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Friday, September 7, 2007

Bicyclist Killed

posted by on September 7 at 15:33 PM

A garbage truck hit a bicyclist at Eastlake E. and Furhman Ave. E about a half hour ago. This is at the Southern entrance to the University Bridge off Eastlake.

The bicyclist, a man, was killed. He was with another biker, who was not harmed.

As the sad tipster who called in with the news—he lives right by the scene of the accident—reported it: “We’ve really got to figure out a way for bikes and cars to share the road.”

No details are available yet.

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Eastlake and Furhman is also the southern end of the University bridge, no?

Posted by brappy | September 7, 2007 3:41 PM

@1: Yes. There's a Red Robin in the NE corner of the intersection, the Pocock Rowing Center in the NW corner, some condos in the SW corner, and Romio's Pizza in the NE corner. There's also a bike lane across the bridge, but I'm not sure that it continues on Eastlake.

Posted by Emily | September 7, 2007 3:44 PM

@1: Yes. There's a Red Robin in the NE corner of the intersection, the Pocock Rowing Center in the NW corner, some condos in the SW corner, and Romio's Pizza in the SE corner. There's also a bike lane across the bridge, but I'm not sure that it continues on Eastlake.

Posted by Emily | September 7, 2007 3:45 PM

Yes, S. end of university bridge. That is a really sketchy corner for cyclists. In a car, making a left turn there goes right across a narrow bicycle lane on which cyclists tend to be moving pretty quickly and it is a busy intersection so you are looking seven different ways while you are making the turn.

Cyclists need their own light there with cars getting a "no turn on red arrow" sort of thing.

Posted by mason | September 7, 2007 3:48 PM

No, we don't need to find a way for bikes and cars to share the road. We need to find a way to make discrete, physically separated lanes for bicycles, preferably parallel to main arteries. Make the streets on either side one lane, one way streets for cars, and then place a physical barrier down the middle, making half of those streets bicycle only.

Posted by Gitai | September 7, 2007 3:48 PM

re @4. I should have said a RIGHT turn from Eastlake.

Posted by mason | September 7, 2007 3:52 PM

Damn. This has been a bad-news day. I live just a couple blocks from there and have always worried for the bicyclists that travel that stretch -- lots of traffic and not much room for bicyclists.

This sucks.

Posted by Ryan | September 7, 2007 3:58 PM

Bicyclists and vehicles share the road every second of every day.

This is a tragedy. Accidents happen.

Posted by Lake | September 7, 2007 3:59 PM

Name yet? I have a friend that rides that route on Fridays.

Posted by pox | September 7, 2007 4:20 PM

Any details available? How did it happen?

Posted by tsm | September 7, 2007 4:24 PM

This is really pretty fuckin scary. Lesson: dump trucks are too heavy! Lighten dump trucks!!

Posted by Katelyn | September 7, 2007 4:25 PM

I just rode through that intersection an hour and a half ago, about an hour before the accident apparently. There's construction going on for half a block there along eastlake, with its fencing over the the bike lane for part of that block. There's a construction guy there who waved me nicely out of the pedestrian area they've established as they're blocking the sidewalk too. I'm somewhat new to bicycling and didn't really want to merge with the right turning cars so close but I did it anyway.

Posted by ellen | September 7, 2007 4:26 PM

I'm having a bit of a "holy fuck!" moment right now: Last September 12th (I think) I was hit by a truck while riding my bike at that exact same intersection.


Posted by GW2 | September 7, 2007 4:32 PM

I live just up Roosevelt from the bridge. Many of my friends in the area commute on bikes across the bridge everyday. Chilling.

Posted by John | September 7, 2007 4:48 PM

In correction to the above story: The article mentions that the second cyclist was not harmed, however he was indeed taken to the hospital with minor injuries, as he himself was also hit by the truck.

Posted by Angela | September 7, 2007 4:51 PM

In correction to the above story: The article mentions that the second cyclist was not harmed, however he was indeed taken to the hospital with minor injuries, as he himself was also hit by the truck.

