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Police release details in Pine/Boren car vs. bike crash investigation

Seattle Police say the driver was not impaired by drugs or alcohol in Tuesday night’s collision between a Honda Fit and a bicycle rider at Pine and Boren.

The 25-year-old female bicyclist was rushed to Harborview with what were described as minor injuries. We have unconfirmed information from friends of the woman that she suffered a broken hip. 

Traffic in the area was backed up for hours during the investigation.

In CHS comments on Tuesday night’s report, commenter Oiseau noted the area’s reputation as a challenging area for bikers:

The bike lane disappears and then reappears for half a second after crossing Boren and then it just becomes a sharrow. I’ve seen it confuse many a driver as they don’t notice that the turn lane is a turn lane and that the bike lane on the other side is a bike lane. It’s just a horrible set up. It’s a horrible area to just abruptly end the bike lane at maybe 50 feet before the intersection. Cyclists are forced to merge into traffic and on rainy days like this, the chance of injury escalates big time.

While we haven’t documented another incident like this at Pine at Boren, this area of Pine has been identified as a biking danger zone with Pine/Bellevue getting the nod as one of the most dangerous intersections for bikes in the city. This Seattle Times bike crash map shows the number of incidents along lower Pine. We also asked CHS readers to identify Capitol Hill bike danger spots in this fall 2011 post.

Here is the SPD brief on the investigation.

On February 28th, at approximately 5:13 pm, a Honda Fit was travelling south on Boren Avenue approaching Pine Street.  At the same time, a 25 year old female bicyclist was travelling westbound on Pine Street.  The two collided in the intersection of Boren Avenue and Pine Street.

The cyclist was treated at the scene by Seattle Fire and then transported to Harborview Medical Center with non life-threatening injuries.

Seattle Police officers responded to the scene and interviewed the driver of the Honda.  The driver was evaluated for any signs of impairment, but none were detected. 

Detectives from the Traffic Collision Investigation Squad (TCIS) responded to the scene and began their investigation.  The intersection was shut down for approximately 2 hours while detectives conducted their investigation.  This remains an active and ongoing investigation.

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23 thoughts on “Police release details in Pine/Boren car vs. bike crash investigation

  1. That bike lane layout is so confusing as to be dangerous. I wouldn’t ride that area on a bet. This is one of those rare cases where there should not be a dedicated bike lane. It’s safer to take your chances with the cars. Oh, and bicyclists, please use hand signals. The life you save…

  2. I live 2 blocks from here, always walking passed this area on the way to the convention center bus tunnel. This 5 minute walk M-F, I will occasionally see cyclists running flagrant red lights and its always as they cruise downhill, never will I see a cyclists run a red light going up the hill.

    Given that the cyclist was traveling west (downhill), I cant help but imagine that the cyclists might have run the red light and collided with the car.

  3. From the SPD description of the incident, either the cyclist or the driver of the vehicle ran the red light. We have all seen cyclists run red lights…happens frequently…but it’s also possible that the driver did that. The investigation should determine what actually happened, so we should wait to cast judgment until the results are in.

  4. The bicyclist ran the red light. I was in the right lane westbound at the red light in a car. I saw her coming up to the intersection going pretty fast for it being a red light I was wondering why she wasn’t slowing down more.

  5. I hated crossing this intersection as a bicyclist even when I did it before there was real traffic in the very early morning. Drivers just don’t pay attention and rarely shoulder check when turning (don’t pull up beside them as they won’t notice you).

    On the other hand, this is the only place in Seattle where, as a pedestrian, I’ve nearly been run over by bicyclists twice because they don’t stop at the intersection. It makes my heart leap into my throat every time I see one of them breeze through the red light because they think they have enough time between cars. It’s just a bad place all around.

    I hope the young woman is OK and makes a speedy recovery.

  6. Honestly, I find the layout of this intersection ingenious when the lines are there. WHEN THE LINES ARE THERE!!!

    Bicyclists and drivers have an equal responsibility to yield, and bicyclists in the street have to follow the same traffic laws. Frankly, there’s about a 30 foot section where a merge occurs (where the road widens), and it occurs well before the intersection. When the lines are painted it is VERY clear that bicyclists have the right of way in the “2nd” lane. This allows traffic to safely turn onto Boren without bikes clogging the traffic flow. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a bike turn right onto Boren anyway.

    Again, this is -WHEN THE LINES ARE THERE!!- The current condition of the intersection is TERRIBLE and needs to be repainted immediately. It is now an obviously dangerous situation for both bicyclists and motorists.

