Update: West Seattle Bridge motorcycle crash turns fatal

11:20 AM: We have just confirmed with Harborview Medical Center what two people reported in the comments on coverage of Tuesday’s West Seattle Bridge crash: The 53-year-old man whose motorcycle crashed as he swerved to avoid a car has died. Commenter JD says, “He was a very kind, and wonderful person. He served the community with honor and integrity. He will be greatly missed.” We are not publishing his name until we confirm with the King County Medical Examiner’s Office that their notifications have been made, but another commenter had described him as a state Ecology Department employee who commuted to Bellevue from Kitsap County. A commenter says he leaves a wife, three sons and a daughter, and many others who love him.

ADDED 2:36 PM: We know now that information about the motorcyclist’s death has been circulated in his workplace, and we feel comfortable publicly identifying him as Bradly Gilmore. We asked the Ecology media team if there was any information they can share, and got the following from Seth Preston:

I can say that those who worked with Brad thought very highly of him. As Bob Warren, manager of the Toxics Cleanup section in Bellevue, said of Brad: “There are very few people in life where you know that they have everything in the right order and priority. And it seemed that everything he did was of the highest quality and accomplished with such calmness. I will miss working with him.”

Brad worked in our Voluntary Cleanup Program, which enables owners of contaminated sites to meet state cleanup standards independently and to receive technical guidance from Ecology during the process.

Among Brad’s accomplishments was serving as project coordinator for the Shell multi-site pilot project. You can learn more about this groundbreaking effort here: ecy.wa.gov/programs/tcp/sites_brochure/vcp_sites/vcpOverview.htm.

Jim Pendowski is the manager of the entire Toxics Cleanup Program, based at Ecology’s headquarters in Lacey. Jim said in a message to program employees today that “Brad was a good guy and he made a difference. He will be missed.”

A grief counselor will be available to Brad’s co-workers on Thursday at our Bellevue office.

76 Replies to "Update: West Seattle Bridge motorcycle crash turns fatal"

  • Cheryl September 28, 2011 (11:30 am)

    Oh jeez. My heart just sunk right into my gut. I’m just so sorry for his friends and family. Condolences to them, and may they find some measure of peace in the days and months to come in remembering him for the friend, husband and father that he was. :(

  • Rosanne September 28, 2011 (11:33 am)

    I’m very sorry to read this. My condolences to his family & friends. The West Seattle bridge is truly a dangerous place to drive, especially during rush hour. Please be careful people!

  • Kathy September 28, 2011 (11:36 am)

    I am deeply sorry to read that the rider has died. My heart goes out to his wife and children.
    All users of our rodes, motorcyclists, drivers, and bicyclists, please keep this outcome in mind when deciding to drive recklessly.
    Motorcycles and bicycles are on Seattle rodes year round, not just in summertime. Please always turn your head and look TWICE before changing lanes. May he rest in peace.

  • shihtzu September 28, 2011 (11:37 am)

    So sad. Sorry for his family :(

  • WS mom September 28, 2011 (11:40 am)

    Oh – I’m so sorry – prayers for the family.

  • Wendell September 28, 2011 (11:49 am)

    Awful news. Condolences to the family – from a brother rider.

  • happywalker September 28, 2011 (11:55 am)

    drove past him very carefully yesterday when he was down, said a prayer for him, been thinking of him ever since. So sorry, he was just going to work, like the rest of us.

  • Emma Peel September 28, 2011 (12:03 pm)

    Too sad…

  • Lola September 28, 2011 (12:04 pm)

    So sorry to hear that he has died. I know I may sound mean but motorcyclist need to stay out of that bus lane and not ride in it.

  • datamuse September 28, 2011 (12:05 pm)


  • Alki resident September 28, 2011 (12:11 pm)

    So so sad.My heart has sunk for the family.

  • Shane September 28, 2011 (12:15 pm)

    Rest in peace my two wheeled brother

  • Valerie September 28, 2011 (12:20 pm)

    How very sad, I am so sorry to hear it. My deepest condolences to his family & friends.

  • Kimiko September 28, 2011 (12:21 pm)

    My heartfelt prayers go out to his family and friends.

