Two lawsuits filed this month seek to hold the city and county of San Diego liable for a bicycle accident that resulted in the death of one cyclist and the serious injury of another. The accident occurred when an SUV swerved off a highway, up an embankment and through a chain-link fence meant to protect bikers from the adjacent highway.
The two bikers were heading along the State Route 56 bike path when the SUV plowed through the fence, killing one cyclist and sending the other to the hospital. SR 56 is maintained by the city and county along with the CalTrans state agency, which were all named in the lawsuit, along with the driver of the SUV.
The lawsuits allege that a protective wall, not a mere chain-link fence, should have been constructed to protect cyclists from the traffic on the nearby highway. One of the victims alleges that because of the speed and curve of the highway, further precautions are needed.
After an investigation of the scene of the bicycle accident, it was determined that this was an unfortunate accident. However, the lawsuit will ask the question of whether further steps to ensure safety were necessary and if such steps might have prevented the senseless death of this biker.
Cyclists in the San Diego area should always be aware of their surroundings, take every precaution they can and be responsible for their own safety and the safety of fellow cyclists. When tragedies like this arise, the question turns to whether those responsible for keeping our roads and bike trails safe are doing their job, and whether these injuries were caused by negligence.
Source: KSWB, "Lawsuit filed over fatal SR-56 bike path crash," John Langeler, May 21, 2012