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Ernie Grimm 8:30 a.m., Oct. 13
It's bad when cities like Billings, Montana and Sioux Falls, South Dakota beat out San Diego on the list of 50 of the Country's most bike-friendly cities, considering the sunny climate and all. It's even worse considering San Diego didn't even make on said list.
Now, attorneys for the City will have to appear alongside counsel for the County and the State in court for inadequate cycling lanes. Belinda Martinez, a cyclist hit by a car while riding on Santa Fe Street, which runs parallel to Interstate-5, has filed suit against the parties for failing to maintain and regulate the public roadway. Absent on this particular stretch of Santa Fe are barriers aimed at keeping traffic, or in this case cars involved in accidents, from spilling over from the interstate.
The complaint alleges the bicycle lane had a "defective design, defective signage, defective bicycle lane, bicycle route and/or path, defective traffic control devices, defective pavement lane markings, street marking, street width, speed limit, defective line of sight, defective and/or non-existent warning signage, and/or devices, so as to create a dangerous concealed trap for bicyclists and/or pedestrians."
It's not the first time that cyclists, regardless of skill level, have heard these types of complaints. In May of this year, the County Grand Jury chimed in, nailing the City for not even keeping up with the most simple of maintenance tasks, such as keeping dedicated bike lanes free of dirt and debris. The Grand Jury suggested the City create an office tasked with making sure that bike lanes are properly maintained and conform to region's Bicycle Plan.
Members also found that fatal bicycle and auto accidents account for nearly two percent of all reported incidents. That number jumps to 13.5% when factoring "incapacitating injuries."
"If bicycle travel is to be controlled by delineation, special efforts should be made to assure that high levels of service are provided with these lanes. The lanes must be clearly painted and they should extend the entire length of the bike lane."
In her lawsuit, Martinez is asking the City as well as County, State, and the driver to pay for expenses related to pain and disfigurement, in addition to any additional compensation.