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Man critically injured after being struck by person on bike in Madison Park

Approximate location of the collision. Image via Google Street View
Approximate location of the collision. Image via Google Street View

A man in his 40s was critically injured Friday morning after a collision with a man on a bike near Madison and McGilvra in Madison Park.

Medics responded at 8:53 a.m. to reports of the serious collision. Both the person on the bike and the person on foot were injured, but the person on foot had a head injury and was much more seriously injured.

He was transported to the hospital with life-threatening injuries, according to Seattle Fire Department spokesperson Kyle Moore.

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The person on the bike was also injured and taken to the hospital with cuts and bruises.

Details about how the collision occurred are not yet available. Scanner reports said the person on the bike was heading downhill at the time.

We will update when we learn more.

UPDATE: We wish the person struck the very best and hope for a full recovery. While there is no information yet about how the collision occurred, a person has been seriously injured. It’s a sober reminder that while serious injuries caused by collisions with people on bikes are very uncommon, they can and do happen.

83-year-old Velda Mapelli was struck and killed on the Cedar River Trail just east of I-405 in 2010. Though it was determined that she stepped into the path of the person biking, it’s a serious reminder to slow way down and give lots of space to any person on foot.

More recently, the case of Chris Bucchere gained national attention after he struck and killed a man in a San Fransisco crosswalk. Bucchere pleaded guilty to felony vehicular manslaughter.

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163 responses to “Man critically injured after being struck by person on bike in Madison Park”

  1. brian

    Can’t wait to see the comments on this story in the Times or on Komo…

    1. Pedestrian

      That pedestrian is in critical condition, and all you can think of is what people will say. Typical Seattle bicyclist.

      1. Anothe Ped

        brian’s remarks are indicative of the attitude of arrogance held by many cyclists in our city. I’ve narrowly escaped being plowed down twice, both times while in crosswalks, walking WITH a fully-green light. One of those times another pedestrian, a stranger crossing with me, pulled me back, averting the accident (and likely my demise). I’ve heard countless similar stories. Cyclists are not the victims of transportation, as much as they try to claim that standing.

      2. Erik

        Just to be fair to Brian, to be emotionally impacted by the injury of someone you don’t know and to get all self-righteous about it too is a bit sanctimonious. Yes, a man is critically injured but we, including Brian, are allowed to talk about the incident as to how people will respond to it. It isn’t like your family member just got hit or something and all the sudden someone brings up what Brian did. Therefore, one might even argue that your responses to Brian’s comment are as selfish and self-righteous.

      3. Pedestrian

        Nice try. All you care about is your image. Maybe that’s as it should be, because your image is justifiably terrible.

      4. Brian

        Actually, your response to my comment is indicative of the antipathy most people seem to hold towards cyclists. There are no facts from anything I’ve read to base an opinion as to who was at fault. Yet the comment boards I referenced are rife with assumptions that it must be the cyclist who was at fault since the guy was in a crosswalk. Those commenters don’t care about the person in critical condition, they only seem to care about expressing their opinion that a) the cyclist was at fault and b) cyclists in general are jerks.

        The reason for my comment was that I hate seeing the comments on those sites because it makes me afraid of encountering those people when I’m out on a ride. I’m not arrogant about cycling or being a cyclist. I walk, I drive, I bike, and I ride a motorcycle. Believe me, I’ve seen no shortage of stupidity on behalf of users of all those modes of transportation, and probably have been guilty of it myself on occasion.

        What concerns me is the disproportionate disdain towards cyclists as opposed to users of other modes of transportation. If it had been a car that hit the pedestrian, and the driver wasn’t drunk, what do you think the comments to the story would be? My guess is that people would be speculating that the pedestrian walked in front of the car, and how was the poor driver supposed to slow down?

        Nor will I be shamed into posting some silly condolences to the family. I don’t know any of the people involved and I have no standpoint from which to gauge an emotional reaction to the story beyond the proposition that I can empathize the sadness the family must feel.

      5. Pedestrian

        Nor will I feel a need to express any “silly condolences” to the family of the next reckless bicyclist who runs a red light, smacks into the side of a truck, and passes on to that great bike trail in the sky.

      6. Brian

        You clearly are only here to fan the flames. I gave you a detailed explanation in response to your initial comment, and yet your only response is to try to drag the conversation back down to the level of a schoolyard fight. Fine, you have your issues and your agenda. I may have issues, but I don’t have an agenda.

      7. Pedestrian

        Fan the flames, you say. Someone’s in critical condition, and you go out of your way to make it crystal clear that you couldn’t possibly care less. Yes, you certainly fanned the flames, bicyclist.

  2. Kirk from Ballard

    Also a good reminder to audibly signal well in advance when passing.

    1. Tom Fucoloro

      And no audible signal replaces the need to slow down.

  3. Matt White

    I think in the SF case it was a man who was killed.

    1. Tom Fucoloro

      Oh, my apologies. You’re right. I fixed it.

  4. Matthew

    As a lifelong cyclist, it worries me, the low skill level of so many cyclists.
    These idiot Freds will ruin it for real cyclists. I don’t necessarily mean the cyclist
    who hit the pedestrian, since all the facts aren’t in yet, but there are so many
    moron cyclists who wobble around wearing headphone while riding in traffic, blow red
    lights and stop signs, cross in front of traffic without looking, wear dark cloths with no lights
    and reflectors, etc. Morons. Freds. More money for faddy equipment and cloths but
    no sense and no training. Ideally I would like to see car-free cities, especially Seattle. At
    very least real bike trails that are physically separated from the car lanes. But even at
    that, these Freds would cause accidents. If they don’t get their acts together (or get
    off the streets) we will end up having to get licenses.

    1. Tom Fucoloro

      I don’t have the link handy and I need to run, but I remember reading a study recently that found quality bike lanes and bike-specific signals dramatically reduced traffic rule-breaking among people on bikes. If a street is designed to adequately meet the needs of a person on a bike (or, really, any road user), then people are far more likely to obey the rules. Bad (or no) bike infrastructure encourages people to cycle badly.

      That, of course, does not absolve people from the need to follow the rules. But street design influences behavior. This is why a wide, 4-lane road is more likely to have people driving 10mph+ over the speed limit than a skinnier street with fewer lanes. It’s not that people driving on the wider street are simply bad people, the environment played a role.

      1. Takin’ er easy

        Please find the link and share the study. It’s been my experience out there that Mathew’s “Freds and morons” are about as reckless on Seattle’s trails as on our streets. I think most of the bike-on-bike and bike-on pedestrian accidents reported on bikewise.org happened on trails. The study could be instructive to all of us.

  5. Kristin

    Not passing judgement in this case as the facts aren’t in yet, but my experience has been that pedestrians & cyclists in Seattle aggressively ignore each other. I often see pedestrians crossing against the light or mid-block, directly across the path of oncoming bikes (rather odd for normally timid Seattle pedestrians). And I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a cyclist stop at a crosswalk with a pedestrian waiting to cross.

    1. Erik

      Well put Kristin. Glad someone sees it from both sides rather than jumping on a situation about which we do not have all the facts and use it to re-enforce a preconceived notion.

    2. Ped and cyclist

      I both bike and walk a great deal in Seattle. Not only have I never seen a cyclist yield to me as a pedestrian at a marked or unmarked crosswalk, I have never, ever, not once had a cyclist yield to me at a light when I had the walk signal at a crosswalk and they had a red light. I have seen them stop to avoid getting run over by a car crossing in the same direction as I was, but that was to save their own skin, not out of any sense of being a decent member of a community or treating others fairly.

      1. As a pedestrian, I rarely have anyone — driver or cyclist — yield to me at a crosswalk as required by law. As a cyclist and driver, I make sure to do this every time. Often I’ll pull my bicycle with all its flashing lights out into the travel lane when I stop for pedestrians, because then the drivers are sure to stop as well.

      2. Kristin

        We do that, too. :)

        I wish more cyclists would do that sort of thing…

    3. Josh

      It’s quite possible both people have some fault in this accident.

      A pedestrian is prohibited from stepping out in front of a vehicle that’s too close to stop. But did the pedestrian not see the vehicle? Misjudge its speed or stopping distance? Expect the cyclist to swerve around him?

      A driver must stop and stay stopped for a pedestrian in a crosswalk. But did the cyclist see the pedestrian in time to stop? Did he misjudge the pedestrian’s intentions?

      All we know for sure is that an avoidable collision sent two people to the hospital.

      1. Mark

        In what universe is I didn’t see them a defense for hitting someone in a crosswalk?

      2. “I didn’t see him” is the universal Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card fro drivers that kill cyclists no matter how well lighted or reflectored or brightly colored.

      3. Jake

        Mark — see WAC 132E-16-040 (2) “Pedestrian sudden movements. No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to stop.”

        If that were the case in this incident (though nobody seems sure whether or not it is), then it would be a valid defense for the cyclist.

  6. […] The Seattle Bike Blog is following the case with its description and commentary here. […]

  7. Ari Gilmore

    I think all of us cyclist can really do each other and Seattle a favor by being smart riders adjusting our cycling to the environment around us. Of course any courtesy cyclists show to drivers, other cyclist and pedestrians really goes a long way to help keep us all safe. I have really found that cars are not stopping for waiting pedestrians with or without a crosswalk and we all need to rememberthat a pedestrian crossing the street always has the right of way. It can be hard if you are riding a bike and no one is stopping for a pedestrian and it can be hard to know when a pedestrian wants you on a bike to just go. Making eye contact, a hand signal or whistling for attention so it can be clear who is going is really helpful. I ride fast and hard in winter and summer and am overall really appreciative of how often cyclists are following the rules of the road, I still see more jaywalking, red light running and every other violation being committed by cars and peds than by cyclists.

  8. stardent

    I am a daily commuter on the B-G trail. It is disheartening to see so many hyper-aggressive bicyclists who buzz by without any warning whatsoever. If I were to move over to the middle of the trail to avoid something, I cannot be sure I won’t be hit. It’s that bad. I can appreciate some bicyclists wanting not to be slowed down but these are shared facilities, not a velodrome where you can have the lanes all to yourself. I wish the bike-riding police would do some serious enforcement so that not all bicyclists are tarred by the bad behavior of a few.

    1. JLCBeck

      Stardent — As a frequent runner (no headphones) on the B-G, I agree. The pace of many cyclists also precludes me from thinking abt bike commuting. The signs from SDOT & CBC are a start, but better enforcement and common sense need to start taking place.

      For the other folks, I think we all need to be more aware. Almost got hit by a car in a crosswalk as they were turning because they were checking out a new restaurant in the neighborhood. Fortunately I was paying attention.

      Can someone explain to me why a cyclist needs headphones/earpieces for their ride please? I don’t understand that concept.

    2. Tom Fucoloro

      A well-designed sting could be cool. I like when police turn a sting into a PR moment by advertising it before and after to draw attention to the issue.

      You could have plain clothes officer walk on trail and another with a video camera up ahead. If someone does not ring or use their voice AND does not slow down and give ample space, then they get a ticket and the video serves as a good PSA tool to show what not to do.

