Thursday, April 01, 2010


According to this article, some sixty six-year old Colorado guy broke his leg when a loose dog caused him to wreck his bike. This article amuses me for many reasons.
  • Next time you want to glorify the attitudes towards cyclists in other reputedly bike friendly cities, read the comments to this article which were (presumably) submitted mostly by citizens of the Boulder, CO area. They look like commenters.
  • Why do people think that $43K is a lot of money for a broken leg? Putting the issue of medical bills aside...if you were given the choice, would you rather have $43K and a broken leg that requires pins, or no broken leg? I'll take the unbroken leg.
  • I have no sympathy for irresponsible dog owners who allow their dogs to endanger other people's lives and the lives of the dogs.

I hope this guy prevails and is awarded more than $43K.


Kevin said...

It's always kind of depressing to read the comments on local news articles, no matter where they are.

In this case, I'm guessing $43K is predominantly medical bills.

So really, more or less, this is just a transaction between lawyers and insurance companies.

This guy might end up with a fraction of $43K when it's all done. Then he'll probably end up arguing with some bureaucrats about it for a year or two after it's all "settled".

Ben said...

The dog owner is at fault here, but having her pay $43K for a bad latch strikes me as crazy. But it's at least as crazy (if not more so) that this guy has to pay that much for something that seems to be in no way his fault.

The biggest problem in all this is that people don't have good health insurance. In any other industrialized nation, the woman would have to pay the fine (which is fully merited) and that would be the end of worrying for everyone involved.

And yes, a lot of the comments are really irritating, especially the assertion that the cyclist (who is taken to task both for riding a bike and being 66--my dad is just fine riding at 70) is assumed to be at fault.

Anonymous said...

the issue is not the health insurance. most states hold people accountable for injury their pets cause, and so the insurance company of the cyclist wouldn't likely pay unless the pet owner was found not to be liable.

Ben said...

I guess I define "good health insurance" not as what's available in one state vs. another but what's considered a human right in England, France, Norway, etc., i.e. the rest of the industrialized world. People don't pay medical bills in these countries. When I lived in England for a while, I had to go in for minor medical treatment. Nothing was asked about the cause and no fee was charged. Again, I sympathize more with the cyclist, but I don't think this should be a $43K mistake (and, for what it matters, medical costs are higher in the U.S. than most other countries, largely b/c of the amount of insurance company paperwork).

And as a taxpayer I would be fine with higher taxes to cover this kind of thing.