The Chainlink

I just came across this story on the Tribune. As much as I can't stand frivolous lawsuits of the I'm an idiot and I fell so now I need to blame someone else type, I actually kind of hope he wins. Only because the judge may force the city to make bridges safer. 

Realistically I don't think this suit stands a chance. 

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The government is here to help you and would never lie to you...

Steven Vance said:

The city is trying to claim that the bridges are not dangerous, and includes them in "recommended routes". 


WHether the guy wins or loses, it could be a very bad thing. For years after Boub, it was impossible to get townships or local governments to do *anything* for bicycles. After all, as long as there was no indication that bicycles were expected, they couldn't lose a lawsuit, could they?   

    So, if this guy wins because it's an "approved route," then ... who's going to be willing to approve a route?

I have just written about the Division St. bridge to Alderman Scott Waguespack of the 32nd ward.  Both of the Division St. bridges are in the 32nd Ward.  I gave him a link to this discussion.

You can add to my comments by writing to info@ward32.org or phoning 773 248 1330

Alderman Waguespack is a cyclist.  He is a good alderman.  He will listen.

Bravo, Kathy 'n Suzy.

Kathy Schubert 'n Suzy Schnauzer said:

I have just written about the Division St. bridge to Alderman Scott Waguespack of the 32nd ward.  Both of the Division St. bridges are in the 32nd Ward.  I gave him a link to this discussion.

You can add to my comments by writing to info@ward32.org or phoning 773 248 1330

Alderman Waguespack is a cyclist.  He is a good alderman.  He will listen.

Way back last century (1998), the Illinois Supreme Court ruled in the Boub decision, that municipalities were not reponsible for the condition of the road as it impacted cyclists.  LIB and others tried several times to work with the legislature to overturn the ruling.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boub_v._Township_of_Wayne

 

It seems to me that this issue goes against the cyclist unless the particular bridge is marked with cycling signage showing that the city expects cyclists on the road including the bridge.

 

#1  If you want to see how dangerous the LaSalle St. bridge is, check out Chainlinker Joe Ashbury's blog:

http://countingmyteeth.wordpress.com/ 

I refrained from posting a real nice picture of his busted up mouth... be sure to check it out.  No broken teeth really, more broken chunks of gums.  As bad as it sounds.

#2  The "Kathy plates" originally installed on Wells and now elsewhere, were done so as a reaction to her crash on LaSalle, which was never addressed.  Ask yourself if a dangerous condition for motor vehicles on one road would spur the city to make improvemnts to a road elsewhere.  The city's "(Certain) Streets for Cycling Plan" strikes again, second class citizenship at it's finest.

#3  I have crashed more than one bike on more than one bridge.  Anyone who thinks that this is a problem of tire width or skill has no idea what they are talking about.

#4 There are bike racks on LaSalle St.  It is illegal for cyclists to ride on the sidewalk.  I think this guy has a pretty good chance of demonstrating the City encourages cycling on LaSalle, rendering Boub moot, as well as showing the City was aware of the dangerous conditions here and took no steps to correct them, eliminating Tort immunity.

I have no problem with the plates and rarely have a problem with well maintained grated bridge decks.  The exception is when I'm riding my folding bike with 20" tires. 

I've found that smaller diameter tires are as vulnerable as skinny tires to squirrelly handling over grated bridges.  Most folding bikes have 20" or smaller tires. Folding bikes are an increasingly popular commuting option for bike-train combo trips, so we have a growing category of bikes that are at greater risk when crossing grated bridges.

I've been involved with the Streets for Cycling program as a volunteer co-leader for my area of the city.  One of the challenges is balancing the need for infrastructure improvements in some locations with how many miles of improved bike routes can be built within the budget.  I'd love to see plates on all the rideable bridges, but if the budget does not allow for all of them to be done, I'd rather see holes and gaps patched, as those can be a hazard to all cyclists.

