Category Archives: bike safety

the luckiest man on the planet …

That’d be me.


Ten years ago, I almost lost my life.  I had a run-in with a Ford F150, while riding my bike to work.  I woke up a week later in the Neuro ICU at Harborview, learning just how fortunate I was.  The next few months were really difficult, especially for my family.  Never once did I lack for love and support.  And the most powerful gift someone can give you is  the gift of hope.

I deal with some minor reminders of the accident.  I lost vision in my left eye, have nerve damage, which hinder movement on the upper left side of my face.  I’ve got some minor pain in my ribs and my scalp’s a bit tender where the scars from my surgeries are.  None of these things limits me from doing the things I love.

I carry this gift of hope with me every day.  In the past ten years, I’ve gotten to see my daughters grow and shine.

Got to see the elder one open a couple of plays singing a-cappela.  Saw her graduate from high school, and head off to university.  We’ve traveled to Israel and China together.  Last year,she taught me how to lay brick while we built a house together in Sichaun.  Last week, we celebrated her 21st together.

My younger daughter’s poem was chosen as the theme for a class dance performance a couple of years ago.  She’d not told me ahead of time … just imagine my surprise and wonder at seeing the class perform to her words.  We’ve traveled abroad to Israel and Europe, creating memories and stories we’ll share for the rest of our lives.

I’ve gotten to celebrate several milestone birthdays with my parents, as well as their 50th anniversary.  My brother and I have spent many weekends together with his husband Patrick at their place near the beach in California.

I’ve run about 84 marathon and ultras since then, getting to visit new places, often with friends.  I’d never imagined this were possible for me, but this is what the gift of hope brings you.

Life’s definitely brought its challenges too.  Our family has dealt with some hard stuff and some transitions.  On balance though, I’m possibly the luckiest man on the planet.

Today, I might fit in a short run in a nearby state park.  I’ll enjoy a nice lunch with my parents.  Then, it’s off to a concert in a park – where it hopefully won’t rain.  But – rain or not, I’ll enjoy each of these moment as best I can, for what they are – gifts.

vulnerable user bill–signed into law

Just got back from a trip down to Olympia today, where Governor Christine Gregoire has signed SB 5326, the Vulnerable User Bill into law.  This is the culmination of three years of advocacy work by the Cascade Bicycle Club and others.  Having attended three Judiciary Committee hearings, and testified at two – I’m pleased to see this come to fruition.  SB 5326 was among the final bills signed from this legislative year. 


pictures snapped from’s video feed

Shortly before four this afternoon, I got to shake the governor’s hand, and to tell her that my family and I appreciate this new law.  It will go into effect on July 1, 2012, four years to the day after my accident.

If you are interested, you can view the video of the bill signing here (the Vulnerable User Law signing occurs at time 33:25) :

This experience was valuable for me in a number of ways.  First – it’s an education to see the legislative process in action.  Definitely not always pretty, but definitely good to understand.  Watching the Advocacy folks with Cascade work with the bill sponsors to help navigate the process was interesting.  Speaking with my legislators, as well as others about why it’s good to build awareness and accountability into our driving laws, was incredible.  Obviously, the opportunity to participate in positive change following my own brush with an inattentive driver was powerful too – good things from bad, and all that. 

The person I really have to thank for this is my wife Kris.  During my recovery back in late 2008, she and I were talking about the motorist vs. cyclist dynamic – how each seems to incite the other endlessly concerning road safety.  Kris pointed out that rather than complaining, it’s a far better use of energy to work to change the laws.  Naturally when the opportunity to participate arose a couple of months later, I couldn’t pass it up.

All in all, a good day.

bicyclist killed in seattle last night

On the heels of my own anniversary yesterday, I ran across the following story on this morning :

One dead in car-bike collision near Aurora Avenue North

A bicyclist was killed Wednesday night after colliding with a car on an Aurora Avenue North off-ramp.

The man was struck about 10:20 p.m. in the southbound lanes of the Dexter Way North off-ramp. The driver was taken to Harborview Medical Center with minor injuries, Seattle Fire Department spokeswoman Helen Fitzpatrick said.

The driver may have been impaired, but police did not offer many details Wednesday night.

The KING5 version of the story has a bit more on how it happened :

"The cyclist was traveling southbound on Aurora, as was the vehicle that struck the cyclist," said Detective Mark Jamieson, Seattle Police public information officer. "The vehicle did hit the cyclist from behind."

Tragic, and it seems pretty clear that the motorist was at fault in this case.  Collided with the bicyclist from behind, and appeared to be impaired.  The reader comments caught my eye :

Posted by Carl at 7/2/09 7:12 a.m.

Does this prove that cars are unsafe and we’d better ban them? If the bicyclist had hit a light rail train, would it have been light rail’s fault?


Posted by thebaldguy at 7/2/09 7:18 a.m.

really the laws need to be changed bicycles do not belong the streets, unless they have their own lane. all streets need a bike lane. until then however they need to stay out of the way!!!

… and it goes on.  In general, I find reader comments to be useless.  They’re usually a combination of trolls, idiots, and relatively few thoughtful comments.  In this case, there were some folks that pointed out that perhaps riding a bike along Aurora Ave (a very busy thoroughfare in Seattle) at 10pm might not be the safest thing to do.  Definitely a fair question.  And there were also folks that complained about bicyclists cutting in front of them, or darting across intersections, etc.  Irrelevant in this case. 

Let’s not lose sight of the fact that when you drive a car, you are responsible for seeing the other vehicles on the road (including bikes), and for using good judgment behind the wheel.