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Lan Remme v. City of Seattle and State of Washington

Lan Remme was a fit cyclist. But he is now an incomplete quadriplegic after sustaining injuries on the Montlake Bridge. The City of Seattle and State of Washington paid a $4 million settlement.

Lan Remme was a fit cyclist. But he is now an incomplete quadriplegic after sustaining injuries on the Montlake Bridge. The City of Seattle and State of Washington paid a $4 million settlement.

After years of work and dedication, SKW’s team of bicycle accident attorneys secured a significant settlement for Lan Remme. Lan brought suit against the City of Seattle and the State of Washington for their failure to maintain the Montlake Bridge sidewalk in a reasonably safe condition. One sidewalk panel had been allowed to sink two inches.

In April 2010, Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) had photo-documented the 2 inch vertical change in the concrete sidewalk panels and called it a Priority One “tripping hazard”. Although a repair number was assigned to this problem, nothing was done. One year later, on April 2, 2011, Lan Remme rode his bicycle onto the Montlake Bridge sidewalk, traveling at about 5 mph. An eyewitness observed Lan’s front bike wheel stop abruptly as it got caught in the two (2) inch “tripping hazard,” causing Lan to pitch forward over the handlebars. Lan’s helmeted head struck the sidewalk and he laid there motionless. See below illustrations.

The City of Seattle and the State of Washington settled several weeks before the trial. The City agreed to pay $2.5 million and the State agreed to pay $1.5 million.

This extreme tragedy for Lan, his wife Laura and the rest of his family was preventable.  His case underscores the importance of our City and State exercising diligence to ensure that the routes they invite cyclists to use are reasonably safe for bicycle travel.

The forward momentum stopped when Lan’s bike wheel got caught in the sidewalk hazard, sending him over his handlebars and slamming him head first onto the cement.

The forward momentum stopped when Lan’s bike wheel got caught in the sidewalk hazard, sending him over his handlebars and slamming him head first onto the cement.