An Appellate Court in the Chicago area has made it more difficult for injured bicyclists to have a lawsuit against municipalities with large potholes in their streets, even when teh City may be aware of the hazardous roadway.
Thomas Berz was injured on September 4, 2010 when he struck a pothole in an alley measuring 40 inches wide, 18 inches in length, and up to 5 inches deep. He filed suit against the City of Evanston, but the City argued that it owed no duty to fix the road or warn of the potholes because the alley was not intended to be used by bicycleists. The trial court agreed with the City and dismissed Berz's lawsuit, at which time he appealed to the First District Appellate Court.
The Appellate Court, however, sided with the trial judge and rule in favor of the City. In doing so the Appellate Court pointed out that there were no markings in the alley to suggest it was intended to be used by bicyclists, nor did City ordinaces clearyly suggest that alleys were intended for use with bicycles.
The Appellate Court case is Berz v. City of Evanston and may be found at 2013 Il App (1st) 123763.
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