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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Cyclist Critically Injured in Downtown Collision

Posted by on Tue, Aug 25, 2009 at 10:43 AM

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A cyclist sustained massive head injuries in a collision with a Lexus in downtown Seattle last night, and police have apparently already absolved the driver.

At about 4:40 p.m., police say, a driver was traveling southbound through the intersection at 5th Avenue and Olive Street when the Lexus collided with a male cyclist. Police haven't indicated which direction the cyclist was traveling.

Medics arrived on scene and transported the cyclist to Harborview with life-threatening head injuries. Even though the incident is still under investigation, police are already blaming the cyclist. A post on SPD's blog about the incident notes that "It is possible that the bicyclist may have proceeded through a red light without yielding."

 

Comments (71) RSS

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Baconcat 1
That's a lie! Cyclists in this city obey the proper laws.

Red lights are draconian and of no use to cyclists, anyway. Do they look like cars? No. A cyclist is far more responsible than someone driving a 2 ton death machine, they can stop faster and are far more maneuverable. It's stupid to pin this on the cyclist.
Posted by Baconcat on August 25, 2009 at 10:48 AM · Report this
2
Why is this tagged as "CRIME" if police have absolved the driver?
Posted by Curious Jorge on August 25, 2009 at 10:50 AM · Report this
Fnarf 3
LOOK at that intersection. Look how wide it is, how much lane there is in every direction, how confusing the lanes and angles are. This kind of intersection is terrifying for cyclists (and plenty of cars), and they're everywhere in this city.

Every day I drive on Stone Way and East Green Lake Way, and both of those streets have added bike lanes that require automobiles to cross the bike lane in order to get into the turn lane. Our streets are planned for mayhem.

I'll let the rest of you argue about whether cars or bicycles, drivers or cyclists, are more evil. I just hope people can get where they're going safely. It's hard in this city.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on August 25, 2009 at 10:51 AM · Report this
4
There were eye-witnesses to this accident (which you failed to mention) who all said the cyclist ran a red light. Just because he's a bicyclist doesn't mean he's automatically innocent of blame.
Posted by Justy on August 25, 2009 at 10:54 AM · Report this
5
Solution: Make it legal for cyclists to run red lights, as some people here have advocated. Then it'd be the evil driver's fault for pulling out in front of the cyclist! Problem solved.
Posted by Orv on August 25, 2009 at 10:55 AM · Report this
6
@2—because either way, someone (probably) ran a light.
Posted by Jonah Spangenthal-Lee on August 25, 2009 at 10:59 AM · Report this
7
@3 Which makes stopping at red lights even more of a good idea.
Posted by giffy on August 25, 2009 at 11:00 AM · Report this
FreudianShrimp 8
Okay, the automobile was a Lexus, but what make and model was the bike?
Posted by FreudianShrimp on August 25, 2009 at 11:02 AM · Report this
9
A poor decision with tragic consequences. I mean we all make bad choices all the time, and sometimes luck is just not on your side.

I feel bad for both the driver, who is probably quite shaken up, and the cyclist who has to suffer pretty horribly for a bad decision.
Posted by giffy on August 25, 2009 at 11:02 AM · Report this
michael strangeways 10
it's a little amusing that you're being biased as you report on the police allegedly being biased...

a little.
Posted by michael strangeways http://www.seattlegayscene.com/ on August 25, 2009 at 11:03 AM · Report this
11
A post on SPD's blog about the incident notes that "It is possible that the bicyclist may have proceeded through a red light without yielding."

I eagerly await the Critical Mass bridgade's explanation of how this was the driver's fault - what imaginary law the driver had broken. Or perhaps they'll just fall back on the "We're more vulnerable, so we're automatically blameless!" line.
Posted by i'm waiting. on August 25, 2009 at 11:04 AM · Report this
Reality Check 12
@1 FTW

@4 FTW pointing out the Stranger's shoddy reporting of stories with key portions omitted in order to present a skewed story.

