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Councilmember Conlin left with broken shoulder blade after collision with car while biking – UPDATED

conlin-1City Councilmember Richard Conlin is recovering from a painful broken shoulder blade after he collided with a car while biking in Madrona Sunday.

The details of the collision are not yet known, but the Seattle Times reports that CM Conlin is texting with staff and is expected to make it to work late today.

We’ll update when we learn more.

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UPDATE: The Times reports that Conlin is back at work. He was struck by someone making a quick u-turn without looking at 34th and Pine, he said:

“The car ahead of me, seemed to be searching for an address. He turned at an intersection, on the right side of the street, and suddenly he turned. That’s when I hit him,” Conlin said. Conlin said he was going a bit over 10 mph and the bicycle struck the car’s rear passenger door, while the driver appeared to be making a U-turn. “He wasn’t looking, I probably could have been a little more defensive … It’s just one of those things,” he said.

The news comes on the heels of a series of bike-involved collisions that made headlines around town. One collision on Dexter at Harrison Thursday afternoon sent a man to the hospital with life-threatening injuries.

A person driving an SUV made a left turn directly in front of Brandon Blake, who did not have time to avoid smashing into the passenger door and window of the vehicle. We received distressed notes from many readers who were terrified by the scene they saw as they passed the location in the aftermath of the collision.

Luckily, he is expected to make a full recovery, though he has been left with painful facial fractures and broken ribs.

Earlier Thursday morning, a person biking on Dexter near Garfield St was taken to the hospital with less serious injuries after a collision with a car. Monday morning, former Seattle Sounders defender Taylor Graham reported being struck by someone who fled the scene on Dexter. Luckily, he was not seriously injured:


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18 responses to “Councilmember Conlin left with broken shoulder blade after collision with car while biking – UPDATED”

  1. Eli

    I wonder how many of these crashes would have been prevented through more modern bike infrastructure than white paint?

    I think Larry nailed Seattle: http://www.transportationissuesdaily.com/is-seattle-the-number-one-pretender-in-bicycling/

    — Eli (cheering for Seattle, but still interviewing for work in Amsterdam — I don’t have another 20 years to wait for safe streets)

    1. cd biker

      This is some time since this happened by sorry Eli – Amsterdam doesn’t work because of the bike infrastructure – it works because drivers are rigorously trained to be more aware and are actually held accountable when they do make a mistake

  2. […] A few well-wishers have contacted his office at City Hall but Conlin, age 65,  said he didn’t learn much that would affect his views on bicycle policy, except the need for vigiliance while riding. The city is considering an update to its Bicycle Master Plan, to consider whether to increase spending or road space for safer bikeways.  Meanwhile, there were three crashes last week between cars and bicyclists on Dexter Avenue North, the city’s most popular cycling commute route, the Seattle Bike Blog reports. […]

  3. The operators of a bridge on the grounds of Renton Airport closed it to the public on the grounds that too many cyclists were rolling through a stop sign. Nearby, various paths have had punitive 10 MPH speed limits imposed due to anger at poor behavior from fast cyclists.

    Well, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Cars can’t be trusted on Dexter. Kick them off.

    1. I didn’t know that bridge had been closed! That’s too bad. On a related note, I wonder if drivers see the 20mph speed limits on some residential streets as similarly punitive? I’d never thought of them that way, but I could see that argument being made.

  4. Steve

    This is probably a common question, but I can’t find the answer: is there a database of reported bicycle accidents in the city? I ride Dexter, and the recent incidences make me wonder how often they happen…

    1. chs

      Cascade Bicycle Club maintains a crash database at http://www.bikewise.org, but I have no idea how many people use it. I expect crashes are vastly underreported.

    2. Some time ago there was a list of the five Seattle intersections with most bike collisions posted on this blog. Four were along the Burke-Gilman Trail near the U District and the fifth was in front of Dick’s in Wallingford. The four BGT intersections probably have some of the highest levels of bike traffic in Seattle, so the incidence of many collisions doesn’t necessarily mean any individual rider is more likely to be hit.

      I think the same is somewhat true of Dexter. There are lots of collisions between cars and bikes on Dexter because Dexter is one of the busiest streets for cycling in Seattle. At the same time, there’s a reason so many of those collisions take place between Mercer and Denny, and it’s because that’s the part of the road where it’s both wide and has lots of uncontrolled turns across it. Aside from banning cars from the road (I mean, I’d gladly take part in a protest that corked off motorized traffic from Dexter in SLU for a few minutes, but that isn’t going to happen for very long), something has to be done about those turns. Maybe we just shouldn’t allow left turns at the unsignalized intersections, and only with the signal at the others.

  5. Jonathan

    Steve, the Seattle Times has a great map of bike and ped accidents 2007-2013 at http://seattletimes.com/flatpages/local/pedestrianandbicyclecollisionsinseattle.html

  6. […] Conlin was on his bike and had a crash with a car over the […]

  7. Another friend was struck just this afternoon. I don’t know details, but I will encourage her to get in touch with Tom.

    I can’t tell if its my own stress or impatience, (like maybe I am carrying a storm cloud of negativity around with me,) or that I have a new commute, but I have been seeing some c-r-a-p-p-y driving out there last few weeks, especially when it comes to drivers respecting bike lanes! Downhill bike lanes on Phinney, on Fremont Ave and on Pine have all been turned into right turn lanes for cars, to be darted into suddenly, and by assholes. Scary. I am very convinced that we need better infrastructure now. Like, sooner than years from now.

    1. Leif Espelund

      Agreed that people shouldn’t dart into the bike lanes for a right hand turn, but I do think it is safest for everyone if motorists merge right into the bike lane before making a right hand turn. It is dangerous for all of us when a driver stops in the middle of their lane and waits for a stream of bikes to pass on the right. Plus it isn’t good bike PR for the line of drivers that get stuck behind the one trying to turn.

    2. Jason Hyatt

      It’s not your “negativity”, your new commute, or just the past few weeks. A lot of drivers in Seattle (and elsewhere) don’t know how to operate a 3000lb machine even thought they’re licenced to do so. Yes we need better bike infrastructure but there also needs to be more education about driving and respecting all other users of the road.
      I drive for a living but bike at all other times and I hear it more often than not “stupid bikers! They think they’re entitled to special treatmet because they ride bikes!”. Ridiculous. Just because you’re surrounded by glass and steel doen’t give anyone the right to run someone off the road possibly killing them because of some perceived slight inconvenience.

  8. […] traffic violations are a gateway crime. Seattle city council member suffers a broken shoulder blade when his bike is hit by a careless driver. US Pro Challenge bike art at Denver’s DIA. Not […]

  9. Zach

    I was flipping through channels last night and caught Lori Matsukawa reporting on this it and it was sad to hear the anti-bike tone in her voice. I don’t remember the entire transcript but she did mention that “Conlin collided into a car” and the “car made a U turn when Conlin ran into it”. Both of these statements seem pretty biased against bikes to me, but then again that seems to be the norm with the local news channels.

  10. Richard

    I’m really surprised that Conlin is not more angry at this motorist. He could have been more severely injured by this distracted person’s illegal maneuver.
    It has happened to me when a driver made a U-turn to grab a parking place on the opposite side of the street. Not even a look around to see if it was safe. Luckily I saw it coming.

    1. Leif Espelund

      He is a politician, he doesn’t want to anger a large swath of his base by seeming to have an anti-car attitude. Hopefully this encourages him to work even harder for safer streets for all.

  11. […] the City Council’s Richard Conlin is nursing a broken shoulder blade, after a driver flipped a quick U-turn in front of him and Conlin rode into the vehicular […]

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