      1. stardent

        It occurs to me that bikes ought to sold with a bell.

      2. No traffic lights

        Police, no thanks.

      3. Tom Fucoloro

        I agree that in general, police have far better things to do than ticket people on bikes. But if there were going to be a police sting, I would prefer they did it that way with a media campaign attached aimed at making a larger point about giving people space and slowing down on trails. Way better than that motorcycle cop in Bothell who tickets ppl who enter the trail crossings after the hand starts blinking red. Ugh…

      4. Speed stings on bike paths are stupid.

        1. Most cyclists don’t know exactly how fast they’re going.

        2. Most parts of paved trails have really clear lines of sight ahead, so that when it looks clear it is clear, and safe to go pretty fast.

        The biggest problems on trails are caused by people trying to race through congestion, and going too fast through intersections, because the intersections, unlike the trail, have really lousy sight lines. But speed stings don’t take place in congestion and near intersections because it’s too dangerous (this is true on the road and it would be the same on bike paths). So you’d be catching people riding fast at times and places where it’s perfectly sensible to ride fast.

        I don’t know that there’s an enforcement strategy to handle the true problems some trails have (this is equally true on the roads, except that many actions causing collisions need to be taken more seriously). But enforcement isn’t the only tool available!

      5. Pedestrian

        “Police have far better things to do than ticket people on bikes.”

        How many injuries will it take until you get over your insufferable arrogance? Does someone have to get killed by a reckless bicyclist? And when — not if — that happens, what other excuses will you dream up?

    3. Bob D.

      If you are driving a car and change lanes to move left, you have to check for faster incoming cars. Why wouldn’t you do it while riding a bike?

      1. stardent

        I always check before veering to the left except when I cannot – say, a cat or a squirrel or a duck runs into my path or a blackberry vine hangs down lower than it did the day before or a pedestrian is lollygagging. Also, near NE 55th, the trail splits and narrows. I have often been passed there without voice or bell warning.
        The passing cyclist can see me and adjust his ride except when I am forced to move ever so slightly into his/her path.
        Wouldn’t it be so much easier to give an audible warning when passing someone, especially by the distance of a foot or so?

      2. Sarah

        That split in the BG near NE 55th stardent mentions is a real bear. Every week some dingleberry decides they MUST pass while in the narrower westbound portion, suddenly discovers they cannot squeeze past the child-pedestrian-slower-cyclist after all, and falls down the slope and smacks into the lower eastbound portion.

        Cool your jets, Stravacides! You can’t safely pass on that stretch, and right after that you are crossing thru the park next to Metropolitan and Ronald McDonald House and should be slowing down anyway.

    4. Chase

      Everyone that uses the B-G needs some education. People walking their dogs, running with headphones, walking with headphones, random kids swerving all over the place and yes, crazy bikers buzzing people or riding two-three across. I often hear people complaining about bikers yelling “on your left” as a warning. Often recited in a snarky tone. The B-G needs some lanes painted on it like there are closer to Fremont. The cops only targeting cyclists give off the wrong message, when in reality everyone needs a wake up call.

      1. Mike

        I agree with all you say Chase, except that my experience with pedestrian’s reaction to “on your left” is different. I very frequently am thanked by pedestrians for calling out. Of course, I usually slow down as I pass and I call out loudly several seconds before I pass. The all-too-common Doppler call (where “On” is behind the pedestrian and “Left” is right next to them) is not sufficient.

        I would understand pedestrians being irritated by bikers using “On Your Left” too late and without slowing down or even moving farther over. In that situation it really just means “Get Out of My Way Or Else”.

      2. Mike

        I should also mention that I more often lately just say “passing”. It is shorter, can be said more loudly if necessary, delivers exactly the same message as a bike bell, and has little risk of being misunderstood.

  9. Cheryl A

    When I was a bicycle commuter in Seattle in 1981 through the mid-80’s, the saying was “Ride Like a Car”. I think that was it! Was it people? The meaning was to obey the laws of the road and to yield to pedestrians. There are both bozo bicyclists and uber aggressive bicyclists, both giving drivers the same impression of irresponsibility.

    Speed sounds like the culprit, and in both directions. Fast cyclist, slow pedestrian with slow reflexes. Not a good combo.

    1. Erik

      Dude, your thought and outlook is about as old school as your cycling experience. If you think the bad behaviors of some cyclists somehow entitles drivers to project that onto all other cyclists you need to get with the times. That’s the same logic racists used (and still use) to somehow hold minority groups to some higher standard than any other citizen. (He is setting a bad example for others in his group.) We’re not talking about say a football team and having a team member’s behavior reflect badly on the team. It’s not like any driver, cyclist, pedestrian, etc. can call up any other member of the “group” and somehow hold them accountable. Just because I almost get killed every time I bike commute by clueless drivers doesn’t mean I have some hate against drivers in general. Yes, I try to be courteous as a cyclist and assertive when I need to be but it isn’t because I am trying to be some kind of cyclo-ambassador, but because it is the right thing to do.

  10. Drew

    I don’t know what meaning Matthew intends to convey by the term “real cyclists”, maybe he meant “cyclists that use common sense and obey the traffic laws”, because otherwise it sounds like an elitist-type comment.

    In any event, last week I was nearly hit by one of his “Freds” that ran a stop light as I was proceeding downhill under the auspices of a green light. We didn’t collide ONLY because I was fully anticipating that some ass-wipe motorist might pull the same stunt. And the the guy had the temerity to yell at me!

    Later that day, I saw two instances of Freds blowing traffic lights and nearly getting wiped out by cars. Predictably, they yelled at the drivers – but neither driver even blew their horn.

    This is one cyclist that *does* stop for pedestrians at crosswalks but many times I have been passed by impatient cyclists behind me that blow on by, just like their brethren in cars.

    I have noticed that pedestrians crossing Fremont Ave seems to love to step out in front of downhill cyclists, maybe they don’t realize we’re also moving 2o+ mph and can’t stop on a dime?

    I wish both the pedestrian and cyclist involved in today’s accident a full and speedy recovery.

  11. Dennis Wise

    I was there this morning. Prays and best wishes to the pedestrian who was in very bad shape. The cyclist was distraught as well. This crosswalk is at the bottom of a long hill, the cyclist had picked up a lot of speed. There was a car parked in front of the cross walk and the pedestrian was obscured as he walked into the street. The cyclist screamed out and hit his breaks for what seemed like about three seconds. I thought they were car breaks they were so loud. He hit the pedestrian straight in the head with his helmet, which is why the cyclist was relatively ok. The pedestrian flew about 10/15 feet, was initially unconscious and bleeding profusely.

    I think pedestrians don’t typically look for bikes…they’re not big of loud as cars. A dedicated bike land would cause a pedestrian to be conscious of the possibility. Also, I can’t be sure, but it seemed the bicyclist was doing in excess of the speed limit. At the very least, he was going too fast to stop because he noticed the pedestrian and tried to stop.

    A reall bummer all around.

    1. Melinda

      Oh, wow. This is so awful.

      I hope I’m never in this situation. I tend to hold my speed down on hills because of stuff like this, but you never know what might happen.

    2. ride bikes

      It is indeed awful.

      But as to your comment that pedestrians don’t typically look for bikes – you’re very right about that. Right after the bus islands opened up on Dexter Ave N I had a number of close calls with folks walking to/from them without thinking to check before stepping into the marked bike lane. It still happens from time to time now, but much less often – I think the majority of transit users along that corridor have (re)learned to look both ways before crossing the bike lane.

      1. Anothe Ped

        What I don’t get is this: why does everyone seem to be referring to both pedestrians and drivers as the ones “at fault” (for not noticing or yielding to cyclists)? Is it ever the cyclists fault — or are they the only ones always in the right? Designated lanes, parked cars, excessive speed, etc. — or not — shouldn’t they also be obeying rules of the road and exercising caution? Or do the rules not apply to cyclists? That’s what it seems to those of us who walk, bus, or drive.

  12. No traffic lights

    Is this a known ‘zombie intersection’? I’ve never been over there, I think they have a gate to keep me out. Peds used to walk out in the street frequently when I lived in New York. It has nothing to do with slowing down when something like that happens.

  13. Lois

    I was nearly struck by a bicyclist while walking on the sidewalk in Fremont today. He had no regard when he can zooming pass. I was momentarily startled as he came up on me. I wasn’t wearing a headset and did not hear him until his tires touch the metal strip along the pavement which is what cause me to quickly pivot to check what had just happened. If pedesterians and cyclist are going to co-exist, we need to be courteous and mindful that we’re both trying to occupy the same space.

  14. JBob

    In Amsterdam and maybe other places in Europe, bicycles are required to carry a bell – I wouldn’t mind seeing a similar law in Seattle. A voice is just not going to get used as much as a bell, plus they add a nice little musical element to things, although the jingly ones are definitely better than the shrill firing-pin type designs.

    As for pedestrians in crosswalks – personally I want them to step decisively off the curb and continue across the street at a steady pace, so I can choose a line around them or stop if necessary. But it’s rarely necessary – how hard is it for a two-foot cyclist to miss a two-foot pedestrian in a twelve-foot lane? When they stand there fidgeting uncertainly, I figure we’ll all be out of each other’s way faster if I just keep going. Sounds like the pedestrian in today’s crash may have been rather too decisive though – when vehicles are moving at 20+ mph, you have to take “pedestrians have the right of way” with a grain of salt. But I can’t help wondering if the cyclist would have been better trying to execute a dodge than locking his wheels.

    1. Josh

      If I remember correctly, the prior legal requirement for bicycles to have bells was repealed in a 1960s cleanup of the RCW vehicle code. It was seen as an obsolete holdover from a time when bicycles were considered serious vehicles instead of toys.

  15. Breadbaker

    Sometimes, of course, shit just happens. Based on Dennis Wise’s post, it sounds like that might be the case here. Pedestrians and cyclists both need to be aware at all times of the possibility of one another, because we can both be pretty damn quiet and invisible.

    That said, I once ran into a gentleman on a quiet side street at night when he walked out into the street mid-block. I don’t bike fast and obey pretty much all traffic laws and I had both a headlight and a headlamp on, but if you don’t look at all when you cross the street and are coming out from behind a parked car, there is nothing that is going to avoid the collision. Unless I start putting baseball cards in my spokes like we did as kids.

  16. Joe Sullivan

    Of course we all sympathize with the person who was hurt, but does this accident mean that we either need to increase traffic enforcement for bicyclists? Not necessarily. Part of the reason why this is newsworthy is because it is so rare. You can count the number of people who have been killed by bicycle-pedestrian collisions in Washington State on one hand. It may well be that the best response by our government to this event is no response at all.

  17. Anothe Ped

    Are you trying to say that Velda Mapelli’s death was her own fault? Blame the victim? The Cedar River Trail is a narrow walkway, frequented by the senior citizens who gather at the Renton Senior Center each day, who use the trail for exercise along the river. The trail is not at all adequate for fast bikes, and speed was a factor in this accident. Stepping in front of bike takes only a couple of inches as that’s all the trail is big enough for anyways. There is a perfectly fine, multi-lane roadway that travels almost parallel to the trail, and traffic in Renton is most often minimal. Why bikes have to use that trail at all is beyond me. Very few call out when approaching pedestrians. Plus, only half the trail is open to cyclists; they are actually restricted from most of it, but many ignore the signage and use it anyway. I can’t imagine what that cyclist must feel, facing the responsibility each day of the death of someone’s grandmother or mother.

