King 5 October 25, 2023
Crashes on the tracks over the years have caused many injuries, including concussions, broken bones, and in at least one instance, death.
Multiple lawsuits have been filed by law firms representing some of the injured riders. Ten people who crashed their bicycles on an unfinished portion are suing the city to make changes. Their attorneys say that the city failed to adequately make the 1.4-mile “missing link” stretch of trail safe enough for use by the public.
Their lawsuit required the city to make changes by the end of the year.MyNorthwest October 26, 2023
Scott Carty owns a business near the bike path and doesn’t need to cycle to know it’s dangerous.
“I have seen countless people just bite it. I’ve seen people wipe out and rushed over to try to help them and lift them up, and thankfully, most of the people have been OK and brushed it off,” said Carty.
He says that the fix for cyclists has been long overdue.
“It’s the people that are out on the ‘Hey, let’s go for a ride on the Burke-Gilman Trail’ — they don’t know and you need it to be accessible to everyone,” said Carty.KIRO 7 News October 25, 2023
The Washington Bike Law claims and lawsuits on behalf of injured riders (and the unfortunate fact there are many more potential claimants in our city who have yet to file them) may prove to be a vital piece to holding this delicate agreement together because those claims likely dictate the insurance problem for the railroad. Every month for many years, an average of two people have required emergency medical attention following a crash while biking on the Missing Link, and it has been that way for decades.Seattle Bike Blog October 25, 2023
Now, 22 years later, the Seattle City Council hopes to make this section safer by paving over the railroad tracks.
“It’s frustrating that we went through all that and it’s taken 20 years to make something happen. It makes me wonder how many hundreds of accidents have happened in that time that could have been avoided,” said Justice.King 5 October 24, 2023
Failure to find a solution to this danger-spot at Northwest 45th Street, just east of the Ballard Bridge, has led to numerous lawsuits and life-altering injuries, including to Doug Kelbaugh, former chair of the department of architecture at the University of Washington, who suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2022. He died earlier this year.Seattle Times October 24, 2023
“We do not want additional reasons to sue the City; we want to make up for the harm done to our clients and, with their authorization, to finally achieve action so that no one else is seriously injured or killed in the Missing Link’s Crash Zone,” Anderton said. “Hopefully paving over the tracks will be done soon and done right.”
Ballard’s Dangerous ‘Missing Link’ Train Tracks To Be Paved Over This Fall
The Urbanist 10/13/2023
In a surprise development in the long, injurious and frustrating history of the Ballard Missing Link of the Burke-Gilman Trail, Councilmember Dan Strauss announced Tuesday an agreement with the Ballard Terminal Railroad Company that should set the city up to pave over the rarely used tracks near and under the Ballard Bridge. […]Seattle Bike Blog 10/11/2023
Cascade Bicycle Club celebrated the news and urged the Council to approve the ordinance. “Cascade supports paving over the hazardous and dis-used railroad tracks that have caused countless crashes and injuries over the past two decades,” said Cascade Bicycle Club Executive Director Lee Lambert. “This would be a step forward in making this short section of the Missing Link safer. We’d like to thank SDOT and the Ballard Terminal Railroad for reaching an agreement to completely cover the railroad tracks to ensure people can safely bicycle through that area of Ballard. However, this project is just the first step in closing the Missing Link.” Cascade said they would continue advocating for building the designed trail plan along Shilshole Ave.
The new claims are a potential precursor to a lawsuit and were filed by the firms Washington Bike Law and Schroeter, Goldmark & Bender (Full disclosure: Washington Bike Law advertises on Seattle Bike Blog). For decades, people have been crashing while biking on these tracks that cross the poorly-maintained roadway near and directly under the Ballard Bridge. As part of a 2022 settlement, the city agreed to make design changes to the track crossing. However, the first phase of changes were widely panned, including by Seattle Bike Blog, for adding new potentially dangerous gravel pits that seem to be “baffling riders rather than helping them.” A second phase of changes is planned that will hopefully create a safer and more usable track crossing, and the press release from WBL and SGB notes that the city has until December 31 to complete this phase or the previous riders will be able to file another suit.Seattle Bike Blog August 8, 2023
Ten people who crashed their bicycles on the “missing link” portion of Seattle’s Burke-Gilman Trail have filed claims against the city, a precursor to a lawsuit.
