Serious injuries after two driver vs. pedestrian collisions in 45 minutes on 12th Ave

Less than 45 minutes separated a pair of collisions Monday afternoon along 12th Ave that sent two pedestrians to the hospital with serious injuries.

In the first incident reported just after 12:45 PM at the intersection of 12th and Columbia, a driver struck an 18-year-old as she crossed the street at the southwest corner. A Seattle Fire representative tells CHS the woman was taken to Harborview in stable condition following the crash.

38 minutes later and less than a mile north, Seattle Fire was called to a second pedestrian collision at 12th and E Thomas where a 24-year-old male was struck by the driver as he crossed at the intersection. The victim was reportedly in stable condition as he was transported to Harborview.

SPD was called to the scenes of both crashes to investigate.

The incidents come as SDOT stats show serious pedestrian collisions continue to rise in the city. 12th Ave has seen recent pedestrian improvements and more marked crossings but the busy corridor for walkers, bikers, and drivers can still prove a dangerous crossing. The intersection at E Columbia features a traffic light and marked crosswalks. The E Thomas intersection is not marked.

More pedestrian, bike, and driver safety work is underway along the east-west Thomas/John corridor.

Meanwhile, in 2016, Seattle rolled out 25 MPH speed limits for its arterials like 12th Ave.


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24 thoughts on “Serious injuries after two driver vs. pedestrian collisions in 45 minutes on 12th Ave

  1. If you evaluate the historical pedestrian incidents annually and account for the increased city population over the twelve year period you highlight the number of incidents has been relatively stable. Yes, there has been some increase, but it can nearly be accounted for by the increase in city population over the period.
    And while 12the Ave East at Thomas is an unmarked crossing, it has received extensive updates (curb bulbs to shorten crossing distance) in the recent past.

  2. No excuses for drivers…. I was crossing 15th at E. Denny, which has *a light*, in the crosswalk, with the walk signal, with at least 3 other people (so there were 4 of us in the crosswalk)- and by the way, I was wearing a bright orange rain jacket… and still someone turning left nearly ran us down… she then proceeded to roll down her window and get mad *at us* because we first reacted and then didn’t instantly forgive and absolve her because she was sorry that she didn’t see us… No… you are not absolved at all. If you are that tired or that distracted take a #@&* bus home.. if you can’t take a bus, there’s apparently no lack of Lyfts and Ubers on the hill…

    • I’m not suggesting that his is the case in your situation, but I do know (as both a regular pedestrian AND a driver in this city) that pedestrians cross illegally by entering the crosswalk after the walk signal has begun to flash red ALL THE TIME. And by “all the time,” I mean “on just about every crossing.” I’m not sure if it’s the fault of the countdown signals letting people know how much time they have or what, but whatever the reason it is illegal to enter the crosswalk once the light has started flashing. It seems harmless, and it generally is. But especially during busy traffic times, pedestrians entering the crosswalk when the light is flashing prevent traffic from turning, thereby causing traffic to back up, thereby causing drivers to become more impatient.

      Like I said, I do BOTH activities in the city with regularity. I see both sides of this and I think it’s dumb that we fall into an “us vs. them” mentality. It should be symbiotic. And while I see drivers do lots and lots and LOTS of stupid crap, I also see pedestrians who are inattentive and/or crossing illegally who are contributing to the problem as much as many of the drivers.

      • That law should be changed, as it has been in NYC.

        https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/New-York-City-Right-of-Way-Pedestrians-During-Flashing-Red-393452281.html

        Often, the “walk” signal is illuminated for a few seconds at most. Look down at your watch and you’ll miss it.

