Deadly year for cyclists in Washington

Highway and Road DisastersTransportation DisastersHuman Interest

There have been at least 12 bicycle fatalities in Washington this year, according to the Seattle Times. Most of those have happened in the Seattle area — and many as part of a rash of accidents over the summer.

Last weekend, two bicyclists died in fatal collisions with motor vehicles. The first victim was Robert Townsend, a sandwich delivery man for Jimmy John's. The second victim was Marian Byse, an active volunteer in Port Angeles.

In many cases, those killed in a bicycle accident are honored with a "ghost bike" placed at the scene of the crash.  Cyclists say they're seeing way too many of those bikes on the streets of Seattle.

Cyclist Jym Kinney is glad there isn't a ghost bike in his honor.  Last week, Kinney was hit and left on the side of the road by a car in Pierce County.

"I've got abrasions and road rash everywhere" Kinney said from his hospital room at Seattle's Harborview Medical Center.

Kinney is an experienced cyclist and said he believes wearing his helmet saved his life. 

The recent spike in bike accidents was noticed by the Cascade Bicycle Club, even before this weekend's crash, now they want to start a dialog about improving safety.

"We want to talk about the shared responsibility and accountability, as drivers and as bicyclists, we all need to look out for each other," Policy and Governmental Affairs Manager Craig Benjamin said.

Kinney agrees and said it's going to take cooperation from all sides to keep the roads safe.  It could be 6-9 months before this experienced cyclist is back on his bike. 

"It's hard to imagine but the fact is, I’m going to do it," Kinney said. 

He has completed the Seattle to Portland Bike Ride five times and hopes to do it again after he has healed.

Bicycle Accidents in Washington this year

March 22, 2011:

Celebrated stage actor Mark Chamberlin died after a bicycle accident at the intersection of Dexter Ave N. and Dexter Way N. near the Fremont Bridge. He was 55.

May 10, 2011:

Kent resident Lonnie Moss was struck by an Amtrak passenger train at the West Gowe Street crossing. Police report that he was wearing headphones at the time of the crash and failed to heed crossing signals. He was 47.

May 25, 2011:

West Seattle resident Sally Eustice was struck by an SUV and killed while riding her bike near Walla Walla. She was in Eastern Washington for her nephew’s college graduation.

July 22, 2011:

John Przychodzen was struck and killed while riding his bicycle on the 8600 block of Juanita Drive in Kirkland. He was 49.

July 23, 2011:

Wendell Hultman of Muiklteo was killed after a crash when his bicycle was snagged in a dog leash. He was 73.

July 29, 2011:

Michael Wang was struck and killed by an SUV in a hit-and-run at the intersection of Dexter Ave N. and Thomas St. Wang, a photographer at the global nonprofit PATH, was 44.

August 4, 2011

George Demendoza of Federal Way was struck by a car near Renton Memorial Stadium. He had a helmet strapped to his bicycle but was not wearing it. He died a day later. He was 69.

 August 30, 2011

Brian Fairbrother, a longtime fixture at Espresso Vivace in Capitol Hill, died a week after a bike crash at 1177 Fairvew Ave N. – he accidentally biked down an unmarked staircase. He was 50.

September 10, 2011:

Robert Townsend, a messenger for Jimmy John's sandwiches, died after a collision with a car at the intersection of University Way NE and Campus Parkway NE. He was 23.

September 11, 2011:

Marian M. Byse of Port Angeles was killed after being struck from behind by a car on Highway 112 at Elwha River Road. Byse was a longtime volunteer with Port Angeles Parks and Recreation. She was 65.

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