— Lucha Vino (@luchavino) May 2, 2013
Lance David was a father of twins, now 23 years old, and husband of 31 years. He lived in Federal Way and biked several times a week to his job at Expeditors International in downtown Seattle.
He died Wednesday morning in a collision with the rear wheels of a semi truck. He was 54 years old, but first responders thought he was in his 30s.
The exact circumstances are still unknown, but the result is very real to his friends and family. His wife Jane left a comment on the West Seattle Blog yesterday:
I just wanted to say thank you many times over to those who stopped to help Lance, and my heart goes out to the truck driver. My family is devastated over his loss, but we are lifted up by the incredible support of family, friends and fellow bicyclists. Lance was a highly experienced and careful road biker. He was aware of his surroundings, logged thousands of miles on his bike, and had ridden this route many times before. Each time he rode in, I would say “be careful” and he would reply “I always am”. We don’t yet know for sure what happened and maybe never will. I just hope and pray that some changes are made that will prevent this from happening to someone else’s loved one.
His daughter Diana told the Seattle Times that he biked to work two days a week during the spring, but was planning on biking more during Bike Month. He died on the first day of the month-long celebration of cycle commuting.
Diana David said she appreciates the outpouring of flowers, calls and messages from the cycling community. “It’s nice to get the support of people we don’t even know,” she said.
“The big thing with Lance, he was a very seasoned rider. He was the kind of rider who would get mad at other riders for doing the wrong thing. To have something like this happen, it doesn’t make sense,” said friend Steven Birds of Bellevue.
“You’re not going to meet a nicer guy. If he ever passed a cyclist on the side of the road, working on a flat, he’d always ask if you’re OK.”
The Times reports that coworkers and friends are planning to ride from 3rd and Madison to the crash site at 3 p.m. Friday in memory of Lance. (UPDATE: There will then be a memorial starting at Hanford and E Marginal Way starting at 3:30, according to Ben Rainbow in the comments below.
There is also a planned (long and strenuous) ride leaving Marymoor at 1 p.m. Sunday, hitting some hill climbs Lance was fond of.
As we reported Wednesday, the city has turned its attention to E Marginal Way, a street that is notoriously dangerous and uncomfortable for all users. Unfortunately, the street is really the only viable option for people cycling between the West Seattle Bridge and downtown.
SDOT Traffic Engineer Dongho Chang visited the site just hours after the fatal collision to see what could be done to improve safety. The mayor gave him 30 days to come up with a short-term solution, but paving conditions are so bad that a long-term plan would require a lot of money and a complete repaving of the street.
Several people have pointed out that this could be an opportunity for cycling and freight interests to come together. Jessie Kwak at Bicitoro put it very well in a recent reflection she wrote about cycling after learning of Lance’s death:
Quite a few people today have proposed a separated cycle track along the West Seattle commute section of E. Marginal Way. I think that’s absolutely necessary—and I can’t imagine who would oppose it. Especially the Port and all the local companies. I mean, who would want to be that poor semi truck driver? By all the early accounts, he wasn’t at fault, it was just a shitty situation on both ends.
I know I’m being overly optimistic about a cycle track being supported by the industrial residents of SODO (see also: the Missing Link), but seriously. It’s not a matter of bikes vs. cars, commuters vs. industry, or whatever vs. whoever. It’s a matter of two very different usages of the same stretch of road. The problem’s not going to go away on its own, and neither side is going to “win.”
We will keep ours eyes out for any other memorial activities. If you know of anything, please share in the comments below.