Lawsuit filed against United Rentals in 2010 right-hook incident

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
Scene of right hook NE Couch and Grand-1

Jen Michaelree’s bike where it came to rest after the collision.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Lawyers for a woman injured in a right hook collision in September 2010 at the notorious NE Couch/Grand intersection have filed a lawsuit against United Rentals Northwest alleging that one of their drivers was not properly trained.

The suit has been filed by Portland-based Shulman DuBois LLC. According to a statement, they allege that United Rentals was “negligent in their failure to train [driver Drue] Kearsley properly and prevent this accident.” The suit seeks over $178,000 for Jill Michaelree, who suffered a broken foot and other injuries after she was struck by the truck while riding through the intersection in the bike lane.

Read more

Wash. DOT settles bike crash lawsuit for $8 million

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

This Associated Press story (which I found via BikeHugger on Twitter) from Seattle got my attention for a variety of reasons (which should become apparent after reading the excerpts below)…

WSDOT to pay $8 million over Montlake Bridge bike accident
The state Transportation Department has agreed to pay $8 million to a bicyclist who was paralyzed after his tire got caught in a gap between two steel grates on the Montlake Bridge.

… Gendler sued over the design of the bridge, citing a gap between two steel panels on the bridge deck. At a half-inch, it was wider than his bike tire. The lawsuit uncovered another accident eight years earlier involving a bicyclist that resulted in less serious injuries.

… The gap was similar in size to the flange gap in light rail or streetcar tracks, Milton said.

Officials also assumed it wouldn’t be a problem since most bicyclists use the sidewalk or the right lane when crossing the bridge, Milton said.

Cyclists are legally entitled to travel in the bridge lanes unless a sign prohibits them, Kessler said.

WSDOT has since filled the gap with an epoxy to prevent more accidents, Milton said…”

Portland has a lot of gaps in the road — and lots of streetcar and light rail tracks — that are more than 1/2-inch wide.

Family of woman killed while walking across SE Foster sues for $3.7 million

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
Traffic Safety action on SE Foster-7

A makeshift memorial near the site of the collision.
(Photos © J. Maus)

The Oregonian reports that a lawsuit has been filed by the family of Lindsay Leonard, the 23-year old Reed College graduate who was killed by a man who struck her with his car as she walked across SE Foster Road back in November.

The suit seeks $3.7 million and the defendants include the driver, Tito Jose Feliciano, and his employer (he was driving a company car); the City of Portland (for allegedly not keeping the crosswalk maintained); and Portland General Electric (who was responsible for the streetlights).

Read more

In Seattle, bike crashes on streetcar tracks lead to lawsuit

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
Bicycle Master Plan ride #3

Mixing with streetcar tracks
in Northwest Portland.
(Photo © J. Maus)

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports today that six people who crashed while biking across streetcar tracks are now suing the city for negligence because more was not done to make the tracks safe:

“Six cyclists who crashed while crossing the South Lake Union Streetcar tracks are suing the city of Seattle, claiming officials ignored hazards to pedal-power commuters.

All six were hurt when their tires got stuck in the flange way gap between the rail and street. They claim city officials were negligent in designing the tracks and knew of the risks but failed to post warning signs until after several people had been hurt, according to the lawsuit, filed last week in King County Superior Court.”

Read more

Oregonian: TriMet settles Austin Miller death for $200,000

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

“TriMet’s agreement to pay the maximum amount of damages that TriMet believes it owes proves that Austin’s death was the result of a bus driver’s carelessness.”
— Stephanie Miller, Austin Miller’s mother

The Oregonian’s Aimee Green is reporting that Austin Miller’s parents have reached a settlement with TriMet for $200,000.

Austin Miller died on February 11, 2008 (at the age of 15) when he and a TriMet bus collided near the intersection of SW Murray and SW Farmington Road in Beaverton.

Read more

Sparling family files lawsuit against trucking company

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

According to The Oregonian, the family of Tracey Sparling — the 19-year who was killed when a cement truck turned right into her in October 2007 — has filed a lawsuit against the trucking company.

Here’s more from The Oregonian:

“The suit was filed Tuesday in Multnomah County Circuit Court against the driver and his company. The suit accuses the driver of negligence for not yielding the right of way under Oregon law and failing to use his mirrors and control the vehicle owned by Rinker Materials.”

Read more

Man sues for $575K after crashing on dirt pile

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

Here’s an interesting lawsuit filed by a Southeast Portland man. It was featured in a roundup of lawsuits published in The Oregonian yesterday:

A man bicycling through Southeast Portland is suing a pair of homeowners after he allegedly crashed into a mound of dirt placed on the side of the street.

Jeremy Hooten was pedaling along 21st Avenue near Division Street at 2 a.m. when he hit the pile, causing him to fly over his handlebars and slam into the street, according to his suit.

Read more

TriMet sued for $2 million in Beaverton fatality

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

The ghost bike for Austin Miller.
(Photos: Jim “K’Tesh” Parsons)

The Oregonian is reporting that Austin Miller’s mother, Stephanie Miller, has filed a $2 million lawsuit against TriMet in the death of her 15 year-old son.

According to the Oregonian, the lawsuit claims that the TriMet driver was, “negligent in failing to keep a proper lookout for bicycle traffic.”

On February 11, Miller was riding his bike home from school and had just re-entered the roadway of SW Farmington Road (after riding on the sidewalk of SW Murray Blvd.) when he collided with a TriMet bus and was killed.

Read more

Jarolimek’s family files lawsuit against garbage truck driver

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

(Photo © J. Maus)

The Oregonian is reporting that the family of Brett Jarolimek has filed a $1.5 million lawsuit against the driver of the garbage truck in the fatal collision back in October.

According to reporter Joseph Rose, the family is, “claiming 40-year-old Bryan Lowes of Oregon City was negligent and should have never been behind the wheel.”

Rose also reports that the suit claims Lowes failed to yield the bike lane to Jarolimek and that his truck had a broken mirror that was attached with only a bungee cord (a fact that came out of the DA’s investigation).

Read more

Laughter and a lawsuit; two tales of callousness

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

I don’t usually re-post stories that are flying around the Internet, but two recent stories deserve attention for the level of indifference and callousness they show toward people on bikes.

The first story comes from Tucson Arizona. The snip below is from a story posted on yesterday:

“A judge sentenced a woman to nearly the maximum prison term for negligent homicide after hearing a recorded jail conversation in which she made light of the bicyclist she killed…

Read more

TriMet-Albright lawsuit: One year later

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

The punch that started it all.

It’s been one year since the news broke of Randy Albright’s lawsuit against TriMet.

The story sparked a heated local dialogue, garnered national media attention and had a major impact on this site and the Portland bike community.

At the time, it was by far the biggest story I had ever covered. When it finally hit the front page of the Oregonian and the video from the on-board cameras ran on the local TV stations, it seemed the entire city was talking about it…and some very hateful words were flying between cyclists and motorists.

Read more