This post has been edited to remove a reference to state Sen. Adam Kline opposing the vulnerable roadway users' bill. Kline ultimately supported the bill.
The SPD's news blotter reports that a 26-year-old male cyclist was taken to Harborview with life-threatening injuries after a car turned into his path. The cyclist was riding eastbound on NE 45th St. in Wallingford when a car in his lane stopped to let a white Nissan SUV turn into a driveway; the driver of the SUV failed to yield to the cyclist.
In Oregon, killing a cyclist while driving carelessly carries additional penalties. Here, it's rarely punished. (See also: The heartbreaking death of Jose Hernando, a cyclist who was struck by a driver making an illegal left turn near Seward Park last month; he died at Harborview. The driver didn't even get a ticket.)
Cascade Bicycle Club advocacy director David Hiller says passing a similar law for Washington State (the technical term is "vulnerable roadway users law") will be Cascade's top priority in Olympia this year.
"We're seeing a ton of people treat with total disregard this big, heavy, deadly piece of machinery," Hiller says. "If you were walking down the sidewalk just waving a loaded gun around ... people would [not tolerate] that. There need to be serious penalties for treating a vehicle with that kind of disregard for life and limb."
Hiller says he anticipates roadblocks in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Although the description of yesterday's accident sounds like a clear case of failure to yield (the driver made a left turn into the path of oncoming traffic—the cyclist), SPD didn't issue a ticket, which, according to the blotter report, "is standard procedure in serious traffic collisions requiring extensive follow-up investigation and collision reconstruction."
I have a call in to SPD for more details on the cyclist's condition and the investigation, including specifics on why the driver wasn't cited.
In the terrible event that the cyclist dies, he would be the fifth cyclist killed by a driver in Seattle this year; the average, according to Hiller, is two.