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Bike rider says struck by Car2Go in Capitol Hill hit and run

Screen shot 2013-03-30 at 8.56.39 PMPolice were faced with a bit of a conundrum Saturday night as a bicyclist reported being struck by a blue and white Smart Car on E Olive Street at Bellevue Ave E.

We do not have details yet on the extent of the rider’s injuries but Seattle Fire was dispatched to the scene for treatment.

The victim and a witness were able to provide a description of the driver and the license plate number for the vehicle. Police were attempting to contact the company to track down the driver but were having difficulty getting through the system’s phone support system, according to police radio dispatches.

With the introduction of the Car2Go vehicle sharing service in Seattle, dozens of the small cars were in motion and parked around the Hill Saturday night.

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30 thoughts on “Bike rider says struck by Car2Go in Capitol Hill hit and run

  1. The Car2Go Smartcars have alarmingly small rear-view mirrors and door mirrors, making it hard to see what’s passing you. Turning your head to see behind does not help at all: car has thick seat posts behind driver and the high headrests on the seats interfere with looking round (and impede use of the rear view mirror).

    I was really quite shocked at how poor the visibility was in this little car, presumably designed mainly for round-town trips. Infrequent users of the vehicles might not be familiar with these limitations.

    I’m not offering this an an excuse for poor driving (know nothing of this incident), merely want to caution others of difficulties driving SmartCars safely in traffic.

    • The rear view mirror is annoyingly small, and the compactness of the car itself is unusual enough that it can throw you off a bit sometimes.

      As for the side view mirrors, the can feel small, but I easily work around that (and the resulting blind-spot issues, which are thankfully as small as the car) by using a technique I’ve seen Metro drivers do when checking their mirrors: rocking back and forth. It lets you cover a much larger visual area with the mirrors, without having to contort around.

      • As a professional commercial driver, I can tell you it’s also important to take several glances at your mirrors while actually making a turn. It insures you didn’t miss something and nothing’s changing. Like rocking back and forth to check a mirror’s blind spots while stopped, checking while the vehicle’s in motion also skews those blind spots and provides an evolving view.
        Left-to-right-to-left-to-right… all the way through the turn so you can STOP if you missed something or others around you have changed position.

  2. If the victim has the time and the license plate, it’s trivial to find out who reserved the car. Knowing this, I’m shocked the car2go driver didn’t stop at the scene of the collision.

  3. My husband and I joked that the per-minute pay scheme encouraged reckless driving… we were hoping that was just a joke though! I’m surprised the driver did not stop. I’d think that a smart car would really have felt the impact more than most vehicles would have.

  4. Saw this happen. Bike was headed north ( he works for jimmy johns. Driver was going south and turned right into him knocking him to the curb. Driver got out and asked if he was ok, but then ran back to his Car2Go and sped off. A guy chased him on foot and two people got his license number. Consensus was the driver was drunk. Biker was injured and taken to hospital. He couldn’t move and was in shock.

    • I hope you were able to pass this account on to SPD and I hope people are able to ID the driver.

      Being drunk is the only excuse I can think of for someone in one of these cars to bail. Like others mentioned, there are records that will allow SPD to track down the person who rented it. However, by that time his buzz will have worn off… or he will claim that someone stole the little smart car from him. What a pathetic clown.

      • Yes, we all gave the police the information we had. They got the license plate number, description of the driver, and what ha;;ened.

    • Hmm – your account doesn’t make sense. If the bike is in the northbound lane, and the driver is in the southbound lane, to hit him, the driver would have had to turn left (east), not right.

  5. It does not help that so many bicyclists choose to break the laws at their convenience so you never know what the heck they are going to do. Some ride on the sidewalks when there is a bike lane, others blow through red lights, others stop like they should.

    Makes it hard when your a driver or pedestrian.