Grow up.
Posted by Reality Check http://www.nraila.org on August 25, 2009 at 11:04 AM · Report this
13
@8: Real Seattle hipsters don't ride bikes with identifiable makes and models. They ride chrome track bikes with no brakes.
Posted by Orv on August 25, 2009 at 11:04 AM · Report this
14
LEXUS ! LEXUS! LEXUS!

Come on Slog, why are you hiding the neighborhood of the driver! I bet he lives in Bellevue or Medina!
Posted by PC on August 25, 2009 at 11:05 AM · Report this
Jason Josephes 15
We should just outlaw accidents. Then they would all go away.
Posted by Jason Josephes http://www.myspace.com/bluemoonseattle on August 25, 2009 at 11:07 AM · Report this
FreudianShrimp 16
I wonder if either the bicyclist or the Lexus driver was texting:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGE8LzRay…
Posted by FreudianShrimp on August 25, 2009 at 11:07 AM · Report this
17
frankly - not wishing bad juju - I have never seena bike stop at the red lights

it is their devil may care macho signature - flying thru the intersection with foolish elan - trusting it can't happen to them

it does

hope the guy gets better and does a poster - Better Stop, Didn't Work for Me

I neither drive or bike, I walk and take the bus
Posted by Frugal of late on August 25, 2009 at 11:07 AM · Report this
18
The only red light law changes any reasonable cycling advocates support are to change stop signs and red lights to YIELD's for cyclists. This would mean if you run a red light or stop sign and get hit it basically guarantees the cyclist is in the wrong. Chill out everyone and get your facts straight.

Giffy says it best @9. It is terrible for everyone involved due to a mistake that not only broke the current law but also risked multiple people's physical and metal wellness.
Posted by anonanonanon on August 25, 2009 at 11:08 AM · Report this
Keister Button 19
One male cyclist I saw yesterday went through two red lights without yielding. I thought cyclists felt more entitled than equally or more green pedestrians, and thus run red lights? I have a two-wheeler but don't run red lights. Maybe I don't trust my health insurance to cover my bills, though.
Posted by Keister Button on August 25, 2009 at 11:10 AM · Report this
20
@8, @13: Actually, I rode by the intersection less than an hour later, the bike was still leaned up against a monorail pylon and the lexus was still in the intersection, and I can report it was a red fixed/SS with chrome bullhorns, although yes, I think the model name had been removed from the frame, hah (need to be able to laugh about something... right?). It was interesting, but I noted the bike itself didn't have much damage; it barely seemed scratched. Based on the lexus being pointed south on 5th, I'd strongly bet the cyclist was headed east on Olive, coming down the hill and was hit from the left with the Lexus coming off of 5th or possibly westlake (although the lane the car was in strongly hinted 5th). I was in a rush to meet friends but stopped enough to verify it was a bike accident with one of the cops, who when I asked if "the guy's ok?" simply and grimly shook his head "no". Terrifying.
Posted by Juris on August 25, 2009 at 11:10 AM · Report this
21
@20 I was thinking about the lack of damage thing and if the car was trying to stop they may not have hit the bike hard enough to do major damage, but hard enough to knock the guy off. I would think at that time of day the car could not have been going much more than 30. If the driver saw the cyclist coming though the intersection they may have slammed on their brakes but not in time stop.

If he wasn't wearing a helmet even a short fall could have done major damage if he happened to hit is head wrong.

Posted by giffy on August 25, 2009 at 11:16 AM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 22
...And another one bites the dust.

Some bikers are really good. Others, like the ones who wear all black while having a dim headlight and riding their bike at 11pm, need to die.
Posted by TheMisanthrope on August 25, 2009 at 11:17 AM · Report this
Mittens Schrodinger 23
Saying "It is possible that the bicyclist may have proceeded through a red light without yielding", based on eyewitness accounts, is hardly blaming the cyclist. It is simply offering a "possible" explanation backed up by some evidence. Maybe you should pull the spandex back over whatever cyclist's ass you're currently kissing and act like a non-biased reporter.
Posted by Mittens Schrodinger on August 25, 2009 at 11:17 AM · Report this
24
When I walk across a street against the light, I know full well I could get hit by a car for ignoring the laws of the road, and I take that chance. I sure hope this cyclist felt the same way- because this time, it cost him dearly.

