News


Milpitas man killed in motorcycle collision on Highway 101 in Palo Alto

 

A motorcyclist who died when he was run over by a truck Thursday morning on U.S. Highway 101 in Palo Alto has been identified as Milpitas resident Robert Dam, according to the Santa Clara County medical examiner's office.

The collision occurred around 9:15 a.m. on northbound Highway 101 near Oregon Expressway, CHP Officer Eric Anderson said.

CHP officials said preliminary information indicated that Dam, 28, was driving between two northbound lanes when his 2013 Yamaha motorcycle hit the right rear end of a 2013 Chevrolet Equinox and he lost control of the bike.

But now whether Dam was splitting lanes is unclear and under investigation, CHP Officer Art Montiel said.

Dam was ejected from his bike and a 1998 International brand truck ran him over. Paramedics pronounced Dam dead at the scene, according to CHP officials.

It does not appear that drugs or alcohol played a part in Dam's death.

A Sig-alert was issued at 9:46 a.m. with all northbound lanes closed south of Oregon Expressway. One lane reopened at about 11 a.m., and the remaining lanes reopened about 45 minutes later, according to the CHP.

CHP officials are asking any witnesses to come forward to provide more information about the collision, Montiel said. Anyone with information is asked to call CHP Officer Josh LaPointe at 650-369-6261.

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— Bay City News Service/Palo Alto Weekly staff

Comments

54 people like this
Posted by Rayme Adzema
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 4, 2016 at 11:50 am

Why are motorcycles allowed to split lanes in fast moving (or any kind) of traffic? Most cars have a blind spot--it just seems inherently so unsafe.


13 people like this
Posted by PAResident
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 4, 2016 at 12:07 pm

Rayme, are they allowed? I thought it was illegal but that they did it anyway. Given the number of bike accidents I seen reported in the Bay Area in the last couple years, I wish bikers would just be more careful and just follow the same rules as cars.


11 people like this
Posted by wes
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 4, 2016 at 12:43 pm

Its a legacy law that was made back before motorcycles had liquid cooling. They would stall out and overheat if they were forced to stop in heavy traffic on hot days.


8 people like this
Posted by Bryan
a resident of another community
on Aug 4, 2016 at 12:48 pm

Lane splitting is legal in California. CHP has the authority to deside what safe lane splitting is. Search for "AB 51 California" for the law text.


6 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 4, 2016 at 12:53 pm

Dreadful event.

"Traffic was also backed up on southbound 101 due to bottleneckers."

Bottleneckers? A new word is coined, remarkably descriptive.

Last I heard, lane splitting is a gray area, neither explicitly legal or explicitly illegal.


18 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 4, 2016 at 1:21 pm

Duplicate threads.

I am posting my original comment here also.

This is very sad. Motorcycles are very vulnerable.

The lanes around Palo Alto are still too narrow due to the bridge construction. We have had several bad accidents with fatalities since this work was started. I feel sure that the narrow lanes have a lot to do with all the recent accidents in this stretch.

This work should have been done 24/7 and completed in a timely manner. It is a disgrace how long it is takin


8 people like this
Posted by Erin
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 4, 2016 at 2:04 pm

Such a sad story. :(
Lane splitting IS legal in California. If you read your driving test manual, it talks about motorcycles splitting lanes.. so as drivers in cars, we need to be extra careful, especially around motorcycles.

Bottlenecking is not a newly coined term. It's been around a while.. and that is often why traffic backs up.

So sad for such a tragic death.


16 people like this
Posted by PAResident
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 4, 2016 at 2:11 pm

Just drove past this scene. It was very sad. All lanes were shut down and police were still processing the scene. I saw someone, possibly one of the drivers of the other vehicles very anguished and possibly crying. The traffic had to all merge into single file onto the shoulder.

It was also really sad how drivers were behaving around the scene. Not letting other people merge to get out of clearly closed lanes, trying to drive ahead to get some advantage. In fact it was kind of chaotic near the scene. Just could not believe that this is how bad traffic gets in the Bay Area, where we cannot not put ourselves ahead even at a time like this. And not drive carefully and be considerate even around the scene of an accident. - See more at: Web Link


1 person likes this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 4, 2016 at 2:12 pm

Helicopters still appear to be hovering over the scene at noon.


3 people like this
Posted by My Nguyen
digital editor of Palo Alto Online
on Aug 4, 2016 at 2:13 pm

My Nguyen is a registered user.

Thank you @Resident for pointing out that there is a duplicate thread. That has been fixed. Appreciate you posting your comment again.


6 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 4, 2016 at 3:09 pm

"The lanes around Palo Alto are still too narrow due to the bridge construction. We have had several bad accidents with fatalities since this work was started. I feel sure that the narrow lanes have a lot to do with all the recent accidents in this stretch.

This work should have been done 24/7 and completed in a timely manner. It is a disgrace how long it is takin"

I agree emphatically, but I see more of a problem with the double carpool lanes as well (although this accident occurred 15 minutes after carpool hours). The inexplicable double HOV lanes regularly fly at 70+ mph, next to 3 lanes of traffic sitting still. For anyone trying to jump into the HOV lanes it is incredibly dangerous. Then the fast moving lanes suddenly taper off into 4 lanes at Embarcadero where the road work is.
What a disastrous situation and its gonna remain this way well into 2017.
I have seen cops turn on their sirens and drive across the lanes in a desperate attempt to slow down traffic before this juncture.