  • lunapark September 28, 2011 (12:28 pm)

    So heartbreaking, my thoughts go out to his wife and children. Please keep us posted on any needs the family may have following this tragic event. :(

  • CarrieP September 28, 2011 (12:35 pm)

    Lola, he didn’t die because he was in the bus lane, he died because a CAR (who also shouldn’t have been in the bus lane) plowed into him. We should also wait until the investigation is complete before assuming anyone was at fault.

  • HarborviewEmployee September 28, 2011 (12:44 pm)

    He had four children, (three sons, one daughter) please edit the article to include all who loved him.

  • catlady September 28, 2011 (12:45 pm)

    So tragic… my thoughts and prayers to his family.

    I saw his motorcycle at the accident scene later that morning. Man, what a beautiful bike – I’m sure he was very proud of it. Such a sad ending.

  • J September 28, 2011 (12:55 pm)

    @Lola – not the time or the place for posts like yours. A man with children has lost his life. I’m so sad to hear this, my thoughts go out to his family.

  • ca September 28, 2011 (12:59 pm)

    this is so terrible, this happened behind me about 2 minutes after I was over the peak of the bridge. My heart goes out to his family and friends. Tragic.Thank you WSB for updates.

  • Caring Co-worker September 28, 2011 (1:01 pm)

    May his family and friends find comfort from caring loved ones. You will be missed, you had such integrity and dedication in your work for the environment. Prayers.

  • bridge to somewhere September 28, 2011 (1:07 pm)

    what terrible news. i feel so badly for his family, and i can’t believe their loss right now. as a parent i can’t imagine what it would mean to lose my spouse with a child at home.

  • Olallafriend September 28, 2011 (1:10 pm)

    As soon as someone hears of a memorial or memorial planning please post – Those of us who have been touched by this tradgedy could do something positive like a fundraiser for the kids.

  • velo_nut September 28, 2011 (1:18 pm)

    Very sad. Many thoughts to to his family and friends

    @CarrieP, thats opposite of the police report.

  • ad September 28, 2011 (1:40 pm)

    Very sad news. I’m so sorry to those who love him. May he rest in peace.

    I also feel badly for the person who hit him. I know many people may find that ridiculous, but I’m sure that person is greatly hurting.


  • bridge to somewhere September 28, 2011 (1:43 pm)

    let me add that i also really feel for the car driver; certainly this was not intentional and probably the worst experience of her life. what a terrible accident.

  • Casey September 28, 2011 (2:20 pm)

    To clear people’s comments up and also know for myself, didnt he swerve from a car changing lanes and not actually have a collision with another vehicle? I lost my dad unexpectedly at the age of 11..not sure how old his kids are or even that it matters, a loss is a loss at any age. I know for me what helped besides the support of my community was people from my church brought over home cooked meals as well as groceries. In a time of mourning the last thing on your mind is grocery shopping or cooking. I hope that somehow the community can figure out what the family needs and provide some comfort. I am praying for all involved.

    • WSB September 28, 2011 (2:42 pm)

      Police’s account of the “swerving to avoid car” is in our original story, which is linked in this one. Meantime, I have just added Mr. Gilmore’s name & comment from his workplace (state Ecology Department). Other research indicates he did indeed live in Kitsap County but commuted through the Southworth-Fauntleroy ferry, to get to his office in Bellevue – TR

  • abiker September 28, 2011 (2:22 pm)

    I just got the news via a friend. Very sad. I am a ferry/motorcycle commuter and ride every day unless it’s just too icy.

    I generally take the lower bridge rather than deal with the cars and merging lanes of the WSB. Regardless of fault, please, please signal first, look and then look again. Even on the lower bridge I’ve been almost hit by people doing ILLEGAL lane changes or turns or crossing traffic in front of me over a double yellow. Sure, bikers do illegal things too. I’m just saying, those white lines don’t really matter in the end. Someone was not looking, or not signaling or speeding or all of the above.

    It’s tragic and I’m still not sure who this man was as I’m out of town, but I know I’ve likely shared the road with him every morning from the ferry to the bridge for who knows how long. We all ride knowing that these types of accidents can happen at any time, and we ride that way. Sometimes even that isn’t enough.

