Less than six weeks ago an attorney was killed while riding her bicycle down Second Avenue in Downtown Seattle. Since that time that intersection has changed dramatically, and in my opinion not at all for the better.
Second Avenue is a one-way street with traffic headed southbound. It used to have a bike lane on the left side of the street. A frequent cause of collisions, including the one that resulted in a death in August, was when a bicyclist was going straight through the intersection while a motor vehicle was making a left turn onto University or another cross street and struck the bicycle.
The City’s solution to this problem was to expand and divide the bike lane to be two ways. That’s right, a two-way bicycle lane on a one-way street. Then, to further confuse things, they installed bicycle-only traffic lights. Now, at several busy intersections in downtown Seattle, we have traffic lights, bicycle lights, AND pedestrian lights. I have already seen many bicycles ride through the intersection on a red bicycle light because the traffic light is green. This is a confusing and dangerous mess, and more people are going to be injured and killed if they don’t fix it.
Now, to make matters worse, the ghost bicycles that marked the location of that fatal accident have been replaced by a row of shiny new bicycles that are part of the City’s new cycle share program. So now we have confusing and complicated bicycle lanes and traffic systems, and we’re inviting tourists and inexperienced drivers to get on an unfamiliar bike on unfamiliar roads in one of the busiest and most dangerous roads in Seattle.
What genius planned this?
Nixon said, “I am not a crook.”
Clinton said, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”
Now apparently supporters of the program are claiming this new program “is not an accident in the making.” Really? There are conflicting studies regarding the safety of rideshare programs in other cities, but simple observation and common sense tell me we’re about to see a whole lot more bicycle versus motor vehicle accidents in Seattle.
I’m a bicycle advocate. I think more people should be commuting by bicycle and riding bikes instead of cars for short trips, but if we’re gonna do it, we should do it right.
How many more people have to die, Seattle?