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Friday, September 16, 2011

A Warning to Aggressive Drivers

Posted by on Fri, Sep 16, 2011 at 6:00 AM

Yesterday in the U District.
  • E.S.
  • Yesterday in the U District.

During yesterday's University District press conference, the loudest applause came when Seattle Police Department spokesman Sean Whitcomb asked for everyone—car drivers, bike riders, walkers—to move about the city "with consideration," and then spoke directly to aggressive drivers.

"A warning to those who drive aggressively on our streets," Whitcomb said, looking into the TV cameras. "You will be stopped and you will be cited."

More photos in the jump.

City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen
  • E.S.
  • City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen

Among the crowd.
  • E.S.
  • Among the crowd.

Across the street, the memorial for Robert Townsend, 23.
  • E.S.
  • Across the street, the memorial for Robert Townsend, 23.


Comments (35) RSS

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I am a bicyclist.... I think aggressive riders, drivers, and walkers should be punched in the mouth. That is all.
Posted by okayokay on September 16, 2011 at 6:14 AM · Report this
Max Solomon 2
and we're going to arrest every illegal drug user, too.
Posted by Max Solomon on September 16, 2011 at 6:17 AM · Report this
I guess McGinn has nothing left but pandering for his base. It's like watching Dubya at the end.
Posted by Floaters on September 16, 2011 at 6:23 AM · Report this
rtm 4
why is Tom Rasmussen there? i understand wanting to makes friends and all, but the idea that we can have any money to make infrastructure changes to make streets safer for bikes and pedestrians (you know, people) when we are going to have to pay for the tunnel is absurd. it's just gutless pandering on his part.
Posted by rtm on September 16, 2011 at 7:08 AM · Report this
Does anyone ever talk about how "Share the Road" means just that. Cyclists MUST obey all traffic laws for this to work.
Posted by SteveD on September 16, 2011 at 7:09 AM · Report this
Was the one black guy just passing by?
Posted by on September 16, 2011 at 7:23 AM · Report this
Last of the Time Lords 7
Were there any hot guys there? That's all I am interested guys!!
Posted by Last of the Time Lords on September 16, 2011 at 7:24 AM · Report this
@ SteveD And so should cars. Like the many drivers downtown who don't look for pedestrians with the right of way in the crosswalk while making turns, or punching the gas on yellow and running red lights.
Posted by erly on September 16, 2011 at 7:25 AM · Report this
Dr_Awesome 9
Yah. SteveD: Have you ever:
Driven even ONE mile per hour over the speed limit?
Failed to come to a COMPLETE stop for three seconds at a stop sign?
Made a left turn at an intersection and drifted wide into the outside lane?
Proceeded through ANY yellow light EVER?

See, SteveD, all those things are actually against the law per the RCW's. Yellow lights mean stop. Changing lanes in an intersection is illegal. Driving over the posted speed limit by any amount is illegal.

Every car driver EVERYWHERE does ALL these things dozens of times per trip.

So, SteveD, now kindly shut the fuck up about making bicycle riders obey every single traffic law.
Posted by Dr_Awesome on September 16, 2011 at 7:36 AM · Report this
" ONE mile per hour over the speed limit?
Failed to come to a COMPLETE stop for three seconds at a stop sign?
Made a left turn at an intersection and drifted wide into the outside lane?
Proceeded through ANY yellow light EVER? "

Shit, if doing a California stop was all cyclists were guilty of, I might give a shit when one smashes his brakeless, illegal fixie into some poor UW student's car.
Posted by Bums on Bikes on September 16, 2011 at 7:43 AM · Report this
Why can't we simply direct the police to cite /ALL/ aggressive/dangerous road users? I would like to see the police cite dangerous drivers, dangerous cyclists, and dangerous pedestrians. If the police made an effort to cite all road users indiscriminately, I think we'd find out that cyclists are some of the least abusive users of the road via the statistics of the citations. The city isn't helping by asserting that the problem is always dangerous drivers.
Posted by saeculorum on September 16, 2011 at 7:55 AM · Report this
More general feel-good statements with no real call to action. Oh, and an empty threat, in the sense that aggressive drivers should already be getting stopped and ticketed.
Posted by suddenlyorcas on September 16, 2011 at 8:12 AM · Report this
Rob in Baltimore 13
Yes, there are bad and aggressive drivers, bike riders, and pedestrians, and there probably always will be. It's a given, and everyone shares the blame.

