Tacoma ordered to pay $242,000 to bicyclist

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) - The city of Tacoma has been ordered to pay $242,000 to a bicyclist who smashed his face into the asphalt after hitting a crack in a city-maintained bike lane three years ago.

Superior Court Judge Stephanie Arend ruled this week in favor of Eugene Smith, who is an avid cyclist and was injured Nov. 10, 2010 while pedaling on the bike lane adjacent to South Alaska Street.

According to reports, Smith was riding his bicycle in a "safe and reasonable manner" while on his way to church choir practice. During the ride, Smith's front tire was caught in a longitudinal crack, catapulting him to the street.

His attorney Richard Levandowski says the collision caused Smith to be hospitalized for three days with a fractured eye bone, separated shoulder, chipped teeth and a bruised body.

Levandowski argued that the city was at fault because it ignored design advice that called for lateral supports to be built into the bike lane to help prevent heavy traffic from damaging the lane's subsurface, among other reasons.