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County Pays Settlement to Bicyclist Injured in Collision With Metal Post

Posted by Russell West | Jun 30, 2024 | 0 Comments

Drivers seeking to be licensed must learn the rules about sharing the road with bicycles, especially in a bike-friendly state like Washington. Some roads have bike lanes, but when they do not, bicyclists may ride on sidewalks or in lanes of traffic if it is an area of road where the speed limit does not exceed the speeds that a bicycle can travel. Riding your bicycle to run errands or commute to work is nice, but the real fun is riding your bike on bike trails through unspoiled nature, far from the rumble of motor vehicles. 

It stands to reason that riding a bicycle on a bike trail is less dangerous than riding near fast-moving cars, but bike trails have their own safety hazards, too. The governments of the counties where the bike trails are located have a legal responsibility to maintain them in safe condition. If they do not, then bicyclists who get injured have the right to file a premises liability lawsuit. If you got injured because of unsafe conditions on a bike trail, contact a Spokane slip and fall accident lawyer.

Lawsuit Over Bike Trail Safety Ends in $10 Million Settlement

Rain and fog do not deter bicyclists from riding in Washington State, and neither does being old enough to withdraw money from your retirement account without incurring a penalty. At least, these things did not deter Carl Schwartz. In 2018, when Schwartz was 61 years old, long bike rides were his favorite way to spend time, and he knew almost every bike trail in Washington. 

One day, when he was riding on a trail in King County, he collided with a metal post by the side of the trail, meant to deter motorists from driving onto the trail. Schwartz was ejected from his bike, suffering severe injuries, including a broken neck.  He has been paralyzed from the neck down ever since.

Schwartz filed a premises liability lawsuit against King County, alleging that the county created a hazardous condition because the post was difficult for bicyclists to see. The county argued that Schwartz was acting dangerously because he was riding his bike at 15 miles per hour in rainy and foggy conditions and that someone riding at a lower speed on a sunny day would have been able to see the post. Schwartz's lawyer argued that sunny days are a rare occurrence in Washington, and 15 miles per hour is a perfectly safe speed to ride a bicycle on a bike trail. Furthermore, other people who have been injured after colliding with similar posts have filed lawsuits, causing most of the posts like the one that caused Schwartz's injuries to be removed.  In 2024, the county paid Schwartz a $10 million settlement.

Contact West Law Office About Bicycle Accident Cases

A personal injury lawyer can help you if you get injured in a bicycle accident. Contact West Law Office in Spokane, Washington, to find out more about your legal options.

About the Author

Russell West

Russell West from West Law Office, located in Spokane, Washington represents clients in areas of criminal traffic, misdemeanors, and personal injury. DUI’s, Reckless Driving, Negligent driving, Hit and Run, and Driving with Suspended license are the majority of criminal traffic violations. Drug Charges, Theft, and Domestic Violence account for most of the other criminal cases Russell handles.


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West Law Office - Russell West Attorney

Spokane Attorney Russell West practice areas include: Auto Accidents, Personal Injury, Motorcycle Accidents, Slip and Falls, DUIs, DOL Hearings, Criminal Traffic, Expungement/Vacating Records, and Insurance Bad Faith

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