Yet another Burke-Gilman missing link broken jaw

The Burke-Gilman missing link has caused another serious injury, according to a recent report on BikeWise. An experienced 33-year-old biker broke her jaw in two places and broke some teeth after her wheel got caught in the tracks riding on NW 45th a block after the Burke-Gilman abruptly ends. She was riding a road bike (tracks are particularly dangerous to bikes with thin tires) with lights on a dry night September 24.

Via BikeWise:

I was trying to cross rail tracks to get to bike lane on other side. My front tire seized up in rail line. I kept going at 15mph over my handle bars.

Injury description: Jaw fratcure (2 places), broken teeth, stiches on chin

About Tom Fucoloro

Founder and Editor of Seattle Bike Blog.
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5 Responses to Yet another Burke-Gilman missing link broken jaw

  1. Andreas says:

    Despite the description given, there is no bike lane on either side of the railroad tracks at the location given in this BikeWise report. There are sharrows, but the railroad tracks do not enter or cross the roadway or the path of the sharrows until one block east. A month ago I said much of the same about another accident in this block. You suggested confusion and a lack of signage is the problem, but I still think it’s a lack of common sense. When you reach the end of the BGT, sharrows indicate that riders should be in the roadway. A solid white line and white diagonal lines indicate that the area where the tracks are is a non-navigable part of the roadway. While the official missing link route forces riders across railroad tracks at a less-than-optimal angle, it only forces them across once. It is only by ignoring an abundance of road markings and common sense that cyclists put themselves in a position to cross the tracks three times instead, when they cross the tracks after getting off the BGT. Why was this cyclist crossing tracks at this location, at a bad angle, and at 15 miles per hour? There may be good reasons that I can’t fathom, but the only reason I can imagine is carelessness.

    Every day that I ride and walk in this city, I get angry about the infrastructure and the attitudes that put cyclists and pedestrians in so much danger on our streets. But I get almost as angry about the cyclists and pedestrians who fail to use common sense or keep their wits about them, and who by doing so put themselves and others in even more danger.

    I know this sounds cold. I do hope the cyclist heals up well and quickly, and I can’t imagine how much a broken jaw hurts. But I also hope that cyclists—along with drivers and pedestrians—start paying more attention when they’re out there. As they say, the life you save may be your own.

    • Tom Fucoloro says:

      I get what you’re saying, Andreas. But judging by the highly disproportionate number of bike crashes in this area, it is clear that confusion is rampant. One problem is that those bike-in-a-house old style sharrows are not very common these days, so people might not know what they mean. I was definitely confused the first time I rode through this spot.

      I was also not familiar with the danger posed by tracks in the street. It took a friend crashing on these tracks to illustrate that danger. Clearly this is not common knowledge, since I see people riding between the tracks all the time.

      People are not expecting the path to just end there, and the city’s current markings are not clear enough to prevent these injuries.

      Or we could just complete the trail. Give up the lawsuits!

  2. Jeff Welch says:

    The so-called “missing link” – and associated antiquated rails – does not “cause injuries” anymore than rocks, sticks, and roadkill squirrels “cause injuries”. This cyclist was injured do to user (cyclist) error. Hundreds cross those tracks every day (as have I) without so much as a bruised rectum.

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