  18. Fremont Resident

    I commute daily to work by bike. My route includes riding downhill in the Fremont Ave bike lane. Watching for car doors, potholes, glass, etc. and adjusting speed for the weather and visibility conditions requires a lot of concentration. I am unnerved by the bicyclist commuters who pass me without speaking up or using a bell. This happens every day, because 99% of those passing me do not let me know they are doing so. Also, many are going too fast for the conditions to be able to stop quickly if it were necessary. There needs to be more awareness, discussion and action about bicyclist on bicyclist courtesy in the biking community, rather than just bicyclists vs. drivers or bicyclists vs. pedestrians. Wearing earphones makes it worse, too. Tom, I appealed to you to write about the topic of bike on bike issues and did not hear back from you.

    1. End User

      I can’t help but agree with you whole-heartedly

    2. Josh

      Why do you ride in that door-zone bike lane on Fremont? Watching for car doors is a losing game — if you’re within the door zone, you will eventually get doored.

      You’re safer and more predictable to other traffic if you stay out of the door zone, no matter what the magic paint on the ground says. And it requires overtaking cyclists (as well as overtaking motorists) to consciously alter course around you instead of encouraging dangerous squeeze passes.

      1. Fremont Resident

        Are you suggesting that I ride in traffic instead of staying in the bike lane? Sorry, but that just isn’t safe or sensible riding down Fremont Avenue hill. Not a speedie.

  19. Reader

    Interesting wording in the headline to this blog post —
    “Man critically injured after being struck by person on bike in Madison Park”

    So the pedestrian was actually struck by a — person?

    And likewise, does that mean that when a car hits a cyclist, it’s actually a person (in a car) hitting a cyclist?

    Are you trying to shield blame away from “cyclists?”

    1. Tom Fucoloro

      Quite the opposite. Everyone on our roads is a person, but our language often separates people into tribes based on their way of getting around. “Drivers” or “cars” don’t hit people, a person driving does. In this case, it was a person biking.

      I avoid words like “drivers” or “cyclists” or especially “pedestrians” because I feel like they dehumanize people. The terms can also give a layer of symantic separation between people and their actions. We are all people, both those responsible and those injured.

  20. Will C.

    “police have far better things to do than ticket people on bikes.”

    No they don’t. I think it’s a great idea.

    1. … and after they’ve finished ticketing speeding cyclists for a while, please move onto crosswalk stings, both marked and unmarked. Ticket anybody, including me, who doesn’t stop for pedestrians trying to cross the street.

  21. Mickeysam

    I commute daily and walk on the BGT. I’m shocked at how many cyclist put me at risk and equally shocked at how belligerent they become when I suggest they let me know they’re passing me. It’ a HUGE problem!

    1. Sarah

      I have a bell on every one of my bikes. I ring while well back, and then call out “Passing on your left” as I get closer.

      A young man walking on the BGT chewed me out for the bell and call, telling me it was unnecessary. On the other hand, I’ve had many more walkers and cyclists thank me for the bell and call.

      1. Another Ped


        I’ve lived in Seattle for over ten years. I’ve city-biked for over 25.
        In the past year, I quite simply haven’t had as many brushes with injury with motorists as I have with bicyclists, and the biggest situations occur in shared spaces on the Fremont bridge or the bridge approach. It is often basic arrogance, the blind belief that the cyclist can’t hurt the pedestrian because they’re only going 10-20 mph. I’m well aware that motorists can do far more damage than pedestrians, but they also yield for pedestrians, and if they don’t look like they see me and are yielding, I don’t get in the street. Cyclists see me, they just think that they don’t need to slow down. I’m not talking about walking in the street, I’m talking about walking on the sidewalk. They pass too closely, and rarely with any warning. You can’t hear them when they come from behind, and if you’re on the Burke-Gilman with a blind corner, there is that additional risk.

        The problem is is that too many cyclists think that they are harmless, even when there is a news story about a pedestrian being critically injured by a cyclist. Many slow down for pedestrians, but too many of you remain unaffected.

        I don’t hate cyclists. I myself bike. I believe cyclists reduce greenhouse gasses and relieve congestion. Most are responsible, or try to be, and too many are oblivious of the risk you pose when you are in a shared space such as a sidewalk.

        Look over yours and others posts. You’re incredibly defensive. All we’re asking is that you slow down with regards to the safety of those around you, particularly pedestrians.

        I promise that I will continue to drive as I always have: with regards to your safety on a bike. I will pass you with such consideration that if you blow your tire or hit a pothole, I’ll be able to stop. I’m ready for your unsignaled left turns, your avoidance of dogs on long leashes. I get it, and for years I’ve joined you and agreed: You deserve to be safe on city streets. But I deserve to be safe on the sidewalks in this town, and I don’t think you’ll make the same promise to me.

    2. Ballard Biker

      “I’m shocked at how many cyclist put me at risk”

      Most people try to be safe but lets be realistic, you should have learned to look where you are walking when you are 4 years old.

      If some one appears to be attentive I let them know I am passing, if they are wandering around like a headless chicken I just try to pass them safely and say nothing because that tends to make things worse because they tend to jump into the way.

      I walk and bike on the trail almost every day and no offense intended but if you can’t deal with a bike passing you, the problem is with your actions.

      It is not a big deal to be “passed” if you aren’t walking in an oblivious fashion.

      1. Pedestrian

        Pedestrians have the right of way on a mixed-use trail. If nothing else, the ignorance of so many bicyclists of elementary rules of the road is a powerful argument for a safety training and licensing requirement for using a bicycle on public rights of way. A whole lot of you literally don’t know what you are doing.

      2. Another Ped

        I commute on foot, bike and by car. When I’m on foot, the biggest risk to my personal safety is bicyclists on the sidewalk. I’ve seen kids knocked off their bikes, and trikes on the Fremont bridge. I myself have been hit. I attribute it not to them being a cyclist, most cyclists are pretty safe, it’s the ones who have this attitude: “Most people try to be safe but lets be realistic, you should have learned to look where you are walking when you are 4 years old.”

        I’ve experienced enough cyclists like you that I’m actively campaigning the police department to pass out tickets in the Fremont area. Over ten years here, and it’s only gotten worse. More pedestrians are going to die or be seriously injured unless there is a shift in attitude when you are on the bigger, faster moving mode of transportation.

        I feel bad for the cyclist in this case, but really, my empathy remains with the pedestrian. I hope he can recover from his injuries. Best wishes to his family as well.

      3. Kristin

        I hope you also actively campaign for the police to issue tickets to car drivers that refuse or otherwise neglect to stop for pedestrians in the Fremont area, and across Seattle.
        I don’t know about you, but I look forward to a day when I could truthfully say that it was the misbehaving cyclists who are the greatest threat to my physical safety in this city. If this city has limited resources to spend, I’d much rather we focused on the aggressive/distracted motor vehicle operators first.

      4. Another Ped


        I have, but lately not as much as I have for the cyclists. Quite simply, I have more close calls with cyclists on the sidewalk than I do with motorists, unless it’s a “high traffic weekend.” Most Seattle motorists are conscious of pedestrian at crosswalks in my neighborhood. 4th and Florentia used to be a problem, and the big Nickerson intersection remains a problem. My last close call with a motorist was last Wednesday when he did an illegal stop and turn on a red light, but he went slowly enough that he stopped easily. My last close call with a cyclist was this morning, when his arm brushed mine as he passed me on the bridge, going at least 15 mph. No call out, no warning, no room. I wish this was unusual. I always, always, always walk to the right.

        As I said, I also bike. Because some motorists are oblivious, irresponsible or aggressive doesn’t excuse bad bicycling etiquette.

        I look forward to the day when I’m not afraid to walk across the Fremont bridge.

      5. Kristin

        I may be weird, but I’d prefer getting brushed by a cyclist daily to nearly getting run over by a car while crossing the street weekly.

      6. Another Ped

        Maybe you’ll think differently after you’ve been hit by one. The brushes don’t seem so quaint. And the driver broke a law but was also being cautious enough to stop with plenty of room to spare.

        There is no excusing irresponsibly cycling, not even irresponsible driving. Pedestrians seem to be the bottom rung in this town. You’re making it clear that we need speed limits on our sidewalks

      7. Kristin

        I am absolutely not trying to excuse cyclist misbehavior.
        What I am saying is that given the apparently limited resources the city is willing to spend on sidewalk & road safety, I would rather the focus were on dangerous & distracted motor vehicle operation.

      8. Another Ped

        The irony that you would say this on a blog entry about a pedestrian in critical condition after being hit by a cyclist seems to be lost on you.

      9. Howard L

        I would prefer not to decide how bad the pain/injury/fear needs to be before I think some form of action should take place. I don’t like a bruised arm by a bike or a car, or worse. I think the fear of injury from an irresponsible party (biker or driver) is not much fun. Pedestrians and dog walker often share some of blame for injuries by not staying to the right or walking into a street with dark clothing in the middle of a block at night and expecting cars and bikes will see them and stop.

      10. JBob

        This finger-pointing between people on foot and people on bikes is nuts. We’re all just trying to get around on muscle power at a human scale, but while we’re jammed on the sidewalks elbowing each other out of the tiny scraps of leftover space, cars are blithely gobbling up acres and acres, the overwhelming majority of the public right-of-way. Yes there are plenty of people on the sidewalk who are some degree of ignorant and inconsiderate, but most of them aren’t sociopaths. Fremont bridge is a lousy design for everyone except cars, and don’t even get me started on Ballard. This idea for a new transit bridge is cool, but mainly for weak politicians because they can look like they care about improving things without admitting that maybe we overbuilt for cars during the highway frenzy and should consider re-allocating a whole 5% of existing road capacity to non-motorized transportation. Safety issues on streets, trails and sidewalks are overwhelmingly due to poor design and the failure of leadership to improve it. User behavior is a minor contributing factor.

      11. Gary

        Amen brother..

        Oh wait….
        “It’s those dangerous bicycles impeading traffic that is endangering motorists and now pedestrains. They should be banned from public right of ways until they learn how to pay taxes, ride slower, stop spitting in public…..etc.”

      12. biliruben

        “When I’m on foot, the biggest risk to my personal safety is bicyclists on the sidewalk.”

        I can’t fathom where in Seattle this Ped lives where this could possibly be even remotely true.

        Perhaps it’s her perception of safety, but there is literally no place in Seattle where it could possibly reflect actual safety. Cars’ impact on safety is several order’s of magnitude greater than a bicycles everywhere in Seattle, except in locations where cars are not allowed to travel, which is pretty much just in the center of our few large parks. Even on the Burke (where I second the call for those on bikes who think a bit too highly of their ability to safely weave through congestion at 20+ mph to take a reality-check and remember that your brakes exist or get on the roads and see how your talents do with cars), the crossings are the most dangerous, because that’s where peds get hit by cars.