  • Elizagrace September 28, 2011 (2:36 pm)

    So sad for everyone. My heart aches. This is such a tragic end for the cyclist and a piece of his families lives will be forever missing, the driver will also never be the same.

    I am so so sorry to hear about this.

    To his wife, kids, family and friend. You are all in our thoughts, please do not hesitate to let us know if there is anything we as a community can do for you.

  • Kristi September 28, 2011 (2:37 pm)

    This is very sad, indeed. My prayers go out to his family and friends, and to the driver of the car.

  • Aman September 28, 2011 (2:59 pm)

    R.I.P. Bradly Gilmore. My condolences to your family and friends.

  • maude September 28, 2011 (3:05 pm)

    My thoughts are with his wife and children. But this also stirs memories of when my father died in a motorcycle accident. So surreal as a teenager and now as an adult, thankful of the support of our community.

  • Alan September 28, 2011 (3:11 pm)

    Very sad indeed. I was on the 54 bus that drove by the scene yesterday. At first glance looking at the motorcycle which I assume was his didn’t look too terrible damaged. I didn’t think much of it until I came across this article. My heart goes out to his family.

  • Matt September 28, 2011 (3:17 pm)

    It is a very sad news. I saw the motorcycle yesterday while going to work. I hope that it will remind people to remain courteous on the road. Yes it is frustrating to drive in heavy traffic or to be cut by someone, but at the end of the day if you flex your “muscles” and hit someone with your car, especially a motorcycle or bicycle you may end up taking their life and that will haunt you much more than a long commute

  • metrognome September 28, 2011 (3:35 pm)

    condolences to Brad’s family, friends and co-workers.
    folks, remember, that split-second decision you make so you can save a few seconds on your commute can have consequences far beyond what you can possibly imagine … it can turn a normal day into a tragic event that will affect people forever. please, whether you are a pedestrian, driver or bicyclist, take the extra time to check once, twice and maybe even three times before you make that move … the adage ‘measure twice, cut once’ applies to more than carpentry.

  • Marc Ortego September 28, 2011 (4:34 pm)

    I’ve been commuting with Brad for quite some time now in the morning and afternoon. He always had a kind word and a smile, and cared about how you were doing. He had a great sense of humor and was easy to laugh with. All the riders who commute on the 6:05am and 4:20pm ferries will miss him greatly!

  • Chris Ortego September 28, 2011 (4:48 pm)

    My dad was friends with Bradly, and rode alongside him until April of this year. Thankfully, his commute takes him along a different route.
    I speak for my dad and Bradly’s family when I say that everyone should be careful around bikers. Never change lanes in haste and cut them off.

    My condolences to Bradly’s family, friends, and co-workers.

  • smokeycretin9 September 28, 2011 (4:55 pm)

    R.I.P. fellow motorcyclist.

  • Mort September 28, 2011 (5:26 pm)

    What heart breaking news, even more so as we hear about what a terrific guy he apparently was. He was probably commuting by motorcycle in order to provide a better life for his family. It’s much cheaper than commuting by car, and working for the Department of Ecology, I wouldn’t be surprised if wanting to provide a more natural and rural environment for his family to grow up in wasn’t part of it as well. A true tragedy that will no doubt be felt by generations of his unfortunate family.

  • WSTroll September 28, 2011 (5:40 pm)

    Get rid of the bus lane. Nothing but trouble.

  • sybil September 28, 2011 (6:01 pm)

    Absolutely heartbreaking. So sorry for his family’s loss.

  • Jeffrey Mirsepasy September 28, 2011 (6:09 pm)

    R.I.P. from a motorcyclist and bicyclist (and car driver). Way too many people die on our roads every year. Safety needs to be a bigger priority. How much was spent on the multiple votes on the tunnel and now the liquor stores? Those millions could be spent on traffic safety.

  • guy September 28, 2011 (6:49 pm)

    Rest in peace man!!

  • kim September 28, 2011 (8:07 pm)

    Heartbreaking. I am so sorry. I also hope that Rex and the others who helped at the scene are doing okay. Terrifying.

