A Philly bicyclist recently won a multi-million dollar lawsuit over a 2011 crash involving two cars, which ejected her from her bike and caused serious injury.

On February 23, then-24 year-old Temple student Ashley McKean was traveling southbound on Broad Street when a parked car’s door “flung open,” according to court documents. The door hit McKean’s leg. Then, a van came up and crashed into her from behind, sending her seven-to-ten feet through the air, landing on the pavement. She was subsequently run over by the van.

A jury found the owner of the vehicle that doored her, Marci Shepard; the driver of the van, Robert Crawford; and the owner of the van, MCT Transportation; at fault for the injuries McKean suffered in the crash. Those injuries, according to defense papers, include bone fractures, a urinary tract infection and extensive scarring.

Defense papers attempted to argue that McKean was at fault. “Unfortunately [McKean] struck the door, causing the rear of her bicycle to ‘fishtail’ into Mr. Crawford’s lane,” defense papers said. “As she did so her bicycle struck the Crawford vehicle, propelling her forward. The Crawford vehicle then contacted her left leg as she lay in the roadway.”

McKean underwent five surgeries since the crash, as well as multiple inpatient hospital treatments and tests, incurring $587,947 in medical bills.

A jury awarded McKean $2.4 million: $1.3 million for pain and suffering, $225,000 for disfigurement, and $880,000 for future medical expenses.

According to court documents, Crawford, the driver of the van, actually testified that McKean should have been riding on the sidewalk—apparently unaware that sidewalk riding is illegal—and that the injuries she sustained were “her own fault,” according to the Legal Intelligencer.

He similarly noted that he was careful in observing traffic, noticing McKean 100 feet ahead of him on Broad Street, and reduced his speed before attempting to pass her before Shepard, the driver of the car, opened her door. For her own part, Shepard claimed she did actually look in her mirror before opening the door, “and saw that McKean was a half block or more away from her”—which seems sort of, well, no.

More than three years later, the episode is over, even though McKean continues suffering chronic pain. Let this be a lesson to you cyclists out there: Some drivers, it seems, still don’t know all the rules of the road and can be a bit reckless. Additionally, according to recent statistics, the top spots for crashes in the city are along Broad Street—so, if you can, do like I do: avoid Broad.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

About The Author

Staff writer

Randy LoBasso is the winner of the Pennsylvania Newsmedia Association's 2014 Distinguished Writing Award for his news and politics coverage at Philadelphia Weekly. He has also contributed to Alt Ledes, Salon, The Guardian and PennLive.

2 Responses

  1. Aaron B

    And whether you are riding on Broad St or somewhere else:
    Don’t Ride in the Door Lane.

    Take the lane.
    Take the street.

    For every Ashley McKean, there are 10 serious doorings and 100 more accidents that go unreported or unresolved.


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