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Man killed while biking in West Seattle identified as Steven Hulsman

Selfie of a man in a helmet and cycling jersey on the side of a road surrounded by snow.
Steven Hulsman. Photo from his Strava profile, which notes that he had climbed 787,641 feet over 5,969 miles in 2023.

Steven Hulsman was biking a hilly route he has ridden countless times when someone driving collided with him and killed him Thursday evening. He was 66.

Our condolences to his friends and family.

Hulsman was a husband, father and grandfather. He loved riding hills like this one, friends say, and he was scheduled to lead a Cascade Bicycle Club free group ride along this route today (December 23). His friend and ride co-leader John Kugler lead the ride in his absence as a memorial to Steven.

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“Steve was one of the kindest persons I have ever met,” Kugler told Seattle Bike Blog:

“He just cared about everyone. He was always delighted whenever someone new showed up for one of his posted Cascade rides (and he posted A LOT of them for many, many years). He always reached out to welcome everyone and learn about them. He was incredibly fit and he loved to climb up hills to keep fit. His “Hills of the West Coast” Cascade rides are always the hilliest rides on Cascade’s free ride calendar. He loved the Northwest and riding in the mountains, especially Rainier National Park, the North Cascades Highway and Artist Point/Mt. Baker. He loved the outdoors. He has ridden the Ride Around Mt. Rainier more times than anyone I know. Riders on RAMROD [“Ride Around Mount Rainier in One Day”] are given numbers according to their age with the oldest getting the lowest number. One of Steve’s big goals was to someday ride RAMROD with a single digit ride number, i.e. to be one of the nine oldest riders. He always kept an eye out for the riders with the low numbers and cheered them on.”

UPDATE: Another friend, David Longdon, wrote a wonderful post about Steve on his site Northwest In Motion.

Hulsman worked for Washington State’s Chemical Water Quality Monitoring Program, a Department of Health program working to maintain clean drinking water. He also donated blood as often as possible for his entire life, and Kugler said he has donated close to 1,000 pints of blood.

“His loss will be felt not only in the cycling community and among his family and friends, but by the countless people he met and inspired throughout his life and countless others who never met him but whose lives were saved by his selfless care for the wellbeing of others,” said Kugler.

Stories about Steve, along with shock, dismay and sadness, have been pouring in since the news first started to spread. Many people have noted that Steve made them feel welcome and was always encouraging them during difficult rides. He was an extremely experienced ride leader who spoke about riding safely before every ride.

Marine View Drive is a popular cycling route due to its namesake views and also because it is a rare continuous through street in this area south of Fauntleroy. It is a two-lane road with no bike infrastructure and poor, inconsistent or completely missing shoulders. The official Seattle Bike Map includes Marine View Drive as a bike bike route with “no bicycle facility but commonly used.” This spring, someone driving struck Hulsman from behind while he was biking up Marine View Drive, according to Kugler. The person driving fled the scene after totaling Steve’s bike, but Steve escaped that collision mostly unharmed.

There are currently very few details about how the collision occurred, and the holiday means official information may come slower than usual. West Seattle Blog reports only that the collision occurred shortly after 6 p.m. at the intersection of Marine View Drive and 46th Ave SW. It is an awkwardly-angled intersection with significant inclines and a stop sign only for people heading downhill on 46th Ave SW. I will post an update when I learn more.

Street view photo looking north on Marine View Drive as it approaches 46th Ave SW. 46th is a significant downhill toward the intersection, and Marine View is a slight downhill. 46th is the only street with a stop sign, and it intersects at an obtuse angle.
January 2023 image from Google Street View of the approximate location of the collision.

Thanks to Ryan Packer for help reporting this story.

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22 responses to “Man killed while biking in West Seattle identified as Steven Hulsman”

  1. Anita L Elder

    I don’t think I ever met him, but hearing this saddens me greatly. I was riding Fauntleroy last Monday, not far from Marine Drive. Most of it has no bike lane and traffic felt too close as they passed me and my group. Being hit is always foremost in my mind when I’m road riding. Vehicles think the roads are just for them and bike riders be damned! I hope whomever hit him gets punished justly and has to live with the guilt for the rest of their life!

    1. Cindi

      As a driver, I would feel devastated were I to be involved in an incident such as this. What makes you believe that all drivers do not care? Many roads in Seattle are very treacherous for bikers and are not designed properly for all users. When we are hurting, it is too easy to not be patient enough to learn all of the facts. I read that the driver did stop to render aid. My thoughts are with Mr. Hulsman’s family, friends, colleagues, and to anybody involved in this horrific event.

