Gendler wins another legal battle, opening new access to state traffic incident data

In October, Mickey Gendler won a court battle with the state over a bike crash on the Montlake Bridge three years ago that left him paralyzed. The state agreed to pay him $8 million.

Last week, the day before Thanksgiving, Gendler won another court battle against the state. In this case, Gendler argued that he had a right to state records of previous bicycle accidents on the bridge in order to help prove that WSDOT was aware of the bridge’s safety problems before his wreck. The state said federal law prevented their release.

From Bike Intelligencer:

Gendler, 58, who in a separate suit won an $8 million settlement from the state over the accident, sought the records to show that the state had known of the danger since 1999, when it was created during a seismic retrofit of the bridge. Even before the retrofit was finished, a cyclist suffered a similar — although not as injurious — accident in the same gap.

The state argued it was prevented from turning over accident records by federal law financing gathering and analysis of accident data but barring the information from being used in lawsuits against the state.

Beyond Gendler’s case, the ruling has ramifications for any citizen seeking to show that faulty construction or maintenance of roadways contributed to an accident. In that sense, Gendler’s victory is a win for us all.

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