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Friday, March 14, 2008

Have You Seen Me?

posted by on March 14 at 8:04 AM


This bike, MY bike, was stolen from the UW campus last month while I attended the ACLU’s annual membership conference. UWPD told me that bike thefts are increasingly common at UW. Bike recoveries are not so common. Bicycle thieves, when caught, should be waterboarded.

Also last month SPD staked out the Burke Gilman Trail near campus, ticketing cyclists for running the stop sign at Brooklyn Avenue.


This stop sign (like most others at crosswalks along the Burke Gilman Trail) defies logic and creates confusion. Most cars stop here already (because itís, you know, a CROSSWALK), leaving drivers and cyclists and pedestrians and dogs to stare stupidly at each other, waiting for the first to go.

In the interest of traffic uniformity and public safety, these stop signs should be moved to face oncoming autos who are more likely to see a big red sign than a bicyclist anyhow.

Then SPD could stop writing tickets. And maybe find my bike.

RSS icon Comments


...wouldn't hold out much hope for the creedence tapes, either.

Posted by yawn | March 14, 2008 8:36 AM

your bike is on a boat headed for manila.

like my first love, a 1976 puch.

the only way you'll get it back is if a crackhead stole it & is dumb enough to ride it around your neighborhood.

good call on the burke stop signs, though.

Posted by max solomon | March 14, 2008 8:37 AM

1. that really blows, man - i'm sorry.
2. have you checked the basement of the alamo?

Posted by mikey | March 14, 2008 8:41 AM

Sorry about your bike. But you need to STOP at stop signs. That's what they're there for. Cars don't have to stop at a crosswalk unless there's someone waiting there to cross, in which case they must stop immediately. If you come to a complete stop, and so does a car at the same time, you may proceed. It's not hard at all to figure out.

Posted by Fnarf | March 14, 2008 8:43 AM

Waterboarded - ha!. How very ACLU of you.

Logic has nothing to do with the placement of stop signs. It's a matter of public safety. Oncoming autos will not be expecting and will not always see a stop sign, even a big red one, in the middle of a block.

Posted by umvue | March 14, 2008 8:55 AM

@4, take a look at the photo where the pedestrian's stopped at the crosswalk and the driver of the car clearly ignores that and proceeds to go on.

Posted by apres_moi | March 14, 2008 8:59 AM

The stop sign says "Stop." What part don't people understand?

I've had two bikes stolen in Seattle. But not my old Fuji from the 80s. No one wants it.

Posted by Simac | March 14, 2008 9:09 AM

at that intersection particularly, bicyclists (for instance, me) often go through very quickly and there is limited visibility for drivers (for instance, me).

that said, i find it completely ridiculous that they would actually give out tickets to bicyclists. on the other hand, at least this should pacific some of the posters i see on here with all their "why don't police ever ticket cyclists" talk...

Posted by infrequent | March 14, 2008 9:15 AM

@6, someone else breaking the law is not a good excuse for you to break it too.

Posted by Fnarf | March 14, 2008 9:15 AM

where do the bikes GO?

Posted by max solomon | March 14, 2008 9:16 AM

Hey Doug, I was in a bike shop on Broadway in Vancouver last night picking up some parts, and a guy came in and was telling one of the workers there that his bike had recently been stolen. When he told the police about it, they asked for the serial number, which he didn't have. The cops said that when the owner has the serial number, the retrieval rate is greater than 90%. Of course, it might take a year or two to retrieve it, but hopefully you have the number. Good luck.

Posted by Gabriel | March 14, 2008 9:28 AM

hey Doug how about licensing bikes? see how that could make it easier to find a stolen one? are you the one that says bikes subsidize cars? why not do a post we facts that back up that point if, in fact, you're that Doug.

Posted by McG | March 14, 2008 9:34 AM

I think I saw that bike in my apartment dumpster a couple weeks ago...

Posted by Ginger Twinkle | March 14, 2008 9:38 AM

First off, sorry you got your bike stolen. I almost had my bike stolen on the UW campus myself. I came out of Mary Gates only to find the bike thief had just cracked my lock. I ran at him and he took off. Talked to the UW police and gave them a description which apparently matched a guy who was a common bike thief. Needless to say I bought a better lock. Spending a grand on a bike and 40 on a lock was apparently not very prudent! Luckily it was a cheap lesson.

