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-   -   Cyclist suing railroad company for crashing on tracks (http://www.bikeforums.net/advocacy-safety/889778-cyclist-suing-railroad-company-crashing-tracks.html)

kalliergo 05-26-13 08:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CB HI (Post 15670801)
A few cyclist had fallen due to the crack earlier in the day. The county put a cop there to direct cyclist away from the hazard but at some point pulled the cop off. Then the cyclist crashed and died.

Now, there's a perfect plaintiff's case. Did the county settle quickly?

CB HI 05-26-13 08:59 PM

They settled but I do not believed it was quickly.

Their fist action was to work on banning outsiders from cycling in the county and later changed it to groups of ten or more.

kalliergo 05-26-13 09:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rdtindsm (Post 15670577)
It did cause counties to consider banning touring events.

Funny how cultures differ. In France, they'd repave the roads by hand, at night and on weekends, to get a Tour stage to start or end in their town. Hell, they even sacrifice their daughters as podium girls (I heard they have to keep the kids sentenced to the KoM dresses under guard before the presentations). ;)

And I don't keep up on details of liability sharing between local and state authorities and the Tour of California organizers, but I wouldn't want to try to get re-elected to a county board of supervisors around here after voting to send it away.

RAGBRAI isn't either Tour, but it's an old and venerable Iowa tradition now. And I would think everyone along the route makes money. Who doesn't like RAGBRAI?

kalliergo 05-26-13 09:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CB HI (Post 15670839)
Their fist action was to work on banning outsiders from cycling in the county

Ha. I'm guessing the local lawyers weren't up on the finer points of Contitutional law, huh?

Quote:

and later changed it to groups of ten or more.
So, now all local commuters need parade permits for those lines of cars every day?

Who writes the scripts for those guys?

sudo bike 05-27-13 01:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rdtindsm (Post 15670558)
+1 camilo

While it would be easy to overlook the hazard of the gap in the direction of travel, it was foreseeable. That the area would have been used by MUP riders susceptible to the hazard increased the responsibility of the designers for the safety of its intended use.

Without comments on the details of damages claimed, I don't think the claim is frivolous, and would not be inclined to forgo damages simply because $**t happens.

While McDonalds had successfully defended a number of scalding lawsuits, the suing lawyer was able to show that they were serving coffee at temperatures (190f) above industry norms and higher than the optimum temperature for enjoyment (160). They certainly knew that there was a problem. I don't know if it was part of the suit, but it has been suggested that part of the reason for the high temperatures was to minimize bottomless cups as customers waited for their drink to cool. The size of the award was less because of the severity of injuries than because of the arrogance that MickyD had shown in failing to protect their customers.

For sure. That McD's case is actually really reasonable when you read the details. McD's and the media did a fantastic job at spinning it as a frivolous lawsuit.

kookaburra1701 05-27-13 06:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CommuteCommando (Post 15628354)

*(I looked up the whole McD thing, and it turns out that the woman had not sued for three megabucks initially, but rather sued for medical expenses only, and that only after the crew at that particular outlet refused to supply her with ice water that would have lessened the damage. The jury increased the damages in response to McD’s attempt to vilify the woman. After all was said and done, and after an unpublicized and successful appeal by McD, the woman wound up with having her medical expenses paid plus a small pittance out of the punitive damages. The lawyers (hers and McD’s) got the rest, and McD got the kind of free publicity, where they were portrayed as the victim, that was worth far more than the case cost them)

The coffee was also so hot that it caused third degree burns to the woman's thighs and genitals, requiring extensive skin grafts. At her age (79) recovery from injury like that is bleak. And McDonalds had persisted in serving coffee at that dangerous temperature (it was their official written policy to serve coffee at 180-190F) despite many warnings after other people had been injured.

Warning, graphic photo of some of her burns at these links: http://harmfuldruginfocenter.files.w.../mcdonalds.jpg
http://justicebeforecharity.org/imag...la/stella3.jpg

To anyone who wants to know more about how the public perception of "frivolous" lawsuits has been shaped by a concerted effort by big business, I recommend this film: http://www.hotcoffeethemovie.com/

rydabent 05-27-13 07:40 AM

The McDonalds case was just plain stupid, and using it in this case is comparing apples to oranges. People EXPECT coffee to be hot. Cyclist DO NOT expect that there will be a tire grabbing trap in a railroad crossing.

