Who is Liable for Accidents on Poorly Maintained Bike Paths?

While many cities are making leaps and bounds in terms of becoming more cyclist-friendly, there are those who don’t put quite so much priority on it. Even then, cities that make efforts to add bicycle lanes often make the mistake of letting bike paths go unmaintained. The question is if people are getting into accidents on poorly maintained bike paths, who can be held liable?

Many cities across the U.S. have a sort of sweeping immunity when it comes biking, hiking, and other leisure paths. Since it is difficult to tame nature, these paths are often uncared for. This is understandable for simple dirt paths through the forest. But, what about for the paved bike paths that wind through the cities?

The Precedent

Recently, there was a case in Illinois where a rider was injured in an accident on a bike path. This was not some dirt pathway through the forest, but a paved path that went through an industrial area. After arguing the case all the way to the Supreme Court, it was decided that the blanket immunity the city claimed was only valid for primitive paths, and thus the municipality was to be held liable. This case can pave the way for others injured on bike paths in cities that do not take responsibility for maintaining them.

If you have been hurt on a poorly maintained bike path or bicycle lane, the city should bear that responsibility. If you wish to fight for your rights as a cyclist, contact us today.

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