  • Elikapeka September 28, 2011 (8:10 pm)

    This is such sad news. I am so sorry.

  • T September 28, 2011 (8:16 pm)

    So very sad for everyone involved. I hope his family finds a lot of support and love from family and friends. I also hope that the driver of the car can find some peace, after such an awful experience- I am sure no one would ever intend to have this happen.

    It is such a tragic situation for all.

  • Deano September 28, 2011 (9:21 pm)

    RIP to Brad and condolences to family and friends of his…..: Just a note on riding motor cycles in Seattle, I don’t any longer. I used to ride when I came from the midwest but Seattle is a VERY dangerous place for motorbikes. In other places more people may die over all but it’s more often because they “push it” and it’s on them, but not here. In Seattle you get whacked because they don’t see you, they don’t know what to do when they DO see you, they turn in front of you, or just plain don’t care if they hit you or run you off the road. THAT combined with all the rain and narrow congested streets adds up to this being a death trap for motorcyclists. I have a child and realized that I was going to die in this city in all likely hood. Sad to say it but, if you value living a longer life, then don’t ride in Seattle. It’s just the opinion of a long time rider who has been all over the country on a bike (motorized).

  • Winvian September 28, 2011 (9:25 pm)

    Please say a prayer for the driver of the car that was involved, too.

    Imagine how he/she is feeling…!

  • moji September 28, 2011 (9:38 pm)

    My heart goes out Mr. Gilmore’s family. Ride safe brothers and sisters.

  • OP September 28, 2011 (9:44 pm)

    Incredibly sad for everyone involved. Prayers and the peace of God go out to Bradly’s friends and family and to the driver.

  • DonnaM September 28, 2011 (9:49 pm)

    Ecology will not be the same without you, Brad. You will live in our memory forever. Heartfelt condolences to the family during this tragic time.

  • LyndaB September 28, 2011 (9:59 pm)


    i am saddened to hear of his passing. my thoughts and prayers to his family and friends.

  • ChrissyOne September 29, 2011 (6:29 am)

    I ride a motorcycle on the ferry commute, and rode over the bridge with Brad every day. He was a kind and caring fiend with a wonderful sense of humor and a warm smile.
    I was staying with a friend that day, and so I wasnt on my bike, but we drove by the scene and I saw his bike parked there and the lane blocked off… I didn’t know what had happened until now.
    We’ll miss you Brad, and I’ll think of you every time I pass that spot. You’ll be dearly missed.

  • ME September 29, 2011 (6:51 am)

    So sorry … people need to pay more attention. I almost get hit weekly and I have a mid-sized SUV! LOOK before you charge sideways!

  • dufus September 29, 2011 (7:03 am)

    SO sorry to hear the terrible outcome. He sounds like he was a fantastic person. Very sad.

  • dailycommuter September 29, 2011 (7:36 am)

    Daily I leave for work and drive down Fauntleroy at about the same time this group of motorcycle riders gets off the Fauntleroy ferry. They generally are kind and courteous to me, the gray-haired old lady in the Honda, and I’m always happy to see them. I’m sure I’ve shared the road many mornings with Brad. I’m so very, very sorry for his passing. My thoughts are with his family and friends. May we all be extra-vigilant behind the wheel in his honor.

  • Dave September 29, 2011 (7:54 am)

    So So sorry.. a friend, fellow biker, and good, good family man. You will be missed.

  • JoB September 29, 2011 (8:05 am)

    When it comes to our roads
    Simple courtesy saves lives
    I so wish it had saved this one

    i nearly lost my son this way
    my heart goes out to his family

  • Burgman 400 September 29, 2011 (8:08 am)

    I also ride from West Seattle to Seattle every day and have taken to the lower bridge because of the reckless antics of a few drivers. My heart goes out to his family and friends. Please be careful and considerate!

  • DB Fauntleroy September 29, 2011 (8:34 am)

    “Please say a prayer for the driver of the car that was involved, too.

    Imagine how he/she is feeling…!

