Sher Kung

Seattle’s 2nd Ave Death Trap – Bike Man Dan finds many risks for the uninitiated

As I’ve blogged about a number of times–even before the death of cyclist/attorney Sher Kung–many, including country’s bike expert/Rutgers professor John Pucher, have considered Seattle’s Second Avenue corridor a death trap for cyclists.

After claiming the life of Ms. Kung, the much anticipated changes materialized about a week sooner than planned. Eager to see how the corridor might have improved, we asked Bike Man Dan (a.k.a. SKW attorney Dan Laurence) decided to ride down that very stretch of rode with our new GoPro (something new to him). He was shocked to see the numerous problems with the new design and shared his thoughts and video footage with those of us at the firm. He braved it both ways on this two-way bike lane.

See for yourself: How much of an improvement from before this summer’s fatal accident is the new “protected” bike lane? Does it truly increased safety for cyclists, pedestrians or drivers? Or, is the inconsistent treatment throughout the entire corridor frustrating if not treacherous to all who dare to travel this way?

Watch the clip above and let us know what you think. Do you see the same risks? Or did you perhaps also catch ones that didn’t jump out at us?

2nd Ave Corridor & downtown Seattle need to do more for bicycle safety

Email Catherine@Stritmatter.com if you know what these curved arrows mean!

Email Catherine@Stritmatter.com if you know what these curved arrows mean!

A little more than three months after the tragic and preventable death of cyclist/new mother/attorney Sher Kung, more is needed for bicyclist safety on the treacherous Second Avenue corridor in downtown Seattle.  Our own Bike Man Dan took to the roads recently on his bike, braving this stretch on 2nd Ave. We will share with you excerpts from that bike ride and let you decide where you might see additional room for improvement.

In the meantime, do you know what the heck these curved arrows in the above photo mean? Send us your insights, wisdom, comments or best guesses to Catherine@stritmatter.com.

Seattle’s Second Avenue Bike Traffic Triples

About a week after the tragic death of Sher Kung, a cyclist who was hit by a left-turning truck on 2nd Avenue, the new protected bike lane with new traffic signals were installed on that infamous corridor in downtown Seattle.

The day the new bike lane was unveiled, I had a chance to drive down it. The exact intersection where Sher was struck confused almost every driver, including me. While the rest of the lanes had a green light, the left turn lane had a red arrow which flashed quietly in the low left corner of the new traffic signal. Distracted by the heaps of flowers and photos that memorialized that fatal spot, I was prepared to make a left turn despite the red arrow. A City worker alerted me to the fact that there was a new signal, as he pointed to the red arrow. Confusing, to say the least. Not to mention–there were dozens upon dozens of small aluminum pinwheels every several feet leading up to that stretch on the road, which added to the drivers’ distraction.

2nd_Ave_counts1Regardless, the bike traffic has tripled on Second Avenue. Looks like cyclists feel more confident that they can commute safely there. But, according to the Seattle Times blog, a young woman was almost hit during morning rush hour on Sept. 16th, when “she failed to notice the red bike icon, and rode downhill near a left-turning car at Spring Street. She shrugged as if to confess her mistake, and continued south.  A couple minutes later, a driver stopped for the red arrow, then illegally made the left turn.”

The Seattle DOT shot an instructional video along Second Avenue last week and disbursed about $250 in privately-funded gift certificates to drivers and cyclists who obeyed the new traffic signals. The real reward: A safer bike route and fewer bike accidents.

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