How can we learn from Seattle bike accidents?
How can we learn from another Seattle bike accident? The one that occurred earlier this month resulted in life threatening injuries to a 26 year old cyclist, when a Metro trolley bus hit him.
Investigators are still looking into the details of the cause. However, anyone who knows the area–Rainier Ave S and South Jackson, can probably guess what likely occurred. Cyclists familiar with that stretch of road know that there are streetcar tracks. These tracks can wreak havoc with cyclists who want to cross over or ride alongside them. (Again, the exact details of the May 4, 2015 accident are still under investigation.)
Here’s a suggestion: How about some warning signs to both bus drivers and cyclists? There were reportedly some close calls before this horrendous accident. How about painting that part of the road to alert cyclists?
At our firm, well known bike injury attorney Keith L. Kessler has presented on some of the cyclist hazards of road design (Here is one of his more recent presentations Bicycle Litigation Strategy – Roadway Safety Cases). Recall the Gendler case (one of the largest recent settlements against the State): Our firm represented injured cyclist, Mickey Gendler, whose bike tire got caught on a seam on the Montlake Bridge. Note that the State had known about this hazard to bicyclists for years before this tragic accident. One would hope that these types of accidents would serve as red flags to road designers/engineers who know if cyclists will frequent a route that is shared with cars and street cars/trolleys. If we truly want to live up to being one of the most bike friendly cities in the country, let’s walk the walk.
NOTE: This blog post was originally published in SKWBikeLaw blog.