Horrific accident apparently resulted from inattention
At about 8:40 this morning, an unidentified man described as being in his 40's or 50's was struck by a bicyclist at the crosswalk in front of the Wells Fargo branch near the intersection of E. Madison Street and McGilvra Boulevard E. The man was knocked to the ground unconscious and suffered what are described as life-threatening head injuries as a result of the collision. According to a witness, the man was convulsing when the ambulances arrived. He was taken to Harborview Hospital, but information on his condition has not been released.
The cyclist was reportedly traveling at a fairly high speed down Madison, heading towards the water, when the pedestrian stepped into the crosswalk on the Wells Fargo side of the street. A witness stated that the man appeared to be on his cell phone, stepped into the street from behind a tree, and did not look to his left when starting across the street. The cyclist, who is reported to be 26 years old, attempted to slow down but was unable to stop before the man wandered into the path of the bike. A witness estimated that the bicycle may have been traveling 30 miles an hour at the point of collision. The cyclist was also injured in the accident, but a report by KOMO states that these were only scrapes and cuts.
Wells Fargo's branch manager, Michael Morrow, who saw the accident, told us that there have been at least nine accidents at that crosswalk in the three years he's been in the job. He says there's a lack of visibility both for those crossing the street and those traveling on Madison. In this incident, he said, "cars were parked on both sides of the south end of the crosswalk, the site lines were blocked, the pedestrian did not see the cyclist nor the other way around, and the cyclist was going too fast." He notes it could just as easily have been a car that hit the pedestrian.
Morrow was already involved with the efforts of the Madison Park Business Association and the Community Council to get a Seattle city grant to improve the crosswalk. Among the ideas suggested, he told us, are a raised crosswalk (as in the Arboretum), a concrete pedestrian "refuge island" (as on E. Madison in front of the Broadmoor entrance), and redesigned curbs to the west and east of the crosswalk in order to prevent cars from parking too close and blocking visibility. New signage, flashing lights, and speed bumps are other potential alternatives that SDOT could consider, though some of these ideas might not be practical for this intersection. The city, according to Morrow, was already well aware of the hazard to pedestrians at this site, but today's accident may heighten efforts to fix the problem.