Monday morning, CHS reported on a small swarm of street issues around Capitol HIll including a car striking a bicyclist on Broadway along the bikeway. Fortunately, the rider suffered only minor injuries in the collision. With a sore wrist, she took the time and suffered through a little pain to tell CHS about the dangerous situation that has been created as the bikeway’s choppy opening has coincided with a major streetway construction project near Broadway and Denny that is slated to be active through summer. CHS wrote about the potentially unsafe situation here. Now, after her crash, the rider says more needs to be done:
SB cyclists on broadway have two ways to get over to the cycle track, and there has been no signage or direction to indicate what they should do since this block was re-striped (also with no signage or warning). You can ride up to the light and stop as if making a left turn to Howell, though there is no turn lane so cars coming around the construction sb have to squeeze by on your right.
I typically do this when broadway is busy. Other times I usually take the lane past Denny, signal left, and enter the single lane of the previous cycle track, thinking the sooner I’m in the lane the safer. Today I had done the latter. A nb car approached with its right turn signal on. I looked at the car, as I usually try to make eye contact when crossing a car’s path, but couldn’t see in the car. It seemed to be slowing down, so I mistakenly assumed they had seen me and continued through the intersection, where they hit me.
I think the current design there is very confusing for cyclists and drivers alike, and it doesn’t seem like a lot if thought went in to impacts up cyclists. I also think there I’d probably a lack of awareness about the two-way cycle track, and so nb right-turning cars might not be accustomed to checking for sb cyclists…
Of course in the eyes of the police the question is whether or not I was in the crosswalk and how fast I was going. Does cycle track in an intersection have any legal protection? And what about when that cycle track is hastily modified for construction?
We’ll ask SDOT if more can be done to mark the area for better clarity for both drivers and riders — not to mention pedestrians — so the soon-to-be-completed bikeway can be utilized as the construction project for Capitol Hill Station’s under-Broadway pedestrian crossing is completed. Nobody should want the bikeway closed down — it’s a necessary street feature to help riders avoid the hazardous First Hill streetcar rails.
SDOT’s planners should hopefully have a few ideas. If not, maybe they would like to talk with our injured Broadway bike rider . “I’m actually a transportation planner myself, though I don’t specialize in bikeway design,” she writes. “I’m very fortunate neither [of] us was traveling faster, and bystanders called help right away.”
UPDATE 3/13/14 9:05 AM: Well, this wasn’t exactly what we had in mind. Hopefully SDOT is only clearing off the portion between Howell and Denny where the Sound Transit construction is taking place. We haven’t heard back from the agency yet about plans to make the area safer but officials did follow up for more details after our initial email.