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.