Also-----------I agree with the person that said all the PERFECT riders that blamed the cyclist for the accident are out of line. There are any number of reasons why the cyclist may not have seen that gap in the approach.

As an aside to this, in my state I pay on my property tax bill for rail road safety crossings. It is a stupid tax apparently run thru by legislators paid off by the rail roads. It is supposed to pay for cross arm and lights and even over passes. Things the railroads should be paying for themselves.

rydabent 05-27-13 07:43 AM

Those PERFECT riders that blame the cyclist should note that for her to get her wheel caught in that gap, she was crossing the tracks at the proper 90 degree angle. She was crossing in the proper safe manner.

edotomato 06-01-13 09:54 PM

Let's hope the San Franciscans don't get wind of this.

bragi 06-02-13 12:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by agent pombero (Post 15626803)

What a complete idiot. If you're too unskilled to negotiate minor hazards, that's sad, but part of the learning curve. If you want to make other people pay for your ineptness, that's just infuriating. And don't even get me started about the damage this person is doing to the image of cyclists in general.

UberGeek 06-03-13 05:48 AM

I think the RR's owner is funny.

"Reactions like that make me regret allowing a right of way"...

Um, you do know that land was GIVEN to you, for free, and cleared at our costs? "Our" being, the tax payer, and the common knowledge that pretty much all rail lines west of the the Mississippi were gifted to the railroad companies.

I think the damages are reasonable, assuming the custom bike was actually worth that much. Only $110 in medical bills, sounds like she is asking for the co-pay. She could sue for full cost, or just sic her insurance companies on the RR. Which would he prefer? a $10K settlement, of a $150K settlement with two different insurers (Health insurance carrier, and homeowners/renters insurance carrier)?

Bekologist 06-03-13 06:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by -=(8)=- (Post 15668625)
The hilarious irony here is, some of the ones who insult the loudest about "blaming the cyclist" in other dopey threads,
are the ones . . . . you guessed it, blaming the cyclist :lol:

That is rather funny, isn't it?

njkayaker 06-03-13 09:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kalliergo (Post 15670855)
So, now all local commuters need parade permits for those lines of cars every day?

???

Other than funeral processions, who drives their cars in groups of 10 or more?

merlinextraligh 06-03-13 10:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rydabent (Post 15671664)
. Cyclist DO NOT expect that there will be a tire grabbing trap in a railroad crossing.

Really? Anyone with any experience knows that railroad tracks can be dangerous, and you need to watch for hazards as you cross them (or just bunny hop them).

UberGeek 06-03-13 11:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by merlinextraligh (Post 15698923)
Really? Anyone with any experience knows that railroad tracks can be dangerous, and you need to watch for hazards as you cross them (or just bunny hop them).

There's no bunny hopping over that crack in the pavement. :P

Camilo 06-03-13 11:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bragi (Post 15694344)
What a complete idiot. If you're too unskilled to negotiate minor hazards, that's sad, but part of the learning curve. If you want to make other people pay for your ineptness, that's just infuriating. And don't even get me started about the damage this person is doing to the image of cyclists in general.

Evidently you haven't read the thread. I suggest you do. Your pronouncement was made by many others several pages ago and several have made sound arguments against it.

After you read the thread, I hope you post again, but in a way that is part of the dialog.

eofelis 06-03-13 11:47 AM

If the rr crossings around here looked that good I'd be thrilled! Downtown around here there is a triple rr crossing that I have been over innumerable times on commuter and road bikes with no incident. It's not perpendicular to the road and it's bumpy and uneven. I take the whole car lane to ride it perpendicular to the tracks direction. The road has moderate traffic and I've never had a problem. I just keep it slow and pay attention.

I rode the Bicycle Tour of Colorado a few years back. One part of the route had several road crossings of narrow gauge rr tracks. Some were at acute angles to the road direction. They warned all the riders emphatically numerous times to go extremely slow or to walk the bikes over these tracks. They even posted ride marshalls at the rr crossings to slow riders down right there. But still several people just rode on over them and fell or had some incident (I was told by some ride marshalls). I did stop and just lift my bike over them and then rode on.

Near Delta, Colorado is a nasty rr crossing I saw on a Ride the Rockies route. The tracks were inset at least an inch below metal plates lining the edges of the little "trenches" that the tracks were in. No rider warnings posted around the crossing. I awkwardly bumped through and continued on. I noticed a few people changing flats just after the crossing but didn't think much of it. It was almost to the end of day. That evening I noticed that my rear tire had two deformations on it, the distance apart of the rails. (Had to trash the tire.) Then I realized those people got snakebit flats from hitting the sharp edges where the rails were inset. Next time I ride that I will walk my bike over it!

