Bicycle Expert Advises On Dangerous Bicycle Path Design

Michael Morgenstern

Written by
— Updated on October 12, 2017

Bicycle PathThis case involves a bicycle accident on an area of the Chicago lakefront. Along the waterfront on the south side of Chicago there is a stepped retaining wall that was built to prevent erosion and flooding. It was designed so that it could be traversed on foot as well as on bicycle and has been in use for a number of years. The bike path is on the top of the third step (9 feet above the ground) and in order for someone to reach the ground there is a descending ramp that reaches the ground after three 180 degree turns. The plaintiff was riding her bike in the evening when the path that she was riding on abruptly ended when she came upon the first 180 degree turn. Since there was no sign and no lighting she fell from the 9 foot elevation and broke her back. She is now a quadriplegic and is suing the city of Chicago for failing to provide a safe multiuse pathway.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Have you designed and built multi-use pathways for bicycles and pedestrians?

Expert Witness Response E-000436

I have extensive experience with bike paths and multi-use pathways. I have consulted on and engineered a number of bike paths and I am very familiar with the specifications and codes. Landscape architects are always building walkways that are riddled with building code violations. This is just another one of them. Any drop off of more than 20 inches must have a guard or railing. The drop off from one level to the next here is 36 inches. This is clearly a code violation. Unless there are exciter colors to catch her attention, she would come upon this hazard too sudden to react.

Contact this expert witness

Find an Accident Reconstruction Expert Witness Near You

What State is your case in?

AL AK AZ AR CA CO CT DE DC FL GA HI ID IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MA MI MN MS MO MT NE NV NH NJ NM NY NC ND OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TN TX UT VT VA WA WV WI WY