      1. Steve

        I agree, Cindi. Accidents happen everywhere. Cars collide with other cars far more often, and it’s not because car drivers don’t give a damn about other cars. Motorcyclists get killed frequently and they actually keep up with posted speed limits—imagine if they only went 7 mph up hills!
        Mixing 5000 lb. vehicles going 40 mph with 26 lb. vehicles going 12 mph is just not viable. There are even groups that want to restrict the sale of full-size SUVs because they are a crash threat to the 2900 lb. compact cars! If driving on railroad tracks became legal, who would be blaming train operators for crashes? It’s all about the drastic disparity of mass & velocity.
        The law says bikes can use the streets. Law is not the sole authority over your life. Physics and Probability say that bikers will lose nearly every time. That is an immutable aspect of bicycles that no human law can shield you from.

      2. Neel

        I believe anyone driving in this situation would feel devastated. But if we were the driver in this situation, while we might feel devastated, the other person would be literally dead. “Caring” as a driver after we’ve struck and killed someone is of zero consequence.

        When drivers are “caring” enough to stop at stop signs, drive the speed limit, yield when required to by law… when they care enough to not text/phone/post while driving and pay full attention to their surroundings, and when they slow down enough to make safe decisions… THAT amount of caring will be enough to make a difference.

  2. Gary Yngve

    RIP, Steve.

    A comment in the West Seattle Blog by “Chelle” says, “I was a witness to it. Unfortunately it was both at fault in my opinion. The cyclist only had a small headlamp on and was traveling down the hill much too fast. The driver in the automobile made a left turn and clearly didn’t see the cyclist. It is an all around sad situation. At least two people’s lives are dramatically different now. I’m sending out positive thoughts for the cyclist to pull through this. ”

    I don’t necessarily agree or disagree with Chelle’s conclusion, but if it was a left cross when cyclist was traveling downhill, it’s a tough situation for the cyclist… stopping distances on a downhill are far, and infra wouldn’t really help. Left crosses are notoriously deadly for both cyclists and motorcyclists.

    I’ve had blaring headlights before and still have had a car driver turn into me while I was going relatively slow in a marked crosswalk across a protected bike lane.

    I’ve also been traveling too fast on a downhill with conditions that made it more difficult for car drivers to see me, and in hindsight, I should have gone slower.

    1. Tom Fucoloro

      Be careful drawing conclusions from early reports. I know people want to know what happened, but we really do not have enough information at this point to draw conclusions or assign blame. I’ve unfortunately reported on enough collisions to know that early reports are nearly always incomplete, and that jumping to conclusions about incomplete information can be hurtful for the victim’s loved ones to read.

  3. Art Valla

    This area is about to get a lot worse.

    Seattle City Light is replacing all the underground power lines in this area from 46th Ave SW & SW Brace Pt Drive West to the Sound and South to Arroyos Natural Area. This will be a project that lasts several years.

    There are very few staging areas where the construction crews can park their vehicles overnight west of Marine View Drive. So any open space along Marine View Drive and Fauntleroy Way will have heavy machinery parked there.

  4. Kathy

    It should be pointed out that the driver in the collision Thursday night did stop, called 911 and attempted to render aid to Steven according to witness reports on the West Seattle Blog.

  5. Michael Kindt

    Such a terrible loss.

    I used to ride that route multiple times a day, nearly every day.

    I can’t count how many scares I had though with cars ignoring me coming down the hill and making the left turn, cutting me off, rather than waiting.

  6. Ted diamond

    Very sorry to hear about this.

  7. Rob

    People need to slow down while driving. Steve was a completely competent biker and people need to be more cautious and observant of their surroundings while driving a car. What a loss.

  8. Breadbaker

    I’m sorry to read about this.

    But I particularly wanted to compliment you, Tom, for your being very clear that this was a collision between a person cycling and a person driving a vehicle. Where I live now, in Iowa, this was the language the local TV news station used for a similar event: “An initial investigation indicated that a single vehicle was driving southbound on Waverly Road when it struck a pedestrian who was walking on the shoulder of the roadway. The pedestrian, a 25-year-old man, was taken to a local hospital by Medic EMS with serious life-threatening injuries. The driver, a 45-year-old man, was not injured.” Vehicles don’t drive themselves, and except in the rarest cases, what the driver, not the vehicle, did is what matters.

  9. Roger Brewin

    My family and I met Elaine, Steve’s sister this evening at the Bellevue Botanical Gardens where she was volunteering. As we spoke to her she shared this incredibly sad news with us, perfect strangers to her. For many reasons, it was a deeply moving moment for us. I did not know Steve then, but I do now. Elaine, if you ever read these words know that we hold space for and see your loss. Thank you for reminding my family of how precious life is.