4 people like this
Posted by PAResident
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 4, 2016 at 3:40 pm

The latter of my comments was posted at 11AM but only showed up recently.

I don't understand carpool lanes either. We have insane levels of traffic and construction has reduced the number of lanes available. We have such a shortage of resources and we're reserving some for "carpool". Its like Nero fiddling while Rome burned.


28 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 4, 2016 at 4:03 pm

I don't drive this section of Hwy 101 very often. Isn't the speed limit in a construction zone supposed to be 55mph or lower? Why are people talking about driving 70mph or higher through here? The problem is not lanes that are too narrow; the problem is people driving too fast for the conditions.

I'm not blaming the victim in this case. I do not know what happened. I am referring to everyone driving too fast through the construction zone, including all the car and truck drivers driving 70+ in an obvious construction zone.


38 people like this
Posted by Make it Illegal
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 4, 2016 at 6:28 pm

There is no longer any legitimate use for lane splitting. It is dangerous and there are near- misses everyday. It really doesn't help when riders see motorcycle officers doing this, too.

Make it illegal and save lives!


2 people like this
Posted by HUTCH 7.62
a resident of Portola Valley
on Aug 4, 2016 at 7:09 pm

[Post removed.]


Like this comment
Posted by @Portola Valley
a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 4, 2016 at 8:13 pm

[Post removed.]


13 people like this
Posted by PAResident
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 4, 2016 at 8:56 pm

Totally agree with "Make It Illegal". CHS should just make lane splitting illegal.

Or bikers should watch out for themselves and just not do it. 101 is hard enough to drive on in a 4-wheeler, I wouldn't want to ride a bike there, let alone split lanes while doing so.


13 people like this
Posted by Insane loss
a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 4, 2016 at 10:43 pm

The State Senate literally just passed law permitting lane splitting. Previously, there was NO law against it but also no law defining it and allowing it. Just some safety guidelines. What happened is a tragedy and should be unacceptable to all. The lax approach to this construction project is carelessly tragic as well resulting in many accidents and I think 2 motorcycle fatalities now. The absolute culprit though is the idea that lane splitting can be safe. It may now be legal, but unless ruthlessly enforced with guidelines for car and cycle drivers, it will never be close to safe. Think about it, if a car changes lanes and clips a car you have bent sheet metal. If a car or cycle (largely invisible to other drivers as they move and swerve quickly)swerves and clips the other, there will be an injury accident. I have seen extremely safe motorcycle riders who are able to split lanes safely in safe circumstances but it's unfortunately the rare occurrence. Rather, so many jet through traffic without a concept of reaction time.
If traffic is stop and go and a motorcycle wends its way carefully between lanes it can be safer. If traffic is moving and folks are jockeying for lanes, it's nuts. Do the math. Riders will being injured or killed.


12 people like this
Posted by Of Note
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Aug 5, 2016 at 10:43 am

Lane splitting should be illegal, same reason as many other rules and laws are enacted - because there are people who are irresponsible so there needs to be a one-size-fits-all rule. Let's not forget the two drivers involved who will be affected the rest of their lives due to the allowance of lane splitting. This is much like the lax DUI laws where people drive drunk, kill someone, and only receive 6 years for manslaughter because it was unintentional, when the alcohol drinking was intentional.


3 people like this
Posted by Me
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 5, 2016 at 11:25 am

"Bottlenecking is not a newly coined term. It's been around a while.. and that is often why traffic backs up."

Actually, the correct term is "rubberneckers." Never heard of "bottlenecking."


2 people like this
Posted by Concerned Coach
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 5, 2016 at 11:26 am

Concerned Coach is a registered user.

In Todays SF Chronicle

Web Link


9 people like this
Posted by Luca
a resident of another community
on Aug 5, 2016 at 11:45 am

If a car breaks too late and it hits a slower or stopped car in front, the injuries are usually minor. Bikes are allowed to split lanes to prevent possibly deadly rear impacts from cars. Although riding a motorcycle 20 mph fasters than the cars is not safe in my opinion. Anyhow, cars drives should always look for motorcycles and bicycles, cars do not own the road but they share it with others.


Like this comment
Posted by gina
a resident of Portola Valley
on Aug 5, 2016 at 11:56 am

[Post removed.]


2 people like this
Posted by Testudo
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 5, 2016 at 12:20 pm

I'm sorry for this life cut short. I'm sorry for his loved ones who are mourning this loss. And, Gina, I'm sad for you and whatever has happened to you in your life to make you so uncaring and without compassion. I sincerely hope things get better.


5 people like this
Posted by GTI
a resident of Portola Valley
on Aug 5, 2016 at 8:58 pm

Lane splitting is currently not illegal and thus permitted in CA. AB 51 just passed the state senate; it will codify that lane splitting is legal, and will enable the CHP to set formal lane spitting guidelines. The reason it passed overwhelmingly is that studies over the last several years demonstrate that it is safer for motorcyclists than not lane splitting, because there are fewer rear-end collisions. Most lane splitting motorcycle accidents result in no or minor injuries, whereas most rear-end accidents with motorcycles result in serious injury or death. This fatality is tragic, but you can't legislate based on one-offs. By that logic, you should cut down all large trees next to roads because a speeding teenager hit one and died.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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