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May 9, 2013 at 6:20 AM
Five years of Seattle bicycle collision data makes case for cycle tracks
On a normal day, bikes trickle like a stream across Seattle’s Fremont Bridge at morning and evening rush hour.
This May, the official Bike to Work month, it has been a river. I counted about 120 bikes stacked up when the bridge went up at 6 p.m. earlier this week. The bridge went down, the dam burst and a school of blinkered cyclists swam into North Seattle. The Seattle Department of Transportation Fremont Bridge bike meter counted 1,436 crossings alone at 5 p.m. Tuesday.
If there were more than 50,000 crossings in rainy February, May is going to be off the charts. Seattle, rain and hills be damned, is a great bike city.
But the death of Lance David, a 54 year-old veteran cyclist killed last week on his way to his job at Expeditors International (via Seattle Bike Blog), is a stark reminder that roads shared with two-ton cars, let alone multi-ton trucks, requires vigilance, by bikers and by drivers.
It also calls for dedicated, separated bike paths – aka the city’s proposed cycle tracks – on the high-traffic routes. I was nearly winged this morning by a car door flying open on the Dexter Avenue bike lane, which is separated by just a strip of paint. The driver apologetically threw up his hands.
Seattle Times data guru Justin Mayo compiled this excellent interactive map of bike and pedestrian collisions in Seattle since 2007 (below, and a Seattle Times link). The cluster of accidents downtown makes as clean, strong case for a cross-downtown cycle track, which the Seattle Department of Transportation is currently studying, and for cycle tracks in the works on Broadway (See the city’s streetcar plan, Linden Avenue North and Westlake Avenue.