Cyclists- stop at stoplights. It's the law, and it's there to save your life.
Posted by UNPAID COMMENTER on August 25, 2009 at 11:32 AM · Report this
25
Look, bottom line is that this is tragic. Now, if the cyclist did run a red light, that was not a smart move on his part. If the Lexus ran the red light, that was not a smart move on his/its part.

I am an avid cyclist and I always follow the traffic laws. To not do that is rude, not to mention dangerous to me and others.

People should be held accountable for their actions, but let's not jump to conclusions about responsibility without knowing the full details, and let's also have some compassion for both driver and cyclist.

Posted by SeaBradBike on August 25, 2009 at 11:33 AM · Report this
Soupytwist 26
@15 - Now that's a policy I can support!
Posted by Soupytwist http://twitter.com/katherinesmith on August 25, 2009 at 11:42 AM · Report this
27
@22: Yeah. My dad *hates* it when he's turning the corner on my street -- at or below the speed limit -- and there's some guy/girl barrelling towards him in the wrong direction, at full speed. It's usually someone who also isn't wearing a helmet *and* doesn't bother having any lights or reflective stickers.

Dear bicyclists who don't: Please, please bike with traffic. If you insist on going in the wrong direction for whatever reason, please at least go slowly at points in the road where drivers' vision will clearly be impaired or limited.

It's seriously dangerous and I'm terrified my father -- who has a spotless record in 30 years -- will kill someone one day through no fault of his own. He doesn't deserve that.
Posted by Gloria on August 25, 2009 at 11:43 AM · Report this
derrickito 28
last night i was riding to fremont with no hands, texting the entire way. i think i ran 3 red lights.

i just ate a sandwich bigger than my head.
Posted by derrickito on August 25, 2009 at 11:47 AM · Report this
Geni 29
Having been a cyclist most of my life, I was horrified to nearly flatten one the other day. I was driving along, looking for a particular address. I needed to make a right turn across the bike lane. I signaled, slowed, looked...and STILL a cyclist came FLYING down the lane fast enough to zip in front of me while I was in mid-turn. My car is tiny, but the physics are still against you, Mr. Spandex; it's incumbent on you to ASSUME all cars are trying to kill you and ride accordingly.
Posted by Geni on August 25, 2009 at 11:52 AM · Report this
Westlake, son! 30
No helmet? The cyclist was probably trying to promote banning them as a final act of cycling greenism.

http://adrianshort.co.uk/2009/08/24/456/
Posted by Westlake, son! on August 25, 2009 at 11:54 AM · Report this
31
I'm fine with letting cyclists decide whether or not run red lights. Darwinism works very well.
Posted by john cocktosin on August 25, 2009 at 11:59 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 32
I hear the bicyclists in Yakima hunt down the car and truck drivers that attack them.

Maybe bicyclists should carry?
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on August 25, 2009 at 12:04 PM · Report this
33
I get around Seattle by bicycle (I sold my car for beer money to a co-worker who needed it more), and I really like what someone once said on Point83's forums (paraphrasing):

"If I run a red light, I expect there to be another vehicle running the green light."

