Seattle Space Needle Reflection at Night

Collision at 6th & Stewart

Note that cars continue to run red lights even after the collision.

Note that cars continue to run red lights even after the collision.

I will ask for your forgiveness in advance for this post.  I’m still very shaken up.  I’m still very angry.  I’m still very disturbed.

I just saw a person get seriously injured, and perhaps killed.

I was walking near 6th & Stewart street when I heard a CRUNCH.  I stopped in my tracks, hoping I hadn’t heard what I knew I had.  When I got to the intersection, all hope evaporated. There laid a man in the street, and under the front wheels of a nearby car (WA plate AMK0432) was his scooter. A scooter very similar to my own.

He was already being tended to by bystanders, but he wasn’t moving.  I fear to say it, but he may no longer have been alive.  I do not know.  I do not want to know. That this is so routine is the shame of our city.

15197-1804------©SeattleRex.com

Rarely does a month go by where we don’t hear about yet another car vs. two-wheeler or car vs. pedestrian fatality.  I’ve never seen so many in all of my life, and they show no sign of abating.

I fought tears as I stood there shaking, contemplating what to do.  The sick feeling grew rancid, and then I began to get angry, and I began to focus on the driver.  A driver who, in my opinion, had just committed negligent homicide.  I didn’t see the actual collision, but I’ve just seen too many times how people drive in this town, and it’s obvious why this happens as frequently as it does. There are no “accidents”. All collisions involve willful decisions made by the participants, with the participant facing lessor physical harm nearly always at fault, for reasons which should be painfully obvious to anyone.

15197-1808------©SeattleRex.com

The woman driving the car kept her distance, seemingly more concerned for herself than the person she’d hit.  I even learned that someone else had to dial 911.  I concede that rationality was not my companion at this point, but I felt that this was yet another woman who’d been taught that men’s lives were trivial, and that she was somehow the more “special” of the parties.

Had I hit someone, I’d be beside myself, yet I saw more emotion from bystanders. She just watched. Empathy was missing.  Compassion was missing.  It was as though she’d hit a tree, at worst a dog, albeit an ugly dog.  Were it a cute dog, a white girl breakdown would have already been in full-swing.  To this day, I can’t shake the irony of the homeless encampment two blocks from the doggy daycare just around the corner.

Had she been worried about liability, she shouldn’t have been.  Many insurance companies have this keen thing now called “accident forgiveness”, and even if she were somehow found to be at fault, c’mon, this is Seattle.  Elantra-driving white girl from the ‘burbs vs. scooter-riding city-dweller.

“Your honor, hasn’t this girl, this girl whose every inch is perfect from the bottom to the top, suffered enough?”

No, this was not a girl with anything to worry about.  Not that she was.  Worried, that is.  The political realities of the greater Seattle area are self-evident to even the casual observer.

As for me, I thought that the best thing to do was to say “No more!” See, I firmly believe that if car drivers suffered 1/10th as much as the people they hit, these incidents would come to a dramatic halt.  It is our passiveness that causes this carnage to continue. If they thought that citizens would rise up and protect the victims of these assaults, these selfish, cowardly, pathetic drivers would suddenly become the most diligent drivers you’ve ever seen. Count on it. COUNT ON IT.

Skin in the game.

It’s the most powerful motivator known to mankind.  If those who operate these two-ton vehicles mere inches from others don’t have skin in the game, people will suffer.  People are suffering.

That they don’t have incentive is your fault, my fault, not to mention the fault of the government whose #1 priority is the protection of its people.  Everything else comes second.  At least it’s supposed to.

It was at this point I realized that I needed to leave. I was growing more angry with the driver by the minute, and, well, the political realities of the greater Seattle area are self-evident even to the casual observer.

Don’t worry about this woman, though. I’m sure she’ll have a house full of well-wishers coddling her tonight and telling her that it “was not your fault”. She’s too bourgeois to pay for her mistakes.  That’s left to the proletariat two-wheelers.  Those without ever-vigilant parents to keep them safe.

I made my way to Olive, waited for the “walk” signal, and was almost hit by two separate drivers, neither of whom saw the need to stop at the red light.  As a man lay in the street a block away, cars were still burning through red lights without any hesitation whatsoever.

As if this where not enough, as I was crossing Pike St. in front of the Convention Center, I came within inches of being hit by a SUV that was making a left from 7th, and going entirely too fast while trying to beat the stoplight.

Way to go, SPD.  Way to go.

Selfish suburban drivers who care only about themselves are literally everywhere, and they don’t make even cursory attempts to keep us safe.  That’s 100% up to us.  We have to be hyper-aware of them at all times, because they have no incentive to be aware of us.  The drivers are literally out of control.  Completely.

I’ve been begging and pleading for a little bit of help for years, to no avail.  I don’t care if you’re a Democrat, Republican, or something else, everyone has the right to protect themselves and their fellow citizens from physical harm.

There is no incentive for automobile drivers to obey the law. Nothing comes of it when they choose not to.

