The parents of a cyclist who died in a big rig accident in Santa Cruz are suing the city, county, state of California, the truck driver and the trucking company seeking damages in the wrongful death of their son. According to a news report in the San Jose Mercury News, 25-year-old John Myslin, a beloved teacher at Pacific Collegiate High School, was riding his mountain bike when the big rig struck him.
Myslin was killed last August and apparently another cyclist was hit and killed at the same intersection last month. Santa Cruz police have ruled that the bicycle accident was Myslin’s fault. But his parents have disagreed and say in the lawsuit that the driver of the big rig should’ve seen their son and avoided hitting him. In addition to suing the truck driver and his employer, Radazzo Enterprises Inc., Myslin’s parents are also suing the city, county and the state for the “dangerous and defective condition of the roadway,” which contributed to their son’s death. They alleged that the public entities “negligently and carelessly failed to provide a safe place for bicyclists to ride.”
One can imagine how Myslin’s parents must feel. Not only did the city not do anything about this dangerous and defective road condition, but police blamed the accident on their deceased son! We hope this suit sheds light on some of the problems with bicycle safety and bicycle accidents in that area. The article states the City Council is going to consider signs for that area, but it seems as if they are doing too little too late. Two bicyclists have already died as a result of that dangerous intersection. How much more is it going to take to make the City Council decide on immediate safety measures to make that street safer for bicyclists?
Government entities should stop placing the blame squarely on those residents it is intended to serve. Instead city and county officials should take a close look at their public safety initiatives and allocate funds to improve traffic safety. Pedestrians and bicyclists often get sidelined when it comes to road safety. We hope this lawsuit will bring the important issue of bicycle safety back to the forefront.