Seattle cyclist narrowly escapes injury after being sideswiped by Uber driver
SEATTLE - A bicyclist narrowly escaped injury Monday morning after being sideswiped by an Uber driver along Dexter Avenue in Seattle.
"I feel incredibly fortunate. It could have been much, much worse," said cyclist Patrick Niemeyer.
Niemeyer said he was riding to work near the 1100 block of Dexter Avenue when the Uber driver sideswiped the back of his bike and caught his bag, dragging it underneath the car. Niemeyer, however, was able to stay upright and was not hurt.
"I screamed, got out of the way as much as I could," Niemeyer said. "The driver trailed behind me and did stop then. He had two passengers in the car and they eventually got out and left."
Niemeyer said when the driver stopped he refused to show his identification.
"He started saying to me 'Show me your ID, show me your ID' and he seemed to be kind of confronting me, suggesting I should show him my ID which made no sense," Niemeyer recalled.
Niemeyer shot a photo of the vehicle before the driver took off then he contacted Uber.
"They said, surprisingly, 'We don't have that (license) plate in our system,'" said Niemeyer.
The response didn't make much sense to Niemeyer.
On Tuesday, however, Uber spokesman Andrew Hasbun said there was a mistake and confirmed the driver does, in fact, work for the company, Hasbun said the driver was making a trip when the incident happened on Monday morning.
Hasbun said he didn't know what went wrong when Niemeyer initially submitted his request about the crash and said, it was just an error."
Hasbun said the company made contact with the driver and that he is not driving at the moment.
"As bike commuters we all acknowledge it's really dangerous out here," said bicyclist Lexy Relph.
Some cyclists claim the stretch of Dexter Avenue, where the sideswipe happened, is a continuous problem with drivers weaving in and out of the bike lane and blocking cyclists.
"I'm lucky I haven't had anybody cut me off or a door open in front of me, but it gets scary with the construction 'cause you have to do a lot of merging in with the traffic too, especially on Dexter," said cyclist Danielle Frank.
Niemeyer said he also considers the section of Dexter Avenue dangerous despite improvements made by the city.
"They’ve done a lot of great improvements, I think, on Dexter. The bikes are generally offset from the buses, you don’t have to cross traffic with buses, which is really nice, but you still have cars that are coming in and going out either to turn or to park,” said Niemeyer, who bike commutes with his 4.5-year-old daughter in tow.
Niemeyer had dropped-off his daughter at school Monday morning just before the accident.
"I just feel lucky this didn't end up a lot worse than it did," said Niemeyer.
Niemeyer said he was wearing a helmet, and that his front and rear bike lights were on when the accident happened.