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Scottsdale pays big settlement for deteriorated bike path

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The old adage “You can’t fight city hall” doesn’t apply to a Scottsdale, Arizona, man who crashed on a notoriously poorly maintained stretch of bike path in that city in 2009.

Allan Fenyves and his attorney fought city hall and won a $426,000 settlement last week in a negligence lawsuit.

KPHO News reports that Scottsdale had been getting complaints about the section of path in Indian Bend Wash for eight years before the city repaired it. Funds originally appropriated to pay for maintenance had been transferred to transform a golf course into a park.

Fenyves was riding north on the bike path in October 2009 when he crashed after his bike tire got caught in cracked pavement in the S curve. The cyclist said he slowed to 10 mph for warning signs at the location, but he fell anyway.


He broke his hip, collarbone, nine ribs and punctured a lung. His medical bills came to $110,000, and he hasn’t been able to ride a bicycle since the crash. An independent consultant’s report the following year cited 20 deficiencies in that section of bike path.

The city offered a $350,000 settlement in 2012, but Fenyves declined that amount. The case was scheduled for trial in February.

The case should remind local governments that they need to follow up on complaints about poorly maintained paths.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.bikingbis.com/2014/01/27/scottsdale-pays-big-settlement-for-deteriorated-bike-path/

2 comments

  1. Cory

    This ruling is bad news for cyclists. It increases the liability costs associated with providing cyclists with bike paths. Local governments will use this ruling to stop further expansion of trails because they don’t want to leave themselves open to additional liability.

    Same thing happened many years ago to RAGBRAI. A cyclist’s widow sued the county for a crash, that county then banned RAGBRAI to prevent future liability.

    1. Dave

      Every municipal infrastructure project exposes the municipality to potential liability. The threat of such lawsuits provides impetus to repair dangerously deteriorated facilities. The judgment awarded here seems very reasonable.

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