CB HI 06-03-13 06:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by merlinextraligh (Post 15698923)
Really? Anyone with any experience knows that railroad tracks can be dangerous, and you need to watch for hazards as you cross them (or just bunny hop them).

Your post reads as though you have not read the article and do not know the hazard that caught her wheel.

bragi 06-03-13 11:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Camilo (Post 15699363)
Evidently you haven't read the thread. I suggest you do. Your pronouncement was made by many others several pages ago and several have made sound arguments against it.

After you read the thread, I hope you post again, but in a way that is part of the dialog.

I read the thread before I posted. I thought the cyclist was probably inept, clearly unwilling to take responsibility for what happened to her, and did a grave disservice to cyclists in general by suing. And then I shared my opinion. Quit trying to sneer me down. The counter-arguments you refer to were not convincing to me. Her actions are comparable to someone who breaks his ankle while hiking, and then sues the Forest Service because the trail wasn't completely safe enough to account for his lack of experience and/or coordination, or the existence of simple bad luck.

Burton 06-04-13 06:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by squirtdad (Post 15628492)
The story states " went on the sidewalk to avoid a lineup of traffic from Oaks Amusement Park. She was wearing a helmet and no one was walking at the time on the sidewalk, he said." So this was avoidable by the cyclist by staying on the road. Most likely germane, but who knows with suits.

Yeah - had something similar happen in Montreal this week. There are several organized rides of the Tour de L'Ile that cross several train tracks. For the event they were covered with carpet to reduce the possibility of any accident. Except that one overly impatient roadie felt that other riders were holding him back and decided to skirt to the outside. As in - outside the designated riding are and outside the carpeted area. Got his wheel caught in the track, flipped the bike and wrote off the rim. Wouldn't have happened if he had stayed on the designated path. And I know that for a fact because I did that section myself as part of the Tour de Nuit - at night - when visibility was a lot more marginal.

At least in that case the guy was honest enough to bluntly say it was his own stupidity.

I get to cross 7 different tracks on my commute every day- some at dangerous angles when there's other traffic and compounded by the tracks being slippery in rain. There's no substitute for slowing down or dismounting ocassionally.

merlinextraligh 06-04-13 09:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CB HI (Post 15701011)
Your post reads as though you have not read the article and do not know the hazard that caught her wheel.

I read the article, and looked at the pic.

It would be nice if that crack was repaired, but it's an open an obvious hazard, and there are all sorts of cracks, gaps, hooved up areas, and other assorted hazardds around railroad tracks. Irregularities around rairoad tracks are totally to be expected.

And I could easily bunny hop that crack, as well as the railroad track.

Matariki 06-04-13 10:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by merlinextraligh (Post 15703310)
Irregularities around rairoad tracks are totally to be expected.

Yes, but this does not mean that we should tolerate flaws in the design or construction that could easily be anticipated to cause harm.

Nor should we expect any cyclist to be completely aware of all hazards at all times. Let's face it, there are so many competing distractions that even the most experienced of us will miss something occasionally. Sometimes we get bit.

howsteepisit 06-04-13 10:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Matariki (Post 15703423)
Yes, but this does not mean that we should tolerate flaws in the design or construction that could easily be anticipated to cause harm.

Nor should we expect any cyclist to be completely aware of all hazards at all times. Let's face it, there are so many competing distractions that even the most experienced of us will miss something occasionally. Sometimes we get bit.

this points out what this thread is really about - in the first case the railroad pays, in the second the cyclist pays.

Burton 06-04-13 10:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Matariki (Post 15703423)
Yes, but this does not mean that we should tolerate flaws in the design or construction that could easily be anticipated to cause harm.

Nor should we expect any cyclist to be completely aware of all hazards at all times. Let's face it, there are so many competing distractions that even the most experienced of us will miss something occasionally. Sometimes we get bit.

So I guess that means sidewalks should be made more cycle friendly - in spite of the fact that cyclists aren't supposed to be there - because thats exactly what went on in this case.

What next? Cyclists should be able to sue motorosts when they run stop lights and cause an accident because the general public should be aware that most cyclists ignore stop signs and traffic lights so everyone should therefore give up their right of way for them?


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