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After Montlake Bridge wreck, Lan Remme begins road to recovery

Lan Remme, from the Super Squadra website

Lan Remme was on a Saturday morning ride to Mercer Island with friends when the unexpected happened. While crossing the Montlake Bridge on the sidewalk April 2, as he has done many times before, Lan flipped over his handle bars and landed on his neck.

He was rushed to Harborview, where he spent several days in the ICU. He recently moved to the rehabilitation floor to begin recovery. The official diagnosis from doctors is “incomplete quadriplegic.” He can move his arms, but not his fingers. He has no feeling below his upper chest.

“To go from being so active to this is hard,” said Rebecca Davis, Lan’s step-daughter. Lan, who is 60 and works as a parole officer for the city, is a member of the Super Squadra racing team (you may see them riding around town wearing Cucina Fresca sponsored jerseys). Now that he is out of the ICU, he can start physical therapy and begin to get better. The other morning, he told Rebecca, “I just want to get up and make my own coffee in my own kitchen,” she said.

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“It will make him feel a lot better once he sees changes,” said Rebecca. “He’s a really hard and dedicated worker, and I know he’s going to get better.” Plus, there is a lot they can do with spinal rehab these days, she said.

Rebecca has taken on responsibilities for handling logistical and behind-the-scenes work while her mother, Laura, and Lan concentrate on his healing (and Rebecca is doing an exceptional, loving job taking care of them).

She also has a lot of help from neighbors and friends who have offered to help the family out. One neighbor who is an architect is creating plans to rehab their home in the Roosevelt neighborhood to be ADA accessible. A lumber yard has offered to donate some supplies to complete the rehab project. Friends and coworkers have organized meal drop-offs for the family.

If you have some experience with construction or home rehab, email Rebecca to volunteer your help. The family does not currently have an account set up for financial donations, but we will update if that changes.

Rebecca has set up a CaringBridge site if you would like to get updates on Lan’s condition as he recovers.

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23 responses to “After Montlake Bridge wreck, Lan Remme begins road to recovery”

  1. Out of curiosity, how does one crash on the Montlake Bridge while riding around Mercer Island?

    1. Tom Fucoloro

      He lives in Roosevelt and was on his way to Mercer Island. The Montlake Bridge is between the two.

      1. Tom Ercer

        Quick question: Was the leading sentence “…on a Saturday morning ride to Mercer Island with friends when the unexpected happened. While crossing the Montlake Bridge on the sidewalk…” edited later for clarification or did Steve A misunderstand the sentence?

      2. Tom Fucoloro

        The first sentence could have been clearer, so I changed “around” to “to.” If you have punctuation or typo issues in the future, it’s probably best to email me at [email protected] in order to keep the comment thread on topic. Thanks!

  2. Wow. What a tragedy for Lan and his entire family. Prayers for healing, strength, and hope.

    Any more insight into just how an experienced cyclist just flips over the handlebars? Mechanical failure? Wheel stuck in a rut? Failure to negotiate an obstacle? As a cyclist, I find accidents like this are really disturbing, because there is no hint as to what I might do to avoid this happening to me or other cyclists. Surely there must be something we can learn from this accident so as to to repeat it.

    1. Rebecca Davis

      this is Rebecca Lan’s step daughter. Lan hit a 2″ lip in the sidewalk on the Montlake bridge while he was slowly negotiating through pedestrians. This caused his bike to flip and he landed on his neck

      1. Matt

        While riding across the Montlake bridge today, I saw a work crew repaving this section of the sidewalk/bridge (on the north end of the bridge). It is now pretty smooth, and much safer.

      2. Jason

        Since this is a bike blog, I thought I’d ask if anyone has heard of this eerily similar accident that happened on the Montlake Bridge back in 2007:



      3. Tom Fucoloro

        Mikey went above and beyond just a lawsuit. His efforts basically set a legal precedent for opening WSDOT records to the public: http://seattlebikeblog.com/2010/12/01/gendler-wins-another-legal-battle-opening-new-access-to-state-accident-data/

        The incidents are different, though. Gendler was in the roadway, riding over the metal grates, when his wheel got stuck in a gap between grates. This happened on the sidewalk.