As for the stop signs I agree they create confusion. I do, however, think that they still need to be followed.

Posted by Patrick | March 14, 2008 9:45 AM

One problem with those particular stop signs is if someone on a bike actually stops behind the line (which is the legal thing to do), then they cannot see oncoming traffic. Look at the picture, the line is about 15' from the crosswalk.

So, the SAFE thing to do is to roll slowly past the stop line, and then stop at the crosswalk. It is my assumption that this is what gets you a ticket from SPD. Revenue, not safety, is the reason for this trap!

Sorry to hear about your bike!!!!

Posted by Mahtli69 | March 14, 2008 9:58 AM

I'm sorry your bike got stolen. It's also too bad that you paid too much for a piece of crap. Riding that thing around gets you about as much street cred as licking cotton candy walking down MLK.

Posted by smurfette | March 14, 2008 10:07 AM

The problem with these stop signs, and all such stop signs at trail crossings, is that stop signs do not merely mean 'STOP': other laws go along with stop signs.

For instance, when the opposing traffic has no stop sign, they mean 'Stop and yield'. So the bikes must yield to the cars. But by law, the cars must yield to anything in the crosswalk, including bikes. Ergo, either these stop signs require one of the directions of traffic to break the law, or they do not mean what, by law, stop signs mean.

I've got a few guesses as to what the powers that be want to have happen at such intersections, but I shouldn't have to guess. If the city (or in this case, UW) want a particular behavior at these crossings, they should use the signs that require that behavior, not misuse stop signs because they're convenient.

Posted by Greg Barnes | March 14, 2008 10:19 AM

The funny thing is that the SPD bike patrols ride just like all the other bicyclists-- defying the law when it's convenient and safe. They roll stop signs, hop curbs, bike on sidewalks, weave between stopped cars, cross streets via crosswalks rather than following motorist rules, etc. Passing out tickets on the Burke Gilman, on a street that is not busy at all 23 hours out of the day, is high hypocrisy.

Posted by Trevor | March 14, 2008 10:31 AM

The reason I in my car stop at these crosswalks is because the idiots on bikes don't. At this crosswalk and 2 others on the trail I have had countless bikes zoom through in front of me without even bothering to slow down.

I may be no fan of people, but I don't want the hassle of killing someone. Ticketing may be extreme, but if you expect me to share the road with you on your bike, please follow the traffic laws. The 1% of the idiots out there are giving all of you a bad name.

Posted by Andrew | March 14, 2008 10:34 AM

Once when I stopped at that stop sign a cyclist ran into me from behind. The signs should be rotated 90 degrees.

Posted by Anon | March 14, 2008 10:42 AM

At least that stop sign doesn't blink 24/7 like those other ones.

Posted by Will in Seattle | March 14, 2008 11:02 AM

@19 - Again, the way those signs are configured, a cyclist could make a legal stop behind the line, continue into the crosswalk, and produce the exact scenario that you describe. The legally stopped cyclist cannot see traffic, and the traffic certainly cannot see the cyclist.

I'm not saying the cyclists in front of you didn't just blow through the intersection, but someone following the law could easily do the exact same thing.

Posted by Mahtli69 | March 14, 2008 11:39 AM

@22: No actually, they couldn't legally do that, as the law requires that users of crosswalks (bikes or pedestrians) cannot enter the crosswalk so abruptly that cross traffic would not have time to stop. So you have to slow down sufficiently before entering the crosswalk, and stop if a car is about to go through.

Posted by Greg Barnes | March 14, 2008 12:13 PM

What the fuck is wrong with you people???

If you're so fucking STUPID that you can't figure out that STOP means STOP ... even if you're on a magic bike that somehow elevates you to smugness levels nearing Jesus-fearing bible belters ... THEN YOU HAVE NO BUSINESS RIDING A BIKE! You're a danger to YOURSELF, you're a danger to ME and you're a danger to PEOPL WHO UNDERSTAND THAT STOP FUCKING MEANS STOP!

Motherfuck! UGH!

Posted by Brad in Seattle | March 14, 2008 12:29 PM

There are no tests for riding a bike.


Posted by Will in Seattle | March 14, 2008 12:56 PM

Not true Will. There's the balance test when you get your first bike.

Posted by PdxRitchie | March 14, 2008 2:21 PM

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