    Comment by Winvian”

    Sorri but I guess I’m just not as forgiving as you are. In fact just this morning going over the WS bridge on two wheels I felt the need to give the finger to some yuppie SUVer that felt entitled to use the bus lane to pass everyone else before getting on NB99.

    What happened to the bridge patrols? They work when they are going on but people soon forget that there is a reason for not using that lane except for buses. Ironic how most drivers complain about them.

    I hate hearing tales about carelesness leading to fatalies. My father worked for the DOEcy in Oly and rode a motorcycle as well, I’m sure he knew the deceased rider.

  • Tony September 29, 2011 (8:53 am)

    One thing that is clear from reading all the comments about this crash is that ordinary West Seattleites are confused about the bus lane. It’s been debated whether to merge right away or wait until the top of the hill, who can travel in the bus lane, what does the solid white line mean, where is it dashed….I don’t know what the DOT was thinking when they designed this. Maybe they are the same planners that thought it would be perfectly ok to funnel I-5 down to 2 lanes through the middle of downtown Seattle. Wait, no, those planners are surely retired to some nice sunny place where they can drive their golf carts around.
    One thing is not in dispute however. It is never legal to cross all lanes of traffic so you can turn right from the left lane. That is negligent.

  • MarySheely September 29, 2011 (10:56 am)

    I work in Belltown, where they recently repainted to add bus lanes to get on 99 by the Elephant, but there are signs saying “right turns okay.” People are so confused: drive in the bus lane if I’m turning right into a parking lot? Wait until I am close to the parking lot, then turn right across traffic? I agree, the bus lanes are very confusing to a lot of people.

    That being said, it’s pretty obvious on the bridge, where the lane is much longer, that you are not supposed to cross it. Maybe the solution is to actually erect barriers.

  • Wendell September 29, 2011 (12:02 pm)

    My anecdote: Over 5 years ago, I used to unknowingly illegally ride my motorcycle in the bus lane (yes, my bad). After many months of doing this, I got pulled over and received a ticket. I contacted Bumper to Bumper (local newspaper column) to clarify the rule for my fellow riders who also mistakenly believed that bikes could use that lane. Most HOV lanes say “Motorcycles OK” and I wanted to help clear up the confusion.

    Bumper to Bumper contacted DOT and DOTs answer was consistent with the message that the lane is for buses only and nothing else. However, they did add that most HOV lanes are open to motorcycles and “sometimes those Motorcycle OK signs fall off”. How about a sign that says “No Motorcycles”?

    One last thing, the day after the crash, I was on the bridge when a huge white tractor-trailer ran the whole bus lane, at a dangerous rate of speed.

  • Mn September 29, 2011 (1:15 pm)

    Db fauntleroy
    Show some compassion !!!!!
    You are a part of the big problem with your agressive attitude
    There are no winners here
    Winvian I agree whole heartedly with you

  • WTF September 29, 2011 (2:54 pm)

    I’m heartbroken for Brad’s family and friends. Tragic all around.

    On another note, if, as a driver, regardless of whether or not you live in WS and/or travel the bridge at all and you are “confused” as to what to do with the bus lane, you’re an idiot. What part of Bus ONLY doesn’t make sense? What part of being illegal to cross solid 18” double lines or darting across triangular hazard sections are you not getting? What part of driving the SPEED LIMIT and waiting your turn isn’t clear to you? Drive right people. Stop using the West Seattle bridge as your personal Autobahn. If I am on the bridge traveling the speed limit and/or with traffic and you tailgate me, I WILL slow down drastically. I WILL report your license plate. (Don’t respond to me with a bunch of justification as to why I shouldn’t; it would be a waste of time.)

    Those who speed, drive arrogantly, tailgate, and are just plain AHs (you know who you are) take it down a notch or two and THINK for a change about others besides yourselves. The hope will be that WSB won’t have to post tragic stories like this anymore.
    I make no apologies for my angst, because there are none.

  • Lola P September 29, 2011 (3:25 pm)

    My deepest condolences to the family, friends, neighbors and colleagues of someone who sounds like a really wonderful man. You were blessed to have him in your lives.