        Finally, as you note: no party has a monopoly on law-breaking or law-abiding behavior. People in cars break laws constantly, at every single light change. Turn right where it’s not allowed on red, run through a red light…

      • Damn straight THAT WAS NOT THE CASE… We were waiting at the light until it turned walk – we were part way across ON THE WALK when she came flying out and to slam on her brakes so that she didn’t kill us. Then she had the guts to roll down her window and be upset that we wouldn’t apologize for looking freaking frightened that she almost ran us over…

      • As a driver, it’s your duty to be patient. Driving is a privilege. If the sight of a pedestrian in a crosswalk during a flashing-red cycle upsets you so much, please do everyone else a favor and stop driving. Drivers and pedestrians are not equal; don’t both-sides the issue. Drivers are in giant metal boxes with crumple zones and air bags. They could mow down dozens of pedestrians – and some do – without a scratch on the driver’s body.

        Slow down, stop for pedestrians, and keep your cool, lopes. Don’t kill anyone, especially me.

      • Lopes, I’ve been walking to work lately and noting who I see doing what (some of the time). Last week, on a 30-minute, 1.5 mile walk I saw:
        6 drivers run reds
        1 driver make a right from the far left lane while people were walking in the crosswalk with a walk signal
        Zero people crossing against the light or otherwise “jaywalking”
        Zero cyclists running reds, etc.

        On another recent occasion when I took the time to note this stuff, on a 3/4 mile walk: 1 red light run by a driver, 1 ped crossing against the light – but with NO traffic- – and 1 cyclist who ran a red – but only after stopping and clearly looking to make sure there was no oncoming traffic from any direction.

        And so on. Yesterday the drivers running reds count was 4 in 1.5 miles and the bike/ped infractions were, again, not in situations where a driver would be forced to slam on their brakes. I will add this is on Madison and around the busier parts of Capitol Hill.If you’re seeing that peds do this “all the time” maybe look at the circumstances a bit closer? Sure, I see people do dumb stuff on foot, but nowhere near the levels I see drivers routine risk others lives.

      • @mixtefeelings: your anecdotal “survey” is interesting, but I wonder if you define “crossing against the light” only as those who start crossing when the flashing light has turned to “non-flashing,” in other words when the cars entering the intersection have the green light. That is indeed very uncommon. But, as lopes points out above, it is VERY common for pedestrians to cross against a flashing red signal, and this IS a significant problem, because it means that cars attempting to turn cannot do so, and this results in traffic backups. It also puts those pedestrians at risk when drivers get frustrated and turn at the last minute, just before their green light changes to red.

        Of course, drivers always have the obligation to yield to pedestrians whether or not there is a flashing light. But pedestrians can help alot if they stay out of an intersection when the red light begins to flash, at least in higher traffic zones.

    • I haven’t read of a driver being killed by a pedestrian running into their car. Capitol Hill is a pedestrian neighborhood. Drivers should drive accordingly. 20 mph maybe 15 on dense pedestrian streets.

      • This.

        When a pedestrian illegally crosses, the pedestrian’s life is at stake.

        When a car makes and illegal turn and/or fails to yield pedestrian right-of-way, the pedestrian’s life is at stake.

        In what bizarro reality are these two scenarios seen as equal?

  3. You take your life in your hands as a pedestrian in this city. All of us, pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers need to be more aware. I have a close call about once every other month. It’s usually drivers running a red light or taking a turn into the intersection where a person is crossing.
    Definitely, wear a light jacket at night or a headlamp to increase the odds of being seen.
    And drivers…get off the phone and stop blocking the intersections. And if you’re in a multi-lane highway and a car has stopped, it might be because a pedestrian is crossing. So slow down in case you also need to stop.

  4. There is always an entertaining debate to be had about whether people walking or people driving are the biggest troublemakers; but let’s put some blame where it so clearly belongs – with the appalling lack of leadership by Mayor Jenny Durkan.

    We know that walking and cycling in Seattle are far more dangerous than they should be, and traffic is a nightmare, and what has she done to improve things since taking office? Practically nothing. Still no decision on the center city streetcar, bike lane construction has all but ground to a halt. Meanwhile traffic congestion gets worse largely because many people don’t have realistic alternatives to driving.

