Thursday, September 22, 2011

Another Word About Safety: Honestly, I don't want to write about this.

Since I have been riding my bike there have been three fatalities in the area that I ride.  I wrote about Mike Wang’s death.  It was an actual hit-and-run.  Then on the Fairview (my route), Brian Fairbrother, a manager at Vivace, took a wrong turn, crashed and died.  I ride by this spot twice a day.  I understand how this happened.  Stairs that go down to a dock are not marked; it is a very confusing point in an established city bike route. 

Another cyclist was delivering sandwiches for Jimmy Johns and he was hit by a car.  His name is Robert Townsend and he was 23 years old.  These are just the fatalities I know of since I have been riding, but who knows how many accidents there have been.

That is why I am writing this.  I want to write about happy, uplifting events, but with the three deaths I don't want to gloss over the reality of the state of biking in Seattle.

In Seattle I am seeing more people biking than ever.  On places previously reserved for cars there are new bike lanes and new bike routes are being created.

The city is changing.  Change is hard but I do not think people need to die. 

I know some cyclists fight with cars and are aggressive.  I have seen cyclists ride in front of cars and purposely ride slowly to prove a point.  I have seen cyclists spit on cars and of course yell things that I don’t want my son to hear. 

I have seen drivers that are texting, writing, reading maps and even attending to their grooming. 

What I say is CYCLISTS PAY ATTENTION.  Don’t take anything for granted, give yourself extra time and never ride on auto-mode.  Seattle is trying to be a bike town but it is not there yet.

Drivers, really, you’re still texting while driving.  How is that even justifiable?  I suggest this idea that DRIVERS PAY ATTENTION.  Also, look left and right to make a turn.

I know, call me crazy.

There is one classification of drivers that I never have trouble with when I am on my bike and they are the delivery drivers.  I do not see them texting, they look both ways, they make eye contact and even wave to let me know that they see me.  I so appreciate that.  Drivers, give it a try.

When I ride, I am sociable.  I like it.  I feel more connected to my community and it is nice to wave and smile; it starts the day out right. 

I recommend driving with your windows down -- be sociable, wave to let people know that you see them, make eye contact with other commuters.

I see a lot of progress with integrating bikes on the roads.  Now we need to integrate cyclists and drivers.  City of Seattle, please move quickly on this.   My family is worried and with these three deaths, it is hard to justify biking. 


  1. SLC is suffering the same "growing pains" concerning cyclists. We, too, have had several fatalities and I personally know of 3 near misses, resulting in hospitalization for my friends. I wish people would just relax a bit and take driving and cycling seriously, there would be less accidents and "fingers". We can only hope.

  2. Yes, we need to remember the social contract when we share public resources. AKA: I have a right to expect that I will not be run down by a car when I am on my bike.

    Sorry about your friends. I hope they have had or on their way to a full recovery.