  3. […] Fucoloro from the Seattle Bike Blog passed along this story about Roosevelt neighbor Lan Remme, who was in a bicycle accident on the Montlake Bridge on April […]

  4. Jennifer

    Lan is just about the nicest person you’d ever meet. He’s an upbeat, kind, compassionate person, and I am just horrified that he has suffered such injury. My thoughts and prayers go out to Lan and his family.

    1. Louise

      I absolutely agree! Such a sweet man! Get better real soon!

  5. Liz Diether-Martin

    Ach. So sobering for Lan’s friends and two-wheeler compatriots (who all have done something that could turn into a devastating accident). Best wishes for healing and miracles to Lan and his family.

  6. Nina Muehlen

    Lan, We were saddened to hear of your accident! I just want you to know you and your family are in our thoughts and prayers. I know you’re in good hands there at Harborview and you will make great strides in your recovery. Keep up the good work! An army of friends, family, co-workers, bicyclists and others are wishing you well. Best wishes,

    Nina and John

  7. Jason

    I met Lan when we were both Stephen Ministers at University Presbyterian Church. He is an awesome guy, and lots of fun to ride with! Since he has use of his arms, I hope that he can get into wheelchair racing or something. I know how much he loves cycling, so this is going to be really hard, but he has a good spirit and so many people supporting him; I’m sure he’ll make it!

  8. mark janney

    So sorry to hear about your accident. You’re about one of the nicest guys I’ve met (DOC) and I’ve seen you countless times out riding. I saw you at RAMROD and thought how great it was to see an older fellow cyclist staying active. I’ll keep you in my thoughts and I’m sure some good will come from your accident.

  9. Lori Ramsdell-Gilkey

    Please tell Lan his friends at the Department of Corrections are thinking about him. I worked with Lan for several years in the Hearings Unit. He brought his bike to one of our 3 day meetings and we all teased him when he set off one evening for a ride in his skinny little biker shorts. Lan is in such great physical shape and such a kind and generous man I know he will turn this around. Give him a hug for me and Dave.

  10. Sue Cole

    I was saddened to hear of your accident. Know that I am sending prayers for strength and healing. I think often of my DOC days and you are part of the good memories. Such a kind and patient guy, always ready to help. You’ll need patience even more now to make it back, but you will. Stay positive, like always.

  11. Gene Romano


    The hearing and hearing liaison folks are hoping for a deferred decision, with a report of your much improved progress. Everyone you’ve touched will wish you the best.

  12. Steven Li

    Lan paid us a visit on Saturday, April 23rd while a volunteer work party continues to modify the Remme house for ADA compliance. It might have been the sunniest, warmest day of the year and Lan’s familiar smile and evident progress with his arm movement cheered us up immensely. Lan is a tough, strong, gentle, warm guy who can do wonders especially with the support of his great family and friends from all over. I feel much better seeing his progress, and, that SMILE!

  13. David Stodden

    This is David from the University Y. I can’t believe this happens to such a nice person and good rider. Lan I often think of the ride we took to Sewerd Park 4 years ago. You pushed me hard and I much appreciated it. Hope I can help getting your house changed around.


  14. […] Remme has had a long road back to work after a crash on the Montlake Bridge in April 2011 left him with […]

  15. Pete Fiedler

    Let me get this straight. A sixty year old man fell off his bike and now he wants the the city where he crashed to pay because they didn’t repair a crack in the road, that he reported, fast enough?

    Riding a bicycle is serious, dangerous business and sometimes tragic accidents happen, even to experienced riders who already know where all of the cracks are. Sometimes people don’t get up when they are pitched to the ground but sometimes people never return home from their ride at all. Point is that riding in a city, like riding anywhere, is unpredictable. Despite whatever steps may be taken to minimize the risks, the sheer fact that your skull is perched ever so precariously way up above the pavement when you pedal a bike creates an opportunity for a head or spine injury regardless of the experience of the rider. Gravity, after all, rules.

    Blame could be spread around and the onus might be shifted but ultimately the full burden of responsibility here must be placed at the feet of Lan Remme. Though Lan Remme is an experienced cyclist sometimes even the most skillful and strong among us can be stymied by what might be awaiting us outside the door on any given day.

    Life is unpredictable and horror is always potentially around the next corner, whether you are riding a bike or not. Be safe when you ride but remember that ultimately it’s how the wheel of fate turns that is most relevant.

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