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Calls for change at Discovery Park after dog killed by speeding cyclist

photoSEATTLE — A woman says her friend’s dog was hit and killed by a speeding bicyclist in Discovery Park. She knows it was just an accident. But now she’s pushing for changes, so no other animal or person gets hurt.

Hanne Clem says she and a friend were walking Button the dog in Discovery Park last month, when they reached a crosswalk.

“We were in the middle of the crossing. I was first, my friend right behind me, and the little dog she had on a leash. And three bicyclists came on racer bikes, racing down the hill toward us.”

One of the cyclists hit Button, fatally injuring the dog. He turned around after reaching the bottom of the hill, and came back up to see what happened.

“He says, ‘We were going so fast, I couldn’t stop.’ And I remember telling him, you can’t be racing in here. It’s not a racetrack.”

Clem was distraught at the time, but even more bothered afterward.

“He could have hit one of us. If he couldn’t stop for the dog, he could have easily hit us or a small child. If there had been a small child, it would have been even worse.”

The speed limit along Discovery Park Boulevard is 20 mph. But park regulars say both cars and bikes go faster than that, especially on the hill above the crosswalk.

“You do pick up speed there. And when you’re on a bike, you don’t want to brake,” said John Hanske. “You want to brake, but you also want to go fast.”

Clem reached out to the Cascade Bike Club, to see if something can be done to make the road safer. They said they’re working with the Seattle Department of Transportation.

“Speed bumps and increased visibility through better signage and striping can prevent incidents like this from happening again,” said Anne-Marije Rook.

But it could take time for any changes like that. One cyclist says in the meantime, everyone needs to pay better attention.

“Cyclists need to understand that they’re operating in an environment where many other individuals are also, and they have to be respectful,” said Anne Theisen. “And they have to follow the rules of the road. There’s no exception to that.”

Clem agrees.

“They complain a lot about cars not paying attention to them, but they in turn need to pay attention to pedestrians.”

A representative from Seattle Parks and Recreation said they can’t put speed bumps on Discovery Park Boulevard, because of the trucks that go to the water treatment facility. But they are going to implement a crosswalk flagging system, similar to those used near schools. They’re also going to put up fliers at the information kiosks, reminding drivers and cyclists to obey the speed limit.

10 comments

  • Janice

    I feel so sorry this woman has lost her dog due to this tragic accident and hope they do make changes in that area to promote safer cycling.

  • Jon Francis

    These bicyclists are disgusting. They whine and cry about cars, but they don't want to follow the rules of the road. And somebody's pet gets killed. Was it worth it for you to go fast. Was it? Next time it will be a child. When will you people realize this is not a game, it's not a hobby, you are a vehicle according to Washington State law. Stop playing the victim and realize that you are also the problem. Shame on the person who killed this chihuahua. Karma is a very strong force.

    • Karl

      So you really think, new regulations, speed bumps, cross-walk alterations is necessary because one persons dog got ran over? You actually care much?

  • Jeff

    Any loss of life is terrible. To the people that lost your dog I am sad for your loss, as a dog lover I feel your pain. Bike riders have over the years been granted special protection unoffically, if a car has a green light and a bike rider goes thru their red light it will fall on the car as the cars fault, the city must protect and react the same way that they would if a car had hit and killed that dog. Bike riders must by law follow the same rules and regulations as cars if they want to ride on the roads. Was this person cited for what they did or did he just say sorry and ride away?

    • M

      Offered to call the ladies who’s dog had been hit a cab, kinda said he was sorry and that he didn’t see them, and then sped off on his bike. Any information on this rider would be appreciated by the victims as well as the community

  • Slam1263

    It is long past time to reissue license plates for bicycles.

    Just like the I90 incident, no way to track these riders down.

    Make them pay into the system, and be responsible members of the community.

  • DarkHawke

    I'd love to know what it is about getting on two wheels that makes people think that they're superior to everyone else. I call bike-ists "scofflaws" because I've never seen any group of people flaunt EVERY possible traffic law more than them. This kind of hazardous and lawless behavior angers me beyond words.

  • John Fuller

    This is hilarious! Bikers were riding in a trail and hit a dog in the middle of a crossing. It’s the dog owners responsibility to pay attention to make sure that crossings are clear before proceeding. This place is widely known to have fast bikes on the trail. What was she thinking? She may as well have thrown her dog into on-coming traffic!

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