Running red lights without at least stopping to look first is asking for it. Doing it without a helmet and at a 5-way intersection in the core of a major city is just a special kind of stupid.
Posted by Lilting Missive on August 25, 2009 at 12:04 PM · Report this
Badger 34
I've seen at least 5 cyclists run red lights over the past couple of weeks. Usually in the U-District - what the hell is wrong with people? I got run over by an SUV two weeks ago when I was in an intersection and SHE ran the red light. People, in general, need to pay more attention, regardless of what they are riding/driving.
Posted by Badger on August 25, 2009 at 12:16 PM · Report this
35
If the cyclist was at fault and I were the driver, you can bet I'd be suing his ass (or his estate) for any damage to my vehicle, the same I'd do if it had been another car.
Posted by Mason on August 25, 2009 at 12:31 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 36
@35 - you know very little about economics then. Most people who have cars have insurance (car,medical,dental,house) and have property/assets. Most people who are cyclists lack one or more of those items (usually most of them). Suing does you no good when there are no assets to seize, especially since most judgments are never enforced in the USA.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on August 25, 2009 at 12:41 PM · Report this
37
@36 I have a bike, which I ride often on the streets, and I also have a car and a house and other assets. If I caused an accident while riding my bike, I would fully expect to be held responsible for the damages I caused. Being on two wheels does not excuse you from liability.
Posted by Mason on August 25, 2009 at 12:50 PM · Report this
38
Apart from the serious specifics of the collision, I'm supposing there will be a live KING-TV news segment with Jim Foreman reporting from beside the crumpled bike frame. Plus a Times news photo of the accident scene with the crumpled bicycle frame lying in the foreground. Extra points for including a cracked bicycle helmet with a torn chin strap.
Posted by Tria on August 25, 2009 at 1:01 PM · Report this
lunasea 39
Helmet!

If you chose to risk you life by not wearing a helmet, and not obeying traffic rules when you're on the city streets, then that's what you get.

Also, won't I feel like a jackass if it is determined that the cyclist was, indeed, wearing a helmet & obeying traffic laws. (I doubt that will happen.)
Posted by lunasea on August 25, 2009 at 1:04 PM · Report this
40
@35, @36 and @37

If you own a bike and a car and you get in an accident with a car while riding your bike, you and the other driver are covered by your auto insurance in Washington state.

I know many people who commute by bike, own cars, and own a house. It's so easy to characterize all cyclists by the behavior of a few. This is why I, as a cyclist, hate critical mass. It lets a few hundred people give the thousands of cyclists a bad name.
Posted by GF on August 25, 2009 at 1:09 PM · Report this
41
Agreed: Helmets, everyone, helmets!

No one ever said they looked cool, and yes it's somewhat less convenient when one must then carry it into the bar or wherever. But I'd rather look stupid with a helmet than injured—or worse—with a cracked open skull.

Everyone, slow down and enjoy your bikes and cars. Don't abuse them.
Posted by mitten on August 25, 2009 at 1:11 PM · Report this
Rotten666 42
I don't feel bad for this guy.
Posted by Rotten666 on August 25, 2009 at 1:21 PM · Report this
43
Don't know who's at fault, but I know this is the reason that I don't ride my bike nearly as much as I'd like. It's scary out there.

I love the pacific northwest for many reasons but transportation is not one of them. Too many apathetic fat-ass liberals cruising around in their cars still.
Posted by sall on August 25, 2009 at 1:44 PM · Report this
44
I happened to be waiting for the crosswalk light to change when the intersection became silent. A Lexus SUV (with "LEXUS" painted in giant letters on its side, like a dealership car) had pulled over, and a couple guys had gone to help a fallen cyclist. I suspected it was a broken collarbone spill, but the cyclist was crumpled head and shoulder into the pavement and was not moving at all, not a twitch or panicked lurching or noises or anything. It was really horrible. He's someone's son, and people don't recover from head trauma.

People take risks and make mistakes all the time, and we nearly always get by just fine. It's a miracle most little boys actually make it to adulthood for that matter. As a pedestrian, I'm often grunted at by righteous cyclists with unpredictable paths, and while driving I've become familiar with their non-deterministic approach to traffic laws (they do follow them sometimes, if only to keep us guessing). Still, the occasional ticket should be adequate to encourage a little more sense; it's too late after a crushed brain that used to be somebody.
Posted by random pedestrian on August 25, 2009 at 2:43 PM · Report this
45
As much as I would want to agree, cyclists don't always follow road laws. I have personally come dangerously close to cyclists because they almost never stop at the stop sign.
Posted by Ask-Amy http://hintcafe.com/askamy on August 25, 2009 at 2:45 PM · Report this
46
LOOK at that intersection. Look how wide it is, how much lane there is in every direction, how confusing the lanes and angles are. This kind of intersection is terrifying for cyclists (and plenty of cars), and they're everywhere in this city.