Just like they have seat belt laws, and mandated car inspections, bicycles need to up to safety specs too. They need specifically outlaw riding fix gear bicycles on the street. There doesn't seem to be any clear regulations about these fashion accessory, fad bikes. Any bike without a functioning, dedicated breaking system should should also be banned from the street.
Posted by Rob in Baltimore on September 16, 2011 at 8:12 AM · Report this
seatackled 14
I wouldn't mind aggressive drivers being cited, but what I'd really like them to include in their target are drivers who talk on the phone. It's never very comfortable seeing a car turning toward you with a driver steering with one hand.

Obviously, the cops aren't going to catch most violators, but if they do actively pursue bad drivers and keep it up once the media attention dies down, it seems like many drivers will change their behaviors.
Posted by seatackled on September 16, 2011 at 8:23 AM · Report this
seandr 15
By my understanding, Robert Townsend was killed by a driver who didn't see him coming and turned left in front of him. There's nothing to suggest this was the result of "aggressive" driving. Rather, it's just another incident of an all too common accident scenario.

Visibility is always going to be an issue if you are riding a bike in traffic. Wear blinkie lights. Use caution.
Posted by seandr on September 16, 2011 at 8:30 AM · Report this
Kinison 16
Bike cops could hide around the corner of the Paramount theater on Pine and ticket cyclists running red lights all day long. Bottom of hills is a great place for the city to generate revenue.
Posted by Kinison on September 16, 2011 at 8:34 AM · Report this
@4, Tom Rasmussen was there because Cascade Bicycle Club invited him. Take it up with them.
Posted by gloomy gus on September 16, 2011 at 8:36 AM · Report this
Maybe they don't want brakes on their bikes because everyone has heard of them.
Posted by Bhamjason on September 16, 2011 at 8:36 AM · Report this
Bikes and cars do not belong on the same streets in Seattle. It makes no sense to require cars to make right turns by moving over into the designated bike lane. That endangers both bikers and drivers.
Posted by sarah70 on September 16, 2011 at 8:39 AM · Report this
MacCrocodile 20
Finally! This witch hunt has been disorganized for too long. It's nice to see our magistrates are finally stepping up to show a little leadership in figuring out who blighted my crops and killed those cyclists.
Posted by MacCrocodile on September 16, 2011 at 8:47 AM · Report this
Maybe if we expanded the SPD Mounted Unit they could catch more aggressive drivers?
Posted by SeattleSeven on September 16, 2011 at 9:45 AM · Report this
Wow, "Dr Awesome", you're angry. You're assuming I'm all "kill the (bike) messenger". Screw you. This is the same angry rhetoric we're used to seeing from the GOP. I don't understand where it comes from. Yes, vehichle drivers need to stop at stop signs. Get it? "Share" the Road.

Sarah70 - Share the Road means that bikes and cars "share the road".

Also, there's this thing to remember about being a cyclist. THE CAR IS BIGGER THAN YOU. No matter what, the car is bigger than you. There is NO REASON to get into a game of chicken with a car if you are on a bike.
Posted by SteveD on September 16, 2011 at 10:04 AM · Report this
Maybe we could take responsibility ourselves and as a community and work together to make things better on all sides. Instead of the "me first" mentality which seems to be spread amongst us here in Seattle, maybe we could show a little compassion and understanding toward our fellow man/woman. Police won't solve this problem, we as a community and individuals need to solve this problem by being proactive about a solution.
Posted by taco_time on September 16, 2011 at 10:46 AM · Report this
bleedingheartlibertarian 24
Let me make it easy for SPD to deliver on this promise.

Post an officer at the SE corner of 12th/Madison/Union (2 blocks from the East Precinct) during the evening rush hour. Watch how often eastbound car traffic onto Union takes that soft corner like it's a freeway off-ramp, whether there are pedestrians in the crosswalk or not (and at that hour they often are.)

