Edward Lakata was pedaling from his Johnstown home to a camp on the shore of Caroga Lake Tuesday morning when he was struck and killed by a following vehicle.
According to published reports, he was headed north on Route 29A at the time. The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident, but would not release any additional information Tuesday evening.
At first, the identity of the bicyclist was unclear, but calls to family members confirmed Lakata’s death.
“He liked to ride his bike,” said longtime friend Tom Hart.
Hart grew up with Lakata on Clinton Street in Johnstown and remained close with him through the years. They played together in popular local band Skyler’s Dream Team.
“We must have played together for 40 years,” he said.
Hart described his friend as a man with unusual musical talent, a guy who could play any instrument he happened to be holding.
“Once, it must have been 39 years ago, we were driving to a gig in Vermont,” he said. “We stopped at this music store, and Eddie saw a fiddle for $20. He bought it and played it at our show. It took him two days to learn it.”
Lakata also worked at Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery BOCES as an electrical engineering teacher. He was married to City Councilwoman Cynthia Lakata, who was not taking calls Monday.
At the time of the crash, he was riding to his camp, a 13-mile trip that Hart said was a pretty regular thing for Lakata.
“We used to play up in Lake George,” he said. “Me and the bass player would drive. Eddy would ride his bike, just because he could.”
As the Lakata family grieves, Hart said he, Phil Skyler and Andi Thatcher, who made up Skyler’s Dream Team, have canceled their summer show schedule.
“Eddie was irreplaceable,” he said. “I could tell what song he was playing in one strum.”
No funeral arrangements had been announced as of Tuesday night, and the incident was still under investigation.