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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Did a Bike Path Just Kill a Seattle Cyclist? [via The Sun Break]

Editor's Note: While I believe bike paths do have their place in the world, I really think cyclists should be able to ride on the streets with traffic without feeling like they will be run over at any moment. This path in Seattle is poorly designed and is not the way to keep cyclists safe.


Did a Bike Path Just Kill a Seattle Cyclist?

by  on September 8, 2011
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The bike path where Brian Fairbrother was discovered
The bike path where Brian Fairbrother was discovered
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Amid all the grief and remembrances of Vivace’s Brian Fairbrother, who suffered a tragic cycling accident in late August and sustained brain damage that has led to his removal from life support, there is the nagging question of how such an experienced, helmet-wearing cyclist crashed so catastrophically. As I read the account–that Fairbrother wiped out on some dirt near the bike path, but was found on nearby stairs–I couldn’t wrap my head around it.
Then I was sent these photos of the “bike path” in question.
As you can see, it’s not apparent (or even reasonable to assume) that the bike path veers suddenly into the street against oncoming car traffic (and oncoming cyclists, even if you do make the mental adjustment). Nor can you see that there are stairs ahead until right upon them.
I heard about Brian’s accident (like many, many others on Capitol Hill, I knew him from his 20 years of work for Vivace Espresso) not long after writing this post: “The Economist to Seattle: Car Speed Kills,” about failures of Seattle’s biking infrastructure. As it happens, I had just met the cyclist killed in that incident about three weeks before he was hit by a car. These accidents are beginning to feel less and less truly accidental.

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