Pacific Northwest - Death of a bicyclist on an urban trail
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10-09-11, 11:46 AM
Interesting article about the death of a bicyclist on the Interurban Trail in Everett. The same issues exist on all the local trails that I frequently ride: Interurban, Centennial, Burke-Gilman and the Sammamish River. I also note that the cyclist was wearing a helmet but still died of head trauma.
It may be time for a few strategically-placed speed bumps. This seems like a case of s**t happens. Obviously his "experience and safe cycling habits" weren't all that.
There is one, yes, just one MUP in the Greenville area. This is a community that is in the early stages of learning trail etiquette and safety. Right now, there isn't any. It'll be a matter of learning from others' mistakes.
10-10-11, 11:30 AM
Did you read the article? One of the problems cited with heavier used trail were physical obstructions.
There is no "learning from others' mistakes" if the consequences are always being borne by one side.
I stopped riding the Burke-Gilman regularly years ago because it was annoying and dangerous. Pedestrians walk anywhere and everywhere often with dogs on extendable leashes. Until there is enforcement, with fines, for all user not obeying the rules things won’t improve and cyclist will continue to either have to run the gauntlet or head onto the roads where the same people that can’t walk straight or control their dogs get in 4,000+ pound vehicles while texting or drinking coffee.
It sounds like this fellow was very experienced and what should have been a pleasant ride turned into a tragedy. The people with the dog say it was between them yet only the dog was hit, highly unlikely. Most likely the dog was stretching the leash out and taking up most of the useable space, the riders came around the corner two abreast, legal but not always prudent, and they tangled up.
10-17-11, 04:40 AM
That article is SO consistent with my experiences. The one accident I had was with a jogger who u-turned in front of me, the 1st example given in the article. And I've met that group of utterly oblivious young mothers with their carriages 5 abreast on Sammamish River Trail. I've both biked & walked extensively on BG, Sammamish & Centennial, and while you occasionally encounter a biker who's out of line (especially at Green Lake park, where I also walk & where bikers have no business being), it's FAR more common of the foot traffic. They meander about the trail unpredictably as though they're stumbling to the bathroom at 3 in the morning. With bikes whizzing by at 20 MPH. I'm REALLY surprised more people haven't been seriously injured. I've lost count of the number I've admonished to "Pay attention!" An those f'ing 40' retractable dog leashes out to be against the law. It's worse than no leash at all.
And I NEVER bike on the trails on weekends. Did that twice & that was enough.
I hate to say it, but I think trails like Centennial, Sammamish and BG at the very least the more remote portions, out to be bike only. There are MILES of foot traffic only hiking and walking trails in the area for the absentminded wanderers. There are only a limited number of long distance trail options for bikers.
And again, I say the as someone who does a lot of BOTH.
10-20-11, 11:31 AM
So tragic. I hope my family never has to get a call about me.
This is why my rides consist of roads and rarely trails. If I'm riding a pace between 15-20 mph, I'm already above the limit for the interurban trail in Shoreline. Those trails are only designed for pedestrians and very slow moving bicycles. They should remain multi-use for those not experienced/comfortable enough to ride in traffic.
I know many people fear riding in traffic, but I feel much safer taking up a lane. Motorists will try and tell you it's illegal, but they're wrong. Learn the laws, assume you are invisible to all traffic, and NEVER trust a driver waving you on to turn left in front of them. Hmm, which begs another bike topic for street riders...
Of course this didn't save Mike Wang in the bike lane on Dexter, but it ensures we cyclists don't kill a pedestrian or pet. Be safe out there...
10-20-11, 11:53 AM
I thought the article did an admirable job of presenting all sides of the issue. Very well written. In terms of the recommendations, there were a couple that jumped out at me.
Treat more hazardous sections of the trail like roads. Put in warning signs, slow the speed and paint a yellow line down the center, Eksten said. "If we had to narrow the trail or put in a sharper curve for any reason, we want people to know that before they get there," he said. "Just like roadways."
I think this is a good suggestion.
Bicycles should keep conditions in mind... The city expects cyclists to yield to pedestrians, keep speed in check and cycle to conditions. "We don't expect cyclists to be traveling at 40 miles per hour," he said. "'Use to conditions' means that if grandma and grandpa are out with their dog, be empathetic. It's not nice to zoom by them within inches."
It's not SAFE to zoom by them within inches. I've never ridden in that area, but ultimately, if I were to assign blame, I would say that Hultman was riding too fast for conditions. We say this all the time when there are car-bike collisions- that if there are not adequate visibility and lines of site, the driver should have been going slower. I think that is the case here with the cyclist. You can point at the dog owner not controlling the dog, and the city for building a trail with a decline leading to a sharp turn, and not trimming bushes, but ultimately, given what I read, the cyclist had no business riding as fast was he was in that particular area. If you don't have an "out", you're riding too fast for conditions.
I say that not to condemn the man's memory, but rather to urge others to consider this when they are riding the trails. Always make sure you have an out- an alternate path, a departure from the trail onto the grass, or enough room to stop. If you don't have an out, slow down to give yourself one.
10-20-11, 05:16 PM
It may be time for a few strategically-placed speed bumps.
Have you ever been on the Interurban Trail, skjor?
I thought the article did an admirable job of presenting all sides of the issue. Very well written. .
I agree. I did not plan on reading the entire thing as I was expecting the same old piss poor reporting found in most crash stories. Instead I found a very well put together piece that was a very pleasant read. It had no real answers, there really are none; yet it spoke to both sides very well. A reader would be hard pressed to be able to tell if the author was a bicyclist, or walker, as it should be. Well done.
Also, very sad for the loss of what sounded like a great guy with a great cycling history.
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