    • This comment is the functional equivalent of saying “She shouldn’t have worn all those tight clothes if she didn’t want to get raped,” and has nothing to do with article. As far as you know, the bicyclist has done nothing illegal, but yet you choose to blame the victim. I ride a bike to work nearly every day and see very little of what you’re talking about- I’ve had plenty of scary moments because cars aren’t paying attention- but, as a person who also drives a car occasionally I have no trouble with bicyclists from that side of the wheel.

      Also, fyi, riding on the sidewalk is NOT an example of a bicyclist breaking the law, even if there is a bike lane present.

      • While it is certainly true that many cyclists ride irresponsibly and illegally (going through red lights, for example), I’m not sure this is relevant in this case, until we know more of the facts of exactly what happened.

        Maybe I’m wrong, but I thought it was illegal to ride your bike on the sidewalk. Even if it isn’t, it still is a dangerous and rude thing to do, especially if there are many pedestrians around. Walk it!

      • It’s legal to ride your bike on the sidewalk in Seattle, in a “careful and prudent manner.” [SMC 11.44.120]

        http://www.washingtonbikelaw.com/amicus_personae/printer_layout/printer_bike_law_washington_state_different.html

        People on bicycles are just trying to find a safe, convenient place to ride. If there aren’t good places, people will improvise – some in dangerous ways.

        Do an experiment for me: next time you drive, note how many drivers follow the rules of the road (come to complete stop at stop signs, don’t exceed the speed limit, yield for pedestrians, etc.) There are dangerous actions from people using all modes, it’s not mode-specific.

      • It is not illegal to ride your bike on the sidewalk. However, if you do ride on the sidewalk you must yield to pedestrians. Drivers also need to yield to pedestrians and bicycles.

      • Not sure what your objection to the statement is but I was pointing out that there were a lot of Car2Go in the area last night potentially further complicating the investigation.

  6. “With the introduction of the Car2Go vehicle sharing service in Seattle, dozens of the small cars were in motion and parked around the Hill Saturday night.”

    And this is relevant just how? There were “dozens of Toyotas” around the hill Saturday night as well. What’s your point?

    • It is relevant because Car2Go vehicles act as an unruly gang, ever plotting against bicyclists, ped people & other cars – even SUVs, trucks & buses!

      “dozens of Toyotas” are too polite to do anything like that, they just blush when you pass…

  7. Like I said earlier the biker was traveling north. He was riding legally. The car was driving south and turned directly into him as the car tried to make a left hand turn. I saw it happen. Not sure why folks are assuming other things when it was clearly the cars fault and he knew it or he wouldn’t have run.

  8. FWIW the cars’ ID’s on the Car2Go website and app are the license plate #’s, so an enterprising soul could find the car involved and photograph any collision damage.

  9. I have almost been hit couple of times by these rent a cars. These drivers only drive occasionally and a lot have no clue about bikes on the road.

    (The rent a car drivers mind is something like this “Right – Left”, “should I be in the other lane”. “What direction does this street go”. “Did I miss my turn”. Looks at smart phone to make sure, “is this Apple map right”. “Oh, a new text”.) This behavior is the same with out of state drivers too that do not know the city streets.

    New law “if you leave a hit and run, you will be charged for an UI if you were previously at a location that served alcohol.

  10. Sorry all about my usage of the word right. I meant to say he turned directly into him or right into him, even though he actually turned left in direction. I can see how this was confusing. My friends and I waited for the cops, gave them all the info we had, as well as another group that went way beyond just helping and ran after the guy to get the correct license plate number. The Police were confident they would be able to figure out who was driving the car and it matched a Car2Go license number. Any updates from CHS would be greatly appreciated.

    • this is good, car2go will easily be able to track down who had the car rented at that time. They may even have black box data that shows the impact, since their on board computer does track acceleration/deceleration (ostensibly for showing you little green trees on the display that track how efficiently you drive).

      I’m not sure what is hard about their phone system though. If you call and wait on the line through the brief menu, you’ll be connected to a customer service rep. I went through it Saturday night when I went to use one and couldn’t remember my PIN.

  11. Pingback: Police make arrest in reported Capitol Hill Car2Go hit and run | CHS Capitol Hill Seattle