On August 7, 2011, our client was riding at a moderate speed downhill on Mountain Boulevard in Oakland, California, near the Highway 13 onramp. She was wearing a helmet, gloves, and a long sleeve shirt, all for protection. She was riding a hybrid bicycle with wider tires than a road bike, and she rode much more slowly than many of the more experienced riders who bicycle this route more frequently. She had only ridden this stretch of road one other time.
That afternoon, there were sharp shadows on the roadway that made the conditions of the roadway difficult to see. In fact, the roadway was in a horrible state of repair. The asphalt had been degrading for years, leaving a series of potholes, ruts, and failed attempts at patching that themselves had become rutted and uneven. The ruts and potholes covered the entire width of the lane, so there was no way to avoid them by riding on one side of the lane or the other. The speed limit was 35 miles per hour, and automobiles drove quickly down the hill making it dangerous and difficult for bicyclists to navigate the hazards with cars pressing behind them.
Since at least 2007, several dozen concerned bicyclists and other residents had reported to the City of Oakland that this stretch of Mountain Boulevard was highly degraded and filled with dangerous ruts and potholes that caused many bicyclists to fall while riding down the street. Yet for years, the City failed to repair this hazardous roadway. An eye witness saw our client appear to hit at least one of these defects (she may have hit more than one), causing her to fall off her bicycle and land on the asphalt face first. The impact caused our client to suffer severe and life-altering injuries to her face, teethe and jaw. Three years later, she still was undergoing ongoing surgical treatment to repair the damage.
On April 1, 2014, the City of Oakland approved a $3.25 million settlement to compensate our client for her injuries. It is the largest known settlement in the state of California that we are aware of for injuries to a bicyclist caused by a roadway defect.
For the extensive press coverage of the resolution of this important case, see the following:
Contra Costa Times, March 21, 2014 “Oakland to pay $3.25 million to cyclist in pothole crash”
Sfgate.com (San Francisco Chronicle), March 21, 2014 “Oakland to pay $3.25 million over bike crash”
ABC, Channel 7 News, March 21, 2014: “Oakland to Pay $3M to Cyclist Injured Due to Pothole”
KGO Radio.com, March 21, 2014: “Oakland Settles with Injured Cyclist for $3.25M”
If you or someone you know has been involved in a bicycle roadway defect accident, please contact the Zinn Law Firm for a free consultation.