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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

City Not Liable for Bicyclist’s Injuries

A bicyclist suffered injuries when he struck a large pothole in an alley.  The bicyclist sued the City for negligence.  The City then filed a motion to dismiss, contending that Section 3-102(a) of the Tort Immunity Act provided the City immunity as the bicyclist was not an intended user of the alley.  The bicyclist argued that he was an intended user of the alley by presenting a bicycle map and arguing that his bicycle qualified as a “vehicle” under the municipal code.
The circuit court ruled in favor of the City, finding that Section 3-102(a) granted the City immunity.  The trial court reasoned that the bicycle did not qualify as a vehicle, and as such, the bicyclist was not an intended user of the alleyway.
On appeal, the bicyclist argued that the circuit court erred in dismissing his complaint.  The appellate court affirmed the circuit court’s dismissal, finding that the alley was not intended for bicycle use.  The court noted that the Illinois Supreme Court has advised that Section 3-102(a) “only imposes a duty of ordinary care on municipalities to maintain property for uses that are both permitted and intended.”  The appellate court noted that nothing in the alley suggested that it was intended for bicycle use.  Ultimately, the court determined that while bicyclists were permitted to  use the alley, they were not the intended users.  Baez v. City of Evanston, 2013 IL App (1st) 123763 (Sept. 27, 2013).
Post Authored by Erin Baker, Ancel Glink


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