Pedicab Prattling

Yesterday’s Scottsdale Republic covered the anniversary of and lawsuit related to the life-altering accident involving pedicab occupants and Kansas tourists Cody Clark and Mike Tysver, who were hit by a drunk driver departing Scottsdale’s bar district.

The article is reproduced below, but my only commentary on this is a question, “What is the benefit to Scottsdale of having this third-world form of transportation?”

From what I see, the only answer is that it helps get more people into an area that Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane and the city council (including incumbent candidates Linda Milhaven and Dennis Robbins) encouraged to overbuild beyond parking capacity. That’s been a known problem in the bar district for years. Many residents and business owners (both bar and non-bar owners) have railed against.

Yet the city staff continues with the charade that is the “in lieu parking” program, aka “phantom parking spaces.” Under this program, new businesses are allowed to purchase parking space credits against what would otherwise be required for them to prove they have to accommodate their patrons.

Let me state for the record: I am a cyclist and I strongly support cycling infrastructure for transportation and recreation. I’m not necessarily opposed to pedicabs, per se. However,  which human-powered transportation-for-hire should be subject to fact-based scrutiny; careful consideration for appropriateness; and if necessary, regulation and enforcement.

All of these considerations and discussions should have taken place BEFORE this problem arose. Of course that’s hard to do when the only folks Lane, Milhaven, and Robbins talk to about the bar district are the bar owners…with their generous campaign contributions.

Here’s the article:

$51 million sought by pedicab accident victims

Suits against city allege negligence

By Beth Duckett, The Republic | azcentral.com

The victims of a near-fatal pedicab ac­cident in Scottsdale last year are seeking damages from the city of $51 million.

Cody Clark and Mike Tysver, both of Great Bend, Kan., were struck by a vehi­cle while riding in a pedicab shortly after 2:30 a.m. on Jan. 4, 2013, according to po­lice. The men were ejected from the ped­icab, suffering severe injuries. They both survived.

Thirteen months after the accident, Clark, Tysver and Clark’s parents are su­ing Scottsdale, claiming the city was grossly negligent by allowing pedicabs to operate without any restrictions on public roads.

Clark and his family are seeking $46 million — $40 million for Clark and $3 million each for his parents Todd Clark and Sandra Clanton — for the loss and trauma caused to their family.

Clark, who suffered a head injury in the crash, has medical bills totaling mil­lions of dollars, according to a notice of claim filed with the city.

Tysver, who suffered a spine injury, is seeking $5 million from the city.

Scottsdale denies any liability in the case. The lawsuit is pending in Maricopa County Superior Court, City Attorney Bruce Washburn said.

“We sympathize with these families as they continue to deal with the out­comes of this tragic accident,” Wash­burn said. “We will, however, defend the city against these claims. We specifical­ly deny any liability arising from any al­leged failure of the city to properly reg­ulate pedicabs.”

The Scottsdale City Council recently signed off on a contract for outside legal services to defend the city. The amount is capped at $90,000.

Scottsdale has since adopted an ordi­nance governing pedicabs.

The driver who collided with the ped­icab, Joseph Paul Spano, 28, of Phoenix, was sentenced earlier this month to four years in prison and two years of proba­tion.

Spano, who was driving a 2012 Ford sedan, pleaded guilty to two counts of ag­gravated assault and one count of endan­germent in connection with the accident. Numerous other counts were dismissed as part of the agreement.

Matt Cunningham, the attorney rep­resenting Clark and his parents, and Myles Hassett, the attorney for Tysver, say they think the accident was the fault of several parties.

The three parties named as other defendants in the case: Spano, Axis Cigar Bar LLC, and REDW LLC, a public accounting and business consulting firm.

Axis is the bar that reportedly served Spano, and REDW was Spano’s employer at the time, hosting a company-sponsored event where Spano consumed alcohol, the suit alleges.

Mike Allen, a REDW spokesman, was aware of the case but declined comment. A representative for Axis was not immediately available for comment.

The plaintiffs claim Scottsdale was negligent for several reasons.

