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$24 million compensation for cyclist left paralysed by driver on crystal meth

City of San Diego had tried to argue that riding in a group was a “hazardous recreational activity”

The City of San Diego, southern California, is to pay $23.75 million compensation to a cyclist who was left paralysed when he was hit by a driver who was high on crystal meth.

Lawyers for the cyclist, Juan Carlos Vinolo, had said that the city had failed to trim back overgrown bushes on the road where the crash happened, reports latimes.com.

But in its defence, the city claimed that it should not be liable because Mr Vinolo had been on a training ride with other cyclists, and said that riding at speed in a group was a “hazardous recreational activity” and could prevent claimants injured while doing so from seeking compensation.

The crash happened in August 2014 on a one-way road on Fiesta Island and the driver, Theresa Lynn Owens, is currently serving 19 years in prison for driving under the influence of methamphetamine.

Mr Vinolo sustained injuries including a broken spine, leaving him paralysed from the waist down, eight broken ribs, and also lost a kidney.

Two years ago, a civil jury ruled that the city was 23 per cent liable for the crash, and apportioned 77 per cent of the blame to the driver.

In his lawsuit against the city, Mr Vinolo said that it had “created, fostered and maintained Fiesta Island in such a manner to exponentially increase the risk of serious injury to cyclists that use the Fiesta Island Road.”

The lawsuit also pointed out that in a press conference one week after the crash, then Mayor Kevin Faulconer said that improvements to the road would be made, including new signage and cutting back bushes.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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