Man's bike death sends warning about helmets

July 12, 2008 9:47:17 AM PDT
The death of a north suburban man is blamed on an aggressive blackbird.The bird swooped down on Lawrence Holtzman while he was biking in Highland Park. He fell, hit his head and later died. Now, his family has a warning for other bicyclists.

The family of Larry Holtzman says we can all learn a lesson from his death.

"You think it can't happen to you, but it can, so take precautionary measures," said son Jordan Holtzman.

Wear a bike helmet. The 60-year-old Highland Park man started June 19 like every other morning. He went on a bike ride with his wife and daughter, when a red-winged blackbird swooped down on him.

"One bird came down and just skimmed across his head. It scared him. He tried to get out of the way, turned the handle bars and fell off," said Shayna Holtzman, daughter.

The red-winged blackbird can be fiercely territorial during nesting season. Larry Holtzman told his family during the last two weeks he had seen them on the power lines just above the bike path.

After Larry Holtzman fell off his bike, he was still conscious and talking to his wife and daughter.

"He told me his head was hurting, the pressure and those are the last words I heard my dad say," Shayna Holtzman said.

Although Larry Holtzman - a recent law school graduate - was active and on the move, he never wore a bike helmet. In fact, he talked about that just hours before crashing his bike.

"That morning when we stopped in Lake Forrest, we talked about buying helmets, and he never made it to the store that day, "Shayna Holtzman said.

"I just want people to take precautions and wear a helmet and just be careful when you're on the bike trail," said wife Susan Holtzman.

So, as a candle flickers in the family's home, that is the lesson they want other to learn - that a helmet could have saved Larry Holtzman's life.


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