No crime in E Pine truck vs. bike ‘attempted murder’

It’s a frightening, frustrating situation almost anybody who bikes around Capitol Hill has experienced — only, this time, safe streets advocate David Seater caught the whole thing on video.

But it won’t be enough to get the law involved.

Wednesday night, Seater posted a video from his ride up E Pine showing dual angles of a close call with a tailgating pick-up truck that appears to buzz the bike rider as he legally rode in the lane to pass another cyclist on the hill:

Detective Patrick Michaud, spokesperson for Seattle Police, tells CHS that the incident appears to only be an infraction — not a crime — limiting the department’s use of video to enforce the laws because of city code that restricts the use of video or pictures to things like speeding, running red lights, or violating rules in school zones.

Back on Twitter, former Mayor Mike McGinn wasn’t OK with the explanation:

So, what happens if you find yourself in a similar situation around the Hill with an aggressive driver putting your life at danger for their hurry, video or not?

“If you feel that a driver’s behavior is threatening to you, absolutely give us a call,” Michaud said.

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25 thoughts on “No crime in E Pine truck vs. bike ‘attempted murder’

    • Indeed – the guy who just tried to kill him, stopped and intentionally waited for him (which is ridiculous considering the whole reason that he was so pissed off was that he had to wait an extra 15 seconds until it was safe to pass…..).

      I always stop at stop signs, but I would have kept going too if it had been me.

  1. This is always the problem with bike lanes. As soon as you need to turn, dodge a ped or parked car etc you find yourself being chased by cars who want to push you back. Try riding down toward the university bridge for a constant barrage of blockages in the bike lane.

    • Uh, yeah– except for the fact that the bike lane was wide open for blocks and blocks in this video, there were no pedestrians at all, and it seemed to be working just fine without issue for the other cyclist he rode by. But other than that, yeah sure.

      _NT_TL_M_NT

      “Can I buy an ‘E’, Pat?”

    • Don’t think I have the authority to say this.. well, aside from the 35+ years I’ve been riding and the 10’s of thousands of miles I’ve put in, the experts agree with me.

      http://labreform.org/wordpress/why-downhill-bike-lanes-are-dangerous

      Not to mention that the bike lane in the article doesn’t even have parking next to it. The parking makes the lane even more dangerous, as it puts fast moving cyclists in the door zone and blocks the view of drivers approaching from sides streets.

      That bike lane should be taken away. It is more than easy to go down Pine at the speed of traffic on a bicycle – do remember it’s 25mph. People who feel the need to endanger the lives of others so that they can speed up to the next red light don’t deserve the privilege of a driver’s license.

    • I guess maybe I’m missing your point. The bike lane in question here (that the cyclist isn’t using) isn’t downhill, it was on the uphill side of the road. Not using the lane might be a reasonable response when the street is busy with pedestrians, and car doors opening and closing, but that wasn’t happening here either. I don’t get it.

    • Mea culpa – he is going up hill. He appears to be moving relatively quickly and I assumed it was down.

      BUT – he also

      1) has just passed through the intersection at Pine and 12th where pavement markings instruct cyclists to move into the traffic lane

      2) has just passed another cyclist at the time the driver decides to assault him

      3) is not legally required to use any bike lane – Shoulder vs. Bike Lane – “Cyclists may choose to ride on the path, bike lane, shoulder or travel lane as suits their safety needs (RCW 46.61.770).”

      As all bicycle lanes with parking directly next to them are inherently unsafe, there is always a good reason to not use them.

  2. i don’t see how this is attempted murder. wreckless driving; vehicular intimidation? yes, sure; the truck driver is an asshole. but i don’t see the police going on a man-hunt in an effort to ticket an asshole.

    i feel for the cyclist; i really do. i take my life in my hands walking across the off-ramp at olive and i5 nearly everyday. cars have literally driven into the emergency lane/onto the curb (coming within inches of me – all the while looking me in the eyes) to avoid stopping for me as i’m in the crosswalk. so i understand the frustration, fear, and anger this kind of thing likely caused the guy.

    but, unfortunately, unless a cop sees it there’s not much they can do; even if you do get video of the vehicle’s plates.

    • Why should we not consider it attempted murder? At very least it was an assault

      “An assault is carried out by a threat of bodily harm coupled with an apparent, present ability to cause the harm.”

      We have a long history in this country of making excuses for people who are driving. It really should stop. A vehicle is just as easily a weapon as a baseball bat or a gun.