        The hatred of bikes should not cloud your reason. Yeah, a bike cruising by you is rude and might make you jump, but it’s not nearly the safety issue that is a car failing to yield.

      13. Howard L

        BillRuban–Did you bother to read the article? In the article the pedestrian had life threatening injuries. It really does not matter to me if I get a life threatening injury from a bike, a car or a person with a gun. All three can kill a person and the person with the weapon is responsible for their actions. Stop blaming the victim and start working on getting more Seattle Greenways. http://seattlegreenways.org/

      14. biliruben

        Howard –

        Of course I read the article.

        You clearly did not read my post, and the quote to which I was responding. If you still think I was blaming the victim after the second reading, we can discuss. My post was about relative risk. I assume you thought was talking about the pedestrian injured in the article. That was a poor reading on your part, though I suppose understandable, so I will allow you time to correct your error.

      15. Pedestrian

        In my experience as a motor vehicle driver, the biggest danger is other motor vehicle drivers. As irritating as jaywalkers or stupid bicyclists can be, I’ve yet to be in a situation where any of them actually endangered me in a car, or caused me to make an evasive maneuver that endangered anyone else. Maybe it’ll happen someday, but it hasn’t yet.

        The worst along those lines has been a couple cases where an idiot bicyclist pulled a stupid trick in traffic, causing me to have to slam on the brakes, and gave me the finger while doing it. Can’t say I like it, but dangerous? Nah.

        As a pedestrian, I’ve only been in serious trouble twice in my life, and both times it was from bicyclists who ran red lights while I was in a cross walk on a green light and walk signal, and missed me narrowly at high rates of speed.

        I’ve always been a highly “defensive walker.” You know, stop, look, and listen? The problem with bicyclists is that you can’t see them because of the thin profile, especially if you’re (as I was in both cases) within a crowd of people who are blocking your complete view of the street.

        Motorcycle training (which I was required to take before getting a motorcycle license) very, very strongly emphasizes the invisibility of motorcycles to other road users. Bicyclist organizations actively lobby against any training requirements, apparently preferring that today’s bicyclists be more ignorant that I was when I was a kid and had to have a bike license, a plate, and a sticker on the frame, and pass a brief written test to obtain them.

        And then, once having endangered pedestrians, far too many bicyclists leap to the defense of the offending bicyclist, for “reasons” that seem to me to be nothing but tribalism.

      16. biliruben

        Okay. Your anecdotes say bikes.

        However the statistics say it’s overwhelmingly cars you need to be concerned with. And they kill, so the victims don’t get to share their scary anecdotes of a bike whizzing by. They are flat and dead.

        Because cars kill.

  22. Andy

    Basic rules of thumb for activities in the public right-of-way. Whoever is moving with the lesser powered vehicle has the right of way and the powered vehicle has the higher responsibility avoid crashes. Sidewalk – pedestrian has right and skateboarder must take care. Crosswalk – pedestrian has right and bicyclist must take care. Street – bicyclist has right and motorist must take care.

    There is also the responsibility of pedestrians to stop before entering the street or crosswalk. They should or must stop and acknowledge oncoming traffic before going out into the street. I’ve seen twenty somethings walk into the street without looking in either direction, oblivious to any oncoming traffic, almost with the air that they are in some kind of protective bubble.

    I always stop at a crosswalk or corner and look to check the traffic stream before crossing. Walk out when there is a long stream coming? No. Look directly at a driver to ensure that they see me and decide if to stop. Yes.

    How about SDOT creating a campaign that everyone has a responsibility to observe other moving people, vehicles?

  23. Liza

    The pedestrian must not be blamed here.

    Apparently, the cyclist was going so fast that he was unable to stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk. That is reckless cycling.

    All vehicles (cars and bicycles) must come to complete stops when a pedestrian is in a crosswalk — period. Cyclists must be aware of the intersections and crosswalks on their routes and control their speed accordingly.

    I’m amazed at the comments here.

    1. JBob

      Sorry, but that’s just not realistic. I am as militant about pedestrian rights as anyone, but there is no way that vehicles (including cyclists) can be prepared to stop for everyone who might possibly dash into a crosswalk. There are crosswalks on roads with speed limits of 45 m.p.h. and higher – at some point people on foot have to exercise some judgment based on their visibility and the vehicle’s speed and available reaction time. The solution is in better traffic engineering – I like those flashing signs pedestrians can activate to let oncoming vehicles know that someone is actually using the crosswalk. I would like it even better if I could push a button that would activate the vehicle’s brakes, regardless of what the driver is doing – but I doubt the technology for that is coming anytime soon.

      1. Will C.

        >> there is no way that vehicles (including cyclists) can
        >> be prepared to stop for everyone who might possibly
        >> dash into a crosswalk.

        Yes there is. It’s called “slowing down”

      2. JBob

        >> there is no way that vehicles (including cyclists) can
        >> be prepared to stop for everyone who might possibly
        >> dash into a crosswalk.

        > Yes there is. It’s called “slowing down”

        So the speed limit is 45, design speed is more like 60, and people should “slow down” to 10 m.p.h. every time they get near a crosswalk, on the off chance that someone might step in front of them? I would say you have it all figured out.

      3. Tom Fucoloro

        Speed limit is not 45. It’s 30. Design is for 35-40 (unfortunately). And yes, people should slow down and be prepared to stop wherever people on foot are present. In Seattle, that’s pretty much everywhere, but marked crosswalks are a good start.

        And the city should be building streets that encourage 30mph or less and make crossings easier to see, etc.

        Seattle’s hills mean people on bikes can pick up more speed more easily than in many other bikey cities in the world. With every extra mph you gain, you also gain more responsibility to other road users.

        Obviously, this applies to people driving, too (more so, since each extra mph in a 2-ton car is a hell of a lot more momentum).

        There’s been a whole lot of comments here pointing out how people walking don’t always look, etc. That’s a bit disheartening to read since it’s that same logic that makes me so mad when bike-hate trolls starts commenting on collision stories involving people driving and biking. Of course, people need to look out and be aware o where they step. But if you have the momentum, then you have more of the responsibility. Not all of it (if someone steps right in front of you, even going a safe speed might not help), but more of it.

        I like the Dutch model of “strict liability,” where whoever had the bigger vehicle in a collision is assumed responsible unless it can be proven otherwise. This system assumes that people who drive cars have a higher responsibility to drive safely than someone on a bike, since the chance of immense danger is much higher. Likewise, someone on a bike has a higher responsibility for safety than a person walking. Makes sense to me both as a legal framework and as a cultural idea.

      4. In Seattle we got rid of non-signal crosswalks across four-lane roads because of the many problems associated with them, and we don’t put these sorts of crosswalks across roads with high speed limits. Other cities do, though…

        I live near a crosswalk that’s fairly similar to the one that appears to have been involved here. Almost everyone using it makes sure not to step out in front of people that won’t have time to stop. It’s unlikely that the victim in this case just walked out without looking — I’ve never seen anyone do that. Unfortunately a lot of people don’t see bikes in the street when they’re looking for cars — that’s even true for other people on bikes.

      5. I guess there’s also a difference in expectation of behavior between a pedestrian commercial district and a major arterial road. This particular crosswalk is right at the border between where Madison is a big arterial and where it’s a low-speed commercial district. Coming downhill you’re coming from the arterial. Something has to be there to get you out of “highway brain” (maybe especially if you’re on a bike, because in order to descend safely you have to get out in front of traffic and worry about people rushing you from behind, and because it’s as fast as you ever go on a bike).

        It’s similar to the problem on highways when they run through small towns and need to slow down. How is the transition clearly communicated to drivers going through? Often there’s a series of speed limit signs gradually reducing the legal limit. Sidewalks start, businesses and houses are now right along the street (IL-9 entering Paxton from either direction). Maybe there’s a tree canopy; maybe there’s a sign (coming into Belfry, MT there’s a sign on someone’s house that says, “What part of SPEED LIMIT 25 do you not understand?”… or at least there was, it looks like the highway has been moved west of the middle of town since I was last through there); some towns use arches or frames (one town in Wyoming has an arch made of antlers; the Little Village neighborhood in Chicago has a frame over 26th Street). Sometimes lanes narrow (NE 65th St between 20th and 25th Ave), though often the road adds lanes (US 45 in Rantoul, IL; US 14 in Cody, WY).

        Sometimes the entrance into town is marked by a traffic control device. A stop sign or traffic signal. Here, a crosswalk. The crosswalk is part of the buffer between the arterial and the commercial district where they really want slow speeds… and that puts it in the crossfire to some degree. If the crosswalk is to be safe on its own terms, as a crosswalk, maybe something a little west of there is needed to start slowing traffic down before it.

      6. Josh

        Minor correction, Seattle has not gotten rid of non-signalized crosswalks on most 4-lane arterials, they’ve just stopped painting the crosswalks. The crosswalks still exist, and drivers (including cyclists) are still required to stop and stay stopped for pedestrians using unmarked crosswalks.

        RCW 46.61.235

        (1) The operator of an approaching vehicle shall stop and remain stopped to allow a pedestrian or bicycle to cross the roadway within an unmarked or marked crosswalk when the pedestrian or bicycle is upon or within one lane of the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling or onto which it is turning. For purposes of this section “half of the roadway” means all traffic lanes carrying traffic in one direction of travel, and includes the entire width of a one-way roadway.

        (2) No pedestrian or bicycle shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk, run, or otherwise move into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to stop.

      7. Liza

        Just slow down. No technology required.

      8. JBob

        Thanks Josh, that section (2) definitely puts a finer point on things, and that the law is basically on the side of common sense.

  24. sea dude

    I was walking a leashed dog on the sidewalk, bicyclist after bicyclist passed us with no real problem except there never was any indication they were coming.. then my dog went to pee on a telephone pole which put him about 2 feet to the side of me.. I was in the middle of the sidewalk and a cyclist appeared out of nowhere between me and the dog with his elbow raised to push me aside.. which knocked me down. The leash got caught in the pedals on the bike and dragged my dog into the rider and his downed bike.. Trying to stop this jerk from kicking both me and the dog because we caused him to crash was rather difficult with the dog reacting to being kicked by barking and trying to bite him and this jerk yelling and me having problems standing with him kicking and pushing.
    I know this is an exception but because of it, I have very little patience now with cyclists who think they can appear out of nowhere at a walking area and demand people move out of their way when they give absolutely no warning at all they are coming. Walking speed and cycling are vastly different.. and when you’re on a sidewalk you don’t expect to have something or someone going fast to run into you.. even a jogger, although moving faster, isn’t nearly as shocking to you as a cyclist who is moving fast. Cars at least I can sense and/or hear. Not so with a bicycle..
    I agree that there should be enforced warning signals/bells/whistles/anything from cyclists. If this keeps up, cyclists are going to be shocked when they are required to be licensed to ride..and it’ll be a shame for those who do ride responsibly.

