Man forced to drop bike and climb wall as person slams jeep into reverse down Ship Canal Trail


Photo from Ryan

I received an email from a reader with a crazy and terrifying story: He was almost run down by someone driving on the Ship Canal Trail July 13 just west of Seattle Pacific University.

Ryan (he didn’t want me to use his full name because he is not sure about the mental state of this guy) sent the following description of the nightmare incident, which happened on what should be a car-free section of trail near 3rd Ave W.

He was able to escape injury by climbing a fence, but his bike was totaled:

I was involved in a Hit and Run accident on my bike this morning on the Ship Canal Trail. A car was on the trail, and I was almost killed or seriously hurt by what is likely a drunk/high or crazy driver who tried to run me over. No reason, never seen the car or driver in my life. Not much to say right now. Still pretty much in shock by what happened an hour ago near our place. Finishing up a ride going on the bike path, and I was nearly killed by a drunk driver going in reverse on the path. Once he realized he couldn’t get through after he sped down the path in the direction I was going, he stopped and put it in reverse. As he headed back down the path in reverse in his car, I could tell something was weird, as soon as I pulled over on the opposite side of the path he started reversing and aiming in my direction. As soon as I saw this I dropped the bike and ran towards a wall off the side of the trail. Right when I started getting off the bike I could hear him floor the engine and was probably going 25-30mph when he ran over my bike, as I had just reached the wall and was climbing over the railing (no idea how I did that so quick, adrenaline).

1072208_10100931604179615_1419008805_oAt that point I was in total shock, didn’t know how the hell that just happened or why. The driver never braked and just took out my bike, if I didn’t pull to the side and jump off who knows what condition I would be in, considering he made no attempt to even stop as he was dragging my bike. Right after he just sat there on the trail maybe 30ft from my bike. I tried to get my phone out of my jersey but couldn’t get it out, and I saw him through some parked cars up on the upper part where I jumped onto. 55-65yr old white man, plaid shirt, wire glasses, driving a late 90’s white jeep grand cherokee. This was on the Ship Canal Trail between 3rd and 6th avenue (right near SPU and the Ship Canal. Cops came and took a report, but neither me or the really nice neighbor who came down and also gave a report to the police got a license or photo. The police will likely write it up as attempted vehicular assault, this was at about 7:30am this morning. My poor Bailey is totaled for sure, but feeling really scared and also lucky. Don’t know what else to say.

So keep an eye out for this guy, and be sure to contact police if you have any information.

About Tom Fucoloro

Founder and Editor of Seattle Bike Blog.
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25 Responses to Man forced to drop bike and climb wall as person slams jeep into reverse down Ship Canal Trail

  1. Ted Diamond says:

    Jeez. This is on my bike commute to Fremont. Will keep an eye out for the vehicle as described.

  2. pqbuffington says:

    always remember…Good Guys Wear (Commuter) Black!

    • Gary says:

      Kids… don’t try this at home, the physics is all wrong in the video. Even if Chuck N, had hit the windshield hard enough to break through the mass of the car would still be moving forward, causing him to break both legs on the roof of the car.

  3. Britt G says:

    I was harassed yesterday (Tues. 23rd) by a man matching this description in a white Jeep while riding through Ballard on the Missing Link (HELLO McGINN!) in a parking lane. This guy needs to be ID’d and have an explanation this behavior will end badly if continued.

    • Becky says:

      Britt, make a police report. That way when he is found, if you can ID him, they’ll have a pattern of harassment from him, not just the most recent.

    • Nicole says:

      PLEASE Britt, if you see hi again, try to remember to get at least a partial plate number, and contact the police as well as posting any info here.

  4. Teri says:

    This is truly scary. Imagine a car barreling down the path towards you! I’m thankful that Ryan was quick enough to climb out of the way. If he hadn’t, we would be reading about a biker found dead on the trail with no witnesses to suggest what may have happened.

    I’m glad to see how Mr. Norris deals with dangerous drivers like this.

  5. greghxc says:

    Related: During the courier championships a few weeks back, I found myself posted up at a stop along the trail that parallels the freeway between Lakeview and Melrose on Saturday night. In the one hour we were there (10pm – 11pm) we saw two drivers on the trail. The first drove up on the curb over over the little bridge from the Melrose side before rolling down his window and asking confusedly how to get on the freeway. The second came barreling down from the Lakeview side, and, when we started yelling at him to stop, he instead killed his headlights and gunned it, nearly driving over my bike near the edge of the trail and blasting through the rest running dark. I don’t know if this is just something that happens there now (it’s been awhile since it’s been a part of my regular riding) but be careful if you use that path at night.