      If you were to walk down the street and threaten people with either of those the cops would take it *completely* seriously, even if you haven’t actually killed anyone yet.

      Explain to me why it is somehow OK to threaten someone with a motor vehicle and say well the cops didn’t see it so nothing can be done – especially when there is a video.

  3. Attempted murder? Oh lordy, drama queen in spandex.

    What a self entitled **** on a bike. You’re an embarrassment to the rest of us on two wheels who use the bike lane rather than blocking traffic, simply to make a point. I have zero sympathy for you little baby.

    By the way, you can use the lane but not if you’re doing less than the speed limit and blocking cars traveling. Then you have to move over.

    • Excuse me… if you were walking on the sidewalk and another pedestrian swung a baseball bat at your head, missing you by inches, because they didn’t think you were walking fast enough would you be OK with that?

      It’s really time we acknowledge that a motor vehicle is *easily* a weapon and it is NOT OK to threaten a person with one.

  4. So, let me get this straight:

    A bike is riding in the car lane, had numerous and plentiful opportunities to pull into the bike only lane (a lane built for their expressed use and reserved only for bikes) failed to pull into the bike lane, continued to slow the flow of traffic, and when the truck pulled around him failed to move even an inch to their right even though there was plenty of space and it was the safe thing to do?

    Sure, and the truck driver is the guy with the sense of entitlement.

    How about the cops ticker the bike rider for impeding the flow of traffic and Seattle puts a new law on the books requiring riders to use bike lanes. Repeat offenders that fail to use bike lines will have their bikes confiscated in addition to a hefty fine.

    Attempted murder my ass …

    • yeah, you do need straightening out.

      “Bicycles are considered “vehicles” under Washington law. In
      Washington and most states, bicycles have a legal right to ride in the roadway even if a bicycle lane is present.”

      you can learn more here (learning is fun!) – http://www.dol.wa.gov/business/drivertraining/docs/bicycletestanswers.pdf

      it also goes on to read (since you likely will not):

      “What minimum distance should a driver maintain between her car and a bicyclist when they pass on a road way or in a bike lane?”

      “Answer: … Three feet from the widest point of both vehicles is the minimum safe passing distance at slow speeds. Even if the bicyclist is riding on the edge of the bicycle lane next to the traffic lane the 3 feet rule applies.”

      Also…

      “Bicyclists have a right to be on the road, so it is not appropriate to tell them to get off the road or onto a sidewalk. Further, shouting, yelling, throwing objects, or honking horns is dangerous. It may startle the cyclist and cause an accident. These acts can amount to an assault or road rage that may be punishable by law and can
      increase your insurance rates.”

      the truck was within inches of the cyclist in the video and was acting dangerously. was it attempted murder? no, but the cyclist did nothing wrong in this specific instance. so all your arguments prove you know nothing about the rules of the road or what you are talking about. but thanks for playing!

    • I viewed the video several times, and I agree completely with your comments. The cyclist clearly should have moved back into the bike lane after passing the other cyclist, but instead he continued in the car lane. This motorist became ticked off, understandably, when the car lane was obstructed by the cyclist, and only then proceeded to pass him and go on his way. To call this “attempted murder” is ridiculous.
      It is not uncommon for cyclists to slowly monopolize the middle of the car lane when other options are available (at the very least, to move to the right side of the car lane…..”share the lane” behavior). I think some of them do this to intentionally piss motorists off.

    • You know Jason Alfred, you’re right. Says right their in The Llaw that a cyclist can do that.

      It also says in The Law that a person can walk through Little Italy with an AK 47 in one hand, a bottle of Jack in the other and shout, “What the ll all you Dago bastards looking at?!”

      You CAN be an asshole, but it doesn’t mean you SHOULD be an asshole.

    • @leont

      “You CAN be an asshole, but it doesn’t mean you SHOULD be an asshole.”

      hey, you finally get it. the person it the truck was a total asshole and just because they CAN be (large vehicle against exposed cyclist) doesn’t mean they SHOULD be.

  5. It’s a feaking sad state of affairs when a person actually is arrested for assault for throwing a rubber dildo at another person (see police blotter below), but a person who threatens and menaces another person with a 2 ton metal battering ram is completely free to continue on.

  6. I like the part where people are cool with obviously putting someone’s life in danger because of what would’ve amounted to 5 seconds of ‘inconvenience’. It obviously wasn’t that inconvenient because the driver stopped and waited.

    But hey, you’re in a vehicle, so you get to be a bully because you’ll win every single time against a bicycle.

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