Call Us Today
Full-Service Legal Advocacy….It’s Different Here.

San Francisco Cyclist's $9 Million Injury Settlement Exposes City Negligence in Road Maintenance

The recent $9 million settlement for cyclist Mason Masuda's injuries in San Francisco serves as a glaring example of the broader issue of infrastructure negligence affecting cyclists and pedestrians across the country. This case highlights the urgent need for accountability and proactive measures to ensure public safety on roadways worldwide.

Understanding the Case

Clay Street in San Fransisco became a significant hazard when a city crew repairing a water pipe left an unmarked bump in the road. Residents in the area alerted the city to the issue and the fact that people were crashing due to the bump, but nothing was addressed for at least a week.

The city's negligence in failing to mark the road hazard or take timely action to address it resulted in multiple avoidable injuries. Masuda, who suffered permanent, life-altering injuries after crashing over the bump and hitting his head on the pavement, is just the first to settle with the city.

Further compounding this case is the fact that the street where Masuda crashed, Clay Street, is designated as a Slow Street for cyclists and pedestrians. Slow Streets is a project by the San Fransisco Municipal Transit Authority that began during the COVID-19 pandemic and continues to designate, “shared spaces for pedestrian, bike, scooter, wheelchair, and car traffic. On Slow Streets, vehicles are limited to only local access trips and are encouraged to drive slowly to make the street safer for other users.”

The $9 million settlement approved by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors serves as a poignant reminder of the human cost of municipal negligence.

The Challenge Cities Face in Maintaining Safe Roads

It’s not just San Fransisco that struggles to keep up with road repairs.

This report using data from the U.S. Federal Highway Administration, outlines which states have the worst roads and which have the best comparatively. New England offers mixed results, with New Hampshire and Vermont ranking as the 4th and 5th best, respectively. While Rhode Island claims the number one worst spot, and Massachusetts comes in at 7th worst.

But even in New Hampshire, a high-ranking state, the report states that many respondents still described urban roads as “old and outdated” or “horrible.”

To address this widespread challenge, cities and states may need to focus more of their budget on repairing roads instead of building new ones.

Filing Injury Lawsuits for Road Maintenance Negligence

Masuda's case is just one of several legal battles facing the city of San Francisco in the wake of the Clay Street incident. Four additional individuals who were injured in crashes at the same location have filed lawsuits against the city, seeking accountability for the negligence that caused their injuries.

In jurisdictions worldwide, municipalities have a duty of care to maintain public infrastructure, including roads, sidewalks, and cycling lanes, in a reasonably safe condition. When municipalities fail to fulfill their duty of care and negligence leads to injuries or damages, victims have the legal right to seek compensation through civil litigation. Key factors in an infrastructure negligence case include:

  • The foreseeability of harm
  • The municipality's knowledge of the hazard
  • The reasonableness of corrective measures
  • The extent of damages suffered by the victim

Additionally, statutes of limitations and governmental immunity laws may impact the legal recourse available to victims and the timeline for filing claims against municipalities. It’s important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney about any potential case.

Personal Injury Attorneys Experienced with City Negligence Cases

Shaheen & Gordon’s personal injury attorneys have been representing those injured in bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and more for decades. We have experience handling complicated negligence cases against municipalities, including the tragic case of a young man who was swept away in an unsecured storm drain in Nashua, NH, resulting in a $2 million settlement.

Cases like this serve as a wake-up call for municipalities to prioritize infrastructure maintenance and invest in preventative measures to mitigate the risk of accidents and injuries.

If you or a loved one have been injured due to an individual or city’s negligence, please contact us for help. We’re here to fight for justice and help you find peace of mind.