Man killed biking across Rainier Ave, suspect in white sedan fled the scene

The 9200 block of Rainier includes this curve just south of the Safeway and Rainier Beach Branch Library. Image from Google Maps.

A man biking across Rainier Ave was killed Monday evening when someone driving a white sedan struck him and fled the scene, according to Seattle Police. The suspect is still on the loose.

The man’s identity and age have not been released. Our condolences to his friends and family.

Police said in a blotter post that the victim was riding his bike across Rainier Ave S in the 9200 block, which includes a wide curve in the busy and notoriously dangerous street just south of the Safeway and Rainier Beach Branch Library.

Police did not release any more specifics about the circumstances of the collision. Other media reports suggest it happened near Sturtevant Ave S near the south end of the curve. The suspect’s white sedan should have “extensive damage to the front end and windshield.” Anyone with information should call the SPD non-emergency line at 206-625-5011.

This is the same block where someone struck and killed Kao Saeteurn while he was trying to cross the street on foot just over a year ago. That suspect also fled the scene.

The south segment of the Rainier Ave safety project was originally scheduled for 2016. Now the city says maybe 2020. Original graphic from SDOT, edits by Seattle Bike Blog.

This stretch of Rainier Ave was supposed to receive a safety redesign in 2016, but city leaders have delayed that project for three years now despite consistent neighborhood outcry. Neighbors renewed their calls for the city to complete the Rainier Ave Road Safety Corridor Project last summer after someone driving struck and injured two kids at Rainier and Henderson, just a couple blocks north of Monday’s fatal collision.

Mayor Durkan did rush out a few small changes to that intersection after neighbors held a rally to demand safety changes to the street, but she and SDOT have continued to delay the full safety project.

Serious and fatal collisions were nearly eliminated after a wildly successful safety project on Rainier Ave between Columbia City and Hillman City, which makes it that much more infuriating that the city still has not completed the safety project. We can see that it works, yet the city still does not even plan to fix it for another year. And that’s assuming it doesn’t get pushed back again.

It’s way to early to know whether the city’s safety project could have prevented Monday’s collision. There just aren’t enough details. But we know that this stretch of Rainier is deadly, especially this block. And we know that we can redesign the street to reduce speeding, serious injuries and deaths. It is simply unethical for the city to ignore this safety problem the way they have. At this point, it’s a dereliction of the city’s basic duty to protect the well-being of its residents.

More details on Monday’s collision, from Seattle Police:

Detectives are investigating after a man was struck and killed in a hit and run while riding his bike in the Rainier Beach neighborhood Monday evening.

Officers were dispatched to the 9200 block of Rainier Avenue South at 4:50 p.m. Monday for a report of a white sedan that had struck a bicyclist and then fled the scene.

Seattle Fire Department Medics attempted life-saving measures but the man died at the scene.

Witnesses said the bicyclist was attempting to cross Rainier Avenue South when he was hit by the sedan which was traveling in the southbound lanes.

Traffic Collision Detectives are now investigating and are searching for a white sedan with extensive damage to the front end and windshield.  If you have any information please call the non-emergency line at 206-625-5011.

This remains an active scene and details may change as the investigation continues.

About Tom Fucoloro

Founder and Editor of Seattle Bike Blog.
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15 Responses to Man killed biking across Rainier Ave, suspect in white sedan fled the scene

  1. JDO says:

    I believe this makes 3 in a row. The last 3 Seattle bike deaths were in SE Seattle.*

    City Councilor Bruce Harrell never supported anything for bikes. Good riddance. And the Mayor… [rolls eyes theatrically]

    I’d recommend supporting Phyllis for SE Seattle City Council and giving her your democracy vouchers. I believe she’ll work hard on bike safety issues.

    *Did I miss one?

    • (Another) Tom says:

      I will give Bruce credit for voting to reduce citywide speed limits. Now if only we would enforce them…

      I also intend to support Phyllis with my vouchers as I think she would be an effective champion for cyclists; especially for those of us with an S. in our home address.

      The Columbia City stretch is such a clear improvement in terms of safety and comfort for everyone and doesn’t seem to be impeding throughput in any meaningful way. Even if it did, why should Seattleites be put at risk so some jerkoff from Renton can play drag racer on their commute to downtown? It is long past time for traffic calming and serious enforcement.

      Meanwhile the local news is busy warning drivers where they are most likely to get a speeding ticket (Did you know that you can’t get a speeding ticket if you drive the limit? Hot tip at 11!) and lawmakers from both parties are tripping over themselves to further increase subsidies for SOV drivers. Heaven forbid a motorist be forced to pay for some of the infrastructure they so jealously guard.

