• Bike fatality highlights need for caution on roadways

    Published August 21 2019

    City strives to provide safe streets for all users

    City of Bellevue investigators say last week’s fatal car-bicycle collision is a tragic reminder for motorists to always exercise caution and adjust for travel conditions, and for bicyclists not to assume drivers will see them, even if they have the right of way. 

    Whether you’re driving a car or riding a bike, remember to:

    • Obey traffic signals and signs. Drivers and bicyclists have the same privileges and responsibilities.
    • Communicate with others. Make eye contact and signal your turns and lane changes.
    • Use a light at night. For bikes, a white light in front and red reflector or light in back.
    • Scan the road ahead. At intersections, watch for cars, pedestrians and bicycles.

    The city has a bicycle map, which includes extra safety tips for people riding bikes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers useful tips for motorists.  

    The crash happened on Northeast Eighth Street on Wednesday morning, Aug. 14, when a motorist turning left from an eastbound lane onto 134th Avenue Northeast struck a westbound bicyclist. The King County Medical Examiner’s Office has identified the individual killed as James Ralph, 33, a Bellevue resident.

    Bellevue Police say they are investigating several factors as they work to determine causes of the crash. Impairment due to alcohol or drugs has been ruled out. The motorist, a 48-year-old Bellevue woman, told police there was sun in her eyes as she was making the turn. 

    The incident was the first fatal bicycle collision in Bellevue in at least 10 years and the first traffic-related death on city streets in 2019. Transportation staff are studying the incident to learn more and help prevent future collisions.

    “We understand how devastating all traffic collisions can be for friends, family and the community, and we’re working together to eliminate them,” said Transportation Director Andrew Singelakis. 

    City departments are collaborating to make roadways safer through its Vision Zero program, an effort to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries on city streets by 2030.