Update: Deadly motorcycle crash on West Seattle Bridge exit to southbound I-5

(Photos by WSP Sgt. Courtney Stewart)
1:34 AM: More West Seattle Bridge exit ramp trouble. This time, a motorcycle has crashed and both people riding it are hurt. It happened at the exit to southbound I-5 on the east end of the bridge. The State Patrol says one person is in critical condition, one in serious condition, and the exit is closed.

1:45 AM: Update from WSP via Twitter: The motorcycle’s driver has died. The passenger is still described as in serious condition and was taken to Harborview Medical Center.

5:08 AM: WSP says the passenger’s life was saved by netting:

The ramp is now open again.

ADDED 9:45 AM: According to the WSP “media memo” with additional information, the man who was killed was 32 years old and from Kent; the woman who survived is 22 and from Puyallup. WSP’s preliminary investigation information in the same e-mail says the motorcycle “took exit ramp to southbound I-5 and failed to negotiate curve, ejected driver and passenger, and came to rest in (the) roadway.”

21 Replies to "Update: Deadly motorcycle crash on West Seattle Bridge exit to southbound I-5"

  • Cãrlãinthebãrrã August 27, 2014 (1:53 am)

    So sad! Thoughts and prayers with both family’s!!

  • knifemaker August 27, 2014 (7:22 am)

    I’m a motorcycle rider and I’m always curious for more information. What kind of bike, how fast were they riding…Seattle times said a tractor trailer was involved. I’m so tired of race bikes zooming by me at rediculous speeds ignoring safety and usually with a passenger bolt upright behind the irresponsible driver. Im not insinuating that happened here, but that’s why I’ m always curious. Payers to the families and best wishes for recuperations.

    • WSB August 27, 2014 (9:44 am)

      @knifemaker – Only one vehicle involved, the motorcycle, according to WSP, whose official media memo is out (they handle information in a different way – I wish SPD issued those types of memos after crashes). The Times updated its item to reflect that only the motorcycle was involved. I’m adding the extra info above. – TR

  • MLW August 27, 2014 (10:13 am)

    @knifemaker – I’m with you as far as wanting more information about the cause of bike accidents. I am a beginner rider (4 months) and am still learning how to navigate through traffic and watch for potential issues. Having more information would help me be more aware next time I get on my bike. I was really hoping to find out more about what caused the bike/bus crash on I-99 a few weeks ago.

  • Jim August 27, 2014 (10:22 am)

    As a motorcyclist, every time I see this happen, I wonder how many out there know how to steer a motorcycle. Who knows what happened here. Speed, debris, a slippery surface from the diesel spill down the road. But I often ask new riders, do they know how to countersteer. And it is surprising how many don’t know about it. It’s gotten better over the years, but it is still a misunderstood concept sometimes. For you car drivers, imagine in a parking lot, you turn left to go left, but on the street at speed, you turn right to go left. It is counter intuitive. Hence countersteer. Lots of other factors to consider too. Like the $500 a year I spend on tires, to stay connected to the road.

  • acemotel August 27, 2014 (10:56 am)

    Very sad. Thoughts and prayers for the two, and their families.

    Jim: The countersteer thing? I don’t get it. I am not a biker. Is this something you do when you are driving fast, or on a slick spot?

  • drahcir61 August 27, 2014 (11:07 am)

    Like the guy who does stunts on his bike … standing on his seat or doing wheelies … while speeding up 16th Ave SW … because it’s always someone else that gets killed.

    And you keep thinking that.

  • dhg August 27, 2014 (11:38 am)

    I’m thinking a big contributing factor *MIGHT* be the passenger. If he’s not used to having a passenger he might not have calculated the forces necessary to make the curve.

  • BlairJ August 27, 2014 (11:46 am)

    A hands-on motorcycle class is the best way to reduce your risk. Do a search for “Motorcycle Safety Foundation”, and then enter your zip code under “Find a Course Near You”. I cringe when I see bike riders failing to practice the basic survival skills taught in the MSF classes.

  • datamuse August 27, 2014 (12:31 pm)

    Countersteering is also done on bicycles. It’s a good way to navigate around sudden obstacles, such as a car turning into your path. On a motorcycle it’s useful for sudden swerves or navigating turns at high speeds. If you’ve ever ridden a bike and have leaned into a turn, particularly at high speed, you’ve probably countersteered without realizing it.
    This is a pretty good video that explains what it is and how to do it.
    Very sad to read about this crash.