  10. Kathy

    If you live in this area, there is no KC Metro bus coverage. If you need to go to the nearest restaurant or market (Endolyne Jo, El Camion Mexican Food Truck, Wildwood Market and Eatery) you either walk, bike or drive. These types of neighborhoods are so car dependent because of lousy dangerous street design. They just promote more car traffic, more unsafe situations and more pollution/climate warming. We need and deserve better from Seattle Department of Transportation. How about making it one way car traffic to allow room for proper walking and biking space? Force drivers to find a different route going the other direction. Or they could switch to walking or biking if it became more convenient for the shorter distance trips. It could be done if the city had any backbone.

    1. eddiew

      there is sadly sparse transit coverage by routes 21X (one-way peak-only) and Route 22, mostly hourly. The network was implemented in fall 2012 around the C line.

    2. Art Valla

      “Lousy Street Design” has a lot of history behind it.

      First, most of the properties west of this area were first owned by the US Army. It was essentially undeveloped until the start of WWII. Endoline was the end of the trolley line. The only major development was an estate belonging to the Coleman family (who also donated Lincoln Park to the city).

      When WWII started, the US military feared an imminent attack by the Japanese. A small fortification was built to protect the Fauntleroy Ferry dock. But the army didn’t have any spare AA guns or cannons, so they painted utility poles to look like cannon barrels. My father-in-law was one of the people who helped paint them and put them in place. All that the fortification really had was a lookout post and a telephone. All that is left is an empty electrical box.

      All the area south of Roxbury and west of Marine View Drive was outside the city limits in unincorporated King County. After WWII ended, the army gave the land to the city and development took off. The city was rather unprepared for the increase in population and had to blend the new neighborhood roads into the old county/military roads.

      Not that the city couldn’t have done a better job and still could fix the mess. It is just this is how this area roads and horrible intersections came about.

  11. paul

    Normally i don’t comment, but wanted to express condolences to the victim and his family. And there’s something extra unsettling seeing an experienced cyclist taken out like this.

    1. Gary Yngve

      Definitely. Often we think, “that wouldn’t happen to me because I follow X defensive cycling practices, I’m decked out in a zillion lights, etc.”, but risk can be mitigated only so much. And we constantly need to fight pyschological effects like complacency. In this case, it appears that we cannot put the blame on an intoxicated criminal, like who murdered Robb Mason. Cycling is more dangerous than driving, period. In lieu of sitting on the couch, it is safer than no exercise, but there are other safer forms of exercise, including cycling on a trainer. A lot of us still do it for mental health benefit (when we aren’t being raged on/scared off of the road). In some cases, a trail is practicable given the surroundings, but bike lanes aren’t necessarily safer. In particular, they don’t work on steep curvy downhills with intersections. Driving isn’t going away; it’s too intertwined in modern American culture and available transportation capabilities. These tragedies will happen and continue to happen, and it is a reality and calculated risk of our sport/lifestyle.

  12. Mark

    I was so sorry to hear this. What a tragedy for both Steve and the vehicle driver. This is the second cycling fatality I’ve experienced in the last 3 months from people my age that I have ridden with in the past. I’m not sure I’d personally met Steve, although I did numerous group rides,mostly southend with Cascade Bicycling club. He sounds like a very caring, giving person. When not riding bicycles, I ride motorcycles, and agree it’s getting so dangerous (numerous fairly close calls and growing every year) on both, that I’m considering only riding indoor trainers, and mountain bike or gravel bike riding. Maybe limited outdoor riding in more rural areas. Drivers (and some cyclists) are getting more distracted, on edge, some are older and slower reacting than we used to be, etc. including me. It sounds like Steve left good memories and a true legacy. That part is a good thing that will always be remembered.

  13. Carol Bryant

    I would appreciate knowing when services for Steve will be held.

  14. Gary Brown

    I have worked with Steve over the last 17years off and on with Water Quality. He had a passion for creating an environment of knowledge when it came to safe drinking water. I truly believe he unequivocally loved what he did and the people he worked with. I will miss our short conversations (turned long) on the phone hearing about his rides. He will be dearly missed


  15. Marty

    I was fortunate enough to know Steve. We talked just 3 days before his death. He was as vivacious as ever with a quick smile. He was a passionate cyclist. We talked about the miles ridne and elevation gain goals he set for 2023. We traded goals for 2024. I will miss those talks.


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