In addition to unspecified monetary damages, the individuals, represented by attorneys from Washington Bike Law and Schroeter Goldmark & Bender, are demanding that Seattle act quickly to make the trail beneath the Ballard Bridge safer for riders.Seattle Times August 7, 2023
The Seattle Times is reporting ten people who crashed their bikes on the so-called “Missing Link’ of the Burke-Gilman Trail have filed claims against the city. Full clip at the link above.KUOW (NPR) August 7, 2023
The missing link throws cyclists into a trafficky Ballard corridor that includes a sharp turn right across train tracks. The individuals suing the City seek monetary damages, but they are also demanding Seattle fix the trail and make it safer. This incomplete trail has been a thorn in cyclists’ sides for 30 years. Seattle will supposedly “realign the bike lane and improve the pavement” by Dec 31.The Stranger August 7, 2023
There’s a missing link in Seattle and the city is getting sued because of it. Ten people that crashed their bikes in the area are suing the city to take action before December 31st. Full clip at the link above.KTTH August 7, 2023
Bob Anderton is the founder of the Washington Bicycle Law and has been involved in the issue for decades.
“The last group of people we represent was injured here, we made an agreement with the city of Seattle to make changes,” Anderton said. “I really hope the city completes the planning to make it safer, so that people don’t crash cars and get seriously injured here.”US Times Post August 5, 2023
King 5 Seattle August 4, 2023
Jessica Cutler is an associate attorney with Washington Bike Law and a cyclist who travels through the area frequently.
“The configuration, the way they’ve painted the roadway, the way they’ve tried to channel cyclists through here, it’s remained confusing,” Cutler said. “This is a crucial connection between that end of the Burke-Gilman Trail and where the trail picks up again. A lot of families are using this route to get to Golden Gardens, to recreate, to get to the Nordic museum and just to get to Ballard in general and it’s not safe for really any cyclists.”KING 5 Seattle August 4, 2023 (updated August 7, 2023)
Ten bicyclists are filing claims against the City of Seattle for what they call a missing link in the Burke-Gilman trail. Ten riders say they suffered varying degrees of injury, ranging from broken bones to even traumatic brain injury because of these conditions.KIRO August 4, 2023
Ten people injured in bicycle crashes on the “Missing Link” of the Burke-Gilman Trail recently filed claims against the City of Seattle for its failure to make the existing roadway reasonably safe for ordinary travel, according to attorneys representing the individuals. The ten riders suffered varying degrees of injury ranging from contusions to broken bones to traumatic brain injury. Washington Bike Law (WBL) and Schroeter Goldmark & Bender (SGB) are Seattle law firms cooperatively representing the bicyclists.Redmond Neighborhood Blog August 3, 2023
There were those who worked and continue to work at getting some justice for him and for me: the Seattle Police Department, the King County Prosecutor, and my civil attorneys at Washington Bike Law.
There were those who honored him in their quest to make our streets safer; Seattle Critical Mass, Washington Bikes, and Seattle Neighborhood Greenways with support from the offices of the Mayor and the SDOT director.West Seattle Blog July 14, 2023
Attorneys with Washington Bike Law and the Adee Law Firm, representing the Stocker family, argued that the UW had knowledge of the speed bump’s danger but refused to have it removed or replaced. They cited several other reported crashes in the same location, including one involving a second person to sustain a traumatic brain injury, in 2020, and whose family is also suing tjhe UW.Seattle Times June 16, 2023
To break through a quarter-century of political gridlock, Seattle Councilmember Dan Strauss proposes to abandon the city’s disputed bike trail route alongside Ballard’s waterfront industries, and move the future path two blocks inland.Seattle Times March 11, 2023
Washington Bike Law’s Settlement Includes Deadlines for SDOT to Make the Burke-Gilman Trail’s Missing Link Safer for Everyone, but SDOT’s Initial Changes are Questioned
Nearly six months after Robb Mason, 63, was struck and killed on his bicycle by a driver near the West Seattle Low-Level Bridge, King County prosecutors have charged a 20-year-old man with vehicular homicide and felony hit and run.January 4, 2023 Seattle Times (updated January 6, 2023)
A memorial ride on his behalf drew more than 100 riders in the fall, including the new director of the Seattle Department of Transportation, Greg Spotts, who promised changes.January 4, 2023 (updated January 6, 2023) Seattle Times
The Seattle Times Mentions Legislating Presumed Liability In Covering Robb Mason’s Tragic Death While Bike Commuting
Read the January 4, 2023 Seattle Times article.