    Seattle needs a mayor with a real vision for the future and who is actually capable of making tough choices about how we can improve as a city.

    • I don’t think it’s fair to blame the Mayor. It’s drivers and pedestrians who routinely break our traffic laws (as in above comments), and it’s the SPD for not doing better enforcement of these laws.

      • If that many people are breaking laws, it’s time to start considering that the problem might be the context and not the people. The context being our overall transportation system, which the mayor is not doing anything about improving.

      • It’s completely fair to blame the mayor when the city publicly commits to “Vision Zero.”

        To pull that off, the city needs to understand actual behavior, and to design the physical and enforcement environment accordingly.

        Anything less is unacceptable.

    • Let’s also not forget that pedestrians have only soft little, vulnerable bodies, whereas drivers have, often, a ton of metal cage…

      The onus here is definitely tilted to the driver. I’m not talking about someone darting out, mid block, from between parked cars on a 45mph arterial.. I’m talking about people crossing at intersections being able to expect that 1) drivers are paying attention and 2) drivers will obey the laws – and that means yielding to pedestrians – which is not entering a crosswalk, marked or unmarked until the pedestrian(s) are more than one lane away from the side of the street the vehicle is on(hah!), coming to a *complete* stop at all stop signs and red lights (yeah right…) not to mention looking both ways and waiting for the intersection to be clear before proceeding and NOT speeding (don’t make me laugh…). FEW of these drivers who hit pedestrians hit someone that would have be unavoidable.. these generally are not people running out into the street… Even if they *are* distracted, drunk, blind, crazy – whatever… if drivers are paying attention and following the rules most of these ‘accidents’ likely should have been avoidable…

  5. RE: the intersection of 12th Ave E & E Thomas St. I pass through there frequently, both as a driver and as a pedestrian. The main problems are these:

    1) If you are a pedestrian crossing 12th east to west, especially from the SE corner….or a driver trying to cross east to west… there is limited visibility of vehicles heading north on 12th, and vehicles are often speeding there.

    2) If you are a driver on Thomas trying to turn on to 12th west to east, there is limited visibility of vehicles heading south on 12th, mainly because of parked cars there.

    I think SDOT should make some changes to that intersection, to lessen the risk.

    • SDOT answers to the mayor, and she is making it perfectly clear that she just doesn’t give a damn. She doesn’t give a damn about people who ride bikes and she doesn’t give a damn about people who walk or use transit. People are in the hospital this week, people will die before long, and much of the responsibility lies with Durkan. And yet we will have three more years of business-as-usual so that she can finish her term without rocking the boat for the 51% of car commuters and then move on to running for governor, or whatever else it’s going to take to soothe her empty shell of an ego.

  6. First of all, there is no excuse for bad driving. People who are in a hurry and are self-important drive like fools and should be dealt with. With that said…there is also a real problem with arrogant pedestrians. I frequently encounter pedestrians who walk right out in front of cars. They never look or even attempt to make eye contact. They just walk out and are dressed in dark clothes often, making it even harder for drivers to see them and then add in weather and glare from rain and it is even harder for drivers to see them, even if just driving 15-20 mph. The worst display of arrogance from pedestrians is when there is only one car approaching and no cars behind that one car, but they insist in walking right out in front of that car. Even if you are right as a pedestrian, it is still arrogant and stupid. Most drivers do not want to hit a pedestrian and drive slowly through Capitol Hill, but arrogant and righteous pedestrian behavior that causes an accident can result in neither party having a good day. In addition, it goes a long way to simply take a step or 2 out into the street and wait until cars see and acknowledge you and let you go. Give a courtesy wave when cars do give you the courtesy of stopping.

    • In what world does observing the legally-defined right of way equal “arrogant and stupid?”

      …dressed in dark clothes, like every urbanite everywhere. FFS.

      You have a serious problem with your thinking, ED

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