Lan Remme back at work years after crash + Legal team seeking people familiar with Montlake Bridge issue

profile_imageLan Remme has had a long road back to work after a crash on the Montlake Bridge in April 2011 left him with quadriplegia.

He is back at work for the city part-time, and he has traded his two-wheeled ride for one with four.

Now his attorney is seeking help bolstering the case that the sidewalk of the Montlake Bridge was defective, and that the state and/or city knew it was a problem and did not fix it.

John Duggan, Remme’s lawyer (and a Seattle Bike Blog advertiser), said Remme was traveling southbound on the east sidewalk in the afternoon. Due to the steel grating on the bridge surface, people on bikes are routed onto the sidewalk to cross.

Photo from John Duggan, taken shortly after Remme's crash.

Photo from John Duggan, taken shortly after Remme’s crash.

A group of people had gathered on the bridge to watch a rowing team in the canal below, so Remme was moving slowly when he hit a two-inch rise in the sidewalk.

A mix of the size of the crack and his slow speed sent him crashing to the ground when he hit it. The city and state fixed the crack shortly after the crash (the Montlake Bridge is a state facility).

Now his case is scheduled to go to trial early next year, and Duggan is hoping to find anyone who may have reported, crashed on or otherwise encountered the two-inch sidewalk crack previous to April 2, 2011.

Anyone with information can contact John at [email protected].

Below is another photo of the crack, provided by Duggan:


About Tom Fucoloro

Founder and Editor of Seattle Bike Blog.
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4 Responses to Lan Remme back at work years after crash + Legal team seeking people familiar with Montlake Bridge issue

  1. Al Dimond says:

    This is a really sad story, and the state and city certainly need to get better at prioritizing and performing road maintenance, but these sorts of lawsuits are totally crazy. I have a brother that worked for a streets department, so I’ve heard how these things go. Someone reports a trip hazard, the city slaps on some kind of cheap temporary fix (gotta fix it fast before you get sued!), the fix deteriorates, start from the beginning again.

    Complaints and threat of lawsuits is no way to prioritize infrastructure work, neither for efficiency (lawyers are ‘spensive!) nor for justice (most complaints come from well-resourced squeaky wheels… and often lawsuits do, too). I can hardly “hate the player” here because this lawsuit may be the plaintiff’s best chance at post-injury financial security… but the game is broken.

  2. SGG says:

    I rode by perhaps a dozen 2 inch gaps in the pavement on my ride on East Marginal back to West Seattle yesterday. What’s the expectation around here anyway?

  3. Conrad says:

    Right- I feel bad for anyone that takes a nasty spill on their bike and injures themselves. And the city should be repairing and maintaining the roads we have a little bit better. But there has to be some common sense in awarding damages. There are at least a hundred pavement hazards a lot worse than the one in question here on my current commute route. I used to commute over the Montlake bridge, too. After one really good rain storm or some snow, the potholes and seams grow noticeably larger. I don’t think it is reasonable to expect pristine pavement.

  4. Pony boy says:

    I HATE lawyers. The picture show less than 2 inches. AND it looks like they’re measuring from on top of debris/soil. Probably an inch and a half. Riding a bike can be dangerous and should be done with caution. I should add that I’m a motorcyclist who has to deal with four inch potholes at 35 plus mph. Seattle streets show no mercy, and I like it that way.

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