Posted by Angela | September 7, 2007 4:52 PM

I know a person who was hit by a car coming out of the parking lot next to the flower shop there, and a person who was hit by a person turning into it. I've been almost hit by cars going south, turning past romio's, while i was heading north. This is a high-accident area and cyclists are often going fast coming from the Bridge or Harvard. I would strongly support a more clearly delineated line between bike area and car area.

Sounds like they need to do something a lot more safe for the bike lane with the construction there, RIGHT NOW.

Posted by Gato | September 7, 2007 4:53 PM

Holy crap! I got hit on my bike there on monday. Some car made a right turn in front of me while I was on the downhill path. I'm mostly ok though, just scrapped up. I'm considering myself lucky (but sore).

Posted by kyleen | September 7, 2007 5:32 PM

I was driving home from school today, and that intersection is on my route. I saw the accident right after it happened... even before the ambulances got there. It was awful. That is a horrible intersection... I drive through it everyday. I wish something would be done to better accomodate bikers.

Posted by Leela | September 7, 2007 5:34 PM

I live there - they told me at the seen he did not have a helmet on. Not sure if that was verified yet.

Posted by Tina | September 7, 2007 5:45 PM

I live about a block away and drove by it - lots of police, of course, yellow tape, etc. It was in the intersection between the NE and SE corners of the street (between Red Robin and Romio's). I saw the dump truck and a mangled bike and decided to look away rather than gawk any more, but what I did see wasn't pretty.

Posted by Emily | September 7, 2007 6:22 PM

Kyleen @ 18 - I've had a near miss in that manner at that intersection too. I thought it was a freak incident, but there must be something about the sightlines there. Freaky stuff.

Posted by boyd main | September 7, 2007 6:41 PM

So sad.
Good reminder that sometimes it's best to claim the whole right lane than to skirt traffic on the right. And to pay attention to turn signals (assuming one was used).
Stay safe, we're invisible out there.
-steelpusher mindreader

Posted by justin | September 7, 2007 6:53 PM

I used to use Roosevelt and the University Bridge on my regular commute, and I saw people (cars and bikes) do the stupidest things so routinely that I now use an alternate route over to Montlake where I can be protected on the Burke Gilman or sidewalks basically the whole way.

I hope the cyclists weren't at fault here -- I see cyclists on Roosevelt all the time do insanely dangerous stuff. I'm over to the side on my bike, and people zoom past me nearly being doored by parked cars, going through red signals, changing lanes without looking behind them.

Cars are trouble, trucks worse. But a hefty percentage of cyclists I see on my daily bike commute are their own worst enemies.

Posted by Glenn Fleishman | September 7, 2007 7:44 PM

"I'm over to the side on my bike, and people zoom past me nearly being doored by parked cars"

Your other well-taken points aside, I'd like to point out that often, getting out into a lane and moving at the speed of traffic (assuming that it is moving between 0 and 25mph) can be safer than "on the side," and that this may in fact have been safer for the victims in this accident. What happened today should make "on the side" seem anything but safe.

Posted by justin | September 7, 2007 8:32 PM

Here are two separate recent cyclist killings involving construction trucks in California:

Posted by Hilde | September 7, 2007 8:39 PM


Posted by ejamadoodle | September 7, 2007 10:00 PM

According to the P-I neither cyclist was wearing a helmet. :-(

Posted by brappy | September 7, 2007 11:39 PM

Holy crap that's the same exact spot I almost got ran over at last month on the way to work by a driver too busy to check her blind spot... that that stretch of road-south on Roosevelt from the Trader Joe's to Furhman-is one of the hairiest in the city (at least on the Ballard Bridge you can take a whole lane and be safe); it's a hideous combination of doors, cars exiting the TJ's and UW med center parking lots, potholes, the ugly merge of 'bike shallow' and entrance ramp at the N entrance of the bridge, the foot-tall curbs along the bridge that can pinch you in if a car drifts right, and the ambiguous intersection where the accident took place. I am not a fan.

I noticed a camera crew at that corner riding home tonight, did any of this get any time on the 11 o'clock news?

