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Seattle lawyer killed in 2nd Ave bike crash was former Hill resident

Kung, right, her partner Christine Sanders and daughter Bryn

Kung, left, her partner Christine Sanders and daughter Bryn

Friends and family are remembering Sher Kung, the woman who died Friday morning after being struck by a vehicle as she biked only blocks from her work on Seattle’s dangerous — and about to be transformed — 2nd Ave.

The 31-year-old Kung and her partner had recently welcomed a daughter into the world. A giving fund has been created in her memory to help support the young family that Kung leaves behind:

Sher Kung was a beautiful, active and caring person that was loved by everyone who had the honor of knowing her. A life lived with heart, joy, passion, and such soaring love for her family and friends. Her cheery smile, positive attitude and warm, energetic personality will be missed by many. Sher was tragically taken from her family and friends in a bike accident, leaving behind her partner Christine and their seven-month old girl, Bryn as well as many family members and friends.

A memorial "Ghost Bike" left near the intersection where Kung was struck and killed (Image: CHS)

A memorial “Ghost Bike” left near the intersection where Kung was struck and killed (Image: CHS)

In 2011, the Perkins Coie lawyer helped bring down “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” while working with the ACLU.

Kung and her partner had recently purchased a home together near Woodland Park Zoo. They both had previously called Capitol Hill home.

The Seattle Bike Blog reports the city has been preparing 2nd Ave for new protected bike lanes similar to the Broadway bikeway.

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13 thoughts on “Seattle lawyer killed in 2nd Ave bike crash was former Hill resident

  1. This was a real tragedy and my heart goes out to her family and friends. Apparently the driver of the truck which hit her is not considered at fault, so it’s a horrible thing for him/her too. If only the planned changes on 2nd Avenue had been done a little sooner….

    • Where did you get that the truck was not at fault? Since all drivers turning left are required to yield to through traffic in that bike lane, it’s pretty well impossible to hit a bike without violating that… Not that I disagree, this is still horrible for him, and much of the blame lies in the horrible state of that particular bit of bike lane, as it highly exacerbates existing confusion motorists have in regard to cyclists… but I would be extremely disappointed if the SPD effectively said, “It’s OK, we’re not going to hold you responsible for causing someone’s death since you feel so bad…”

      • The report of this accident in The Seattle Times mentioned that the SPD concluded that the truck driver would not be charged. They are the only ones who are privy to the details of what happened, so I think we should respect their decision.

      • Thankfully, you seem to be misreading. There are two articles on this in Seattle Times (one on the accident, one on the individual). The quotes from the SPD include stating that they are still investingating, that the driver was not impaired and is cooperating, and stating that “bicyclists have the right of way in such bike lanes, and it’s a driver’s responsibility to check before turning.”

        As to trusting what they tell us, that often does not work. There are numerous instances on record of police departments showing bias toward drivers, refusing to hold them responsible for blatant violations that result in pedestrian and cyclist deaths. In 2011, concerned citizens had to find surveillance video themselves and get multiple local news stations involved to force police to hold a driver responsible in a case very similar to this (police were actively combative with cyclists during this time; an officer actually blocked a bike lane and berated cyclists during a memorial ride). Even locally, there are instances of clear bias: the vulnerable user law is *REQUIRED* to be applied when a cyclist or pedestrian is killed by a motorist violation of law, but law enforcement has so far adamantly refused to comply. Caleb Shoop was killed by a motorist violating two different crosswalk laws, and the city of Kenmore actively refused to apply it – or anything more than a $175 fine.

        To “respect” clearly biased decisions by those in authority is unethical.

        Again, though, luckily the SPD has made no such decisions at this point.

      • Oops- I meant to point out that my example was in San Francisco, just realized I never actually said that. Also, I don’t know why I thought it was 2011, it was 2013. If you’re interested, the cyclist was Amelie Le Moullac – googling her name will give you a wide array of stories and perspectives on it.

      • I stand corrected. I based my comment on what I read in the print edition of The Seattle Times. The online article was modified and updated on Saturday, and included more details which say that it is too early to conclude if the incident was an accident or a crime.

  2. I bike or drive the route in question everyday, down Pine from the Hill, then left on 2nd to my office is South Seattle. Its obvious to anyone who bikes or drives, that “bike lanes” of this type should not exist period, and that all they do is lure in inexperienced bikers with a false sense of security. These lanes are the last place in the world an inexperienced rider should be, and makes one wonder if whoever thought this up should be up for prosecution along with the driver. The set up of course is when you find yourself riding next to someone (particularily large vehicles and trucks) whose blinker is then behind you so even if they signal, you’re a sitting duck if they don’t see you. The only remedy of course (if you’re going to use these lanes at all- which you shouldn’t) is to assume everyone is going to make that turn and keep enough distance in front or behind them to avoid being picked off if they make the turn, all of which takes more biking wherewithal than novice bikers are going to have.

  3. Great Idea! Taking the only functioning artery out of the downtown core and ruining it with pointless bike lanes. What a stupid city! This city can’t even pay for a dedicated bike bridge to ballard, but we need to choke up another street that was made FOR CARS and TRUCKS and BUSSES! Can’t bikers put their bikes on fricking busses to get out of downtown? My god, what is wrong with this place? Get ready for gridlock downtown with all the development and no care given to any traffic scheme whatsoever….

    • Take a moment and understand that a beautiful, meaningful life has been lost. Sher was my friend. She was a partner, a mom, a daughter, an inspirational lawyer who changed life for the better for so many people. She was an athlete, a responsible bicyclist, a talented pianist. She was the whole world to some people.

      To respond to efforts to avoid the devastation Sher’s family and friends, as well as the LGBTQ community and so many other communities that she graced with her light, experienced with comments about traffic is heartless and inhumane (in-human, even).

      I would happily wait in traffic every day – for hours – if it guaranteed the lives and safety of people who matter so much to others.

      Nothing has happened to you as a result of the bike lanes being there – not a loss, not even the traffic you imagine will happen. Everything has happened to her family and friends.

    • As you no doubt would expect from such a hateful, distasteful rant, my initial reaction was one of anger. But then it occurred to me… Whether you’re so pathetic as to feel the need to post nonsense troll posts like this just to get reaction, or you really are so inundated with nonsensical rage that you feel it is appropriate to spew hate at an entire group when in a discussion about the death of an innocent victim – either way, you must really have a sad, terrible life. So my condolences for your plight. I truly hope things get better for you someday.

  4. Pingback: Broadway bikeway — now serving 600+ trips a day — will help shape a safer 2nd Ave | CHS Capitol Hill Seattle