If you think a red light or a 5 way intersection is too confusing for comfort, you probably shouldn't be operating a vehicle on the road.
Posted by Gomez http://misterstevengomez.com on August 25, 2009 at 2:51 PM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 47
If this stupid cyclist had ridden in front of a light rail train and gotten hit, we'd all be laughing our asses off at him for being such a dumbass.

Same net result.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty http://www.nra.org on August 25, 2009 at 2:56 PM · Report this
48
@42: psychopath.
Posted by doceb on August 25, 2009 at 2:56 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 49
It's time to declare a War on Cars.

Hey, they kill and endanger more American citizens than MJ does, so it makes just as much sense ...
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on August 25, 2009 at 2:58 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 50
@37 - read what I said, not what you wanted me to say. It's still true.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on August 25, 2009 at 2:59 PM · Report this
Way2Blue4You 51
it was the cyclist's fault. he ran a red light, and that has now been conclusively determined. He brought this on himself, and I feel for the driver of the car who did absolutely nothing wrong and now has sue for the damages to his car.
Posted by Way2Blue4You on August 25, 2009 at 3:14 PM · Report this
52
@49.
Bring it on Willy and see how well your measley sacks of skin, fat, and bone contend against our steel.
Posted by Christine on August 25, 2009 at 3:21 PM · Report this
53
Despite what any of you say as to who was wrong, whether or not you feel sympathetic for the people involved, or despite your own opinions on this tragic accident just try to remember that this cyclist who was critically injured has family and friends that are now grieving over whether or not he's going to make it. I'm one of them. People make stupid mistakes all the time, and even if this was his fault it doesn't change the fact that it's terribly sad that a young man's life is hanging in the balance. For all of you who "don't feel bad for this guy", have a heart.
Posted by bearhug on August 25, 2009 at 3:24 PM · Report this
54
@2 It is a crime to run a red light.
Posted by Rightwrong on August 25, 2009 at 3:41 PM · Report this
Rotten666 55
@48 You can call me crazy all you want, but I don't feel bad for someone who cruises through red lights on a busy intersection. Why should I care when this person obviously had no regard for their own personal safety and the safety of the people around him?

Every day tragic accidents befall good people through no fault of their own. I really can't bother to feel for someone who causes their own calamity.

Posted by Rotten666 on August 25, 2009 at 3:59 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 56
@54 - that's why we walk through them in the U Dist.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on August 25, 2009 at 4:18 PM · Report this
57
@55: "Why should I care when this person obviously had no regard for their own personal safety and the safety of the people around him?"

How about "human compassion?"

You're crazy because you thank that caring/empathy is a zero-sum game, which means you don't really understand it at all in the first place.
Posted by doceb on August 25, 2009 at 4:27 PM · Report this
58
@rotten666 by your reasoning none of us deserve any sympathy. Your reasoning also has little to do with someone who is critical care and has just been in a traumatic accident. We all do stupid things, we don't all pay dearly for them.
Posted by lucky_so_far on August 25, 2009 at 4:38 PM · Report this
59
You ride a bike, you're eventually going to come off your bike, so helmets are the clearest sort of life insurance. Head injuries are beyond bad news. Helmets are sexy to me.
Posted by nightswim on August 25, 2009 at 4:41 PM · Report this
60
@55- Pathetic. I wonder if you'd have the same response if it was YOUR loved one who was critically injured, even IF it was their fault. Somehow I seriously doubt it. It's easy to take that stance when you don't know the person.

