Bike Accident Report Hits Close to Home

21 Feb

Every day I bike to work from Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood to Redmond to work at Microsoft – about 15 miles on the bike one way. I shoot down 8th Avenue, follow the Burke Gilman Trail to Montlake, hop a bus across Lake Washington and either ride my bike along Highway 520 to work (or in the winter, shuttle from Montlake to Microsoft in the morning). Afternoons I always ride the whole way back.

I always think riding east of Lake Washington is the most dangerous section of my route because I have to write on the shoulder of a narrow, busy road that has dropoffs and guardrails. But the Seattle section is dangerous too, as a new bike accident study by The Seattle Times shows. My route is littered with accidents as shown by this accident map. The map shows bicycle accidents in Seattle from 2007 to 2011. The good thing is that the number of accidents is holding steady as bike ridership increases – the fact that we’re out in higher numbers is apparently making it more likely for people in cars to see us.

Still, the study found that there is one bike accident a day reported in Seattle. Read the story that went with the map here. And indeed, my route is very popular – it’s always super busy, especially in nice weather, so I’m not surprised it is one of the most accident prone areas. The Seattle Times study talks about accidents where bikes and cars collide, which is likely the way most serious accidents happen, but I wanted to hear about bike-versus-bike accidents. The reason is I seem to have way more close calls with other cyclists than I do cars – especially on nice weather days when meandering cruisers intermingle with fast-moving commuters like me.

I do know I need to always be careful, especially because I like to ride fast. Anyway, I appreciate the study that the Times did and I’d like to hear more.

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