Cyclist injured, sues city for millions in personal injury claim

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Cyclist injured, sues city for millions in personal injury claim

CREATED Apr. 7, 2013

Reporter: Cory Marshall

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Let's face it, downtown street car construction can be a headache to detour around. For pedal pushers, crossing them can be downright dangerous -- at least that's what one Tucson woman claims.

Tucson attorney Barry Bellovin says his client, Angel Welch suffered a traumatic brain injury when her bike tire got stuck in the street car track, sending the cyclist flying.  The accident happened last summer while Welch was riding south on Congress Street, about to turn onto Fifth Avenue. She was not wearing a helmet.

Welch's personal injury claim targets the Regional Transportation Authority. The official paperwork offers to settle for $3 million.

"If you come downtown you know there's going to be streetcar construction. I understand that maybe she couldn't see the signs. She wasn't wearing a helmet, though. Do you think that all of this, any of this is her fault?" 9OYS's Cory Marshall asked Bellovin.

"You know since there was no helmet law in place, she was legal in the way that she was riding her bicycle. She didn't know the tracks were there," Bellovin answered. 

Some cyclists say crossing the tracks properly, by riding perpendicular across the tracks, is common sense.

"It's not a clear black and white situation," David Bachman-Williams, a member of the Bicycle Advisory Committee said.

"Bicyclists have to learn to be careful around tracks. They do it all over the world," he continued.

"You know I think there is a balance with the city helping people and then cyclists taking responsibility in learning how to ride safely with those tracks," Ian Johnson of the Living Streets Alliance said.

Bellovin tells 9OYS they have yet to hear back from the city attorney's office.