I read an article written by Peter Passi of the Duluth News Tribune titled, Duluth pays $125,000 to settle bike injury lawsuit. I have attached a link in case you missed the story.
Let me start by saying, it is very sad the woman in this story was injured. I am by no means saying the woman deserved to be injured because of her actions, but I do have a reaction.
I will never try to pretend I am an expert when it comes to riding a bicycle, but after many and I do mean many conversations with my friend who is very knowledgeable, dare I say an expert, in the area of bicycles and bicycle saftey. He has educated me greatly in the area. I do have an idea of the expectations of people who ride bicycles on the road.
After reading this story a couple questions pop into my mind. Why was she riding a bicycle at night without a light? Why wasn’t she wearing a helmet? Why didn’t the city put up a sign to warn of the hazard? Is she required to use a light at night? I don’t think so. Is she required to wear a helmet? I don’t think so. But from conversations with my friend, people who are avid bikers, dare I say educated bikers, wear a helmet and would use a light when biking at night. Ms Olson was clearly taking some pretty big risks in this case. By not protecting herself with a light and/or helmet she sustained some serious injuries that maybe could have been less severe had she adhered to very common bicycle safety measures.
The Duluth News Tribune reported, and I am paraphrasing, the city decided to settle because it could have gone either way in front of a jury.
It is difficult for me to understand why the city is liable for the pot hole because she was on a bike, but not liable for the pot hole when I am in my car and the pot hole causes me to get a flat tire. Would I be given the same liberties if I didn’t have my lights on or wasn’t wearing my seat belt? Nope I would be given a ticket because I broke the law. Would the city pay for my flat tire? NO WAY. Maybe if people are going to bike in the road some more clear cut rules/laws should be in place. Maybe there are and I am not aware of them. So please if you have some information please share. If you are going to be on the road then you need to be safe and if you don’t want to be safe, you are going to get a ticketed like the drivers in a car.
I would have liked to see this case go to a jury because as stated in the story, both parties had some negligence and who knows which way it could have gone? Was Ms Olson going to sue for more money if the city didn’t settle? Was Ms Olson negligent? I think so. Was the city negligent? Sure was. I hope this case will cause some changes to be made because this isn’t the last case we will see of an injured biker due to pothole.
What do you think?