Memorial march Tuesday to honor barista who died after Eastlake bike accident

A memorial march from South Lake Union to Volunteer Park on Tuesday will honor a beloved barista who died after a bike crash in the Eastlake neighborhood.

Brian Fairbrother was found unconscious after crashing his bike down stairs near 1177 Fairview Ave. N. on Aug. 30. According to the Seattle Times, Fairbrother was breathing when medics arrived. He suffered brain injuries from a lack of oxygen before medics arrived. He was taken to Harborview Medical Center and died there on Sept. 8.

Fairbrother was general manager for Espresso Vivace‘s retail locations and directly managed the Alley 24 store at 227 Yale Ave. N., across from the entrance to REI. He started working at Vivace’s coffee cart on Captiol Hill in 1989.

The memorial march will begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday at Vivace’s Alley 24 location and proceed to Volunteer Park where there will be a picnic at noon. Those attending are asked to bring flowers and twine.

According to news reports, Fairbrother was beloved of Vivace’s other owners and customers alike. The Seattle Times quotes Geneva Sullivan, one of Vivace’s three owners (the others were Fairbrother and David Schomer), as saying of Fairbrother: 

“He was so perfectly trustable. When Brian said something to you, it was a very kind honesty, but you knew you were getting the story. You never had to read between the lines with the man.”

Fairbrother was apparently riding north on Fairview across from Zymogenetics at about 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 30. He was at a point where the bike trail moves off the sidewalk and onto the street but, for unknown reasons, he continued straight ahead to where the sidewalk turns in to stairs that lead to a pedestrian walkway. That was where he crashed and was found. He was wearing a bike helmet.

Tom Fucoloro, writing on Seattle Bike Blog, calls this section of the bike trail a “somewhat infamous hazard.” It can be difficult, he notes, especially in bad visual conditions, to tell which direction the bike trail goes. It is thought that the setting sun might have been in Fairbrother’s eyes, causing him to miss the turn onto the street.

As you can see in the attached photos, someone has gone to the site and painted stop signs and arrows on the sidewalk to indicate to riders that they shouldn’t go ahead but should turn onto the street bike lane instead. A white memorial bicycle with a Vivace coffee cup tucked into the frame hangs in a tree at the location.

Rick Sheridan, a spokesperson for the Seattle Department of Transportation, told the Seattle Times the city hadn’t received complaints about the location or about previous accidents. He said the city will review the area to determine if more signage is needed.