    1. Erik

      Sea Dude, sorry that happened to you and it sounds like the cyclist overreacted but if you really thought about it, anybody can come up with as many examples of clueless pedestrians, cyclists, drivers, aliens or whatever who are using shared surfaces and do stupid things. Fact is, all users need to respect others. Sometimes expectations between users are off base, like on bike paths when cyclists think they can ride like it is a bike only surface and cruise without changing speed. At the same point, pedestrians who let their dogs stray into the trail knowing that is a shared space with cyclists going by. What about pedestrian groups walking three abreast on a common path? Other weird thing about different expectations are the cyclists who expect to be told on your left every time a cyclist passes or in your case. You appear to expect that every cyclist who comes from behind you should signal you (sounds like a grumpy old man saying all these bikes magically appearing out of nowhere like you didn’t know you were on a shared path). It isn’t always appropriate especially when there is enough space. There have been times when riding on the Burke Gilman trail where I have passed 20 pedestrians within 1/8th of a mile or so. Do you expect me to say on your left 20 times or ring a bell every time? I have walked the trail too and don’t expect every cyclist to say on your left. It’s like a dance, both groups need to work in unison and if you don’t want that don’t use the facility.

      1. stardent

        Why not ring your bell whenever you wish to pass someone? What does it cost you?

      2. sea dude

        I appreciate the response but object to ‘letting…your dog stray in to the trail..’ I advised, in relating this, I was on a sidewalk which connotes that I’m on a walking surface with bikes passing on both the road/curbside and on the sidewalk. I am not a grumpy old man who demands every cyclist let me know they are coming along.. and I stated that I was already in the middle of the sidewalk with only a couple of feet left between me and the telephone pole.. did you even read it completely?.. I said that when you are walking on a sidewalk, a cyclist can ‘appear out of nowhere’ because you don’t hear them coming. If I were on a trail in the woods, I would exercise a completely different attitude.. but when a dog is walking beside you and steps to one side, a cyclist coming fast between me and that telephone pole with no warning is completely unacceptable and I find that you are one of the cyclists that obviously blames pedestrians for any interaction between them and a cyclist.. I also said I have very little patience anymore with this.. I don’t expect every cyclist to warn people they are riding behind that they are approaching, so your comment of ‘I have passed 20 pedestrians within 1/8th of a mile or so. Do you expect me to say on your left 20 times or ring a bell every time?’ is completely unwarranted.. because I expect if you are approaching 20 pedestrians you are riding in a manner that isn’t mowing people down as you pass them. I do expect cyclists, when approaching people walking to exercise restraint and expect that, on something like a sidewalk, that the rider know they aren’t on a street.. curbside or not.. a sidewalk can be shared but expectations are that a sidewalk is more for walking than a cyclist riding fast.. that was the point of my writing..

      3. stardent

        Since you, by virtue of the huge momentum you carry, are in a position to harm someone, you have the responsibility to warn them of your approach. I know it gets tiring when you have to go around 2 strollers and a dog abreast, but that’s no excuse to put them in danger. Unless you are on a cycle exclusive trail, you are sharing and need to act responsibly (by slowing down, warning and passing only when it is safe to do so for all concerned). If that doesn’t work for you, then YOU need to go elsewhere.

      4. Will C.

        >> Do you expect me to say on your left 20 times
        >> or ring a bell every time?

        Yes, but please get a bell. It’s far less obnoxious. Also remember that you are sharing the trail with some people who are deaf or hard of hearing. You must be thougytful and accomodate them.

        I also expect you to slow way down as you pass each pedestrian or group of pedestrians, even if it spoils your “workout” or means that your commute takes longer.

        I also expect you to move as far over to the sde of the trail as you possibly can as you pass each pedestrian or group of pedestrians.

        I also expect you to be courteous and to smile and say “thank you” when pedestrians move to accomodate you.

      5. A cyclist

        @Will C:

        >I also expect you to slow way down as you pass each pedestrian
        >or group of pedestrians, even if it spoils your “workout” or means
        >that your commute takes longer.

        >I also expect you to move as far over to the sde of the trail as you
        >possibly can as you pass each pedestrian or group of pedestrians.

        >I also expect you to be courteous and to smile and say
        >“thank you” when pedestrians move to accomodate you.

        I’m very careful and accommodating towards pedestrians when I’m on a trail. I warn them when I’m approaching, I slow down a bit, all that stuff. I yell at misbehaving cyclists and I’ll be the first to admit that there are far too many of those. If someone goes out of their way to be nice to me, car or pedestrian, I say thank you. Not that that happens very often (the “being nice to cyclists thing”), mind you.

        What I want to know is when are the pedestrians going to be thoughtful and accommodating towards me? Cyclists must slow down, cyclists must warn pedestrians (though sometimes I get yelled at when I do), cyclists must ride single file, cyclists must anticipate people randomly stepping out on crosswalks even if the cyclist is 10 feet from the crosswalk, and so on and so on. When are pedestrians going to keep right and not take up the whole trail? When are they not going to stop in the middle of the trail to have a conversation? When are they going to stop letting their kids treat a mixed-use trail as a playground? When are they going to put their dogs on leashes, so I don’t have to be worried about the dog darting in front of me? When are they going to take off their headphones so they can hear me when I try to let them know I’m about to pass them?

        These are mixed-use trails – let’s face it, there’s no such thing as a bike-only path around here – and yet cyclists are treated as second-class citizens. No-one complains about runners working out on the trail, but cyclists … uh uh, no way. A shared trail doesn’t mean that it’s a walking path where cyclists are tolerated: it means it’s a shared resource where we’re all responsible for our own and others’ safety. You can’t expect cyclists to be responsible for everyone’s safety.

        Cyclists gripe about cars, but 98% of the time, I take the increased risk of death involved in riding in the road because in general, cars are much more predictable and much less selfish than pedestrians.

      6. sea dude

        I realize that seattlebikeblog is probably the wrong venue to vent about cyclists.. I only wonder why pedestrians are advised they are the cause of so many cycling mishaps when walking..I realize many people don’t pay attention to their surroundings, I’m the first to admit I’ve walked into things occassionally because of being distracted by nothing more than just not paying attention. If I hit something, no matter how slightly or at a slow speed, with my car, I’m automatically at fault because the momentum and weight of my vehicle and the laws governing me driving are designed to make me at fault. Why are cyclists allowed to blame a pedestrian walking and getting hit because they did something? THat’s why there are speeds rules for cars.. you are expected to stop if something happens in front of you. Of course there are times you can’t help it.. a dog or kid or someone darting out.. but someone casually walking or even stepping aside should be reason enough for the cyclist to know they are on the same ‘shared-venue’ of walking, cycling as the pedestrians and should have to watch for those errant times, the same as car drivers. Again, sorry to use this venue to say anything but, while I feel people need to pay attention, I feel it is incumbent on the faster moving cyclist to expect, as a car driver, the unexpected, also, if sharing areas of walking/pedestrian traffic.

      7. Tom Fucoloro

        No apologies. While this blog is about reporting on and promoting cycling, it doesn’t mean we believe no person on a bike can ever be at fault for anything.

        As Seattle’s bike culture grows and becomes more mainstream, everyone is going to need to adapt. People driving need to be more aware and accepting of road design changes aimed at making roads safer for everyone. People on bikes need to be aware that trails are going to keep getting more crowded and that slowing down is the only way to be truly responsible to others.

        Shared sidewalks are not acceptable bike infrastructure. While everyone needs to be courteous on the Fremont Bridge sidewalks, of course, the core problem is that it simply is not a comfortable of safe facility for so much bike and foot traffic to share. There are ideas for addressing these issues when high capacity transit heads to Ballard. I especially like this concept: http://seattletransitblog.com/2013/04/12/a-better-ship-canal-crossing/

      8. JBob

        > Cyclists gripe about cars, but 98% of the time, I take the increased > risk of death involved in riding in the road because in general, cars > are much more predictable and much less selfish than pedestrians.

        C’mon, we all start and finish every trip on foot. Not that I don’t share your annoyance when people behave so obliviously; but if you ask me the real culprits are the politicians and highway engineers who originally decided to build cities this way. I live in downtown Fremont, and for a dense urban environment it is absolutely appalling how narrow and frustrating (and often dangerous) the trails and sidewalks are, while cars are treated like royalty. And this is far from the most crowded neighborhood in Seattle. The way to really make cycling and walking as safe and pleasant as they should be is to double or triple the space available and motor vehicles be damned – there should be a dozen Burke-Gilmans in the city, and cycle tracks everywhere else, then I’ll start worrying about the fine points of how long a leash someone’s dog is on. And for crying out loud, a sidewalk should be wide enough for someone to stop and have a conversation on, while other people walk past. Jane Jacobs said they should be wide enough for kids to jump rope on – 30 or 35 feet – without interfering with circulation. Now that is a humane way to build a city.

      9. JBob

        P.S. The new stretch of Burke-Gilman just east of University Bridge is pretty good – actual “sidewalks” for the trail. And I think they will be expanding this. But I would still prefer the whole thing to be like 50% wider, and/or duplicated nearby.

      10. Love My Bikes

        If you are riding on a sidewalk or public path within the Seattle City Limits, you must by law give an audible signal before you pass a pedestrian. Here is the code citation:

        11.44.120 Riding on sidewalk or public path.

        Every person operating a bicycle upon any sidewalk or public path shall operate the same in a careful and prudent manner and at a rate of speed no greater than is reasonable and proper under the conditions existing at the point of operation, taking into account the amount and character of pedestrian traffic, grade and width of sidewalk or public path, and condition of surface, and shall obey all traffic-control devices. Every person operating a bicycle upon a sidewalk or public path shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian thereon, and shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing any pedestrian

      11. Josh

        Yes, ring your bell every time.

        Saying “on your left” is an invitation to accidents — since you aren’t in an ongoing conversation, your first syllable or two won’t register.

        The first word they’ll hear is “left,” and a reasonably large segment of the population will politely step left, straight into your path, just as you requested.

        “On your left” is for cyclists warning other experienced cyclists riding in groups, but not reliable when passing pedestrians or inexperienced cyclists.

        If you don’t have a bell or it’s broken, “on your left” becomes more effective if you start a bit earlier and extend “on” long enough that it registers before you really start speaking. “Oooooon your left” But still pass wide enough that there’s room for pedestrians to step left when asked to do so.

      12. Tom Fucoloro


        Also,”On your left” is not a command that requires people “in your way” to immediately move so you don’t have to slow down. It’s one key part of passing with care and courtesy. You still have to yield, slow down and give space in addition to saying it. This does not seem how some (minority of rude people) use it, and it annoys everyone.

        Then again, trails, roads, restaurants, churches: There are some jerks everywhere.

      13. Pedestrian

        Erik, all you’re doing is making excuses. This is very typical of Seattle bicyclists, way too many of whom think they are above any rules of the road, let alone common sense and elementary courtesy. No wonder bicyclists are the target of increasing resentment in our city.

      14. Another Ped

        He was on the sidewalk. The cyclist is clearly at fault and aggressive as well.

