Seattle Cyclist Hit by Metro Bus, Driver Not Drunk; Are Urban Cyclists in Serious Danger?

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January 16th, 2013 Posted in Accident News

Seattle, WA- Preliminary blood tests have shown that the Metro bus driver who struck a cyclist last Tuesday was not under the influence of alcohol and potential charges are pending.

At 7:05 a.m. a cyclist, who has been identified as Carl Gray, was attempting to cross the Third Avenue when he was struck by a Metro Bus, the Seattle Times reported. The impact of the crash was so great that the bus windshield was shattered.

Gray, 32, however didn’t seem to realize the severity of his injuries and walked away from the accident scene to go to a nearby Starbucks and get a cup of coffee. The Times reported that an alert employee noticed Gray’s head was bleeding and called police who along with paramedics followed the man to the  shop just one block away from the accident scene.

Gray had apparently suffered a concussion and once he was stabilized was transported to Harborview Medical Center where he was treated for serious injuries.

The Metro Bus driver, a 20-year veteran, was arrested and also taken to Harborview for a blood test to determine if he was intoxicated. The tests revealed he was not under the influence of alcohol but it will take at least two weeks to determine if he had drugs in his system.

Paul Bechtel, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 587driver’s union said he doesn’t believe the driver was under the influence. “He sounded sober to me. I’ve known him for 20 years. I’ve never noticed anything like that. I’d be surpised,” Bechtel told the Times.

Metro spokeswoman Rochelle Ogershok told the Times that transit drivers must follow strict rules in regard to intoxication. Drivers are not allowed to drink four hours before their shift and drug use is not tolerated.

In urban areas, like Seattle, cyclists and pedestrians are equally susceptible to serious injuries and death. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data from 2010, 618 cyclists were killed and an additional 50,000 were injured in traffic collisions. While cyclist fatalities represent only 2 percent of overall traffic fatalities, any death is senseless.

Of those fatalities, 70 percent occurred in urban areas. Larger cities like Seattle and New York have a large number or cyclists who are in danger of being hit or colliding with a motorist, and the injuries they suffer can be severe since they don’t have the same protections as motorists.

The NHTSA’s study determined that both drivers and cyclists are equally responsible for traffic collisions.

Driver errors such as aggressively passing a cyclist, speeding, running red lights or turning into their path are the primary causes of these kinds of accidents. Cyclists, too, cause accidents mainly because they sometimes fail to follow traffic regulations or travel the wrong direction.

Keeping the streets safe depend on the efforts of both drivers and cyclists. Seattle and other metropolitan areas have installed bike lanes to increase safety for all and studies have shown these lanes are effective in preventing collisions.

Cyclists often suffer from brain injuries and broken bones. Recovery from these types of injuries can be long and come at a great cost to the victims. Often head injuries can result in permanent disability making it impossible for the victim to lead a normal life. However a Seattle accident attorney can make it possible for these victims to receive the compensation they richly deserve.

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