The city, they argued, allowed pedicabs to operate on public roads with speed limits greater than 35 mph; failed to require illumination, or lights, on pedicabs at night; allowed pedicab drivers to operate without an Arizona driver’s license; and failed to warn motorists of the presence of pedicabs on streets.

The incident led to the Scottsdale City Council’s approval last summer of an ordinance governing pedicabs. Pedicab operators now must have a valid Arizona driver’s license, maintain insurance and follow regulations related to the safety and visibility of pedicabs, according to a prior Arizona Republic report.

The plaintiffs and attorneys allege there is evidence Scottsdale was “well aware of the risk of serious harm to individuals using pedicabs in the downtown area.”

They cited Scottsdale Police Department records, which they say showed at least 15 reports of pedicab and motor-vehicle collisions in downtown Scottsdale. They cited accident reports taken between March 19, 2009, and Nov. 16, 2012.

The attorneys and plaintiffs allege that a citizen had asked the Scottsdale City Council to consider regulating pedicabs as early as September 2009.

In 2011, “concerned community members” informed city officials that “pedicabs were a danger, and it was only a matter of time before a serious accident occurred,” they said.

The notices of claim described the hours leading up to the accident on Jan. 4, 2013.

Clark and Tysver, who were both 21 at the time, had visited the Valley to watch their team, the Kansas State Wildcats, compete in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.

After the game on Jan. 3, 2013, Clark and Tysver met up with friends in downtown Scottsdale. After leaving a popular late-night hangout, the two men flagged down a pedicab for a ride back to their hotel, the Scottsdale Cottonwoods Resort and Suites.

Sometime after 2:30 a.m. Jan. 4, a driver struck the pedicab carrying Clark and Tysver as they were traveling north on Scottsdale Road near Rose Lane.

“The impact of this collision was violent, ejecting Cody and Mike from the pedicab,” the notice of claim said.

Clark struck an “A-pillar” between the front windshield and driver’s side door of Spano’s vehicle and Tysver slammed into the car’s windshield, the notices said.

Tysver’s skull became separated from his spinal column in the accident, which caused an internal decapitation, the attorneys said.

Thirteen months after the accident, Clark remains at a rehabilitation center in Kansas.

Clanton, in an interview with The Republic after the sentencing, said the left side of Clark’s brain, which controls understanding and communication, was severely damaged.

“He has made some improvement,” Clanton said at the time. “He is more alert than before, doing hand gestures, and nodding yes and no, but not a consistent response.”

Before the accident, Clark “possessed a great sense of humor, was upbeat, lovable, a talented actor and fun-loving,” his claim said.

He had just finished a semester at Great Bend-based Barton Community College and had started work at Duke Drilling Inc. in Kansas, which was also Tysver’s place of employment.

Clark, who has acted in several highschool and college plays, had a dream to become a drama teacher.

Tysver, who has made progress from his injuries, was disabled from work as of last summer. It was unlikely he would be able to return to his job in the Kansas oil fields, his notice of claim said.

Tysver was said to remain “severely damaged, both physically and mentally.” He has received treatment for a number of ailments, including post-traumatic stress disorder, night terrors, insomnia and anxiety, it said.

You may also like

2 Comments

  1. Just wanting to inform you that there has always been a number of pedal cab companies that have worked as legit companies always acquiring proper insurance and permits as needed or required. We have taken this to the City on numerous occasions prior to this incident. Nobody listened, or did anything about it just as they are doing with the golf carts that are operating without the proper insurance right now.. You see golf carts are practically impossible to get the sort of transportation insurance required to conduct business for hire that would meet the standards of what is going on there now. Yet they do nothing. As for the comment
    “What is the benefit to Scottsdale of having this third-world form of transportation?” – a short pedicab ride to a local bar no air pollution? or a 1990 Chevy Capri stuck in traffic spewing out TOXIC fumes? I feel your idea of third world may be lopsided. No matter what is done with parking there will always be a problem so long as there are cars. The easier you make it to park, the more cars you will get.

Leave a Reply to John Washington Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *