A city in California has agreed to pay $3.25 million to a person who was injured while riding her bicycle down a local street. The street was laden with potholes at the time of the accident which caused severe injuries to the woman’s face, head, teeth, and jaw. One of the biggest issues in this case is the fact that the city had received many complaints about the dangerous potholes in the past but had failed to act to fill them in or otherwise make the area safer for motorists and cyclists.
The payment to the accident victim was approved by the city council. One member of the council told reporters that the settlement was fair in light of the seriousness of the accident and that it is clear that the city needs to take better care of the roads. It took four months after this accident for the potholes involved to be fixed.
Keeping the streets clear and safe is one of the primary responsibilities of local, county, and state government agencies. Authorities have a duty to respond to complaints about dangerous conditions in a timely manner and find a way to fix them, mark the dangerous area, or close it off entirely until it can be fixed. Without these reasonable efforts those who use the roads and sidewalks maintained by the government are at risk of injury or in some severe cases possibly death. In the case of these potholes complaints had been made by bicycle advocacy groups that the condition of the road caused bikers to have to swerve suddenly to avoid the deep holes, putting them at risk of being hit by a car.
Source: Oakland Tribune, “Oakland to pay $3.25 million to cyclist in pothole crash,” Matthew Artz, March 21, 2014.