Two tourists bicycling along Oregon’s Interstate 84 sustained severe injuries after an 18-wheeler owned by a large delivery company struck them. The tractor-trailer’s hired operator could not defend his actions. After five days spent in a contentious trial, a jury awarded the couple more than $9 million in damages, as reported by The Oregonian.
While on a camping vacation, the bicyclists did some sightseeing and then headed back toward their camp. Riding their bikes in a single-file line, the couple cycled westbound on an I-84 shoulder near a curve. The 18-wheeler swerved across the fog line and onto the shoulder, striking both bicycles.
According to witnesses testifying at the trial, the truck swerved back and forth and one of the struck cyclists went flying through the air. The driver reportedly drove recklessly and at high speed. The delivery company’s legal team, however, tried arguing that the bikers should not have traveled on the highway’s shoulder.
The driver testified he could not avoid hitting them because the shoulder near the curve was narrow. Oregon law, however, permits bicyclists to ride on most of its interstate highways’ shoulders.
The couple’s award covered the 34-year-old male bicyclist’s medical expenses. They included four surgeries to save his lower left leg from amputation. During recovery, he needed a wheelchair and now walks with a cane. He continues to suffer from pain. His 28-year-old wife remains scarred from the bruises and cuts she sustained.
Bikers can fight back against injuries caused by negligence
When negligent drivers crash into bicyclists, the victims may file a legal action to recover. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that U.S. bicyclists have suffered yearly losses as much as $10 billion from injuries requiring medical treatment and through lost productivity.