Bicyclist Found Not An Intended User of City Street

April 11, 2017

In Zaworski v. City of Joliet, the plaintiff, Michael Zaworksi, fell off his bicycle while riding in his residential neighborhood.  Zaworski alleged in his Complaint that, on July 23, 2015, his bike hit a small hole, several inches wide and several inches deep, in the roadway and that he was thrown over the handlebars of his bicycle onto the pavement below him, tearing his rotator cuff in the process.  The City moved to dismiss, arguing that bicyclists riding on municipal streets are considered permitted but not intended users of the property and that the City therefore owed no duty to Zaworski under the Tort Immunity Act.  Judge Roger Rickmon granted the City of Joliet’s motion to dismiss and entered judgment in favor of the City.  In his dismissal order and opinion, Judge Rickmon reaffirmed and applied the Illinois Supreme Court’s decision in Boub v. Twp. Of Wayne, which held that bicyclists riding on municipal streets and bridges are ordinarily not considered to be intended users of the property unless the municipality has done something affirmatively to show that bicyclists are intended users of the streets and bridges.  Typically, plaintiffs attempt to demonstrate that they are an intended user by either showing that they were traveling on a designated bicycle path or by showing that a city’s municipal code specifically supported the notion that the city intended that bicyclists use municipal streets.  In Zaworski, Judge Rickmon surveyed pictures of the road and the City’s municipal code but ultimately concluded that the City had done nothing to show that it intended for bicyclists to drive on the streets and that dismissal was therefore proper under Boub.  Michael Bersani and Jason Rose represented the City of Joliet in Zaworski.

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