January 4, 2023
Five and a half months after a hit-run driver killed Robb Mason as he bicycled home from his West Seattle job, police have identified a suspect, and prosecutors have charged him.West Seattle Blog
January 4, 2023
KOMO News (video)
Mohamed Yusuf, 20, was charged Dec. 27 with vehicular homicide and hit and run-felony after he allegedly killed Robert Mason while he was riding home from his job in West Seattle.January 4, 2023 King 5
We are very happy with this ruling,” says Bob Anderton, founder of Washington Bike Law, the firm that represented Cascade as Amicus Curiae at the state Supreme Court. “It provides a more workable standard, upholds the public policy of encouraging access to land for safe bicycling and other recreational activities, while still providing reasonable limits on landowners’ responsibility for injuries.Cascade Bicycle Club November 2022
Bob Anderton presents at the Seattle City Council’s Transportation committee’s hearing on June 21, 2022. An excerpt from it follows:
Most people love lawyer jokes, and I am tempted to tell one now, but out of respect for your time I’ll just give you the punchline: So many more people are being injured and killed on Seattle’s streets that Washington Bike Law just hired ANOTHER bike lawyer.
Vision Zero requires that leaders accept their responsibility for making streets safe for everyone. We are more than halfway through 2022 and this is the first time the Transportation Committee has even considered Vision Zero. Mayor Harrell fired SDOT’s director shortly after his election and has still not named a successor.
What is Seattle’s vision for ACTION to PREVENT more and more people being seriously injured and killed on our streets?
I recognize that City politics are tough and that all of the members of this committee intend to serve their constituents, but this is about more than politics, it is literally life and death.
Please accept the responsibility that you have to lead and take ACTION NOW to achieve Vision Zero.Click below to see the full hearing. Bob’s comment begins at 23:18.
Does the Burke-Gilman Trail’s Infamous “Missing Link” Remain Dangerous Not Just Because of Lawsuits to Stop it, But Because Required Insurance Insulates the City from Financial Consequences?
Read the March 22, 2022 Seattle Bike Blog article on Washington Bike Law’s lawsuit.
The Burke-Gilman Trail’s Infamous “Missing Link” is “still incredibly dangerous” according to The Urbanist’s coverage of Washington Bike Law’s recent efforts
The Urbanist Quotes Washington Bike Law’s Bob Anderton Questioning Whether State Legislation Intended to Better Protect Pedestrians, SB 5687, Will Work
… Bob Anderton, the founding attorney at Washington Bike Law, doesn’t see the added language as being clearly beneficial to a pedestrian trying to defend their presence in the roadway. Anderton notes that Washington’s pattern jury instructions, summaries of current laws provided by a presiding judge to a jury, already notes that a pedestrian has a standard of due care. “It is the duty of every person using a public street or highway [whether a pedestrian or a driver of a vehicle] to exercise ordinary care to avoid placing [himself or herself or] others in danger and to exercise ordinary care to avoid a collision,” WPI 70.01 states.
“I worry this adds complexity… if the goal is to make it safer for pedestrians, we should clarify the law and not add stuff nobody understands,” Anderton told me. He would modify the existing language, not simply add additional sentences onto it, to clarify what it means for a pedestrian to be exercising due care when using a roadway with or without a sidewalk. In the meantime, Anderton is concerned this change in law could be worse than the status quo.
Washington State’s Active Transportation Plan and Dangers to People Walking or Riding Bikes in Crosscut
“Many studies have shown that adding highway capacity does not solve gridlock. It induces more demand and the gridlock quickly returns,” says lawyer Bob Anderton of Washington Bike Law, whose clients rely on active transportation. “Mode change is what we need, but that won’t happen when gas is cheap, parking is free and roads are dangerous for people outside of cars.”
There are plenty of variables involved with traffic deaths outside the realm of this report, like vehicle design, which Washington Bike Law’s Anderton points to as a leading cause of the increase in bike and pedestrian injuries. “Motor vehicles have gotten safer and safer for people inside of them [thanks to things like air bags and crumple zones], but they are more and more dangerous for people outside of them.”
Vision Zero, the Law & You
Washington Bike Law’s Bob Anderton published an article on Vision Zero in the January 2020 edition of the Bar Bulletin. Every lawyer in King County receives this monthly publication. Hopefully they will take it to heart.
Read it here.
Washington Bike Law’s Bob Anderton interviewed for the series Unmute the Commute on 91.3 KBCS.
In what was supposed to be a 5 minute segment, Bob managed just under 7 minutes, edging ever closer to the promised 15 minutes of fame.
