Home
Campaigners hail “a very strong message” to drivers about road safety

A cyclist in Philadelphia who was seriously injured when she was run over by a van after a car door was opened into her path has been awarded $2.4 million in damages by a jury in a case that cycling campaigners have welcomed as sending “a very strong message” to drivers about road safety.

Student Ashley McKean’s lawsuit against the drivers of the car and the van, as well as the company that owns the latter vehicle, said that she had suffered multiple fractures of the hip, pelvis and leg as a result of the collision, and now has restricted mobility, reports Philly Magazine.

Of the $2.4 million in damages awarded to her, $1.33 million related to pain and suffering, $880,000 was for future medical expenses and $200,000 for disfigurement.

The jury found Marci Shepherd, the driver of the Honda Accord car involved in the incident, 43 per cent liable and van driver Robert Crawford and its owner, MCT Transportation, 36 per cent liable. It also found the cyclist herself to be 21 per cent liable.

In his testimony, Crawford claimed that McKean should have been riding on the pavement – although that is against the law. But her attorney, Chris Brill, said Crawford’s van had been too close to McKean when she was doored.

He told Newsworks.org: "Before the collision she was a very vibrant, very athletic young woman.

"She can walk, but she can't run. She can walk, but she can't walk far. Everything's limited now.

"As she said to the jury, she was just grateful that she survived – that she didn't die."

He added: "I'm not aware of any verdict of this magnitude for a bicycle rider who was struck by an open car door."

Stuart Clark from the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia said: "I think that it does send a very strong message that bicyclists need to be taken seriously, and their safety needs to be taken seriously.

"So I hope that it gives everyone pause to follow the rules of the road and keep safe out there," he added.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

7 comments

Avatar
McDuff73 [79 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

its not the actual person who doored her or the driver that will pay though, its the insurance company which will mean everyone elses insurance increases to foot the bill.... this should have been treated as assault and battery at the very least and the relevant charges laid against the perpetrator. And yes I realise this is yankee doodle land.

Avatar
Bobbinogs [250 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Unfortunately, this won't send any message to drivers about road safety. It will just increase insurance prices to cover the claim and the risk of future claims. I am not suggesting in any way that the lady should not have claimed or been awarded a significant sum but this case won't make any difference to how a large minority of the general public drive or their attitude to other road users.

Avatar
choddo [42 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Maybe, although even though it's a much smaller value, no-one wants to lose their NCB. Plus the magnitude of the settlement is headline grabbing so may increase awareness just through that. I can't help thinking the insurers will want to push drivers to take more care as well.

Avatar
racyrich [300 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
McDuff73 wrote:

its not the actual person who doored her or the driver that will pay though, its the insurance company which will mean everyone elses insurance increases to foot the bill.... this should have been treated as assault and battery at the very least and the relevant charges laid against the perpetrator. And yes I realise this is yankee doodle land.

You can't insure against intentional illegal acts. Only against collateral damage from them. If you assault someone they're not a 3rd party, they're the 2nd party.
Hence for compensation it's financially better if the cause wasn't intentional.

Avatar
McDuff73 [79 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
Airzound wrote:

@McDuff73 - Absolute rubbish. Where was the INTENTION to cause the cyclist injury which is what you need to commit an assault in criminal law. And in any case this was a civil action not a criminal prosecution.

As you already pointed out what everyone already knew it was a civil action, we dont know if there was a criminal action taken against either driver, and therefor you dont know there wasnt any intent to injure just like I dont know there was....

Avatar
Housecathst [602 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

In the circumstances as they stand I'd love to know how they found the cyclist 21% liable for the "accident" ?

Avatar
kie7077 [924 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

"$1.33 million related to pain and suffering"

Unfortunately the UK courts take loss of earnings far more seriously than pain or suffering, she'd be lucky to get £10k in this country for the suffering aspect, I wish I was exaggerating but I'm not.

So the rich get compensated but the poor don't effectively.