Keith Kessler Goes the Distance

Keith Kessler Goes the Distance

Seattle is frequently touted with the aid of country wide media and biking organizations as one in every of the us’s maximum motorcycle-friendly towns. But keith kessler sees another facet to the tale. The hoquiam lawyer is a nationally renowned authority on roadway safety. He has written extensively on the difficulty—most recently in “bicycle litigation,” a pamphlet co-authored with daniel laurence, a colleague at stritmatter kessler whelan koehler moore kahler, and published through their company in 2015. “we’ve were given roads and streets that are set up, basically, for cars, vehicles and buses,” says kessler, “and they overlook about the truth that it’s no longer bicycle-safe. You’ve were given cracks, you’ve got ruts, and also you’ve got things to be able to throw cyclists.” kessler’s popularity as a attorney who goes the distance for cyclists was firmly hooked up after he represented bicyclists harm in separate incidents on seattle’s state-operated montlake bridge. While steel grate panels on the 1925 span have been replaced as part of a seismic retrofit in 1999, the seams between the new panels in some locations handed the desired 1/2-inch maximum width. A bike owner had mentioned the hassle after struggling enormously minor injuries, but it hadn’t been fixed by the point an environmental legal professional and serious bicycle owner named mickey gendler crossed the bridge on oct. 28, 2007. Gendler’s the front wheel dropped right into a almost inch-wide hole among grates. Thrown over the handlebars and onto his again, gendler was rendered quadriplegic. The $8 million that kessler received for him from the state branch of transportation in 2010 become certainly one of the biggest settlements for an man or woman in country records. Years later, kessler represented bicycle owner lan remme, whose coincidence on the equal bridge left him wheelchair-sure. A sidewalk panel had dropped, through the years, 2 inches beneath the abutting panel. Remme’s agreement from town and kingdom: $4 million. In 2009, kessler co-based the american affiliation for justice’s bicycle litigation group. Members talk bicycle protection and court cases, as well as “how first-class to offer a bike owner case.” kessler also can offer advice on having access to accident reviews, having gained a landmark case in 2009, gendler v. Batiste, which became upheld with the aid of the kingdom superb court three years later. Kessler had requested the nation patrol for coincidence reviews regarding montlake bridge and the lawyer trendy’s office said no. To collect the reports and efficiently litigate gendler’s case against the state, kessler needed to sue washington nation patrol leader john batiste. Returned in 2003, the u. S. Perfect court had ruled in another case—pierce county v. Guillen—that coincidence reviews are public statistics, besides while regulation enforcement is gathering the records to are trying to find federal funding for avenue improvement projects. The state patrol was deciphering that exception greater widely than kessler argued changed into affordable. While he gained gendler v. Batiste, he says, “that settled it as soon as and for all.” what still isn’t settled, in keeping with kessler, is how seattle will maintain cyclists safe. The metropolis has a developing range of bicycle commuters, expected at 7,500 through trip seattle. Whilst seattle encourages motorcycle commuting, imparting facilities inclusive of brought motorbike racks and a fledgling motorcycle-sharing program, kessler says it does now not regularly look into sidewalks and roadways for risks to cyclists. In step with kessler, the metropolis says it responds while notified of a potential chance—an approach he calls “reactionary.” he says, “we want to have a provision for annual inspections of our sidewalks and streets, and—to the quantity they could do it—roving crews, so we’re catching problems as they increase.” kessler is advocated, but, by means of the achievement of the second one avenue protected motorbike lane demonstration assignment, which opened in 2014, in imparting bicyclists a sector of protection in the mix with trucks and cars. And he's hopeful that the long-variety plans of scott kubly, director of the seattle department of transportation due to the fact that july 2014, will deliver better hotels for cyclists. In the meantime, kessler gives a few words of recommendation to all cyclists: “assume drivers don’t see you.”