Oregon Wrongful Death Settlement Reached Over Teen Bicyclist’s TriMet Bus Accident Death

The parents of 15-year-old Austin Miller have reached an Oregon wrongful death settlement with TriMet over their son’s bicycle accident death. Austin died on February 11, 2008 when he was struck by a bus while riding a bicycle. Under the terms of the agreement, TriMet will pay Michael and Stephanie Miller $200,000 with an additional $175,000 pending adjudication.

TriMet has argued that the Oregon Tort Claims Act caps its liability at $200,000 and that is the maximum they should owe for Austin’s death. Personal injury attorneys for the Millers, however, have pointed out that the state’s current tort claims cap is now $400,000.

The Miller family’s Oregon wrongful death complaint accuses a TriMet bus driver of acting negligently when driving into the bike lane where Austin was riding his bicycle. Their wrongful death lawyer has said that the bus driver can be overheard in an audio recording telling TriMet’s dispatch that she thought she gave Austin enough space.

Some Steps Motorists Can Take to Help Prevent Oregon Bicycle Accidents:

• Check sidewalks for bicyclists, especially if you are entering or leaving a driveway or an alley where the road crosses over a sidewalk.

• Give bicyclists 3-5 feet of space when passing a bicyclist.

• Unless you have to, don’t honk too much at a bicyclist when you are approaching them from behind. You could startle the rider and cause him or her to swerve unexpectedly onto the road.

• Avoid driving in bicycle lanes.

• Before opening your car door, make sure that a bicyclist isn’t approaching.

TriMet to pay $200,000 in wrongful death case, Valley Times, April 9, 2009
Mother sues TriMet over teen son’s fatal bicycle accident, Oregon Live, June 18, 2008

Related Web Resources:

Oregon Transportation Safety

TriMet: Public Transportation for the Portland, Oregon Metro Area