Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Cyclist hit on 4th and Lincoln


(Yesterday a bunch of police cars were going haywire outside my office window -- hanging u turns in the middle of traffic, speeding down Sprague at 50 mph, etc -- so I fired up the online police scanner to get the news. I missed it. But I left the scanner on. At about 1:30 or so I heard a dispatcher say that a car/bike accident happened at 4th and Monroe. That's the back story on why I was listening to a scanner, which I never do, but I can see why bored people do)


The fact is, is that the cyclist was hit at 4th and Lincoln. Which makes a lot more sense given the fact that the dispatcher mentioned that the cyclist was bleeding from the head. A friend of mine in the EMT world confirmed that it was a high-impact hit, based on the bleeding and the fact that the cyclist also lost a shoe.

I ride into downtown all the time on Lincoln. The place where this cyclist was hit is in one of two scary intersections. I wasn't there. I don't know the details, but based on gong down this hill at least 3 times a week for the last six years or so, I can take stab at what I think happened.

It's easy to get to speed as you round the corner on 7th Ave and shoot down Lincoln street. In fact, the hill drops off quickly between 7th and 5th and 6th street doesn't cross, so a quick scan to 6th let's you off the hook for a block. By the time you get to 5th, it's easy to be going 35+ mph if you're just mildly braking. To do so, however, is pretty crazy.


Deaconess Hospital is a huge sprawling Death Star of a structure, with it's multiple buildings, parking lots, sky bridges, etc. The epicenter of this activity is at 5th and Lincoln. The emergency center is there, there's a huge parking garage, the doctor's parking garage, a giant medical building on each side of the street, and the Shriners Children's Hospital.

There are stop signs at 5th for traffic crossing Lincoln, which is a two-lane, one-way street heading north. So going through 5th and Lincoln on a bike at 30+ mph is not something I do, unless I am shadowing a car that is descending down the hill and I'm clearly visible to that descending car. In that case - I use the car as a shield and enjoy the descent.

But in the normal case, I take it easy and slow a bit for both the 5th and the 4th crossings. It seems that just about every time I go down this hill, there's a creeper -- if you're a cyclist, you know the type -- they're looking you right in the eye and slowly creeping out. I've found that just because they're looking you right in the eye doesn't actually mean that they see you -- or if they do, they see you as a slow bike, not a guy traveling 30 mph straight in their line of travel. Anyway, I always shake my head "no" at these guys. And I assume that they'll go.

But god knows that there's many many cases on Lincoln where I am enjoying the descent and easily could've been taken out by a creeper or a phone talker or just a bad driver. I hope this guy isn't someone I know. And in any case, I hope he's ok.

9 comments:

rory said...

was the cyclist riding on 4th or lincoln, and which direction was the car going?

John Speare said...

ASFAIK: the cyclist was riding north on Licoln and was hit from teh left on 4th, by a car that did not stop at the stop sign.

Mike Sirott said...

Yep, that's a scary intersection. It's tempting to bomb that hill at 50 mph, but I always wonder about "that" car on 4th pulling out. Hmm, speed limits apply to cyclist too, for a reason. But even at the speed limit, it's still dangerous. I'm aware of another cyclist fatally hit in the same spot, several years ago.

Drew said...

News in brief indicates that the bike was headed north, the van east, and the cyclist struck the van as it entered the intersection. Serious lack of detail here annoys me.

http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2010/oct/05/in-brief-crash-injures-cyclist-closes-intersection/

Heidi said...

I was hit a few weeks ago on Sprague and Wall. Rear-ended, in fact. Fortunately, it was a low-speed crash, but the motorist was uninsured and my bike was totaled. The worst of my injuries has been PTSD that I'm going to get hit again. Every car I pass, every car that passes me, every rev of an engine makes me heart beat out of my chest. Unfortunately, bicycle commuting in Spokane is not for the faint at heart.

Ted said...

Heidi,

The only advice I can offer you is to keep riding. I was hit by a car in April from behind at a very high rate of speed (50 mph). It's been a long road back and I'm not even close to being comfortable on the road again..I'm still dealing with my injuries but the hardest part is the constant fear I have in my head of getting hit again.

I know where you are coming from and it will get better...

My heart goes out to the injured and his family.

sshrestha1 said...

That's very unfortunate. I've ridden my bikes up and down that street to and fro Greenview Apts on the 7th numerous times. I can imagine how that accident happened. Though the traffic is relatively not as busy, it obviously is prone to accidents.

Anonymous said...

I avoid Lincol because I am too tempted to speed. The danger lurks at every intersection. I was pulled over by a motorcycle cop (parked @ 4th)for going down lincoln @ 37mph. I was on a 1959 Scheinn Panther at the time.

Chris L said...

I usually go down Bernard, which can be almost as dangerous as Lincoln, though Bernard seems more "open" as you come down the hill. In fact, I was riding in the middle of the far left lane of Bernard one morning and a car came barreling from the right across three lanes to try to beat the cars that must've been behind me. I SCREAMED at the top of my lungs "HEYYYY" and the person suddenly saw me and braked enough that i could go around. Since then I have also had a squirrel jump right in front of my tire as I was coming around the "s" part of Bernard (as it passes under Grand). So now I am extremely cautious when I come down there and try to let traffic go by at the top of the hill so that I go through that stretch from 14th-6th all by my lonesome. I used to occasionally get up to 45+ mph (ok, it was a new bike and I was trying it out), but since those scary moments I keep it around 20 or less coming through that "chute". I hope the guy on Lincoln gets well and I think about him and his family as I write this.