The more things change, the more they stay the same. Today’s news talks about how misaligned storm grates on Atlanta streets are causing a safety hazard for Atlanta bicyclists. While this has been reported on this site before, the news is that it is not getting any better.
The problem is that the City of Atlanta is not installing the storm grates properly. When properly installed, the slots of the grates should run perpendicular to traffic and when the City of Atlanta installs them parallel to traffic, a safety hazard occurs. In legal terms, this type of hazard is known as a nuisance and once the City of Atlanta is aware of the hazard, or should have been aware, it is liable for all damages that the nuisance causes.
What is particularly troubling about these hazards is that the danger posed is potentially deadly. When a bicyclist rides over the storm grate (and the slots are running parallel to traffic), the bicycle wheels get stuck in the grates and this causes the bicyclist to lose control, often falling head-first onto the pavement or into oncoming vehicles.
It truly puzzles me as to why the City of Atlanta allows these nuisances to exist since the cost to remedy the nuisance is so minor and the potential harm caused by the nuisance is so great .
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