      “My tabs are too expensive because I got sold on a $40,000 car and now I can’t come up with $500/year to pay for the roads I intend to drive on (and use as personal storage space) because my car payments are like $900/month.”

      It’s infuriating.

      • Well, the $500 year tabs are mostly going to Sound Transit, so it isn’t exactly accurate to imply that it is paying for the roads they drive on. Roads are (mostly) paid for with property taxes. We can always come up with general funding for roads projects (tunnel anyone?) but transit has to be funded by voter approved measures that tax people in very visible ways so they can get angry about it and then our DEMOCRATIC representatives can fix the problem thereby slowing down the already slow pace of mass transit funding.

  2. JB says:

    Protests and lawsuits. Everything else is just plaintive bleating.

  3. CLARA CANTOR says:

    Heartbreaking and infuriating. If anyone from the family is reading this please contact me, [email protected], we’d like to be of help.

    Changes to Rainier Ave are so long overdue. If you want to get involved advocating for change, including outreach work, listening to neighbors and building relationships, let me know. You can get plugged into our local chapter, Rainier Valley Greenways, using this sign up form:

    Clara Cantor
    Seattle Neighborhood Greenways

  4. Meghan says:

    I am sick over this- I live in the neighborhood and have crossed Rainier at Sturtevant on my bike many times. It can be harrowing. We need to put pressure on SDOT to fast track the traffic calming project for that stretch. Clare thank you for posting Neighborhood Greenways info, I will get in touch about ways to help.

  5. gm says:

    It’s terrible that yet another family is grieving because of Rainier Ave. That timeline map perfectly demonstrates the urgency that the city has placed on fixing this dangerous street.

    Some years ago, just north of the University Bridge was deemed a dangerous street as well. While waiting for permanent road improvements along Roosevelt the city implemented temporary safety improvements (a protected bike lane) until the more permanent improvements could be implemented. With all of the timeline pushbacks, why hasn’t the city done something similar for Rainier Ave?

    While we wait for the city to do something to improve the safety of South Seattle residents, there’s a Neighborhood Street Fund proposal for a protected intersection at Rainier & Henderson that we can show support for.

  6. Pedro says:

    @JDO – By my count, this makes 5 deaths in SE Seattle in the past 2 years. We should say their names:

    – The most recent person yesterday –
    – Alex Hayden –
    – Taylor Marie Goehring –
    – Ronacin Tjhung in early 2017 –
    – Celso “Pete” Diaz in SODO in late 2017 –

    I ride all over the city and nowhere is perfect. But it’s way worse down here, south of i-90.

    Gotta die somehow, I guess.

  7. Erik says:

    It makes me sad when I read comments in news articles after this accident and almost every other one which instead of expressing condolences for loss of life immediately comment on one or more of the following repetitive themes: Cyclists are a lawless bunch whose sins as a whole make them responsible for death whether or not it is their fault or not, cyclists cause all kinds of damage to property and others should be insured and have a license, cyclists don’t belong on the road, roads are made for cars, rants about seeing how many bad things cyclists do (never however noting the same or worse from cars) to justify somehow that it was the cyclist’s fault.

    What is it with this mindset? It scares me there are people out there and the attitude of many in the public against cyclists and pedestrians for that matter worsens our safety on the road not just for cyclists and pedestrians but all users. It’s kind of a self serving anti-social attitude that seeks to not show sympathy or hold oneself responsible to logic and safe behavior.

    • MikeG says:

      When analyzing the comments of the local papers, I assume everyone is a Russian troll. The alternative, which is also plausible, is that these people live a pitiful, hateful life and the only joy comes from writing nasty, vile comments.

      Personally, I hope it is the former.

      • Peri Hartman says:

        I agree with that assessment. It seems that there is a fairly small and consistent group of people who apparently have nothing better to do than write troll comments. It’s the same group on every article always writing vitriol and lambasting any topic that might get them a response.

        Occasionally, someone legit gets mixed in the frey.

  8. bike bike bike says:

    Nothing new in Rainier Beach, and so glad I don’t make that commute from there to Ballard any longer, it is such a PIA vs ten years ago when skirting the hood to get to Airport Way or such wasn’t as bad. I’ll take 24 miles in freezing rain any day up here in BC.

    Do you really think there is a way to fix Rainier? Highly unlikely. Seen so many wacky “improvements” from the City that I already know the outcome. Trust SDOT?! hahahaha, the joke is on cyclists there.

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