  7. Amen! Sometimes cyclists are even more frightening to me (as a pedestrian) because they scream down the road AND the sidewalk without obeying traffic laws. Having said that, though, I hope she’s doing fine and this acts as a reminder to all to drive defensively. Unfortunately, you have to presume others (cars, bikes or even peds) won’t follow the rules.

  8. This is why I don’t ride down Pine. Even after you get down the hill the Pacific Place AND Westlake area are awful for bikes. Go down Pike then to Union if you need to go west, been doing that for years and it’s much better than Pine.

    Also, as a cyclist, I shake my head every time I’m stopped at a stop light and another cyclist blows through it without looking. It’s dangerous as hell, and you make other cyclists look bad when you do that. Stop it. That’s not to say drivers don’t do tons of stupid things too (been hit by a guy who was texting while driving).

  9. “I will occasionally see cyclists running flagrant red lights and its always as they cruise downhill, never will I see a cyclists run a red light going up the hill. “

    That’s some good detective work right there. How fucking stupid are you? Have you ever been on a bike?

  10. “On the other hand, this is the only place in Seattle where, as a pedestrian, I’ve nearly been run over by bicyclists twice because they don’t stop at the intersection.”

    This happened to me on Monday on Pike Street, cyclist waits at the red light and as soon as there’s no more traffic coming from Boren Ave, he runs a flagrant red light, zips in between two of us on the crosswalk.

  11. Amen! I’ve said numerous times to other cyclists that the best form of bicycle advocacy is just for everyone to follow the rules. I’ll go a bit further than shaking my head. I’ve gotten to the point where I actually yell after them “You’re making us all look bad!” Hopefully it gets through to some people. I mean, yep, there are good cyclists and there are bad cyclists. There are good drivers and there are baaaad drivers. Everyone needs to just sort of step back and take time to pay attention and just realize that nothing is really that important. I mean, no one needs to speed. No one needs to run red lights. No one needs to park on crosswalks or go around other cars by driving down the bike lane. We all just need to chill. No one person is more important than anyone else.

    That being said, the “us vs. them” attitude on both sides needs to go away too.

    (Also, feel your pain. Got hit by a guy running a stop sign. Notttt fun.)

  12. I spent my childhood biking around New York City. It was just me, my friends, and bike messengers. This is before any of us wore helmets. Never had an issue. Never heard about accidents with cars. I find it interesting there is so much friction and accidents these days with cyclists even with bike lanes and all the coddling of cyclists. Are drivers and bikers just not paying attention now?

  13. i noticed how the lines in that area had worn off (awhile ago) and tried to find someone in the city or county to care. no such luck. i don’t mind that the bikeline is between a right turn lane and a straight ahead lane BUT like the other person said, when there are no lines, it doesn’t work and when going from the right bike lane to the middle bike lane isn’t well marked. Also, it’s scary when in that bike lane and a car supposedly in the right turn lane chooses to go straight. Also with a bus in the straight ahead lane, it’s a very tight fit. To be safest, I’ve just taken the full right lane, blocking any car taking a right hand turn. It’s a bad intersection anyway, with hills in all directions. Everybody (cars and bikes) should ride/drive defensively. Not the best for pedestrians either.

  14. Whoever had the idea that bicycle infrastructure solution is a sharrow was well off. Most drivers don’t have any idea what the sharrow thing is and in fact bicycle riders don’t have any idea either what benefit it is for them either. Planners somehow think that sharrows are a real solution for making the city friendlier to bikes.

  15. I agree. The average motorist is confused about the “sharrow icon” and the “bicycle lane” icon….they look very similar. Theoretically, a sharrow is supposed to “remind” motorists to share the road with cyclists, but most of us already know that. They are a real waste of money.

  16. SDOT is the most dysfunctional department in the City….they do only the minimum on many issues, and then only when a complaint is made….if you’re lucky.

  17. Yeah, I think this is something that everyone can agree upon. The sharrow icon should only be reserved for streets where cyclists have priority – i.e. greenways. I remember seeing dedicated bicycle centric streets in Vancouver 7 years ago! I don’t know when Portland got on board (ugh, they are sharrow city though), but yeah, we need to dump the sharrow. SDOT needs to get on board with greenways, cycle tracks, and green lanes (basically buffered bike lanes but with better marking, protected BY parking, and truly seperated). This would make drivers and cyclists alike happy. This sort of infrastructure encourages cycling because it is inherently safer, and it can benefit drivers because this infrastructure has been proven to improve traffic flow and there is definitely no confusion with proper markings and signage.

  18. @ J.H. are you implying that someone would “actually” lie about being a witness? Come on now. I called the police seconds after she hit the ground. They have my name and phone number if they need another witness to state the fact that she ran the red light.

    ie I do not peruse forums making things up to make bicyclist look bad.