When a West Virginia city provides a bicycle and running path for its residents, it has a duty to keep it safe for users. That is the legal argument raised in a lawsuit brought by a bicyclist for personal injury damages allegedly caused by the city of Marietta's negligence. The suit claims that city workers ran an inflated water hose over the path without marking the spot or directing users away from the potential danger.
A woman crashed into the hose and allegedly suffered injuries, including five broken ribs and a punctured lung. The Marietta River Trail is about three miles long, leading along the Muskingum River and the Ohio River, ending up in the downtown area of the city. The accident is said to have happened on June 16.
Generally, when a special path is provided for the public, the municipality will have a legal duty to keep it safe and reasonably free from danger to users. That is not an absolute duty nor is it the imposition of strict liability on the city. It calls, however, for the normal protocols of using reasonable care under the circumstances. Here, it is likely a careless act to put an inflated hose on a bike track without a warning sign.
The negligence in this case was apparently a direct cause of the plaintiff's alleged injuries. However, the allegations in the complaint must be proved in the further litigation of the claim. That includes presenting medical evidence to prove causation and to show the nature and extent of the woman's injuries. The rules for processing a personal injury claim of this kind in West Virginia are clear-cut and are guided by the general principles of negligence law.
Source: newsandsentinel.com, "Injured bicyclist files lawsuit against Marietta", Peyton Neely, Jan. 17, 2017