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Women injured in crash caused by bike falling from car rack sues for $49,000 in Oregon, US

A bicycle that fell from its owner's roofrack on the Interstate 5 Highway in Oregon, US has led to a woman filing a $49,000 lawsuit, claiming she suffered a variety of whiplash-related injuries.

The Redline R550 road bike was attached to the top of a car owned by local bike shop employee, Todd Foreman-Kinder, before a strap broke which freed the bike and allowed it to fall into oncoming traffic.

The claimant, Dawn Martin, managed to avoid a collision, but says she was rear-ended by the car behind her, causing her injuries.

According to The Oregonian both the driver of that vehicle and Foreman-Kinder are the subjects of the $49,000 lawsuit.

Strangely, the day after the incident, Foreman-Kinder and his girlfriend, to whom the $1,000 bike belonged, reported it stolen and appealed online for its safe return.

bikeportland.org reported that Foreman-Kinder had indeed seen the bike fall from the roofrack, but could not stop on the highway to retrieve it.

After coming off at the next exit and circling back on to the northbound carriageway, the couple arrived at the scene of the incident to find no sign of the injured Ms Martin or the bike.

A commenter on the story later said that he had seen the incident and that the bicycle was a write-off.

The attorney representing Martin, Brian Ruff, said: "It makes good sense for people who are transporting bicycles, or any cargo, to make sure it’s secured."

Martin is looking for $15,000 for medical bills and a further $34,000 in damages for the pain she claims she suffered as well as her assertion that she is unable to live her life as she would normally.

Elliot joined team road.cc bright eyed, bushy tailed, and straight out of university.

Raised in front of cathode ray tube screens bearing the images of Miguel Indurain and Lance Armstrong, Elliot's always had cycling in his veins.
His balance was found on a Y-framed mountain bike around South London suburbs in the 90s, while his first taste of freedom came when he claimed his father's Giant hybrid as his own at age 16.

When Elliot's not writing for road.cc about two-wheeled sustainable transportation, he's focussing on business sustainability and the challenges facing our planet in the years to come.

7 comments

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royAB [3 posts] 3 years ago
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A roofscope.co.uk might have helped

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Shades [339 posts] 3 years ago
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I was on a duel carriageway with my MTB on the roof. The bike 'popped out' of the clamp holding the frame and suddenly appeared in my door window held by the straps on the wheels. Gave me one hell of a fright but I managed to pull over quite soon afterwards to sort it out. I subsequently became a bit OTT after that, securing a bungee around the clamp as some extra security. Bike was OK apart from a very slight buckle on one of the wheels. There were other cars around and I did thank my lucky stars that it didn't come off completely.

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STATO [535 posts] 3 years ago
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Have always thrown an old toe strap around the clamp and frame on bike racks. Either that or if transporting 2 they are bungeed together so in event of clamp failure the only thing it hits is the other bike.

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oozaveared [934 posts] 3 years ago
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Ok so a bike is involved. But this is really. "Woman injured by unsecured load falling from a vehicle sues for damages".

Cyclists are particularly vulnerable if unsecured loads fly off the back of a vehicles even if it is a bike that smaks then in the kisser. So I say fair play to her and hope she wins.

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fatbeggaronabike [849 posts] 3 years ago
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 39 Since she didn't hit the bike or should it be the bike didn't hit her (or her car) I think she is on thin ice trying to claim against the bike owner.

She had to brake hard to avoid something in the road then another vehicle failed to stop and collided with her, surely any injuries she received where either due to the other car hitting her, or bad design on the part of the car maker when placing the seat belt anchor points or herself for not fitting the belt correctly.

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Gordy748 [110 posts] 3 years ago
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God bless America, for we can sue any one at any time, no matter how daft.

This suit is one of those that has no merit. To win, she'd have to prove the driver failed to attach the bike to the rail properly so he is negligent. But if the strap broke it's the fault of the manufacturer.

Her proving the driver's negligence over the manufacturers is going to be impossible.

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oozaveared [934 posts] 3 years ago
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Gordy748 wrote:

God bless America, for we can sue any one at any time, no matter how daft.

This suit is one of those that has no merit. To win, she'd have to prove the driver failed to attach the bike to the rail properly so he is negligent. But if the strap broke it's the fault of the manufacturer.

Her proving the driver's negligence over the manufacturers is going to be impossible.

America has the same system as we do. If you suffer injury or loss due to someone else's actions you are entitled to ask them to put things right. If they don't then you can sue and a court will judge. If someone doesn't secure a bike on the back of their vehicle and it falls of smashes into you and injures you or damages your property then they should take responsibility. They only get sued of they refuse to accept responsibility. Then a Court makes them. If you were cycling along and a scaffold pole fell off a truck and hit you would you want the van owner to make amends. What if they didn't? What if you were the sole breadwinner for your family and the scaffold pole injured you so badly you couldn't work again and your care cost loads of money. You think you should just suck it up. And the idiot tjat couldn't be arsed to secure their load properly just strolls on?
Look we're vulnerable road users. We want vehicles to be safe and mot have 30lbs pieces of steel flying across the road.
More importantly I want people to think about the consequences for them of doing a sloppy job not just think they'll be ok and it's tough luck on every one else.