    • rob says:

      Last night on the Melrose connecter I saw the same thing. I was biking south, and the car was heading north. At least it stopped and let me pass. Very strange.

  6. Josh says:

    I’m glad you are alright. I ride this path all the time. Hope to see you back on a new steed someday very soon. I also hope Seattle PD actually does something as they have a history of doing exactly nothing.

  7. Forrest says:

    Yikes! Glad Ryan’s part spideyman… I agree with making statements, these incidents get recorded & mapped.

    In the Related Dept: Waiting for the light in Ballard, I witnessed a car turn from 15th onto 58th, driving over the concrete barrier with an oblivious look on their face. I felt sure they’d realize this was a Greenway, and not for them, but upon bumping the curb, and with their tiny car juuust fitting in the bike lane, they drove on… They must’ve missed the No Turns sign? Or the fact that there wasn’t even a lane? A pedestrian was pissed, and removed his headphones to note that he “couldn’t see how that could be any more obvious.” Guess not. What to do?

    • Matthew says:

      I’m not sure how long ago you saw that incident at 15th Ave NW and NW 58th St, but could it have been a few weeks ago? If so, the driver might actually have a plausible complaint — I wasn’t there, and can’t say for sure, but it’s possible he/she didn’t expect the big concrete island blocking vehicle entry. The island had only recently been installed, wasn’t terribly visible from 15th, and for some strange reason, SDOT had not yet installed any kind of signage warning drivers that there were no longer any turns allowed onto eastbound 58th. Several people I know witnessed the same kind of thing — these didn’t appear to be intentional acts on the part of the drivers, just understandable confusion due to a poorly executed roll-out on the part of SDOT.

      There is now a “No Turns” sign on 15th Ave NW, as well as a small island in the center turning lane, which will hopefully solve this problem.

      • Forrest says:

        This was very recent and definitely unintentional, they just managed to bump over the island and squeeze through (it was a subcompact). Hopefully, the signage will drill in the normality of the new setup.

  8. RobHinGreenwood says:

    Hope Ryan has the financial wherewithal to promptly replace his bike. If he could use some help, he should let the bicycling community know.

    • Britt G. says:

      Maybe a collection of small donations? I’ll kick in to that. And maybe for the guy that just wrecked on Dexter yesterday by an oblivious SUV driver running a red. Something’s gotta change– this is getting expensive. Hi McGinn!

      • Ryan says:

        Hey guys,

        Really appreciate the comments and offers for support. I am really thankful I have an awesome insurance company (State Farm on Mcgraw in QA). They already cut me a check to get a new bike under my renters, even though it wasnt previously listed on the policy.

        Also of note, I got a tip from someone who witnessed the accident a few days after. The witness had seen the same vehicle around the area a couple times (thankfully not on the bike path this time atleast) and what he believes to be the same vehicle’s license plate. It took multiple different calls to get a hold of an SPD agent who added that info to the report. I will call and check back in a few weeks to see if anything is being done, but don’t have much faith in them pursuing anything until something happens again (sucks, because that is what I am most bummed about them not catching him, not for me but so he doesnt hurt some other cyclist or ped).

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  10. Chris says:

    Pack nunchucks, just in case you get into a up front and personal hand to hand situation.

  11. Eric in Seattle says:

    Ryan, don’t know if you own a car or if you have uninsured motorist coverage, but if you do you should be covered for this (even though it happened on your bike). Uninsured motorist coverage usually covers hit and runs. If the cops find him, your insurance company will have the legal resources to go after him.

  12. Clive says:

    Was it wood paneled? I saw a white jeep cherokee with wood panels over by the montlake bridge and took a photo. Guy in the driver’s seat seemed to fit the description, let me know Ryan and I can shoot an email with the photo of the vehicle w/plate number to you.

  13. Nick says:

    I was riding along the same stretch of trail yesterday (7/31) and saw a parked white Grand Cherokee fitting that description. It had a ton of gear strapped to the roof, so I’m not sure if that would be vehicle in question or not. No one was in or around the Cherokee.

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