James BlackHeron said:

While I personally dislike Kathy plates and have zero problem with a well-maintained metal lattice roadway on a bicycle the state of disrepair of many (most) of Chicago's bridges is totally unacceptable.  Holes need to be patched -and not with mini-Kathyplates.   That just makes it worse.  

As long as you are not riding 23-25mm tires a well-maintained metal lattice is not a problem IMHO.  

Holes/gaps are just not acceptable though.

A judge can't order the City to make changes to the bridge.

Why would anyone fall on purpose now if they weren't before? It's not like there aren't opportunities for idiots to be idiotic.

Rich S said:

If he does win I think the city will be forced to for 1 of 2 reasons:

1 - the judge may order the city to do so

2 - riders will start falling on purpose and filing their own lawsuits

On a side note, the bridge over the river at Division is horrible! There are gaps in the metal grating large enough for a person to fall through.

Michelle Gregorek said:

As someone who used to bike over that area quite often, I hope he is successful.  Maybe then it will be fixed???

The City very rarely, if ever, settled premises liability cases out of court.

The City will not ban bikes on bridges.

Neither of these things will happen.

mike w. said:

i'll make a prediction on the outcome here:

 

Long term (if the lawsuit isn't thrown out), the city will settle out-of-court, but it will take years and years.

Short term: The city will ban bicycles on bridges.

 

You saw it here first.

More on Boub: http://www.bikelib.org/other-advocacy/on-road-bikeway-liability/

My understanding is that the liability is two tiered. The standard of care is higher on roads that have been designated as bicycle routes. That's one reason I always like to say: "the street network is the bicycle network." The "higher level" facilities just help people select routes that might be better than others, but almost all journeys will involve cycling on "non designated" routes.

I know Boub is always simmering on LIB's agenda. (disclosure--I work part time for LIB)

Joe, who sustained massive damages to his teeth and face, is a lifelong, experienced Chicago cyclist. The condition that took his bike down would have been completely unacceptable if it was scaled to a car. Think about all the claims drivers get to submit for pothole damage, and that's just to their car, not for major injuries.

Re: the streets for cycling plan--I know lots of folks involved with the plan and they are *definitely* cyclists as passionate as we are and are very aware of the issues. But the plan is being developed within a larger cultural, political and financial context. My advice is to keep staying involved. Go to meetings, email the team and post on FB. (disclosure--I am also working part time on this project via my work at Alta).

streetsforcycling2020@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/StreetsForCycling2020

Ride (and work) on,

Gin

Gin - Thanks for the added perspective and clarification.

Gin said:

More on Boub: http://www.bikelib.org/other-advocacy/on-road-bikeway-liability/

My understanding is that the liability is two tiered. The standard of care is higher on roads that have been designated as bicycle routes. That's one reason I always like to say: "the street network is the bicycle network." The "higher level" facilities just help people select routes that might be better than others, but almost all journeys will involve cycling on "non designated" routes.

I know Boub is always simmering on LIB's agenda. (disclosure--I work part time for LIB)

Joe, who sustained massive damages to his teeth and face, is a lifelong, experienced Chicago cyclist. The condition that took his bike down would have been completely unacceptable if it was scaled to a car. Think about all the claims drivers get to submit for pothole damage, and that's just to their car, not for major injuries.

Re: the streets for cycling plan--I know lots of folks involved with the plan and they are *definitely* cyclists as passionate as we are and are very aware of the issues. But the plan is being developed within a larger cultural, political and financial context. My advice is to keep staying involved. Go to meetings, email the team and post on FB. (disclosure--I am also working part time on this project via my work at Alta).

streetsforcycling2020@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/StreetsForCycling2020

Ride (and work) on,

Gin

How about simply avoiding a route that endangers your health. In a grid style city there are 8 routes to get any where. Why take the one that endangers you and your fellow citizens health?  Simply call the city and have them repair it.  If it isn't done adequately or in a reasonable amount of time take it to a higher court.  Chicagoans have a right to cycle where they please within reason and the city has an obligation to provide a safe thorough fare to any person who chooses to use the street.

This case isn't about winning, it's about establishing a precedent for cyclist's rights, period.

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