Pedestrians and two-wheelers, however, have skin in the game.

Mr. Mayor, I know that you no longer choose to represent me (though you’ll still gladly take my money).  As long as you are taking my money, though, I feel I’ve earned my say.

I’m sorry that we’re not all gay.  It’s not our choice anymore than it is a gay person’s choice, though.  I’m sorry that we weren’t all born wealthy.  It would have been nice, it just wasn’t in the cards.

We’re still people, though.  We’re still living, breathing people with hopes, dreams, families, and all of the feelings and emotions that gay people have.

I get that we’re not trendy right now.  I get that fretting over transgendered bathrooms literally prints votes.  It must be terribly hard not to obsess over these causes when you get so much affirmation for doing so. Unlike you, I can still empathize with those with whom I disagree.  I understand the challenges and temptations that you face.  I honestly don’t know if I’d be able to resist pandering to my “amen” corners for a risk-free term.  I like to think that I would, but one never knows until the situation is real.

That being said, those without rich and powerful lobbies are dying.  Hardly a month goes by where we don’t hear about another pedestrian or two-wheeler fatality.

I walk back and forth to work every day, and what I see is unconscionable.  I see laws being broken at 80% of intersections, 90% of the time by people who don’t live in the city.  And while traffic violations don’t seem important, people die when they’re broken. This is at least equal to making legal-yet-rude comments to your preferred demographic, no?

Yet, we have no task force.  We don’t have any protection at all.  In the last five years, I’ve seen thousands upon thousands of traffic laws being broken.

Not once have I seen anyone ticketed for it.

Scratch that, I’ve seen no car drivers ticketed.  I have seen pedestrians and cyclists ticketed.  Those with skin already in the game, those with a built in life-or-death incentive to steer clear of collisions, are the only ones we ticket.

Last year, I saw a woman nearly run over a pedestrian.  The man literally had to jump out of the way to save his own life. On this occasion, I did see an officer stop the driver, but after no more than 30 seconds, she was on her way.  That incident was 2 blocks from where this occurred. Perhaps it was the same woman?  It’s certainly possible.  She received no disincentive from the City of Seattle.

So much indifference is shown toward those most exposed … toward those least protected.  Even after so many of them have already perished. How do you live with this?

The SPD has been given a mandate to protect gay people in one of the gayest neighborhoods in the USA.  Protect them from legal-yet-rude speech at that. This is like protecting the people of Harlem from the Klan.  At the same time, you turn a blind eye to the pain and suffering of those citizens most exposed and least able to protect themselves.  Those putting their money, and their hide, where your “eco-friendly” mouth is.  The people who are causing climate change the least. The only citizens of this town who are not gaping hypocrites.

Seattle drivers have been a punchline for nearly a decade now.  The mere phrase “Seattle Drivers” is always good for a laugh.  It is not a joke, though.

There are NO traffic laws in Downtown Seattle.  During rush hour, at any given stoplight in the urban core, you are more likely to see a light being run once it turns red, than not see it being run.

I understand that the ivory tower is tall, and you feel removed from the pain and suffering of your citizens.  I get that.

That being said, you’re a grown man, and protecting all of us is the job. It’s time to stop blocking dissidents on social media like a 16 year-old debutante, and time to stand up and say “No! This will not do!  You cannot bring your cars into my city, flout my traffic laws, drive like you’re still in the suburbs, and kill my citizens! I don’t care about the political ramification of upsetting affluent, white, suburban drivers … I will not accept this as a human being! If you don’t like the fact that there are pedestrians and two-wheelers everywhere in the city, don’t drive here! You don’t get to kill them off just because you disagree with their lifestyles!  This is our home, and you’re guests here!  We don’t tell your citizens what to do in your own city, and we don’t particularly care what you want done in ours! If you harm our people because you don’t think our laws apply to you, well, I’m going to have to create a task force to show you otherwise.”

It’s long past time, Mr. Mayor.

http://walkinginseattle.org/?tag=pedestrian-collision

http://www.king5.com/story/news/local/seattle/2015/05/28/carpedestrian-accident-in-downtown-seattle/28092191/

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/driver-still-sought-in-downtown-hit-and-run-that-killed-janitor/

http://www.komonews.com/news/local/Police-Bicyclist-struck-killed-by-truck-in-downtown-Seattle-273195511.html

http://www.washingtoninjuryattorneyblog.com/2015/03/pedestrian_killed_in_downtown.html

http://www.seattlerex.com/find-the-driver-who-killed-mike-wang/

http://www.seattlerex.com/the-carnage-continues/

http://www.seattlerex.com/?s=drivers

 

1 comment to Collision at 6th & Stewart

  • alanwilson

    my dod was on leash 3 feet infront of me on 7 9 2016 killed by suv that slowd after hit my dog then speed away must havhit about 75 mph i will no longer shop or come to downtown i miss her ssooooo much she was small whit dog she was loved and now gone ps we were in a crosswalk it happend on 7 9 2016 pm any info on the heartless driver i would be so thankfull tho it wont bring her back thanks

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