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Somerville man who died riding his bicycle remembered by his family for a ‘personality like no other’

Stephen E. Conley was remembered as "the life of the party" by his family.George L. Doherty Funeral Home

The 72-year-old Somerville man fatally injured Friday when he was “doored” while riding his bicycle in a bike lane in the city of his birth was recalled in an obituary as someone who loved motorcycles, his scally cap — but most of all, his family.

Stephen E. Conley was riding his bike westbound in the 1000 block of Broadway around 11:20 a.m. Friday when the driver of a parked Land Rover opened the door of their vehicle, Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan’s office said.

Conley had life-threatening injuries from the collision and was rushed to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston where he was pronounced dead on Saturday, according to Ryan’s office.

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In his obituary posted online, Conley was described as a lifelong Somerville resident who had worked for Somerville Lumber as a truck driver and more recently, in the deli department at a Stop & Shop supermarket.

“Steve left an impression on everyone he met. His personality was like no other and he was the life of the party,” the obituary read. “You could always find Steve wearing his scally cap, drinking beer and playing darts with his friends, or at the casino playing Black Jack.”

Conley was also a proud father, of three adult children, and a grandfather. “Steve will be forever missed by his children, family and friends,” the obituary reads. “Everywhere he went Steve made a friend. He enjoyed riding motorcycles for many years and going up to Laconia for bike week. He passed his love for motorcycles on to his son Kevin.”

The driver remained at the scene and Conley’s death remains under investigation by Ryan’s office and Somerville police, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office said Tuesday.

The Boston Cyclists Union noted Conley’s death on their Twitter account on Monday.

“We continue to advocate for physically separated bike lanes out of the door zone across Metro Boston because we know these crashes happen, and that safer design can prevent these fatal crashes,” the advocacy organization tweeted.

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Somerville Mayor Katjana Ballantyne noted Conley’s death on her Facebook account this week.

“Our full community must commit to saving lives by challenging the status quo. We know the tools: lower speed limits, pedestrian refuge islands, protected bike lanes, speed bumps, crosswalk daylighting, education, enforcement, and more,” she wrote. “We also know we need every participant in traffic to do their part to help make our streets safer for all.”

Ballantyne said Tuesday night that Somerville is making safety improvements to the section of Broadway where the crash took place, including the installation of “flex-posts” in the center of the street to help reduce speeds and the immediate elimination of parking within 20 feet of crosswalks.

“Cars parked close to an intersection can block the visibility of people driving and make it harder to see people trying to cross by walking, biking, wheeling, or driving,” Ballantyne said in a statement. “This will help prevent crashes and increase safety.”

Somerville officials will explore further improvements, such as a proposed one-way protected bicycle lane, she said.

A funeral mass will be said Saturday at St. Catherine’s Church in Somerville, according to the George L. Doherty Funeral Home.

Globe correspondent Jeremy C. Fox contributed to this report.


John R. Ellement can be reached at john.ellement@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.