Two local lawsuits put focus on riding conditions, responsibility

Two local lawsuits put focus on riding conditions, responsibility


Two lawsuits filed in the past two weeks put a focus on the question of who’s responsible for safe riding.

According to The Oregonian, a woman was badly injured last May during a mountain bike race in Hood River when she attempted to ride over a log that had fallen on the trail. She now seeks $273,000 from race organizer Hurricane Racing (Portland based bike shop Fat Tire Farm, the event’s main sponsor, is also named in the lawsuit).

Here’s more from The Oregonian:

Lisa Belair had signed up for the Dog River Super D mountain biking race on May 3 in Hood River, according to the lawsuit filed Monday in Multnomah County Circuit Court…

Days before the race, a storm had blown down trees along the course, but the event’s organizers assured riders on the race’s website that trail crews had cleared the trail, the suit claims.

Trail crews, however, had failed to remove one tree because it was too large — and they instead covered it partially with dirt, according to the suit. That created a large jump that wasn’t readily identifiable as Belair rode down the hill and onto it, said her Bend attorney, Tim Williams.

Read more in The Oregonian.

In the other case, a woman fell and sustained serious injuries after riding over a pothole in inner southeast Portland. She’s suing the City of Portland for $306,000.

Here’s more from The Oregonian:

A 51-year-old woman who was bicycling through Southeast Portland on a summer night has filed a $306,000 lawsuit against the city, claiming a depression in the road made her crash.

According to her lawsuit filed this week in Multnomah County Circuit Court, Teri Briggs was pedaling along Southeast 20th Avenue near Southeast Pine Street at about 11:30 p.m. on Aug. 22, 2013, when one of her tires sunk into a depression in the road, next to a manhole cover. The depression caused her to “lose control of her bicycle, drive off the road, and into a chain link fence and metal post,” according to the lawsuit.

Briggs suffered multiple fractures to her nose, a traumatic brain injury and cuts or bruises to her face, left arm, right hand, torso and legs, the lawsuit states.

Briggs’ suit faults the city and an unidentified company that city officials hired to pave the area. The suit claims that the “faulty paving design, asphalt mix, installation and/or maintenance of the asphalt pavement” around the manhole created a “dangerous condition for cyclists within the traffic lane.”

That case puts an interesting twist on the “safety vs. maintenance” debates we’ve been hearing around the city’s Street Fund initiative.

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