This morning a cyclist was struck and killed in Kirkland at NE 124th St and 132nd Ave in the Totem Lake area of Kirkland. The driver of the vehicle that stuck him has been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. The Seattle Bike Blog has more details.
This is close to my work and where I lived in high school and I have biked this road many times, mostly on the sidewalk because I find this road particularly unsafe even with bike lanes. For some context this is the only connection between the Burke Gilman trail and Kirkland between NE 145th and NE 85th St (roughly the distance from UW to Northgate), so its more heavily used than many people might expect. NE 145th and NE 85th are also fairly indirect and don’t have any bicycle facilities either. While I don’t know where the cyclist was going it is fairly common for cyclist to use Slater Ave and NE 116th west of 132nd Ave since they have bike lanes and NE 124th doesn’t and NE 124th has very high vehicle volumes. I think it is also worth noting that last year a cyclist was killed on NE Juanita Dr which is the other commonly used route from Kirkland to access the Burke Gilman trail.
The only thing I have to say besides my condolences to the family and friends of the victim is actually a request. Don’t use the word “accident” when you really mean “collision”. Accident implies lack of fault, randomness and inability to control, when all collisions are in fact someones fault. To call something a “unfortunate accident” as the police officer quoited in the story did, takes the underlying message to a whole new level, ie “there was nothing that could have been done to prevent this collision and we should just get used to cyclist getting killed on our roadways.”
As a society, we need to be crystal clear about what are preventable road fatalities and injuries. To call collisions an accident validates and reaffirms a culture of irresponsibility and unaccountability, and that is the last thing our roads need.