      15. The downside of using my bell: There’s a minority of pedestrians whose startle response is to jump in a random direction when they hear it (and then they immediately turn around and puff their arms out to look bigger in the face of a threat, which is hilarious once you start noticing it but still basically a traffic hazard). I’ve mostly stopped ringing/on-your-lefting pedestrians because of this – particularly in fall when the UW frosh are still getting used to how traffic works on the BGT.

        If I can’t slow down enough and leave enough space to pass someone safely without an audible warning, I need to wait. End of story. Otherwise I’m relying on someone else’s awareness of me to avoid a crash, which is a terrible strategy.

        I use my bell more as a “hey, I’m behind you, please create some passing space” when people are walking towards the middle of the trail/sidewalk.

    2. Sea dude, out of curiosity, where do you walk where that many bikes regularly come by on the sidewalk? I know of a few places where sidewalk riding is common… the Fremont and Montlake Bridges, and the areas immediately around them, are the ones that stick out most to me. I’ve seen some truly appalling cyclist behavior in both places. In those places people biking are effectively forced off the street and onto the sidewalk, especially when the ground is wet, but when biking on a sidewalk absolute priority belongs to people walking. I wish more people on bikes here understood that.

      1. sea dude

        actually, it was in Fremont.. most any other place, there aren’t that many road/sidewalk areas used.. I agree. And the entire point of my writing is exactly what you state.. priority should be given to slow(er) moving walking pedestrians who meander whether others like it or not.. that’s why we’re on the sidewalk instead of in the middle of the road.
        I like Fremont, don’t live there but occassionally go there to enjoy it.. I actually like the interaction of so many people walking, biking, shopping, standing, whatever.. that’s why it’s important to pay attention.

    3. ODB

      I’m not convinced that we can prescribe a single passing protocol makes sense for every situation. There is a continuum between passing a single jogger who is hugging the right hand side wearing headphones on an otherwise vacant trail and passing a multi-generational family group strung all the way across the trail with another cyclist coming the other direction. For the single jogger, I don’t see the point of slowing down or giving an audible warning–it’s easy enough just to swing wide around hugging the other side of the trail. To be audible in time for the jogger to hear, I would have to yell “on your left” so loudly that it would sound rude and aggressive. Plus, given the extremely wide passing distance that is possible in this situation, it wouldn’t serve any purpose for anyone. For the family group, I’ll probably have to come to a complete stop, then give a warning and pass at a walking pace. The appropriate strategy depends on the context. Cyclists must not endanger pedestrians or cause them to feel endangered. Cyclists also need to get where they’re going. This isn’t Amsterdam–commutes are often long, which means going at a reasonable clip and not slowing down every time a pedestrian comes into sight if the commute is not going to take forever. Safety is paramount, of course, but I don’t think it’s productive to try to impose a rigid etiquette that ignores the practicalities of making a bike work as a transportation tool and the variety of situations that we encounter.

    4. Erik

      Hi SeaDude, I agree if you were on a sidewalk that is different. I avoid sidewalks at all cost unless the bike infrastructure is so lame and unsafe I have to. I agree, a cyclist on a sidewalk needs to be a bit more attentive than a pedestrian because it is a sidewalk after all. That said, I stand by my point that on shared trails it is the obligation of all users to pay attention and safely stay out of each other’s way. A cyclist is the one more likely to exert more force in the situation but at the same time knowing that pedestrians also need to be aware as well.

      I’ll stand by the point that isn’t always necessary or appropriate to ring a bell or say on your left. You can pass someone courteously without that depending on the situation. Anybody who claims to say that when they pass a pedestrian every time is full of it and probably not socially aware.

      When walking on a shared trail I keep to the right so cyclists can go by without having to brake all the time. I don’t act like it is a place for a meandering Sunday stroll because it would be egotistical to think that everyone else has to deal with that. When I ride I don’t act like I am the only one on the trail either but do appreciate it when pedestrians move over or are already over because it shows courtesy and understanding that they are sharing the space just as when I pass I do it with appropriate speed and space for the situation.

      The dude who expects this and expects that is quite interesting. The interesting thing is I didn’t here them say one thing about what cyclists should expect from them.

      1. Tom Fucoloro

        I agree that when someone is all the way to the right and there’s no oncoming person, it’s reasonably safe to give that 6-feet of passing space without needing to slow a whole lot (unless you’re really hauling). Like ODB said, there’s no single solution to every instance.

  25. Will C.

    There have been many recent advances in our understanding of NBD (Narcissistic Bicyclist Disorder). The pathology of NBD exhibits in manner similar to other narcissistic disorders as an excessive preoccupation with issues of personal adequacy, power, prestige and vanity. In Narcissistic Bicyclist Disorder these traits originate and are driven by a quasi-religious conviction that bicycling is intrinsically an act of moral virtue and “saving the earth” which places bicyclists above the normally accepted social constraints mandating courtesy and regard for others. Individuals with NBD may regard their bicycling “workout” as a sacred ritual and thus act with complete disregard for the rights and safety of those around them. Many with NBA are are perpetually “training” for some (real or often imaginary) contest and are incapable of realizing that others are not required to share their sense of urgency.

    One of the most insidious aspects of this disorder is the absolute inability of those individuals with NBD to recognize the symptoms in their own behavior and attitudes. It is thus up to the community to constrain these individuals, ensure that rules and regulations are stringently enforced, and to ensure that bicyclists are constantly reminded that they have no higher status than anyone else, and they have a responsibility to be courteous and to respect the rights and safety of other people.

  26. ODB

    Without knowing the details of what happened in this incident, any bicycle-pedestrian collision is a sobering reminder of our responsibilities as cyclists. We have the ability to be as fast as cars going downhill, but to a pedestrian, we are less visible and audible than cars. This puts an increased onus on the cyclist to pay attention and slow down as necessary. I remember a close call a couple of years ago with a pedestrian who stepped out from behind some blackberry bushes into my path as I was riding on the shoulder of the road. Probably, she wasn’t expecting anyone to be traveling on the shoulder, but was understandably focused on whether there were vehicles in the traffic lanes. I was on my daily commute home and not expecting to suddenly see someone directly in my path–which had never happened at that place before. I was starting into an uphill section, so not going very fast, and we avoided each other, but the incident was frightening for both of us. I guess the point of the anecdote is that in addition to being relatively hard to see and hear, bicycles sometimes follow different paths from cars–so we have to anticipate that other road users may not be expecting us to be there.

    1. sea dude

      this is probably the best point made in this blog I’ve seen.. and a point worth making.. the ‘not expecting us (cyclist) to be there’ moment is perhaps the single most important issue. well said..

      1. Pedestrian

        The “most important point” is this: Pedestrians have the right of way in crosswalks, on sidewalks, and on mixed use trails. If you can’t get that through your head, then you have no business on a bicycle.

      2. Pedestrian, what part of “on the shoulder of the road” did you not understand? The cyclist was, legally, in the road when the pedestrian moved from the concealment of underbrush into the road creating a situation that startled both of them. This was not a sidewalk trail, or multi-use path.

    2. Josh

      That’s one reason my commuter bike’s headlight never turns off, day or night — it helps pedestrians as well as motorists identify me as some sort of vehicle.

      Pedestrians aren’t allowed to step out in front of a vehicle that’s too close to stop, but if they don’t see the vehicle, or don’t recognize that it is a moving vehicle, they can’t yield to it.

  27. Ballard Biker

    This whole comment thread shows why things like this are always a problem.

    First, and luckily, serious bike-ped collisions are fairly rare but that doesn’t diminish any duty to try and reduce them.

    Second, we are not bikers and peds and drivers, we are all people. These are your parents and your siblings and your friends and your lovers.

    Third, this is a normal defect in human thinking, where if you see someone trip over a rock you think of them as clumsy but if you trip over a rock you think “why is there a rock there”. This is why, with no information about cause or circumstances we have people on here blaming “smug bikers” or peds. You are making a moral judgement based on limited information and no facts based on your own preconceived biases.

    Forth, It tends to be the same fearful or ignorant about the real dangers of cycling riders who are most likely to ride on sidewalks, and it is out of a lack of experience with biking that many peds have no empathy for the challenges of biking. This is also why we get horrid infrastructure in this city that increases conflicts. E.g. bike lanes with parking on the right that are unsafe to use (e.g. 8th Ave NW) or multi-use trails.

    This has been going on for decades and no infrastructure changes will fix this. Bikers, peds and mountain goats don’t care if they are not empathetic with the other groups. Heck they painted the wheels, walk lines at green lake 20 years ago and the BG “cycle only” paths near gasworks are still filled with walkers four a-breast.

    We need to start thinking about the circumstances that cause others to act the way they do and quit piling everyone in these little groups that you can hate without feeling bad.

    Another critical point that is lost in many is that as a ped/bike/cars need to get out of the mindset that they have a “right of way”. You have situation where you need to “yield the right-of-way” but you NEVER have the right to put someone else in danger or to not actively avoid an accident.

  28. stardent

    Re: the section of the trail roughly between Dunn’s Lumber and the Gas Works Park, the pedestrians who stray into the bike trail ought to be ticketed. I do think some enforcement of rules would remind people that there are indeed some rules and they are there for a reason. Most people are oblivious to their circumstances except when they are in obvious danger. I’d like to see cops on bicycles going around handing out tickets periodically and reminding walkers not to hog the trail and be a nuisance and the cyclists not to get aggressive.

    1. Pedestrian

      It’s a mixed use trail, and pedestrians have the right of way. It’s not “your trail.” You must yield to pedestrians. That’s the law, in case you should happen to ever care.

      1. stardent

        No it’s not. That stretch has divided bike and foot trails. You are responding like a robot.

  29. Will C.

    “…people should “slow down” to 10 m.p.h. every time they get near a crosswalk, on the off chance that someone might step in front of them?”

    Yes, they should. The fact that you find this to be inconceivable illustrates why more and more people are growing to despise bicyclists.

    1. Mike

      But there’s a legal (often unmarked) sidewalk every single block. What you are saying Will C., is that bicyclists should never travel at more than 10 mph on city streets. That is clearly ridiculous, as nobody expects the same of a car on a 30 mph road.

      Of course, bicyclists need to be intensely hyperaware of their surroundings when travelling downhill at speed, and slow down when anything looks suspicious (like a pedestrian near a crossing). But your statement goes too far and is not supported by either common sense or the law.

    2. JBob

      Despise, huh? Well, I was mainly referring to motorists who may be traveling 30 mph, 40 mph or faster, but I wouldn’t waste my time trying to reason with a cyclist-despiser any more than a racist or a homophobe. And I am quite confident they will eventually get their asses handed to them in the courts, the court of public opinion and at the ballot box, just as previous generations of haters have.

  30. merlin

    I had came close to hitting a person who was walking across Dexter a few weeks ago. It was after dark, I had lights on my bike, and I thought I was paying extra attention as I rode downhill – but it’s really easy to get going pretty fast on that downhill stretch! As I approached one of the marked crosswalks I narrowly missed a person who was crossing the street. This person undoubtedly had entered the crosswalk when I was far enough away to easily stop – but at the speed I was going, and the amount of light available, I couldn’t see her or him. I realized then that I was going too fast for the current conditions, and slowed way down until I could clearly see what was going on in the crosswalks.
    When riding on a shared use path with people who are walking, especially if it’s a narrow path like the sidewalks on the bridges, I will slow down to a walking pace or even stop if people on foot aren’t aware I’m approaching. Even without headphones, traffic noise on the bridges can make it impossible to hear a bell or a shout. I’m not just trying not to hit anyone, I’m trying not to startle anyone. But it is easy to overestimate how slow, polite and considerate I appear to people on foot!