  • Diane August 27, 2014 (12:50 pm)

    does anyone have more info about the motorcycle stunt riders in West Seattle? a couple weeks ago, I was driving north on California from the junction late at night, and a stunt rider came racing up behind me doing wheelies; scared the hell out of me; I managed to pull over to let him pass; then again last week, late at night, they were doing same thing heading east just past the Admiral junction, racing, doing wheelies; is this one group that does this all over WS, or a new fad by multiple stunt riders?

  • Robert August 27, 2014 (1:53 pm)

    There is that motorcycle safety sign facing EB traffic right before the ramp…

  • nomothete August 27, 2014 (2:11 pm)

    I’m with Jim and curious if residual diesel from the spill contributed to the rider losing tire grip in the corner. If there was still diesel on the shoulders of tires it could have been a factor going into any curve.

  • Citizen Sane August 27, 2014 (3:07 pm)

    Nomothete, I thought the diesel spill was on the on-ramp to 99; that would put it at a different location. I could be wrong, but I’m betting it was a Sport Bike. They are very popular with younger, less experienced riders ‘coz they give you more HP for the buck than pretty much any other ride out there. They are powerful and very light; a tricky combo in inexperienced hands.
    Also, the position of the pillion rider on those bikes can be a real problem, they seem to ride a bit higher than the driver, and this *could* throw the CG and handling wayyyy off.
    But, at the end of the day, I’m guessing they were just going too damn fast for the conditions. Sad, but unfortunately ‘same old, same old’ in Sport Bike world.

  • summer August 27, 2014 (8:09 pm)

    It seems surreal that his death is “same old, same old” to others not in our family. Its odd that the sun should still shine, even. I feel like I’m still holding my breath, I’m not sure what normal is right now, but I’m sure this isn’t it. Death shouldn’t be trivialized, he isn’t even buried yet. I just wanted to see if they knew anything else about the girl, or what could have happened. I shouldn’t have looked here. Thank you for your prayers.

    • WSB August 28, 2014 (2:01 am)

      Summer (though I hope you don’t see this, I still have to say it) … I am so sorry for your loss. I wish we had more information, but we don’t – what WSP provided is in the story above (aside from the passenger’s name, which is not something we would usually publish), and that is more than we would know if another agency had investigated. I hope that direct contact with investigators is providing you with anything more you are trying to find out … Tracy

  • bolo August 28, 2014 (12:31 am)

    Citizen Sane,
    The diesel fuel spill was along that uphill ramp from ground level up to eastbound Spokane Street Viaduct, near the exit to northbound to Alaskan Way Viaduct 99. If they entered the West Seattle Bridge from that entrance ramp they might have picked up some residual diesel fuel on the tires. If there was any that wasn’t cleaned up last night.
    But that would be a long way to that curve onto SB I-5.
    Remember that onramp from the bridge to SB I-5 has a 2- lane into 1 merge and often the vehicles on the right (entering from Spokane St./6th Ave. S.) don’t don’t signal or yield even though they have the yield sign.

  • dhg August 28, 2014 (2:23 pm)

    Summer: I don’t think Citizen Sane was trivializing the event. Rather, I take it as a commentary on the manufacturing and marketing of these bikes; that too many people are attracted to them even though they are dangerous to operate. The same old same old here is only to say this is not unusual in the Sport Bike World.

  • W August 28, 2014 (6:22 pm)

    I was the last person to say goodbye to them before they took off from the Sodo. I will clarify that neither were intoxicated and both were in good spirits. This is just awful.. I cant believe my ol friend is gone.. RIP J.E.M

  • E August 30, 2014 (4:57 am)

    Keeping good thoughts for those families affected. The passenger has a long journey ahead of her and I am keeping her in my prayers and will miss seeing her smiling face in the morning when I grab my coffee.

  • a_sad_friend September 4, 2014 (4:02 pm)

    We lost a great friend and amazing person. I can tell anyone thats wondering, he was a very good person who didnt drive reckless, and it wasn’t a “crotch rocket” just a everyday bike. You will be missed dearly buddy.

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