Click HERE to listen.
Bob Anderton speaks to the Seattle City Council’s Transportation & Sustainability Committee on July 18, 2018 in favor of expanding Seattle’s Bike Network
“We need space where everybody feels safe, and one of the ways to do that is to expand areas where bikes can be– that helps people walking, it helps people riding bikes, it also helps people in cars– because when people are out riding bikes (like some of our councilmembers) that means they’re not driving cars and so that’s more room on the streets for cars.
This is a win for everyone and I hope you’ll do it.”
Video below [Bob’s comments begin at 16:15]
Bob Anderton helped with a USDOT safety assessment of large vehicles with pedestrians and bicyclists in April of 2015.
Other federal government participants included the FMCSA, FHWA, NHTSA, FTA, FRA, as well as the Seattle DOT.
Attorney Bob Anderton of Washington Bike Law looked down from his window at the new Second Avenue bike lane striped just beneath his his window. “It warms my heart,” he said.Seattle Times September 25, 2014
StreetsblogUSA on March 13, 2014 quotes Bob Anderton’s talk at the 2014 National Bike Summit in Washington, DC.
“We need laws that motivate motor vehicle drivers to avoid these collisions in the first place,”
The full story is here.
Bob Anderton speaks in favor of making drivers who hit pedestrians or bicyclists presumed liable at a Seattle City Council Transportation Committee hearing in December 2013:
Full video is here. Bob’s comments begin about 64 minutes in.
Washington Bike Law is the first BizCycle certified business by Cascade Bicycle Club.
As reported in the Cascade Courier.
Bob speaks in favor of strict liability against drivers who hit bicyclists at the City of Seattle’s Road Safety Summit. [ October 24, 2011]
Ballard News Tribune
Bob is interviewed by Anne-Marije Rook, the Riding Reporter: “A long time bike-commuter himself, Anderton is Seattle’s premier bike lawyer who represents cyclists in and around the Seattle area.” [October 3, 2011]
[…] Representing bike messengers, commuters, recreational bikers as well as racers, Anderton has seen all sorts of incidents. Bikers get doored, backed into, broadsided, sideswept…you name it, he’s seen it. “In the cases you’ve handled, is it always the car’s fault?,” I asked. “Wouldn’t that be nice,” Anderton said. “I drafted legislation to always make it the car’s fault, which is what we call strict liability.” There are strict liability laws for things like dog bites. It is always the attacking dog’s fault unless the dog was provoked. In the case of bicyclists getting hit by cars, the strict liability would place the car driver at fault but defense arguments could be that it was dark and the bicyclist didn’t have any lights or the bicyclist got hit after running a red light, etc.
KOMO4 News (video interview)
Cyclists sue Seattle over trolley tracks (Video) [June 1, 2010]
[…] “Many different people said that this was fatally flawed and that bicycle crashes were highly foreseeable and they did it anyway,” Anderton said. […]
Can Seattle cops impound a bike if rider doesn’t have helmet? [March 17, 2009]
[…] “I’ve not heard of SPD impounding a bike because the rider wasn’t wearing a helmet, so no, I don’t think we would do that,” department spokesman Mark Jamieson said. […] The helmet law is buried in the County Board of Health Code […] Seattle attorney Bob Anderton also created a Web site about local bike laws.
King County Bar Bulletin
Profile / Bob Anderton Coming Full Cycle [December 2008]
[…] “Bob shows respect for everybody,” observed Oil. “He is always available to talk about cyclists’ rights at workshops we put on. Cyclists who are injured in accidents think that society and the government have this
attitude that they shouldn’t be on the road and so they don’t defend their rights. Bob speaks to this cycling community and lets them know they have legal rights. He respects us and it matters.” […]
Attorney Bob Anderton, who rides his bike to his downtown office every day, represents riders in personal-injury claims. He says while some officers pull cyclists over for legitimate reasons—helmets are required by law, and cyclists have to have front and back lights at night—there are plenty of cops out there who just don’t understand cycling.
“I talk to quite a lot of people who get in accidents, and the police come and [give cyclists] tickets for things they shouldn’t get tickets for,” Anderton says. For example, he says, cyclists have complained about getting tickets for “following too closely” when cut off by a car.
Bikes Belong Coalition
You can review the final letter and download a PDF of the final House and Senate letters at the following link: http://www.saferoutespartnership.org. As you meet with or contact Members of Congress, we encourage you to include this letter and this ask in your transportation discussions.
