A 48-year-old bicyclist was seriously injured in a crash involving a King County Metro VanPool vehicle near the Ravenna neighborhood early Tuesday morning, according to Seattle Police and news reports.
KIRO TV reports that the accident occurred just before 7 a.m. Tuesday, and posted a series of photos showing a red VanPool vehicle with serious damage to the windshield. According to KIRO, the vehicle appeared to be traveling eastbound on NE 65th Street near the intersection with Ravenna Blvd. Both the bicyclist and the vehicle were reportedly traveling in the same direction on
The bicyclist has not yet been identified, but he was reportedly transported to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with serious injuries. He was believed to be in critical condition, according to Seattle Fire Department officials. Seattle Police officials were investigating the collision, and a drug recognition expert responded to interview the driver of the vehicle.
According to statements made by police, the driver was not believed to be under the influence of any drugs or alcohol. They added that the extent of the accident is likely to cause the intersection to be closed for several hours.
News reports indicated that the bicyclist and vehicle were traveling in the same direction on the same roadway when the accident occurred. If this were the case, there are a lot of questions that must be answered in order to determine the legal implications of this particular accident.
Bicycle advocates have called this stretch of NE 65th Street one of the more dangerous areas for bicyclists in the Seattle area, for several reasons. For one, it is a very busy roadway wide enough for two lanes, but lacks actual lane markings in several areas of the road. When vehicles in the left-hand lane stop to make left turn, it can encourage drivers to switch lanes more rapidly and attempt to pass on the right, where bicyclists usually travel.
Also, for being such a busy roadway it is one of the few in the area that does not have marked bicycle lanes of any kind. NE 65th is one of the more popular routes for bicyclists traveling to and from Greenlake, and the lack of protective bike lanes or markings of any kind naturally leaves bicyclists more vulnerable to collisions.
Many have already pointed out that this accident is less than a mile from the location of a major fatal crash that occurred on NE 65th last year, which took the life of Andres Huslander. In that crash, however, the driver was found to be heavily intoxicated and speeding. There have been no reports so far indicating that the driver of the King County Metro VanPool vehicle was speeding, and police have already ruled out intoxication.
Ultimately, the results of the police investigation should tell us more about what factors may have contributed to this devastating crash. Our thoughts are with the victim and his loved ones.