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Old 07-24-09, 07:16 PM   #1
allroy71
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Cyclists suing Irvine

http://www.ocregister.com/articles/c...5-claim-claims

This article brings up the point. How responsible are we for our own actions? And how much responsibility is the governments?

Sounds like some serious injuries, but makes me think that excessive speed and poor bike handling are likely to blame.
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Old 07-24-09, 07:21 PM   #2
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Would they have sued if it was another cyclist stopped in the road instead of a car?

I agree, you need to look out for road hazards of any sort. And the city can't be expected to remove gravel and dirt from a cycling path.
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Old 07-24-09, 07:27 PM   #3
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The article doesn't have a lot of details. It says trail; was this a dirt trail or paved bike path? If it was on a street, there are traffic control standards based on the type/duration of work, amount of vehicle traffic and the speed limit. Was the truck equipped with amber warning lights and were they on? It's hard to make a judgement without knowing the circumstances.
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Old 07-24-09, 07:35 PM   #4
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I could be wrong but I think they are referring to the off-road paved bike path that goes throughout Irvine. I think it is called the San Diego Creek Trail.
Good point Cbadrider. Also, what if they were avoiding walkers, joggers, strollers. Would they sue them too?

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Old 07-24-09, 07:58 PM   #5
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tough call, but i would say that if a maintenance vehicle was parked in the middle of the path, on a downhill as described, the city is somewhat responsible. yes the riders should have seen and avoided it, and yes maybe their bike handling skills are suspect, but this wouldn't be the first or last time that someone was awarded a verdict in spite of their stupidity and carelessness.
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Old 07-24-09, 08:08 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by allroy71 View Post
This article brings up the point. How responsible are we for our own actions? And how much responsibility is the governments?

Sounds like some serious injuries, but makes me think that excessive speed and poor bike handling are likely to blame.
I agree. If you're going so fast that you can't stop to avoid a car parked around a blind curve - that's just too fast.

It is a MUP, after all. What if around the blind curve there was a basketball? Or a dog? Or a puddle? Or a toddler? etc...
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Old 07-24-09, 09:21 PM   #7
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I know where that is!!!!!

It is right here!

If the truck was in the tunnel, I could see that being a problem as they have chain link fence to keep drifters/bums from living there and that makes it narrower than people realize.

Not sure why, but I don't like that section of the trail.....

On a quasi related note, I was riding to work yesterday and there was a very large truck on the trail. It didn't quite fit as it was so large, and I can see a problem if you come around a corner at any speed and see that in the way. It went (on the path) under Paseo Westpark.....and I didn't crash.....of course, if I had wrecked, I would've either hit the embankment on the right, slide down the steel cable and steel post fence that borders the creek bed.....

Added - if the truck was parked in the path, they should have put warning signs. A retirement home near Creek is remodeling their exterior, and they have warning signs all over the trail section to warn people.

Last edited by snowman40; 07-24-09 at 09:27 PM. Reason: o yea.....
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Old 07-24-09, 09:28 PM   #8
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I hardly ever side with someone filing a lawsuit...as most of them are lame...but after reading the article, I think they have a very good case. It seems that the accident occurred in the a narrow & pretty dark tunnel that goes under Jeffery. At that location cyclists are going downhill and then make a blind 90-deg right turn into the tunnel. If the truck was stopped close to the entrance, I can see how it would have been very difficult to avoid a crash (the truck would have taken up most of the path). This is one of the two most dangerous parts of the San Diego Creek Trail and I'm always very leery of going through there.

The workers should have had cones or some other way of warning cyclists that a vehicle was stopped in the tunnel. In this case...as much as I hate to say it...I think the lawsuit is justified.
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Old 07-24-09, 09:43 PM   #9
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I have been riding that trail for the last six years and if I'm reading the article right, they were traveling south along Jeffrey, hit the curve and then into the tunnel heading west. I really don't see the problem unless the truck was in the tunnel proper. When heading west there is no curve and at 11 AM the sun would have been behind them. Also, there is an almost 90* bend in the path just before it enters the tunnel and a slight rise after you come out of it causing you to decelerate.

That being said, if they were traveling eastbound and the truck was just after the tunnel then there is a problem because the hard left bend creates a blind spot. With the tunnel and the bend, sight lines are definitely hindered and the workers failed to take that into account. Kinda like those city workers who pulled a manhole cover first w/o putting up cones and a teenager fell into the sewer 5' below because she was texting and not paying attention. On that one, I back the city. Stupid texters. Just think, in five years the kid will probably be driving trains for Amtrak.
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Old 07-25-09, 11:45 AM   #10
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(Satire ahead) Maybe the two bicyclists were trying to escape from the Orwellian confines of Irvine - the spooky, conformist, "perfectly planned community" that decrees everything must be orderly and predictable, where safety is #1, and where there's ". . . a place for everything and everything is in its place." Maybe they thought the best way to make their escape was by bicycle. That way they could blend into the "family" crowds that ply the MUPs/bikelanes, wandering back and forth across the asphalt without a care for their own safety. Unfortunately for 'Winston' & 'Julia' the 'Thought Police' found out about their plan. Too bad. (End of satire).