@57- well put:)
Posted by bearhugs on August 26, 2009 at 8:45 AM · Report this
61
@everyone
everyone that is flaming the cyclist for running the red light are complete idiots. Yes he may have ran the light but why flame someone for making a mistake. im sure all of you have broken the law at least once. Everyone makes mistakes and some unfortunately have tragic outcomes.
The cyclist I have known for 25 years now and may actually not make it through this. Think about the family and friends before you are so F*@#ing quick to reprimand. I pray with all my heart he survives this. The damage done to the ohh so great Lexus is nothing compared to losing a life.
@20 @57 @60 your about the only decent one here.
Posted by Rskyy on August 26, 2009 at 9:35 AM · Report this
62
If the cyclist was going west on Olive (wrong way) he would not have seen the red light.
Posted by Cars are made of steel, cyclists are made of meat. on August 26, 2009 at 12:40 PM · Report this
63
I am with you 100% Rskyy. (I posted #53 & #60)I am disgusted at the fact that so many people can be so heartless and make more of a stink about damage done to a lexus than to a human being. He's a great person and he and his family deserve compassion and POSITIVE thoughts. We are all praying for him and hope that he comes through with a full recovery. He and his family & friends will continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.
Posted by bearhugs on August 26, 2009 at 1:50 PM · Report this
64
Since I see this conversation going the same stupid, emotionally fallacious direction that these conversations about horrible cyclist accidents seem to go every single time, I'll state the following as simply as possible.

Everyone makes mistakes.

Some mistakes are more dangerously dumb than others.

Smart people do make dumb mistakes.

This cyclist is probably not a bad person.

He did, however, make a horrible, possibly stupid mistake. Vehicles were stopped, his street had a red light, and even if he didn't see the latter, he definitely saw the former, and he should have taken the visual cues therefrom and slowed down or stopped.

Hopefully, he lives and takes this lesson with him through the rest of his days, if he can get back on a bicycle again.

Let's not let defensive anger in sympathy (ironic in itself) distract from the fact that we could all learn something positive and constructive from this horrible accident.

Observe traffic signals, cyclists. Pay attention to stopped vehicles. They're probably stopped for a good reason.
Posted by Gomez http://misterstevengomez.com on August 26, 2009 at 3:02 PM · Report this
65
Undamaged Bike + life threatening head injury = no helmet.

So he'll have two traffic tickets waiting for him coming out of the hospital.

And just given my experience as a delivery driver downtown, it's safe to say that he ran the red light. Once they are up to speed, cyclists in this town are not fond of stopping for anything at all.
Posted by Lack Thereof on August 26, 2009 at 6:29 PM · Report this
66
I keep coming here looking for an update on how the cyclist is doing. It was such an awful sight. Keep hoping it's not as bad as it looked.

Any word?
Posted by passerby on August 26, 2009 at 7:27 PM · Report this
67
@63
Thank you so much for your support and thoughts on this.

@66
The cyclist has not improved. The reason there is no dmg done to the bike is because he tried to bail off it and save himself. however he hit the rear tire of the vehicle. it doesnt matter if there was a helmet on or not. they only protect up to a certain degree of impact.
Posted by Rskyy on August 27, 2009 at 9:11 AM · Report this
68
@ 67 Regardless of running red light or helmet wearing, I hope the cyclist pulls through, having been severely hurt in a (me) bike- (them) motor vehicle accident myself.

Although rapid improvement in his condition would be welcome, don't get discouraged. A friend of mine in an eerily-similar accident to mine (motor vehicle turning left fails to yield to cyclist going straight) was in very poor shape for months and has made a dramatic recovery. Expect a miracle!

Those of you that prefer can go back to your regularly-scheduled alternate flaming of cars and bikes.
Posted by the old galoot on August 27, 2009 at 11:16 AM · Report this
69
I hope the Lexus is ok. As for the cyclist, here's a preview:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJiwmm4-0…
Posted by Ian Smith on August 28, 2009 at 2:58 PM · Report this
70
It's been a couple weeks now. Any new word on how the cyclist is doing?
Posted by passerbyii on September 9, 2009 at 4:03 PM · Report this
71
he is still in a coma-like state. he is breathing on his own which is good. F-U to all you people talking shit about someone who could die!

maybe we should create seperated bike-lanes so cars and bikes don't have to cross paths, like they do in many European countries. biking to work should be applauded and commonplace. it reduces your carbon footprint and is more healthy.
Posted by shantz on September 16, 2009 at 4:11 PM · Report this

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