I can pretty much guarantee you'll get more citations than you can write in an hour's time.
Posted by bleedingheartlibertarian on September 16, 2011 at 10:48 AM · Report this
@24, they could also post an officer at 19th and Galer and cite many dozens of cyclists daily who blow through the five-way stop without barely even looking around for oncoming traffic. I see near-misses there all the time because cyclists think they don't need to follow the rules of the road. (See? This works both ways).
Posted by Pantry on September 16, 2011 at 10:57 AM · Report this
I moved here from Texas some time ago, and my impression ever since is that, comparitively, Seattle Police don't pull you over for anything.
Posted by tiktok on September 16, 2011 at 11:15 AM · Report this
KittenKoder 27
@26 Seattle is the extreme opposite of Texas in law enforcement, cops here are just too afraid of being sued and having their careers ruined because someone wants to whine about being pulled over.
Posted by KittenKoder on September 16, 2011 at 11:26 AM · Report this
I agree w/@11 and @16
Posted by Little Brown Hen on September 16, 2011 at 12:10 PM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 29
To the aggressive asshole fuck cyclist who nearly ran me over as I started to cross the street because he switched from sidewalk to street at the same time,

FUCK YOU YOU FUCKING FUCK. I hope you cut a car off next time, and that car doesn't see you and doesn't stop going forward. And you're not wearing your helmet again. I should have pushed you.

Posted by TheMisanthrope on September 16, 2011 at 12:59 PM · Report this
merry 30
@ 27 - Is there any subject in which you are not an expert?
Posted by merry on September 16, 2011 at 1:15 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 31

The other day, I was crossing the street at a four-way stop and, only just then, saw a bicyclist out of the corner of my eye, who had not stopped at the stop sign and apparently wasn't going to stop for me either. While I wasn't in any specific danger, he cursed me out for getting in his way.


That right turn off Olive onto Denny westbound is a similar death trap.
Posted by keshmeshi on September 16, 2011 at 1:17 PM · Report this
Can we also cite aggressive, reckless and careless bikers too? I routinely see them run red lights, split lanes (ride between cars), ride in the oncoming lane and all manner of behavior that would probably land someone in jail if they had done the same stuff on a motorcycle. I had someone on a bike run into the side of my car because he tried to make a left turn across four lanes of traffic and he didn't even look before turning into my lane (I was diving parallel to him). He goes down and then yells at ME for "hitting him". SPD came and witnesses confirmed he attempted to make an illegal left turn and he ran into my car. He scratched up the side of my car too. I didn't even bother getting his info and I don't know if he was cited or not. If he had been on a motorcycle he sure would have been. In the end, SPD said it wasn't my fault (which i knew) and said I could leave which I did. The bottom line is that EVERYONE needs to drive/ride/walk responsibly, everyone needs to be aware and treat everyone else with respect. I walk in Seattle, drive in Seattle and bike in Seattle, so I've seen it from all sides. This isn't cars vs bikes, this is jerks vs considerate people. This is careless vs. conscientious people.
Posted by hifiandrew on September 16, 2011 at 2:50 PM · Report this
merry 33
hifiandrew wins this entire debate with the last two lines of his post, above:

"This isn't cars vs bikes, this is jerks vs considerate people. This is careless vs. conscientious people."
Posted by merry on September 17, 2011 at 9:03 AM · Report this
KittenKoder 34
@30 Did I ever claim to be an expert? Yes, I've been in a lot of places, known a lot of people, and learned a lot of life lessons (mostly on the streets or road) .... but it's a little about a lot of things, not a lot about a few things. Which means it's useless except for posting on blogs, moderating/posting on forums, etc. .... computer software is the only thing I can be considered an "expert" on, and then only a few areas .... ;) Basically, I'm great with general useless information.
Posted by KittenKoder on September 19, 2011 at 5:45 AM · Report this
A young man with tremendous potential - with a heart too big and an inspiration to many - why do you all want to make it make some sense - death never makes sense- you can not wrap it up with a sentence of your own self-righteousness. All you do with self-righteousness is remove yourself from the human pain that comes with a loss to the world. P.S. To all the the finger pointers on the YouTube video - you might note that it was most likely shot at 3 am or 4 am - note the lack of traffic on 50th is it?
Posted by momw/bikeridingson on September 19, 2011 at 10:36 PM · Report this

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