“One World Report ” on KBCS 91.3 FM
Critical Mass & the Media [on the air 7-31-2008]
[…] last Friday bicyclists on a Critical Mass group ride through Capitol Hill clashed with a motorist who was blocked by their passage. The driver refused to wait. The crowd refused to back down. And the final picture was one of slashed tires, crumpled bikes and bloodied bodies. But the issue of blame was yet to be drawn. Then came the reporters. The media fallout left many wondering who had really done what, and to whom. Bicyclists felt unfairly maligned by the press. And the incident raised broader questions of who has the right to the road. What are the factors contributing to violent interactions between those in cars and those riding bicycles? Is there rising road rage between two pedaled and four wheeled road users and what role does the media play?
Reporter: Tara Hayes
Guests: Davey Oil, co-founder The Bikery Collective, Bob Anderton, Seattle Bike Attorney, Larry Hildes attorney for cyclist David Maxwell.
NPR “The Conversation” on KUOW 94.9 FM
Bikes vs. Cars [on the air 7-28-2008]
[…] There was a fracas Friday night on Capitol Hill between a driver and bicyclists in Critical Mass, a monthly protest ride. The bikers say the driver ran into several cyclists. The driver says he was just trying to escape a mob of bicyclists. Two bikers were arrested. No one has yet been charged. […] Should bicyclists be licensed, and ticketed like drivers? Should drivers be trained to share the road? What can be done to improve relations? […]
Anderton Law Office sponsors CRANK IT UP,
a Bikes, Art & Bands Event
We gave away 75 helmets and over 100 bike horns!
‘Crank It Up’ if you’re visiting Cesar Chavez Park this weekend [published 7-11-2008]
[…] South Park Arts is hosting a free community celebration Saturday called “Crank It Up,” starting with bicycle decorating and a bike tour around the neighborhood. Also featured: live music and arts and crafts available for sale and for on-the-spot creation. The event is being held at the brand-new Cesar Chavez Park […]
NPR “Weekday” on KUOW 94.9 FM
Listen: Clang Clang Clang went the Trolley [listen to radio interview] [On the Air 7-8-2008]
“[…] But has the South Lake Union Streetcar been successful? [… ] Are streetcars a good answer to our transportation woes? […] Guests: Ethan Malone streetcar program manager for the Department of Transportation, Don Clifton co/owner and CEO of S.L.U.T. Apparel, Jan Drago chair of the Transportation Committee on Seattle City Council, Bob Anderton represents 5 cyclists who have filed claim against the city after bicycle accidents involving the SLUT.”
NPR “All Things Considered” on KUOW 94.9 FM
Bicyclists sue Seattle (transcript from the radio interview) [On the Air 3-28-2008]
“Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels proposed a Seattle Bicycle Master Plan; […] But Washington bike lawyer Bob Anderton says there’s nothing in the Plan about the hazardous grates”
“I don’t mind having fewer clients as long as people are safe,” said Anderton, the attorney who represented Schaefer. “Bicyclists don’t want to see just talk of a plan, or even a plan, we’d like to see action on making streets safe for all the legal users.”
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER EDITORIAL BOARD
Seattle bikes: Safety hypocrisy [published 1-14-2008]
And when a bicyclist sued Seattle, City Attorney Tom Carr — an elected official — rejected a settlement that would have inconvenienced the public utilities’ bureaucracy. As the Seattle P-I’s Casey McNerthney reports, Carr turned down a settlement with the injured cyclist, whose head injuries were severe enough to cause amnesia, because Carr thought SPU’s workload was too much to inventory the grates and plan their replacement in a year.[…]
THE SEATTLE TIMES
Cyclists, skinny tires, streetcar rails — not a good mix [published 12-6-2007]
New streetcar tracks on Seattle’s Westlake Avenue have turned into a trap for bicyclists[…] “Any time there’s a bicycle around, we’re extra cautious,” said Paul Warner, a streetcar operator for King County Metro Transit. Warner said he has seen a couple of cyclists fall during train testing and that he allows extra stopping distance behind bicycles in case one gets pitched […]
Bob is quoted in an AP article
Bicycle lawyers finding new clients in injured cyclists [published 8/11/2007]
Bob Anderton, a Seattle-based lawyer who bikes to work, said his business has climbed to 80 percent injured cyclists.
“It’s through the roof, it’s terrible,” he said. “People are just getting hit all the time.”
Bob is Profiled in
Bob and other Housing Justice Project volunteer attorneys receive awards for ten years of service.