Posted by buffalo | September 8, 2007 12:16 AM

Shite! That corner is feasible. Manageable. I bike through there all the time with no attempted vehicular homicide.


"Take the lane"... (And fuck helmets. Sorry--my personal focus. And anyone who wants to say that bicyclists should wear helmets like motorcyclists should wear helmets can kiss my ass.
Well-designed cyclist helmets--possibly maybe.)

Posted by Amelia | September 8, 2007 12:45 AM

Anyone know whether the whether the truck was northbound turning right or southbound turning left? It would be helpful to know what scenarios to look out for when biking that intersection.

Posted by Sean | September 8, 2007 7:13 AM

This is very sad. But we all need to remember that bicycles will never have the attention and respect they deserve. Bikes don't consume, therefore, very little money can be made from bicyclists. We don't need gas, we don't destroy roads, we don't have high maintenance costs, we don't have high insurance rates to pay. Money makes our world go 'round, and bikes don't need money. Defensive driving is our only ally.

Posted by Mattro2.0 | September 8, 2007 8:19 AM

Everyone wants to know if it was somebody they know, their friend that goes that way every day, etc. It could be a lot of people. Here's a clue, at least, in this Times photo we can see the fork of the bike belonging to the cyclist who died. It's yellow, appears to be a newer road bike by it's shape.

I was there earlier on Friday, had a very close call at that same spot. I go that way every time I go to the U Dist., pick up speed downhill and turn the corner without slowing down. Except this time there was a construction site around the corner. I ended up stopping barely in time to end up face-to-face with the flagger.

Posted by Roy | September 8, 2007 9:18 AM

I was an eyewitness to this accident which actually occured on Furhman, not Eastlake as many writers seem to suppose. The two cyclists (19), Bryce Lewis and Caleb, had just turned onto Furhman, when the dump truck turned right just after and struck the cyclists. I was astounded to see this unfold and felt no sense of danger just prior the turn. Once the truck turned onto Furman, there was no escape for the cyclists. The truck driver was right up against the curb and so there was no room for Bryce and Caleb to maneuver.

I am not exactly sure of the truck's position before it turned. I can only reason that since it was right up against the curb, it must have turned from an outside lane. It is impossible for a truck to be up against the curb, then take a 90 degree angle turn, because it would not be possible for the rear wheels to clear the curb. And I can assure you the truck driver had good speed on the turn when it plowed into the cyclists.

The cyclists and truck driver might have both been suffering from a sense of false security just prior to the accident. I say this because a flagman was stopping northbound traffic on Eastlake and allowing bikes and pedestrians to go around a blocked sidewalk. The flagman waved me through (I was jogging North on Eastlake), then I saw him wave Bryce and Caleb through. I heard them laugh as they passed me. They were having fun, just enjoying ride on a beautiful day with the northbound lane to themselves. The only vehicle Northbound at that time was the dump truck. I'm speculating that the dump truck driver, seeing that traffic was stopped, had a false sense of security and did not bother to looking into his right mirror to see the cyclists coming up on his right in the bike lane.

I saw the cyclists truck immediately after the turn, but did not see the aftermath until I arrived at the intersection about 5 seconds after the accident. I arrived to find Caleb (the other cyclist) shouting "Oh my God" Help Me Help Me Help Me, and to see Bryce obviously dead from a head wound lying in an impossible position on the roadway.

I saw the truck driver get out of the truck and witness the aftermath. He had no words. He saw a scene that will undoubtedly haunt him (and me) for the rest of his life.

I've noticed that the reaction that my friends have when I tell them this story is that the cyclists were at fault. But as a runner and cyclists, I've become very good at sensing danger over my 45 years of life and I felt none. I did not see this coming. So do not be quick to assign blame. I'm thinking that assigning blame is convenient for people not wanting to admit that it can happen to them too. I think the appropriate response is positive action (how can the interesection be fixed?) and compassion. As a father of an 11-year-old boy, this really hurts. A 19-year-old kid, having just moved away from home struck dead.

I visit this accident site every day to and from work. And remember my feeling of complete helplessness and horror.

Posted by Rich Hinrichsen | September 13, 2007 1:11 PM

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