A woman biking on Highway 112 three miles west of Port Angeles was killed Sunday afternoon when a car struck her from behind.
The driver, Marylan A. Thayer, 65, is not suspected to have been under the influence, according to Peninsula Daily News.
The victim, who has not yet been publicly identified, was wearing a neon yellow safety jacket and riding a mountain bike at the time of the collision.
UPDATE 8:10 pm: The victim has been identified as Marian M. Byse, 65, of Port Angeles, according to Peninsula Daily News. Condolences to her friends and family.
Her death was the second in the Puget Sound region in just two days. One person was killed Saturday while biking on the Ave in the University District.
The deaths are the latest in what is one of the most devastating summers the region has seen in years.
John Przychodzen was struck from behind and killed while cycling in Kirkland July 22.
Mike Wang was struck and killed by a turning SUV on Dexter July 29. The driver fled the scene and has yet to be found.
Brian Fairbrother died nine days after an August 30 crash on a staircase near Fairview Ave N.
Donald David Moore, 65 of Ephrata, was killed September 2 while cycling on State Route 243 north of Mattawa.
George Demendoza, 69, of Federal Way died after being struck by a car August 4 in Renton.
Condolences to the many friends and family members who have lost someone dear to them this summer.
When riding, I take nothing for granted. Everybody on this blog knows the risks.
Agreed: “Taking nothing for granted” is my first rule of the road. I assume the chance of being hit or hitting someone/some thing is 100%.
I’m 60 years old and commute to work through Beacon Hill to Georgetown from Seward Park and ride “for fun”, too. About 4k annually, rain or shine. I’ve been hit twice (both Left Hooks). Both drivers stated (to the SPD) that they simply did not see me.
I don’t hate or love cars. I own a SUV and drive it for work and family purposes. I’ve had my share of accidents and near-accidents in a car. I wonder, though, why riders and drivers aren’t 100% attuned to the task of riding the bike or driving the car. I’ve cursed at drivers and at riders. I’ve cursed at myself as a driver and rider.
I love riding my bike. My goal is keep riding for as long as I can.
My 2nd rule of the road is, “the longer you stay upright, the more inevitable you’ll go down”. I’m probably due for another “one” pretty soon. I haven’t said this to my partner or daughter. They’ll kill me if the accident doesn’t. I’m self-employed and insurance for 3 costs around $550/month. I can’t afford to get injured yet life insurance will pay out $500k. I’d be “better off” dead than paralyzed. Think about that one for a few seconds.
You can stop at all the lights and signs (yes, I do), ride with bright blinking front and rear flashers (yes, I do), obey all the rules of the rode (I’ve stopped riding with large groups) and still experience (or create) an accident. It doesn’t matter. It’s going to hurt me/you, the person who hit you, and my/your family.
I do the best I can to protect myself (and, indirectly, the people who drive, by riding defensively). Obeying traffic/vehicle laws, the existence of bike lanes and “Sharrows”, licensing of bikes, bright clothing, blinking lights, and etc., aren’t going to stop accidents from happening to you or you from making accidents happen. For better or worse, in the near and long term, cars and bikes are going to be sharing the road. It would be helpful if there was a healthy dose of respect on both sides. I’m not entirely hopeful about that.
Keep your eyes and ears open. Stay upright. As for me, it helps to be a little scared.
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“ride with bright blinking front and rear flashers ”
Be sure that they are actually visible. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve ridden up behind a bicyclists and told them that the bag on their rack is obscuring their light. That the light on their backpack is aimed at the sky. That a blinky light with 5 led’s that oscillates from one to another is so dim that I can’t see that it’s on until I’m right behind them.
Park your bike against something and walk away from it, like a 1/4 mile then look at your lights. Can you still see them? If not, upgrade!!! Aim!!!!
I’ve stopped using the “blinky” on my pack. I wear one on the rear adjustment strap of my helmet AND one mounted on the seatpost of my bike. Two different manufacturers which results in interesting asynchronous flashing. During the dark days of winter, I use a handlebar mounted Niterider Minewt on steady low beam and a helmet mounted Cateye in bright flashing mode. The combination of steady and flashing lights mounted on helmet and bike gives me a little more range of visibility. For example, with the helmet mounted flashing light, I can “aim” it an oncoming car/driver. I’m not trying to blind the driver. Just trying to get their attention for a heartbeat longer.
I look like a cheap Christmas tree. I don’t care.
The blank spot in all this is how to signal left or right turns when it’s really dark. Right now, I’m reduced to using the reflective tape on my gloves or jersey sleeves and waving(!).
