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. 

Views: 1998

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

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.

It's not the surfaces as much as how they both get slippery when wet for me.

So many trips call for crossing the river. And if it's not the river, then it's crossing under the expressways. Or moving through a different treacherous situation. 

Tommy Boy said:

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.  

That is sometimes easier said than done.  Except around the Loop, the number of rideable bridge crossings is rather limited in some areas. 

For example, if you're going south and west from the Loop, your southbound options are Canal, Halsted, Loomis or Western, where you have the choice between grated bridge deck and sidewalk (often covered with broken glass, may or may not have a conveniently located curb cut), or, in the case of Western, cratered bike lane next to very heavy traffic or sidewalk full of broken glass.  Crossing westbound first instead of southbound, Harrison doesn't have grates, but has been affected by construction for a while.  Roosevelt can be a life threatening ride in spite of bike lanes.  18th St. doesn't have plates - yet.

If you're going north and west from the Loop, most of the bridges have grated sections.  At least in that direction, there are 2 rideable streets that have plates on the grated bridge decks: Kinzie and Cortland.  Further north, the bridges don't have grates but may have other issues. 

Most route options over bridges have some type of hazard.  The nature and degree of the hazards varies considerably by location. Depending on the start and end points of your trip, there may not be a non-hazardous route unless you want to go miles out of your way.

Tommy Boy said:

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.

From Steven's link:

Questions and answers. Answers by Mike Amsden except where noted.
Q: 1:39 Will other bridges get a treatment similar to Kinzie Street?
A: In the future in bridge rehab projects, bridges will have bike-friendly treatments.

This is the problem. CDOT has been saying this for years, but bridge after bridge has been rehabed with no bike-friendly treatments. Each case has a different excuse (North: it was a state project, Division: it was a temporary fix, etc), but the end result is that despite years of lip service almost no bridges have been fixed.

Steven Vance said:

So many trips call for crossing the river. And if it's not the river, then it's crossing under the expressways. Or moving through a different treacherous situation. 

I just checked out the Division St. bridges and could not find any hole as big as somebody claimed here - big enough for a person to fall into.  Please don't exaggerate.  It's bad enough that there are lots of metal patches on the bridge and potholes on the adjacent street leading up to it.  

The photo attached is on the east bound section of the bridge on Division near Halsted.  It's in the section where cars drive, not on the right side where we usually ride.

If there is general consensus that the bridges are more important to fix than making bike lanes, we need to communicate this to CDOT - not just complain about it here.  When is the next quarterly Mayor's Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting?  

Who will write to Commissioner Gabe Klein besides me?   I wrote to him in June about the bridges.  I delivered the letter along with 165 petition signatures.  We can't say he ignored it because we do have a few more plated bridges.  But we should keep up the pressure.  Here's how to do it:

Write to Gabe Klein at Chicago Dept of Transportation, 30 N. LaSalle St. Ste 1100 Chicago, Il 60602

or  


Attachments:

Kathy,

Your efforts are admirable but unfortunately you missed the follow-up post on page 3 of this thread where Jim S posted pics showing that the Division street bridge holes had been patched since he had last seen them.  Jim took the time to make a call, and also to check out the problem and bring info and pics back to us, so I think he deserves a little more credit than he got (which was first largely ignored, and then accused of exaggerating.) Not a great way to encourage people to "do more than just complain here."

Ideally such a problem would have its own thread--  no surprise that it's gotten pretty much buried in this one, which seems to be about the larger issue of governmental liability.

(Also-- I'm not clear on what you would like people to write to CDOT about in regard to the bridges-- is it specifically to request the plates? If so, what is the 'real' name of those type of plates or surface?)

Kathy Schubert 'n Suzy Schnauzer said:

I just checked out the Division St. bridges and could not find any hole as big as somebody claimed here - big enough for a person to fall into.  Please don't exaggerate.  It's bad enough that there are lots of metal patches on the bridge and potholes on the adjacent street leading up to it.  

The photo attached is on the east bound section of the bridge on Division near Halsted.  It's in the section where cars drive, not on the right side where we usually ride.

If there is general consensus that the bridges are more important to fix than making bike lanes, we need to communicate this to CDOT - not just complain about it here.  When is the next quarterly Mayor's Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting?  

Who will write to Commissioner Gabe Klein besides me?   I wrote to him in June about the bridges.  I delivered the letter along with 165 petition signatures.  We can't say he ignored it because we do have a few more plated bridges.  But we should keep up the pressure.  Here's how to do it:

Write to Gabe Klein at Chicago Dept of Transportation, 30 N. LaSalle St. Ste 1100 Chicago, Il 60602

or gabe.klein@cityofchicago.org 


Reply to Discussion

RSS

© 2008-2013   The Chainlink Community, L.L.C. Julie Hochstadter, Director   Powered by

Disclaimer  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service