Bummer they got hurt. Most of those levees along the (formerly free-flowing) creeks, streams, and rivers here in the Los Angeles area contain a multitude of utilities (water, sewer, electric, cable TV, etc), so I wouldn't be surprised to see a maintenance vehicle on a MUP on a levee. They are not unexpected on the Santa Ana River Trail where I occasionally ride, especially during the week. And all those types of trails are Municipal Utility Paths, so used for various 'utility' purposes. Besides the mention of no traffic cones, the article does not mention if the City workers had just got there, if they had planned to erected temporary signs warning of "Roadwork Ahead," or had planned to block the tunnel and divert MUP traffic while working in the tunnel, or if any permenant warning signs existed at the time of the accident that the two bicyclists ignored ("Tunnel Ahead, Reduce Your Speed", "Lane Narrows Ahead," "Speed Limit XXmph", etc).
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Old 07-26-09, 12:36 PM   #11
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I've pedaled along the San Diego creek MUP countless times and also have taken the spur that goes under Jeffery and through the tunnel where this incident occurred. I am always going slow (10 mph?) near and through that tunnel, because you can't see real well and there are several turns right nearby. If these riders were going along at 15+ mph into the tunnel, they might not have had time to stop if a vehicle was parked near the tunnel.

Irvine is overall a bike friendly place. All the main streets have wide bike lanes and there are more MUP miles than most any other city of it's size in the US. Although I think the bike riders share some of the responsibility for this accident, the city of Irvine will most likely settle the suit before trial, or will lose the lawsuit. The city cannot win this lawsuit.

I work for a company that has a large fleet of company vehicles and performs work on telecom equipment located along public streets and in the public right of way., including in Irvine. We are not allowed to park our vehicles anywhere outside our company parking lots without putting out orange warning cones. This includes streets, parking lots, even out in a vacant field. It would also include any place like along a MUP. This is standard practice for all utility companies and contractors working in the public right of way. Whenever we have a job in Irvine that involves blocking any kind of sidewalk or vehicle traffic lane, the city of Irvine requires the use of extensive "work area protection" signs and cones. The city will likely lose the lawsuit because their own city policies dictate strict adherence to work area protection in the public rights of way. If the truck that the cyclists hit in the MUP was indeed stopped and parked without having at least some warning cones in front and back of the truck, the driver was not following the basic rules that the city requires of any utility company working in the city.
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Old 07-26-09, 12:45 PM   #12
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^

That sounds logical. The article itself isn't specific enough to draw too many conclusions from except for the cone comment.

Was the dirt and debris on the path from the maintenance/construction? That might also play into the outcome.
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Old 07-26-09, 06:34 PM   #13
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I've run into the same problem on the portion of trail that runs parallel to the 405N. I was commuting to work one morning and just as I came around the bend to go under the Jamboree undercrossing, a landscape maintenance truck came driving up the path towards me. The truck was travelling ~10mph and it was as wide as the path. I slowed, but not in time. I swerved to the right of the oncoming truck, just barely missing its driver side rear view mirror. It essentially forced me off the path. Luckily there was about a foot of open dirt that I could ride on, and I almost had a heart attack.
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Old 07-26-09, 08:10 PM   #14
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That's different - because it is moving towards you. I got startled by a police car coming at me around a blind corner on SGRT once - that's much different than hitting a parked truck!
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Old 07-26-09, 09:05 PM   #15
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It's reasonable to say that bike paths are transportation routes, is it not? After all, many of us commute on our bikes to work.

Going by that logic, the city truck should have laid out markers, pylons or "Road Work Ahead" signs alerting cyclists to the fact that an obstruction was ahead.

I've seen the same BS in my town. Big City trucks driving down the bike path, no signage to indicate they were going to be there. It's ridiculous. This is a transportation corridor, they should do the same things they would on an automotive roadway.
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Old 07-26-09, 09:15 PM   #16
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Just another example of what a litigous society we have become.

This is exactly why the first person to die in Jurassic Park was the lawyer (while sitting on the can).
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Old 07-28-09, 03:13 PM   #17
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Seems that if the city workers put up some cones all of this could have been avoided. I'm not saying the cyclist is right or anything because I would have to see the accident scene first hand. But, if they came around a corner and their was a vehicle in the trail, seems that cones should have been in place in both directions...
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Old 07-30-09, 12:48 PM   #18
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That is a dangerous spot; hill, dark tunnel, turns. I ride these Irvine 'trails' as a safer alternative to street bike lanes but this incident reminds me to slow down and be alert at all times. I hope everyone recovers.
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Old 08-03-09, 05:13 PM   #19
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I hate when anyone sues about anything on a mup. I would hate to see them become a liability a city is not worth taking.

That being said, it does sound like they have a good claim, parking a truck on a blind turn isn't too bright.
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Old 08-04-09, 12:09 PM   #20
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Just another example of what a litigous society we have become.

This is exactly why the first person to die in Jurassic Park was the lawyer (while sitting on the can).
LOL.

Despite our "conformist" characteristics, I'm glad the city even provides nice bike trails and clean roads with clearly marked bike lanes. For me, suing the city would feel like biting the hand that feeds you. Wouldn't sue unless that hand got a set of brass knuckles and rearranged my face/put me in a coma/killed me. Doesn't sound like the case in this news article.
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