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Hit-and-run caught on cyclist’s helmet-mounted camera

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SEATTLE -- A bicyclist caught an SUV colliding with him at a busy Seattle intersection and driving off at a high rate of speed.

It was a collision at Dexter Aveue North and Thomas Street caught on the cyclists’ helmet-mounted camera. He’s now sharing the video to spread awareness about rules of the road.

Another cyclist, Michael Wang, died from a hit-and-run crash at the very same intersection four years ago.

For his commute from Fremont to Westlake, software engineer Trip Volpe chooses to bike.

“It’s definitely not bad,” said Volpe. “On the whole, most days I feel pretty safe.”

But on Friday, as he was heading northbound on Dexter Avenue, he said he couldn’t react fast enough when an SUV turned in front of him. Volpe’s GoPro camera was rolling -- capturing the scene not just as he’s hit but as the driver speeds off.

“I was pretty livid right after it happened,” Volpe said Monday. “I was fueled by adrenaline, and I got up and started running after him.”

Volpe said upon a closer look, it even appears the driver had a phone in his hand.

Seattle Police said the driver later turned himself in and could face charges. They said Volpe not only had the right of way, but the driver failed to stop at a scene of an accident, which could lead to jail time.

“It’s definitely a concern,” said Volpe. “It’s why I try to be hyper-vigilant and go through the slightly paranoid attitude that everybody I see is trying to kill me.”

Volpe walked away with a sprained thumb and some road rash, so he considers himself lucky.

“I just wanted to put up a warning and let people know this happens and if you are a driver, put your phone down until you get to your destination and if you are cyclist, go into fearing the worst,” said Volpe.

Volpe said the reason he had a GoPro on his helmet in the first place was because a similar incident involving a hit-and-run driver a few years ago. He said the best advice to bicyclists is to be defensive riders.

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20 comments

  • BearTex3

    There is no way people are going to put down their cell phones while driving until the law starts to suspend licenses of those caught on their phones. Drivers up here do not care about a ticket. In their minds, if they get caught once in a blue moon, they will pay the fine or tell some bullshit story about why they needed to be on it. To them the fine is worth the risk. Because in todays day and age, there are those who just dont want to be disconnected from their friends even while driving. This guy was really lucky to just come out with a scratch and I guess kudos to the driver for doing the responsible thing by owning up to what he did, but it could have gone way worse.

  • VoiceOfReason

    I’m not condoning hitting bicyclists but they don’t belong on the road. They don’t have the power to keep up with traffic flow and generally don’t follow the rules themselves. You can argue their rights all you want but it won’t help when they tangle with a vehicle. Best case they’re a nuisance. Worst case they’re going to get killed. If their rights to the road make the feel entitled they can keep riding but I’d question the wisdom of inserting myself among a bunch of 2000# vehicles with inattentive drivers. Seems to be looking for trouble

      • VoiceOfReason

        How does this make me the problem? Blame physics, not me. I love riding bicycles, just not among large metal objects travelling fast and not likely looking for bicycles on the road.

        • Steven Shannon

          So you are okay with them closing streets so cyclists can commute to work then? I see a well marked, dedicated bike lane and a driver that either did not care to look up or did not care that a cyclist, who had the right of way and probably going about 22-25 mph was coming head on. With your logic pedestrians should never leave their block as the crosswalk is no place to be.

    • tootietuttle

      did you text this as you were driving? there’s an argument that cars shouldn’t be on the road. there is room for everyone, but if people don’t pay attention and have common sense, it breaks down. WA state might be the exception as this state has some of the worst drivers I’ve ever seen. No one knows to move over from the left lane, no one knows that when you put your turn signal on ahead of a parking space, that you aren’t supposed to just butt up to the car that’s trying to parallel park, everyone thinks that mirrors in the car are to look at themselves…

      • VoiceOfReason

        I don’t text and drive. I was an EMT for many years and have seen the outcome. I agree about WA drivers. They’ll putter right past the “Keep Right Except to Pass” sign with a line of cars behind them and plenty of space in the right lanes. Completely clueless to the world around them, thus my point about not being a good idea to ride on the roads.
        I disagree with your point about there being room for everyone. Most roads we’re not designed to have bicycles on them. Even where they have been designed for bicycles I personally think it’s a bad idea as most drivers don’t understand how to interact with bicycles and many of the bicyclists have a belief they own the road and can weave in and out wherever they want. It creates a really dangerous situation and the bicyclist is going to lose every time. I never once took an automobile driver to the hospital following a collision with a bicycle. The bicyclists that were lucky got to go to the hospital. The unlucky ones :(.

        • spshannon2013

          So the solution is to revoke the license of those who can not understand the rules of the road or do not know how to drive. Do not blame the victim. BTW please do not argue about cyclist not following the rules. They too should get fined and often do in communities that care about the safety of everyone (and their revenue).

  • beavis

    Certainly not the riders fault, lucky he came out of it in great shape all things considered. Wasn’t quite quick enough identifying the truck initiating the turn though, I count 4 seconds from the truck turning to the cyclist impacting said truck. Should have been able to slow down enough to avoid the collision if he was really paying attention. Keep your eyes peeled cyclists. All the time.

    • Jessica

      If you listen, he was braking the whole time. The cyclist was traveling at around 25 MPH, and that’s a little bit different than a leisurely 8 MPH afternoon bike ride through the park. You wouldn’t have been able to stop either at that speed on a bicycle.

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  • Driver

    Didn’t appear the cyclist spent much effort in trying to avoid the collision, and he seems kinda pleased with himself as he speaks to the camera. Good thing this wasn’t more a serious impact – having the right of way is great for your insurance Co.but it won’t mean all that much to you if your paralyzed or dead.

  • Donald

    I am a motorcyclest and we have the same problems as the Bicyclist, people just are not looking for the obivious. I feel that the Bicyclist saw it coming, why didn’t he try to stop and avoid getting hit? Knowing that people do not see us we need to ride defensively, why wasn’t he doing it. He could of been braking and might of avoided being hit. If you watch the video, he just keep on going and in my opinion, he was not defensive.

  • Jispher Askine

    Not saying the motorist was right by speeding off but if you stop the vid @ 1:12 the vehicle is starting to turn and the cyclist is plenty far enough back to slow and stop before colliding with the vehicle. Spandex is no match for steel, ya need to ride defensibly just like driving.

  • jimmypockets

    I love how this cyclist, with a camera to show it no less, clearly drives his bike into the side of a vehicle, which he saw turning more than long enough before to avoid. This is a con. And if you watch this video and say it’s the drivers fault, you need to have your eyes checked. People like this give all responsible cyclists a bad name. Just a cyclist looking to prove “cyclist rights”. Like any other traffic infraction, if you strike the side of another vehicle with your front end, then the other vehicle DID NOT hit you, you hit them. It’s shameful that this cyclist’s story is even being considered since his own video clearly shows he hits the car with his bike. Enjoy your 15 minutes kid…