  31. […] The kind of wreck I hate to link to. Seattle pedestrian severely injured in crash with bicyclist Don’t hit the pedestrians, don’t hit the pedestrians, DON’T HIT THE PEDESTRIANS. DON’T HIT THE PEDESTRIANS! More Man critically injured after being struck by person on bike in Madison Park […]

  32. Shawn

    Sorry, Will C. but the myth of the ‘backlash against cyclists’ has been refuted. While I don’t doubt that some people will come to despise bicycle riders more and more; it’s simply false to state that “more and more people are growing to despise bicyclists.” It’s an important distinction.

    Here’s a link: http://blog.cascade.org/2013/01/when-we-went-out-with-a-poll-we-didnt-know-what-wed-find-out/

    This collision between a bike rider and a pedestrian is gut-wrenching, and I hope that everyone turns out okay, but I do take some solace in the fact that it’s RARE. Not unique, not unprecedented, but indisputably RARE. Vehicular fatalities? Tragically common; a daily occurrence. Rude bicyclists are annoying, and sometimes dangerous. Distracted drivers (texting, phoning, GPS, lattes, balancing their schedules with the accelerator, eating, reading, putting on makeup, fiddling with the radio, smoking, picking things up off the floor, ad nauseam) are the real menace to safety on our public rights of way. All of this ‘anti-bike’ sturm und drang… misplaced outrage, if you ask me.

    1. Pedestrian

      No backlash against bicyclists? Wait until November, when “Mayor McSchwinn” is decisively defeated, in large part because he has become identified as “Mayor McSchwinn.” The problem with Seattle’s bicyclists is that they talk only among themselves, and listen only to each other. The consequences of your behavior will shortly be felt at the ballot box in the form of the political defeat of your best friend.

      1. PNW Native

        McGinn will lose for more than his bicycle policies, but evidently you are a single issue voter. Let’s see, McGinn alienated the electorate over the 520 floating bridge after the process was final, tried to overturn the MOHAI relocation, tried to take over Seattle Public Schools when the State Constitution prohibits it (and he is an attorney), promised not to challenge the tunnel and then promptly did, did not serve the neighborhoods, alienated all community groups (especially people of color) except developers and bicyclists, tried to extend light rail in the depth of the recession to Ballard (costs to be borne only by Seattle), alienated the State Legislature, alienated the King County Council, alienated the Seattle City Council, alienated the Seattle City Attorney, cut human services funding, alienated the US Department of Justice in fighting the consent decree for police misconduct, and that is just a short list.

        The backlash against McGinn is largely to the fact is he is divisive, and mismanaged the city and bicycling is but a small part. But if it makes you feel good to feel like a victim, keep on thinking like that is the reason why he is heading toward defeat.

      2. stardent

        You wish it will be because of his bicycle friendly policies. Any mayor of Seattle will have to be bicycle friendly because the only way to relieve traffic congestion is to have a mix of transportation options. Bicycles and foot traffic are an important part of that.

      3. Pedestrian

        PNW Native, what part of “in large part” don’t you understand? But I can see the bicyclists in three months, trying to argue that the obsequious catering to them by “McSchwinn” was the dominant, or even a large, factor in his defeat.

        It won’t surprise me to hear it. After all, this is the same bunch of people who spouts all kinds of other lies about bicycles, automobiles, and pedestrians. So the battle will continue. Do you have even the slightest clue about how much resentment your group has generated in the past few years?

        Most of that resentment is fully justified, and if the city’s politicians don’t listen to it, then we, the non-cyclists, will go after them one by one until they do.

      4. Pedestrian

        … was NOT the dominant, or even a large, factor …

      5. JBob

        Yawn. It cracks me up how the rabid bike-haters always seem to think they speak for 99% of the electorate, when the fact is that the overwhelming majority of motorists have the emotional maturity and common sense to realize that a few isolated incidents of bad behavior are not a valid reason for writing off an entire mode of transportation. I bet you were saying exactly the same thing four years ago, before McGinn was elected in the first place. Here’s one clue: McGinn’s opponent is also pro-bike and pro-transit. Here’s another: McGinn has already beaten five other candidates in the primary, most of whom were less enthusiastic about cycling than he is. And despite the fantasy world you live in, we are much closer to instituting congestion charging and carbon taxes than we are to requiring licenses for bicycles.

      6. Pedestrian

        Yeah, J Bob, anyone who doesn’t kiss your spandex clad posterior is a “rabid bike hater.” Fine, have it your way then. For every one of you commuting to work, there are 35 of us.

  33. JBob

    I’m not sure where the post went about riding in the door zone coming down Fremont, but I wanted to make a general point about speed and lane position – which is that generally the faster you’re going the further left you should ride, up to taking a line in the center of the lane coming down a steepish hill – even one with a bike lane. Chugging up a hill at 4 mph, there is plenty of time to react to a door or someone jumping off the curb. Downhill at 20 is a whole other ballgame. Also there is visibility – the faster you’re going, the more important it is to see and be seen, and that is best accomplished in the middle of a lane. The guy who got left-hooked on Dexter a few weeks ago was presumably in the bike lane going pretty fast, but would have been far more visible to the left-turning driver if he were in the center of the vehicle lane. I don’t know about the cyclist’s lane position in this accident, but he definitely would’ve had a better sight line to the emerging pedestrian if he were in the center of the lane. Anyway, this is one reason I like a mirror on my left handlebar – so I can monitor traffic approaching from behind, although I certainly don’t worry as much about delaying them at 20 as I would at 5 mph.

  34. Will C.

    >> I wouldn’t waste my time trying to reason with a cyclist-despiser
    >> any more than a racist or a homophobe.

    I suppose it’s difficult to understand our frustration and anger. I can see that in vocalizing that frustration and anger in this forum, I’ve only impaired the kind of respectful communication that might improve the situation. I apologize for adopting a combative tone that is part of the problem rather than being part of the solution.

    My main beef is with cyclists who come up behind us on the trail when I’m walking with my preschool-aged grandkids and brush past them within inches at high speed. It causes an adrenaline rush that triggers an protective emotional response. It makes me hyper-aware of other bicyclist’s transgressions and heightens the perception of being surrounded by “Bike Nazis”.

    Maybe it’s more helpful to highlight positives rather than negatives. When I’m walking the local trail with my grandkids and we hear a tinkling bicycle bell behind us, the kids and I move over (Admittedly it’s not always instantaneous – Sometimes a three-year old may need a reminder). A few of the cyclists will slow down and also move over as they pass us. Some will even slow down enough to smile and wave exchange greetings. These interactions are so pleasant and civilized, they do much to make up for the rest.

    So a big “thanks” to those bicyclists that are willing and able able to slow down and interrupt their “workout” to accommodate the families walking on the trails.

    1. JBob

      Good post Will. For what it’s worth, I think I just about every street cyclist can understand that adrenaline rush you get, we feel the same thing when a car passes too close, and it can be also be too easy to tar all motorists with the same brush. Maybe some people have been biking so long they’ve gotten desensitized to it; I know I haven’t. It sucks when someone puts your body and your life in danger – or your grandkids – because they’re being inconsiderate or aggressive. I have also been passed too close by cyclists, and while it doesn’t frighten me as much as cars it definitely makes me angry – if I’m not too surprised I yell “Too close!” to hopefully raise their awareness a little. I wish I could blast them with a paintball so they have to ride around with colors of shame the rest of the day, or somehow ping them electronically so the cops can call them and find out just what their issue is. Jerks aside, I’m not sure what the solution is for kids on a bike bath – I think they should be able to toddle in random directions, but I also think bicycles are legitimate transportation and deserve a fairly reliable trip to wherever they’re going. I would like to see far more space available for both cyclists and pedestrians to hopefully reduce conflicts and separate the sightseers from the determined commuters and triathletes. In Denmark they are building bike-freeway type infrastructure that I would love to see in Seattle as well. I would also definitely support a law requiring bikes to carry bells. Other than that, maybe your grandkids would be a little safer if you pull them in a wagon that you could attach some flags or streamers or something to? Anyway thanks for the more thoughtful approach.

    2. JBob

      Come to think of it, in Denver where I used to live, there is a pretty nice trail system in certain parts of the city. The trail that runs along Cherry Creek, as it approaches the congested downtown area actually splits and runs along both banks of the creek – cyclists on one side, pedestrians on the other. It works great! Obviously this can’t be a solution everywhere, but on certain popular trails it would help reduce conflicts and keep everyone safer.

  35. stardent

    ‘Pedestrian’ may actually be a friend. Since most residential streets and many arterials are mixed use, what he is suggesting is that cars should defer to bicycles just as bicycles should defer to pedestrians in mixed use trails.
    He is even more radical than McGinn.

    1. Pedestrian

      You can attach any label you want. I grew up on a bicycle, and that bicycle was licensed, and to get the license we had to pass a test. When I got older, I rode a motorcycle, and eventually became an automobile driver. All my life, there has rarely been a day when I didn’t walk at least two miles.

      I’m no “friend” of jaywalkers, including the girl in the U District who played chicken with a bus as I stood there and watched. And I let her know just how stupid and arrogant she was. I’m certainly no “friend” of obnoxious motor vehicle drivers either. Space and attention spans aren’t enough to accommodate all the stupid things I’ve seen from the drivers of motor vehicles.

      I pay close attention to my surroundings when I’m walking or driving. But the fact remains that we will make mistakes. One thing that helps quite a bit is for all vehicle users to be formally trained in the rules of the road. Bicyclists, at least in Seattle, and in many other places, have in recent decades claimed an exemption from such training. As a result, we have more cyclists out there with less knowledge than bicyclists used to have.

      Yet, for some reason, today’s adult bicyclists are actively hostile to licensing and safety training requirements that, as I pointed out, were in place when I was growing up. As someone who is very experienced in all modes, I am constantly stunned by the brainlessness not only of many (and a greater proportion of the total) bicyclists on the street, but even more by the active promotion of ignorance and undeserved privilege by their political representatives.

      Most people approve of bicycling. I certainly do, having spent so many happy hours doing it as a kid. As a pedestrian and motor vehicle driver, and voter, I want to be fair to cyclists. But I find that the cyclist conception of “fair” to be ever harder to take. At the very least, I think you should be licensed and trained like I was, but even that much seems to be beyond your tolerance or abilities.

      1. Steve Campbell

        I’m curious where you grew up that you were required to have a bike license?

  36. Howard L

    I ride a bike, walk, run and drive. I like the guidelines of Cascade Bicycle which say riders should Act like a car. If a car hit a pedestrian in a cross walk the car driver would be at fault. I think as a bike rider potentially travel 10 times the speed of a walker I need to slow down wherever a car would and stop wherever a car would. I wish the driver and the walker the best of health and recovery.

