Every year in Seattle there are 12,000 collisions. That’s 33 per day. Compared to the rest of the city, a high concentration of collisions involving vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians happens along the Pike/Pine Corridors.
At the most recent Capitol Hill Community Council meeting, Jim Curtin of the Seattle Department of Transportation presented data to explain the collisions, as well as tips to avoid them in the future.
Following the Pike/Pine Corridors from just west of I-5 up to 15th Avenue, there were 308 total collisions and 157 injuries between 2008 and 2011, and 324 total collisions and 167 injuries between 2011 and 2013.
Of those between 2008 and 2011, there were 39 bike collisions and 35 injuries, 33 pedestrian collisions and 36 injuries (a vehicle may have hit more than one pedestrian). And between 2011 and 2013 there were 51 bike collisions and 45 injuries, 36 pedestrian collisions and 33 injuries.
Why the increase? More people are using bikes, which will only increase as parking becomes worse, and transit and streets, like the incoming greenways, improve.
“In the last three years there were 51 bicycle collisions. Two bicyclists struck pedestrians, and 17 bicycles hit vehicles,” Curtin said, though the majority of collisions are from drivers.
Most of these accidents occur at intersections and are the result of drivers failing to grant the right of way to pedestrians or bicyclists. The top contributing factors are being distracted while driving or under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Curtin recommends that people slow down, since someone hit at 40 mph only has a five to 10 percent chance of survival, whereas someone hit at 20 mph will usually survive. As well, people should plan ahead if they intend to consume alcohol or drugs; there are many places around the city to park a car overnight, as well as taxis and rideshare options galore. Finally, whether you’re the pedestrian or driver, put your phone down. Seriously. Put the damn phone down. Delaying a text is better than hurting or ending a life.