, thank you for correctly describing this tragic incident by referring to people and active voice.

  6. Dan says:

    Sheet, I ride down that street sometimes to pick up my car at the park and ride. It’s pretty hard to hit a bike going the same direction as you, it’s completely straight with clear sight lines.

  7. Jacob says:

    How is that not a crime to run into a cyclist?

    • Gary Yngve says:

      The cyclist (or a ped) has an obligation not to “jump in front of car” such that the car cannot stop in time.
      Juries are also mostly (or all) car drivers, so they will empathize with the driver “sorry, i did not see them appear out of nowhere”, and prosecutors will save time and money by using their discretion not to press charges in the first place.
      For example, look at the teen driver who hit a kid walking in front of a school in Auburn a few days ago. The driver was not speeding and was not drunk (but may have been too fast for conditions, given witnesses saying that the sun was blinding). No charges.

      • Rupert h says:

        That’s the problem. It’s the “gee I’m a driver too and accidents happen. Whoops!”. Also why dui laws were a joke until recently (and still kind of are a joke).

    • Lisa Rogers says:

      That’s my question. Is a car not a weapon? Especially with distracted driving so prevalent.
      Deepest condolences to the family.

  8. Greg says:

    If you want to kill someone, hit him/her with your car as he/she rides a bicycle. You’ll suffer few legal consequences.

  9. Tuck says:

    This sucks, I wonder if the driver of the F-350 was texting. Riding around today I saw every 10th driver looking at their fucking phone. I’m more freaked out riding now than I have ever been despite the infrastructure upgrades. RIP dude.

  10. William says:

    The man who died was my neighbor. He was kind, generous, funny, and a loving dad and husband. We are stunned and heartbroken. Our society continues to value the wrong things
    leaving good people vulnerable to tragedy. Be safe out there, and anticipate texting drivers and impaired drivers… i.e., maybe stop biking on city streets. Hate to say this as I bike to work sometimes, but when the pain is this close it sure makes me think hard about stopping. All the best.

    • J. says:

      Was it DB? 😞

    • Jessi says:

      I won’t stop riding and I doubt the person killed would have wanted that either. I’m very sorry for your loss. I understand why you say what you do, but that is not the answer.

    • J. says:

      He is deeply and widely grieved. He was an amazing human being. We are all sorry for the loss, may he rest in peace.

    • Caffeinedog says:

      W-DB was a good friend of ours as well. Our sons are best of friends, and he was an integral part of our community. There are no words to express the loss we feel, and ripples from this tragedy will not subside for some time. He was a sometime riding buddy, a very good friend, and I will sorely miss his acerbic wit, generous spirit, and warm friendship which made our time together so much fun. Today, my heart is heavy to the point where I feel I cannot breathe, but I won’t let this tragedy stop me from enjoying my sport, and I encourage you to do the same. Our watchwords must be “eternal vigilance” both as drivers, and as riders, so as to prevent more tragedies like this. It is our duty as responsible riders to spread the word about cyclist and driver safety when given the appropriate opportunity to do so, and foster better communication both on and off the road. DB was one of the best, in both of road manners and in life, and there is now a hole in his family’s (and many other families’) lives that cannot be filled. Please pray for his soul, and for his family’s suffering.

      • Phil Damery says:

        Thank you for the kind words about our mutual friend. I have known him for over 30 years.
        I am at a loss for words on how much he will be missed.

  11. Andrew E Gall says:

    Normally when you kill someone and the cops catch you, you get arrested and charged.

    • Law Abider says:

      Kill != murder. I haven’t heard anything describing intent nor neglect. Until proven otherwise, this is just a really shitty situation.

    • Zoe Brewer says:

      Have you maybe thought about the driver how much pain he feels for what happened he didn’t run from the scene he stayed with that man until help arrived I am truley sorry my heart and prayers go out to the bikers family and my heart and prayers go out to the driver and his family. It was a accident and a horrible situation my condolenses for both family s in a situation like this. All we can do now is spread the word about bike riding safety and drivers safety like said by the man a few posts before this come together as a community and learn from these accidents god bless

      • Gary Yngve says:

        Vehemently disagree. It is not an accident until proven that no prudent person could have taken an action to avoid/mitigate it. It is a collision, and unfortunately the victim is unable to tell their story.

  12. Rupert h says:

    This is disturbing and I feel terrible for the family. I ride seasonally to commute and planned to go for another month, but think I am done for this year. I’ve already had more near misses this year than any other.

    The city can spend so much on bike facilities but they will never go everywhere. As long as motorists can kill bicyclists with no repercussions, how is this going to work in a growing city?