    Apparently there’s another person posting as Lola, so I want to differentiate myself from her as much as possible. I am not her and do not share her views about this. Seen too many near-wrecks from drivers who rely completely on their side-view mirrors or don’t even look before changing lanes.

    Bottom line, though, a good man has died and there are people who have a hole in their hearts. In honor of Bradly, how about let’s all find ways to be kind to someone we don’t know, and to be less aggressive in our lives overall… even for just a day or two.

  • Alki Girl September 29, 2011 (4:00 pm)

    I’m so sorry to hear about this loss. I hope everyone can rally around and support the large family he leaves behind. He sounds like he was a wonderful guy.

    With regards to what Casey said above, it would be a great idea for people to help out with food/grocery for the family.

    I hope this is a wake up call for all drivers to slow down – it was for me!

  • NicMarie September 29, 2011 (4:24 pm)

    Please… we in WS, and by ferry, those in Kitsap County, are SO lucky to live in a community in the truest sense of the word. Let’s focus daily on that and send only LOVE to his family, and forgiveness to the driver.

    I passed later on the 55 (my second day ever of taking a bus to my job in Bellevue) and I am guilty of assuming who was at fault, it is irrelevant. If you are rushing to work on a bridge that you KNOW is always backed up, then instead, leave earlier next time; or do what I started this week and choose public transportation.

    We are SO blessed to live here and the extra 1/2 hour to stop the road rage and haste that leads to bad decisions would at least help us avoid this type of conflict inciting accident where all focus on the tragedy is lost to the blame game.

    Again, PLEASE, send all the prayers you can to the family. Then count your blessings and help preserve the goodness of this loving community by taking personal responsibility every time you get behind (or on) the wheel (or wheels)…
    Thank you.

  • Wendell September 29, 2011 (4:49 pm)

    And WTF brings their own style of road rage to the blog. Nice.

  • Matt September 29, 2011 (4:51 pm)

    For the person who said we should get rid of the bus lane. I would say this, every West Seattleite can take the bus and benefit from it. I think it is already slow enough to get downtown (often to get to another bus) by bus with the bus lane. There would have been an alternative to this which was called the monorail but it did not happen. So until there is mass transit that does not get stuck from West Seattle to downtown we will need this bus lane.

  • WS September 29, 2011 (5:56 pm)

    Wendell. Think you’re missing WTF’s point. Although a very in your face approach, I think if people actually had respect for others AND the law, less attempts to get people to *hear* what’s being said instead of just listening apathetically. Some people don’t understand mamby-bamby chit-chat. If they did, the issue of careless driving wouldn’t exist.

  • WSTroll September 29, 2011 (8:20 pm)

    Matt, your bus lane just killed a person. I hope the extra few minutes that you saved was worth it.

  • Ally September 29, 2011 (9:56 pm)

    Thank you to everyone for your kind posts about Brad. Our family appreciates your condolences. If you knew him, please share your memories on havenrest.com under the Online tab on the Online Obituaries in the Guestbook for Bradly Gilmore. Thank you to those who stayed with him through the accident and thank you to all of his fellow riders for your kind words. Please keep riding – that’s what he would have wanted. I can’t say it enough to everyone else regardless of fault LOOK TWICE. You NEVER know who is going to be where and when whether it’s a motorcycle, cyclist, pedestrian, etc. Thank you again for your kind words and support.

  • Ally September 29, 2011 (10:00 pm)

    If you would like to contribute, please donate to the High Country News at hcn.org or to your favorite environmental charity/organization. You can also contact me directly at allyryan@live.com.

  • Scott September 29, 2011 (10:06 pm)

    I have traveled from Fauntleroy to downtown for 20 years, by motorcycle, car, van, bicycle and bus. I rode with Brad for a few years now and the last few days have been very hard. I’m in shock and disbelief that I won’t be riding with Brad again. When I ride I always look for a place to go to avoid collisions if I’m not seen, but there is no place to go on the WS bridge. I appreciate all the drivers who give me space and respect, because that simple act could save my or my brother or my sister rider’s life someday. Riding the motorcycle is the most enjoyable way to get to work, and that enjoyment comes with a risk. We know and accept that.

Sorry, comment time is over.