    1. Ballard Biker

      As stated above in washington EVERY intersection is a crosswalk, just some are marked. Only when they are actively blocked are they not crosswalks.

      We do not know what went on in this case but your claim is also false that “If a car hit a pedestrian in a cross walk the car driver would be at fault. ”

      The law has exceptions,

      ” (2) No pedestrian or bicycle shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk, run, or otherwise move into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to stop.”

      Without more information we have no idea who was at fault. Not that it matters we should all be working hard to avoid accidents no matter who is at fault and yes bikes should stop the same as cars with Ped traffic, but that is just a strawman argument in this case.

      1. Howard L

        About 6 months ago a car ran a stop sign. I was on an arterial driving a heavy pickup truck at about 25 miles per hour in a 35 zone, which is fortunate. I hit the other car and took off its bumper and spun it around. We both walked away. The insurance companies determined I was 10% at fault and the other car driver 90% at fault. There apparently is always some guilt with both parties just like in relationships. Thank you for quoting the law. I was not there so I really don’t know what the chain of events was.

  37. Will C.

    Bicyclists, please note that all of the King County trails listed below (those sections outside Seattle) have a 15 mph speed limit. Thanks to all the decent, law-abiding bicyclists who are willing to obey the rules and who show consideration for the rights of others.


    Samamish River
    Soos Creek
    East Lake Sammamish
    Green River
    Cedar River
    Snoqualmie Valley

    1. Ballard Biker

      Will C. Note from that same regulation you are required to walk/bike to the right, be predictable and, if in a group, never use more than half the trail. How about you bike haters start following the rules you scofflaws.

      7.12.295 of the King County Code

      1. USING A TRAIL. Every person using a trail shall stay as near to the right side of the trail as is
      safe, excepting those movements necessary to prepare to make or make turning movements, or while
      overtaking and passing another user moving in the same direction.
      2. REGARD FOR OTHER TRAIL USERS. Every user shall exercise due care and caution to
      avoid colliding with any other trail user. All users shall travel in a consistent and predictable manner.
      3. GROUPS ON TRAIL. No group of trail users, including their animal(s), shall occupy more than
      one half of the trail as measured from the right side, so as to impede the normal and reasonable movement
      of trail users

      1. Will C.

        I am a bicyclist as well as a pedestrian. When I’m biking I follow the speed limits on the trails. I slow way down when I pass pedestrians and try and say “thank you” to the one’s who are kind enough to move over.

        When I’m walking, I stay to the right. If I walk my dog, she’s on a leash and by my side. When I am walking on the trail, it really frightens me when bicyclists come up from behind and pass me within inches at high speed. I am a human being, so this makes me angry.

        I’d love to see the police out on the trails handing out tickets to bicyclists who break the speed limit, and people with dogs off leash.

        Maybe the real problem is that shared bicycles and pedestrian use is always going to be as problematic just as it would be if jet-skis and swimmers were sharing the same area. However, as long as we have the equivalent, I do think the jet skiers should bear more responsibility in that situation.

      2. Ballard Biker

        No, the issue is that.

        a) in any mode of transportation there will be jerks
        b) people drastically over estimate the risk of unlikely events.
        c) people will always make mistakes.

        If we look at the small amount of statistics on this topic we find the following form a Study in Australia.

        Using the exposure data set out for the fatalities, this is 163 injuries per 75 million trips, or approximately 1 injury in every 460,000 trips. 8.2 pedestrians injured per million person years This appears to be an event which is around 8 times greater than tripping on a footpath and killing yourself as a result and just slightly less riskier than being killed in an airline crash event. In other words, it is still a very low risk event.

        The costs of any initiative introduced needs to account for the very low risk of the collision event occurring, and weighed against the substantial health benefit gains resulting from increased bicycling activity.

        So can we do better and help reduce the tiny number of these tragic events that happen? Yes.

        Is it anywhere near the massive problem you claim it is? No. Heck in this state you can walk or ride a bike for 20 miles, which is from Pike place market to Bellevue square and BACK and your risk of death is one-in-a-million.

        I mean the risk is one “micromort” or one-in-a-million trips involves a death. And that is from all accident causes. And you are still 1000’s of times as likely to die from a car hitting you.

        So lets make this clear, this is a big issue for you but as far as police resources go…and we live in a city where the police won’t show up to take a report even if your house has been broken into.

      3. Will C.

        It’s also a matter of making walking pleasant and stress free to increase the substantial health benefit gains resulting from increased walking activity, especially for kids and senior citizens. I disagree with you in that I actively encourage a police presence on the trails, but are there any alternative, positive actions you can recommend to encourage bicyclists to slow down and obey the legal 15 mph speed limit? Do you personally follow the rules and restrict your speed to 15 mph on King County trails? When you observe pedestrians breaking the rules, how do you deal with that?

  38. Pedestrian

    Something about speed limits, especially as they apply to bicyclists, but also as they apply to motorists.

    Speed limits are maximums. Yes, we all know that people routinely exceed them, especially motorists. But that doesn’t change the truth about speed limits. If safety requires lower speeds, you are required to slow down regardless of what the sign says. It is no defense if you’re driving in heavy fog, for example, and rear-end another vehicle while going the speed limit.

    A vehicle driver or rider is obligated to drive no faster than he can adequately control his vehicle. Thus, if I drive 30 miles an hour on an arterial and hit someone in a crosswalk because I couldn’t stop, as long as that person didn’t dart into the crosswalk at the last second, I am at fault.

    The same is true for bicyclists. If you’re riding 25 miles an hour and the speed limit is 30, but you cannot stop for hazards or pedestrians in crosswalks, then you are going too fast. So don’t give us your lazy speed limit justifications. You are obligated to be able to control your vehicle, just as I am. It might come as news — and to many of you, I am sure it does — but bicyclists don’t have exemptions from the rules of the road, common sense, courtesy, or the laws of physics.

    1. Gary

      And here the laws of physics help bicyclists: Momentum = Mass x Velocity^2/2

      That extra velocity that cars have, and their much larger mass means that more energy will be imparted during the collision, thus increasing the likelyhood of injury to the person/vehicle struck.

  39. Fed up pedestrian

    Bicyclist in Seattle are the greatest threat in the city: no other type of vehicle make use of both sidewalks and roads. They chose what method works for them to beat traffic. Despite clearly mark lanes they come on the sidewalk just to beat the light that is slowing them down.
    When the self righteous, militant and self serving cyclist gets ticketed for using sidewalks and not respecting the rules of the road, expect more pedestrians to get injured by bicyclist than bicyclist getting hurt by cars.

    1. Ballard Biker

      You may want to tone down the hyperbole…people will take you more serious.

      163 pedestrian injuries per 75 million bike trips, or approximately 1 pedestrian injury in every 460,000 bike trips is a tiny amount.

      We always need to work on reducing the number of those injuries but if that is your idea of “the greatest threat in the city” I would say you should be happy with your first world problems.

      1. daily ped commuter

        That is only reported pedestrian injuries per bike trip. certainly an underestimate. I get hit by a biker while walking on the sidewalk on average once per month and I see about an equal number of pedestrians hit. just because I don’t go to the ER over the bruises doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. Also, the only study of its kind on how often bikes send pedestrians to the ER suggest that in NYC alone a pedestrian gets sent to the ER every 8-12 hours by a wreckless biker.

        until traffic laws are enforced for bikes, they will be nothing more than suggestions that are only followed by the cyclist kind enough to consider others. It is ashame that the bike advocates in seattle do not support the safety for all types of commuters that enforcement of these laws would bring.

    2. Statistics say otherwise. In NYC the last pedestrian killed by a cyclist was a jaywalker killed in 2009 and the one before that was in 2006, while roughly 200 pedestrians are killed and 4000 maimed per year by motor vehicles and an average of 60 per year are killed while walking on the sidewalks. In TX the entire state has had one pedestrian killed by a cyclist in 2010 and none since or between 1999 and 2010 (I was only able to check the records as far back as 1999) while averaging nearly 900 dead and 3000 maimed by motor vehicles since 1999. In the UK the whole country averages 4 pedestrians killed by cyclists per year with some years having none and some years having “clusters” of 10 or so, they are in a 3 year drought of pedestrian deaths from cyclists last I heard. They also average about 60 pedestrians killed by motor vehicles on their sidewalks.

      So really the most dangerous thing to you walking on the sidewalk is the loose nut behind the wheel of that car behind you in the street.

  40. […] Neighborhood Greenways and the Madison Park Community Council are planning a vigil walk for the man critically injured in Madison Park […]

  41. Theresa

    I used to be a supporter of bicyclists and in my old job commuted back and forth to work downtown by bicycle. However as a pedestrian, I have had so many negative experiences with arrogant, speeding bicyclists that I don’t want to support any more bicycling infrastructure. Intellectually I know that there are good car drivers and jerk car drivers, good bicyclists and jerk bicyclists, good pedestrians and jerk pedestrians, but personally I’ve just had it with dealing with rude bicyclists. I would have thought that increasing bicycle infrastructure would decrease the frequency of rude bicyclists, but it seems as if the opposite is true. 5 years ago I would have supported and voted for anything to support bicycling, but not any more.

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6:00 pm South Seattle Safe Streets Coali… @ Virtual via Zoom
South Seattle Safe Streets Coali… @ Virtual via Zoom
Jun 18 @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Joint meeting between Rainier Valley Greenways & Beacon Hill Safe Streets.ShareMastodonTwitterFacebookRedditEmail
7:15 pm Point83 @ Westlake Park
Point83 @ Westlake Park
Jun 20 @ 7:15 pm
Point83 @ Westlake Park
Meet up in the center of the park at 7ish. Leave at 730. Every Thursday from now until forever rain or shine. Bikes, beers, illegal firepits, nachos, bottlerockets, timetraveling, lollygagging, mechanicals, good times.ShareMastodonTwitterFacebookRedditEmail
1:00 pm Redmond History Ride @ Marymoor Park Velodrome Parking Lot
Redmond History Ride @ Marymoor Park Velodrome Parking Lot
Jun 23 @ 1:00 pm – 4:30 pm
Redmond History Ride @ Marymoor Park Velodrome Parking Lot | Redmond | Washington | United States
Join this 13 mile bike ride around Redmond at a Leisurely pace. We’ll visit various sites both old and new as I tell stories about the city that was once known as Salmonberg.ShareMastodonTwitterFacebookRedditEmail
5:30 pm Downtown Greenways monthly meeting
Downtown Greenways monthly meeting
Jun 24 @ 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
Last Monday of the month.  Join us! https://seattlegreenways.org/downtowngreenwaysShareMastodonTwitterFacebookRedditEmail
6:00 pm Ballard-Fremont Greenways Meeting
Ballard-Fremont Greenways Meeting
Jun 26 @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Ballard-Fremont Greenways meets monthly on the 4th Wednesday of the month. Join the google group for monthly meeting information: https://groups.google.com/g/ballard-greenwaysBring your enthusiasm and ideas to share with the group or just stop in to say hello[…]
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