  13. Rusty Knorr says:

    From the Surly bikes blog-
    “You win, cars. I don’t go for long road rides anymore because I’m scared shitless that you’re going to kill me. I’ve got a kid now, and I can’t bear the thought of leaving the Earth before he graduates from something, or whatever. You don’t stop for school busses with stop signs out. You wouldn’t know a crosswalk if it was licking your earlobe. Every other goddamn one of you is on your phone – talking, texting, penning masturbatory tomes – who knows? You just get bigger, too. People are afraid of crashing, so they buy a bigger car so the crash doesn’t hurt. Gas prices are back down. Hooray! I’m getting an Escalade! There’s no money for roads, so the shoulders are for shit. There’s no way to get away from you. People don’t watch what they’re doing behind the wheel. They don’t know how to use goddamn turn signals, or follow the rules. They drive slow in the left lane. They gawk at accidents thinking, “That poor dumb sonofabitch! I’m glad that’ll never happen to me in my big car!” People think they’re owed something. They’re owed the road because they pay all them damn high taxes – and who the hell are YOU to slow me down – even for a second. I see billboards whose sole purpose is to remind drivers that people on bikes are, well, people. THEY HAVE TO BE REMINDED! “Mother, steel worker, person, please don’t hit her.” That’s great, but the fact that it has to be said is fucking horrible. So, I’m not riding out there anymore. My revolution is over. I quit. I’m turning in my messenger bag with ironic patches and I’m sticking to the path, or dirt, or somewhere else. I don’t know. Why can’t we see each other as people? Just like us. Nobody put us down and said, “You’re it. Everyone else out there is working for you, so just do whatever the hell you want.” It doesn’t work that way. You win, cars. The cities are all built around your needs. TGI Friday’s has shitloads of parking – some of it is even pretty close to Olive Garden, so I guess decisions will have to be made. Cars are safer now, too. Airbags all over the damn things. Crumple zones! It works. Fewer people are pulled in pieces out of mangled cars. Bike riders don’t have that shit. We’re just as Jell-0-ey as we used to be. Helmets are better looking, but they won’t do dick against that F350. So nice work out there, cars. Way to go. Life is easier now. We can live 50 miles from work and be just fine – what’s a couple of wars and the destruction of our planet? Chicken feed. Cars can do anything.

    The problem is, I have a car too. We’re all the problem. We have to start with us. Put the phone down. Don’t get drunk and get in your dethwagon. Try not to be a dick. That’s all I got.

    – Skip”

  14. JLS says:

    If the driver had to be stopped by police, isn’t that hit and run? Regardless of the law and fault, killing a person is intolerable. Leaving the scene is abhorrent.

    • seabikegirl says:

      The driver did leave the scene. A friend of mine saw the collision and said the driver took off. So very, very sad for this man’s family and friends. My condolences to everyone that knew him.

    • Kirk says:

      Hit and run of an accident where there has been a death is a Class B felony in Washington State. Class B Felonies carry a penalty of up to 10 years in prison and up to a $20,000 fine. The vulnerable user law should also apply to this case as it involves the death of a cyclist, if the driver operated the vehicle negligently.
      Will the prosecutors finally step up in this case? Or will we see just another $47 ticket for, what, improper lane change?

  15. Kayla says:

    Ok, I normally don’t comment, but I was there at the scene! The driver of the truck did stop( said said so up above as well so read the posts) and he was devastated about it! The shadows from the concrete wall to the west was casting a long shadow across the road at the time as well! I ride bike and have also rode motorcycle, but I also drive a car! Let us not judge this man because none of us was in the seat of that car at the time!

    • Gary Yngve says:

      Thanks for sharing. It would be interesting to try to film what it looks like following a bicycle at the same time of day. Though it is possible that the cyclist could have been briefly camouflaged, it is also possible that the driver was going too fast for the strong light changes (think driving on a forest road that alternates sun/shade).
      This added information makes me think more about always running lights, even in the daytime (also still unknown of cyclist’s lateral position). If I am in the middle of the road with two red blinkir lights, there is one way someone can claim that they were driving prudently but did not see me.
      It is sad, and chilling to beginner cyclists, that we need to run lights in daytime, use mirrors, film the behaviors of others, and have a large toolbelt of techniques for cycling in traffic, but until car drivers start driving more responsibly and the city makes our roads safer, I plan on still commuting by bicycle.

  16. Cludine says:

    To the friends and family of the ciclylist killed. Please let them know he passed away in piece in my arms. I know this wont help. But i was the one who held him in my arms till he took his last breath.. he didnt feel no pain.. i tried my hardest to keep him alive but it was to late… as for the driver. He did not stop at all. He kept going till he got home which was 3 blocks away. As a driver i do not see how he says he didnt see him. And how he veered into him from behind.. i am so sorry for your loss. He will be watching over his family

    • RH says:

      Thank you for holding him Cludine and for your post to let us know. I’ve known the cyclist for upward 20 years and he was a beautiful spirit and human being. There are no bright spots in this tragedy but I am comforted that you were there for him and I am grateful for your strength in character. Thank you.

  17. buscommuter says:

    Is there a ghost bike planned? If so, do those usually get set up with some sort of dedication ceremony?
    Would like to attend, and potentially share info with biking co-workers.

    Thanks

  18. Kirk says:

    Please keep us updated on the investigation. Is there some way to follow what is happening with the investigation?

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  20. Izzi says:

    2 cyclists killed in the last few weeks. May they both R.I.P.

    I was hit twice in the last 3 weeks. Last Tuesday I was hit by a silver Audi on Stewart St. between Yale and Minor. He sped off after yelling , “Sorry” out the window. I landed on the hood of his car, so maybe he will remember my face.

    I chased after him, but couldn’t get his license plate. I didn’t even see which way he went after he turned out of the alley. The other accident was on Union Street about 3 weeks ago today. The woman turned her face away from mine, throw up both her hands, and yelled, “Sorry!”

    Both were during the day. I’ve biked here for 20 years, and hit 5 times in the last 10 years. I know I have brain injuries, memory loss, cognition impairment, etc. Please put down your cell phones when driving. Please wait until its safe to go, instead of gunning it across a busy intersection. Please don’t get out of your car and yell at the cyclist while they are lying in the street. That happened to me, and I couldn’t think of a response while someone else cradled my neck until the EMT arrived.

  21. Glenn P says:

    Has there been any update to this? Any charged filed against the driver? This is one of the reasons I don’t ride as much as I’d like to in Seattle. Just does not feel like a very bicycle friendly city compared to others I’ve ridden in (Portland, Santa Cruz).

    I noticed today, that it looks like the city removed this route from the city Bike Map?

  22. KS says:

    For those that witnessed this tragedy: I visited the scene today and saw that the SPD is looking for witnesses. Please contact Detective Thomas Bacon, 206-684-8932. Thank you.

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