Kevlar lined, warm in the winter, bright green for foggy conditions, and reflective backs. Work great for signaling a turn.
bear in mind that when you “aim” your light at a driver (or another cyclist, for that matter,) you may not be “trying” to blind them, but you almost certainly do. earlier this summer i left for a night ride at about 10 PM. just as i entered the terminal 91 bike path, i was approaced by a group of riders, three of whom had extremely bright helmet lights. i was crippled, i could see nothing but the intense glare–it was as if a freight train was approaching. in this situation, all the blinded party can do is avert his/her eyes–which creates an inherently unsafe situation. (e.g., it’s when your eyes are averted that you might not see that drunk stagger off the curb into the street in front of you.)
unfortunately, the current trend in “safety” is for lights to produce glare. this goes for both bikes & cars–as anyone who’s ever pulled up behind a newer model saab at a red light can attest. the new taillight i just installed on my daughter’s bike had a warning printed on the package: “WARNING, do not shine in eyes!” so, it’s telling you the light will blind anyone who looks directly at it, yet you are encouraged to shine it at others. (i guess the assumption is that no one is paying attention these days, so you have to bludgeon them with a beacon light to “get their attention.”)
it is a scientific fact that glare *reduces* visibility. (that’s why when you go to buy glasses, they try to sell you anti-glare coating for an extra fee.) the other downside to a glaring light is that it makes it harder to judge distance. as it gets brighter you can tell that the light is getting closer, but it’s almost impossible to know exactly how close it is at any given moment.
i agree with the comments above: your light(s) certainly needs to be *visible.* that is, unobstructed and aimed properly. visible doesn’t have to mean unbearably glaring. e.g., i use an extremely bright 4W LED headlight mounted on my handlebars. as a matter of safety and common courtesy, when there is oncoming traffic–whether car, bike, or pedestrian–i tilt the light downward a bit so as to not put the beam directly into anyone’s eyes. they can certainly still see the light, but it doesn’t glare at them, reducing their visibility. (and my fellow cyclists be warned: if you approach me on a dark trail with a blinding light, i *will* retaliate by blinding you right back–safety be damned.)
I refuse to live in fear. But if someone in a day-glo yellow vest can get hit from behind, I am practically ready to throw my hands up in defeat and say that precautions are wasted effort.
I know that isn’t really true, but damn.
Pretty much spot on Melinda. Like I say, I take nothing for granted. I am aware of the risks and I choose to ride.
Looks like the speed limit is 55, which means cars usually travel 60mph, which is 45mph faster than your average bicycle. It doesn’t leave much time for a driver to react to a slow moving vehicle. And the road curves here, cutting the sight lines even more.
I tend to avoid roads like this because of the speed differential but here there doesn’t look like much of an alternative route.
With both traveling East, sunlight is probably not a factor.
As a touring cyclist, I have ridden roads such as these for many, many hours, though never this road in particular. Roads like these are a lot more relaxing than my ride to work every day, that’s for sure. A lot safer, too, if you ask me.
I would argue that rural highways are simply not that dangerous when everyone is doing the right thing: cyclist staying in the shoulder, drivers being attentive and staying in their lane. It’s certainly a lot less dangerous than riding a bicycle to work, since there are few intersections. Speed differentials don’t cause accidents in themselves, it’s really a matter of crossing lines of traffic causing collisions.
Either the cyclist swerved into the lane without checking (saw an interesting tree on the left side of the road?) or the driver drifted into the shoulder without realizing it (changing the radio station?). Both are pretty common, but it’s rare for the timing to be so deadly.
I also rode across the country on rural roads just like this one. I happened to haven ridden on rt 101 and not 112 out on the Olympic Peninsula. I credit my being alive to having a good helmet mirror. And listening for large logging trucks approaching. That way I can ride the right side of the road where a vehicle belongs, and note approaching/overtaking vehicles. If they fail to notice me by moving to the left, I have time and room to move right and bail for the shoulder.
But riding on the shoulder is not safer. There is all that road crud that is swept off the road by the cars themselves. And cars don’t look for fast moving vehicles “not on the road.”
But like I said, being dead right, isn’t worth it either.
My understanding is that the rear end collision car on bike when a bike is central in the lane is one of the very rarest…and even more so when the rider has “claimed the lane”, even though it is one that most riders, especially inexperienced riders, fear the most. This fear can cause them to ride as far right as possible to let cars by…but then they may have an obstruction…a parallel drain grate for example…and they have to veer further left to avoid it. The car, having seen the far right to start with, thinks “I can pass, they are letting me pass”. This is actually the more common cause of a car on bike rear ender.
It seems from what I’ve read that this woman was doing everything right and just simply won the anti-lottery. We can mitigate our risk greatly through our riding behavior, apparel and equipment (mirrors, lights, etc). We can mitigate bodily damage in the case of accident through protective gear such as helmets and gloves. However, there is no way to completely remove the risk from riding. With that said, I do my best to reduce my risk, and I ride.
My condolences to her friends and family. We’ve lost way too many cyclists this season.
Update – after an investigation, police determined that the cyclist turned directly in front of the car, giving no warning. The car did not have time to respond. This is based on an eyewitness motorcyclist who was approaching from the opposite direction and witnessed the whole thing. For once, it really does seem to be the cyclist’s fault.
Thanks for the update. For others interested, here’s a link for more: http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2012301159993
Regardless of fault, the result is the same. Condolences to her friends and family.