Lawyers for the family of a Salem woman who was hit and killed while bicycling in October 2020 will file a lawsuit on Monday against the manufacturers of inhalants they say turn drivers into “zombies”.
Joleen “Jo” Braasch-Berry was 26-years-old and recently married when she left her job as an elementary school librarian. Braasch-Berry was riding in an unprotected, paint-only bike lane on NE Cherry Street in northeast Salem when the driver of a car failed to handle his vehicle and struck her. The man who hit her, who was arrested and charged with manslaughter and DUI, was seen on security video minutes before the crash leaving a Home Depot and inhaling a can of “CRC Duster”, a popular brand of aerosol spray used to clean computer keyboards and other types of electronic equipment.
The idea of no-parking zones at intersections started with a state law. Then it became a point of contention for transportation activists, then a City of Portland policy, then a campaign from a walking advocacy group.
Now it has become the basis of a lawsuit.
Yesterday, Portland attorney Scott Kocher of Forum Law Group filed a $5.9 million lawsuit (PDF) against the City of Portland for negligence in the death of Elijah Coe, who was hit by a driver while riding his motorcycle on East Burnside in May 2019.
A notorious stretch of North Greeley Avenue where it crosses over an on-ramp to Interstate 5 is the subject of a lawsuit filed yesterday by a Portland law firm.
In the early morning hours of August 21st, 41-year-old Monhait was biking north on Southeast Water Avenue at Taylor when the truck operator made a left turn in front of her. She died at the scene from the impact.
Monhait’s lawyers allege that the left turn by the garbage truck driver is the result of improper training by his employer, Republic Services Alliance Group. They’re asking for up to $10 million in damages.
The suit claims that the intersection is well lit and that Monhait was “lawfully riding her bicycle… in a designated bike lane.”
The Oregonian reports that a northeast Portland man who was tackled off his bike, roughed-up and arrested in 2015 has filed a $475,000 lawsuit against the City of Portland.
An attorney for 23-year-old Anthony James Allen Jr. told The Oregonian her client was arrested without cause simply because he was black. Allen was cycling home from work when the police first made contact with him and began questioning him about an unrelated incident. Here’s more from Allen’s attorney as reported in The Oregonian:
“You need reasonable suspicion,” Albies said. “It can’t just be because ‘I feel like it.’ It can’t just be because ‘You’re black and I want you to do what I want you to do.’ … If that was me on my bike … there’s no way they would have done that. I’m a white woman.”
The lawsuit filed Wednesday (PDF) says that Allen was profiled due to his race. Police were in Allen’s neighborhood because of a shooting that had occurred. Here’s what happened when Allen rolled up on his bike (from the lawsuit):
Instead of facing a jury in a case they feared could go against them, the City of Portland agreed today to pay $525,000 to the family of a man seriously injured in a 2013 crash.
Mike Cooley, who was 59 at the time, was on his way home from work at the downtown post office when he was hit from behind by someone driving a large white truck. Cooley was riding northbound on North Interstate Avenue just north of Greeley. It’s a stretch of road with a terrible crash history and one that’s known for being narrow and very stressful. The City of Portland’s Vision Zero collision map shows 19 bike-related injuries on that stretch from 2004 to 2013.
In addition to narrow lanes, people frequently fail to maintain control of their motor vehicles and swerve into the bike lane, causing the striping to fade. There’s also a high speed differential between bicycle and automobile users due to the hill in the northbound direction.
Greenough’s family filed the lawsuit yesterday. The suit says that the City of Portland, the State of Oregon, and the man who hit Greenough, Kenneth Smith, are all at fault for his death and are asking for $3.6 million in damages.
As we covered at length here on BikePortland, Greenough was hit in a section of Lombard — where the bike lane stops and the road narrows under the NE 42nd Avenue overpass — that was a known danger spot. We reported on the exact location just one day before he was hit. Tragically however, we learned Greenough was new to town and was very likely following the route suggested on official city and regional bike maps.
In the lawsuit, Greenough’s lawyer claims both the Oregon Department of Transportation and the Portland Bureau of Transportion had been aware of the “pinch point” for at least a year before the collision and that they failed to “failed to provide for safe travel for both motor vehicles and bicycles.”