The San Diego city government has recently paid a high price for poor road maintenance. Back in 2014, a local cyclist was seriously injured after she hit a pothole in a La Jolla bike lane. She soon filed a lawsuit against the city, arguing that the leadership had been negligent in regularly repairing roads. Now, almost two years later, the city council is finalizing its $235,000 legal settlement to the victim.
Is Poor Road Maintenance a Problem in San Diego?
Part of the lawsuit rested on the argument that the city had done more than just neglect to fix a single pothole. The city had known about road hazards for some time, but still did little to resolve the problems. According to the woman’s lawyer, many residents had already complained about damages on the street.
The city attempted to make temporary fixes, but these did not seem to address the core problem. The case argues that the damages had been there long enough that the city should have taken preventative measures.
Additionally, this woman is by no means the first cyclist to sue the city for poor maintenance. There have been multiple lawsuits with the city over bicycle accidents in the past five years.
How Can We Make Our Streets Safer?
In a recent interview with the San Diego Reader, Samantha Ollinger, who runs the bike safety group BikeSD, said that lawsuits like these are easily avoidable. She stresses that the city could save on lawsuits if it instead invested more in bicycle safety. In particular, she stresses that protected bike lanes, which separate riders from motorists, would make a huge difference in keeping riders safe. Keeping cars off bike lanes would reduce the wear and tear on these areas and protect cyclists for less attentive drivers.
Ollinger also expressed frustration that safety improvements and repairs only seem to come after a tragedy and too rarely come as a preventive measure.
What do you think? Should the city be doing more to keep our streets safe?