San Diego sued by family of man hit and killed on scooter
John Sepulveda, 34, was hit by a car in a bike lane on Pershing Drive, two months after a cyclist died a few blocks away
SAN DIEGO — The family of a 34-year-old man who was hit and killed by a car while riding a scooter on Pershing Drive last year is suing the city of San Diego.
John Sepulveda died on September 18, 2021, while riding a scooter in a bike lane behind his sister and her husband, just before 11 p.m. that evening. A 17-year-old driver rammed Sepulveda from behind while riding on a marked bike lane.
Two months before Sepulveda’s death, San Diego State University architect and planner Laura Shinn was killed by an impaired driver while riding her bicycle on Pershing Drive, just four blocks away.
Shinn’s husband, as first reported by CBS 8, filed a lawsuit last month against the city alleging unsafe conditions along Pershing Drive.
In the latest lawsuit, Sepulveda’s family claims the city failed to ensure pedestrian safety by not having visible street markings alerting drivers to the bike lane, and due to the lack of signage and poor street lighting.
This, the lawsuit says, even after Shinn died two months prior.
[The city of San Diego] took no corrective action to mitigate the risk to the public, [Sepulveda and his family] known unsafe conditions on Pershing Drive after Shinn’s death and before [Sepulveda’s] death,” reads the lawsuit.
Two days after Sepulveda’s death, Mayor Todd Gloria ordered crews to install bollards to create a buffer between vehicles and pedestrians inside the bike path.
“Getting around our car-free city shouldn’t be life-threatening,” Gloria said in a September 23, 2021 statement. “I will continue to work to make active transportation safe for all residents in all neighborhoods.
The lawsuit also blames the scooter company, Superpedestrian, Inc., the scooter manufacturer, Link, and the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG).
In January this year, SANDAG began construction on the Pershing Bikeway project, a project to “transform Pershing Drive into a ‘low-stress’ street that will be more convenient and comfortable for people to cycle, walk and ride” .
In a statement, a city spokesperson said the city is “committed to achieving our Vision Zero goals and making the streets safer for everyone. Investments in protected bike lanes save lives. They are essential to create safer road conditions by giving cyclists and scooters a space that vehicle drivers can easily see, which is why, under the leadership of Mayor Gloria, the fiscal year 2023 budget adds funds and resources additional funds for the construction of new bike and micro-mobility facilities across San Diego. We are bundling new and improved bike lanes with street resurfacing work already underway across the city.”
The spokesperson also said the city, as part of Mayor Gloria’s “Sexy Street Initiative,” is rebuilding “some of San Diego’s busiest streets.”
This includes 18 miles of bike lanes and eight new bike lane projects this fiscal year.
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