In wake of fatal crashes, McGinn calls for safety summit

In wake of fatal crashes, McGinn calls for safety summit
SEATTLE -- In the wake of several fatal crashes involving bicyclists, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn has called for a safety summit.

The mayor, who is sometimes criticized for favoring bikes over cars, says the summit isn't just about bicyclists, but rather about helping every kind of rider get around safely.

Also on Thursday, the Cascade Bicycle Club said enough is enough. Speaking to a crowd of cyclists who insist we can do better, the Cascade Bicycle Club demanded zero bicycle fatalities.

"People shouldn't be dying," said M.J. Kelly of Cascade Bicycle Club.

Lisa Quinn almost became the 11th cyclist to die after a car turned into her lane.

"It was really disturbing. I've been biking for many years. To have that happened...it was the closest call to see my life pass before my eyes," she said. The driver who hit her ran from the scene.

Another hit-and-run driver killed Michael Wang on Dexter Avenue in July.

McGinn agrees enough is enough.

"I think it's time we move past finding fault with each other and start talking about how we find solutions," he said.

The mayor has been accused of waging a war against cars in favor of bikes. McGinn insists such is not the case, and all he wants is a safety summit to find a way for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians to all get home safe.

Even the bike club insists it begins with good conduct behind the wheel and behind the handlebars.

"You can't dart out into the street and expect everyone to know you're coming. So we do need to work together to follow the rules of the road," Kelly said.

Seattle police reiterated aggressive drivers will be cited. And there's even talk of dropping the speed limit on non-arterial roads to 20 miles per hour.

"And 20 mph is the magic number. Your chance of dying if you're hit by a car 20 mph -- you start dropping below 5 percent. And also your chance of having a collision at that speed are significantly lower," said legislative policy advisor Craig Benjamin.

Before cities could lower speed limits on non arterial road, House Bill 1217 would have to become law.

Cascade Bicycle Club has several suggestions, including improving and expanding bike lanes, and adding greenways. Adding traffic circles, speed bumps and signage to neighborhood streets could slow traffic down for everyone.

Also, voters are being asked to pass Proposition 1. It would raise car tabs for citywide transportation needs, including 60 miles of bicycle improvements.