People on bikes are taught to take the lane to improve their visibility and safety.
Sometimes that’s not enough.
And sometimes, all the doctors and nurses in world aren’t enough to undo the damage that can result.
According to a release from the Long Beach Police Department, 39-year old Crestline resident Bryan Lembke died Sunday, four days after he was struck by a driver.
Lembke was riding in the center of the right lane on westbound Spring Street through El Dorado Park around 4:40 am last Thursday, when he was run down from behind by a driver as he approached the San Gabriel River.
In other words, he was exactly where he was supposed to be. And was rear-ended anyway.
He suffered major injuries to his head and body, and was taken to a local hospital where he died.
The driver is identified only as a 53-year old man from Cypress. He remained at the scene, and was released pending further investigation.
No word on whether Lembke had lights and reflectors on his bike in the early morning darkness. And no word on whether police have obtained a warrant to check the driver’s phone to see if he was driving distracted.
Anyone with information is urged to call Accident Investigation Detective Sirilo Garcia at 562/570-7355. Anonymous tips may be submitted through LA Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800/222-TIPS (8477) or visiting lacrimestoppers.org.
This is at least the 45th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 23rd that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County.
Update: A comment below from the mother of Lembke’s son indicates that he did have front and rear blinking lights on his bike, as well as a solid white headlamp on his helmet.
A crowdfunding campaign raising funds for his son’s education has raised over $15,000 of the $25,000 goal.
My deepest sympathy and prayers for Bryan Lembke and all his loved ones.
Thanks to John McBrearty for the heads-up.