This image shows the gap in the streetcar track the family of Desiree McCloud argues resulted in the 27-year-old's crash and later death.
This image shows the gap in the streetcar track the family of Desiree McCloud argues resulted in the 27-year-old's crash and later death.

The family of Desiree McCloud argues the City of Seattle did not do enough to keep her and other bicyclists safe when riding near the First Hill Streetcar tracks, which resulted in the 27-year-old’s death in May 2016.

Representing her estate, McCloud’s brother has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city that includes a personal injury suit by another cyclist injured near where McCloud crashed.

McCloud had plans to ride with friends from the 2600 block of East Roy Street to Alki Beach on May 13, 2016.

While attempting to pass another cyclist on East Yesler Way at 13th Avenue, her bike tire was caught in a track groove gap for the streetcar track, throwing her to the pavement; she had been wearing a helmet. McCloud died from her injuries on May 24.

Exactly a year later, Suzanne G. Greenberg was riding in the same area when her bike also hit a track groove gap as she attempted to pass a bus on East Yesler Way. She survived her crash, but the lawsuit states she suffered injuries, medical costs, wage loss and disability.

The lawsuit filed in mid-December claims the city was aware the streetcar rails were a hazard for cyclists, but did not take measures to separate cyclists from the tracks or make it so bicycle tires wouldn’t get stuck in them.

That could have been accomplished by putting removable rubber flangeway fillers into the track, so bike tires wouldn’t fit in the rail spaces, according to the lawsuit. The city also could have found ways to separate the bike lane from the lanes used by automobiles and the streetcar, the lawsuit states, or used various signage, including a no-bicycle-passing zone. The suit also states the city should not have allowed for a bus stop on the north side of East Yesler Way west of 14th Avenue, where Greenberg’s crash occurred. 

“Defendant City’s failure to safeguard bicycle riding children and adults from the streetcar track groove hazard left a potential trap for bicycle tires within the roadway not present for automobile tires,” according the wrongful death suit.

The estate for McCloud and Greenberg are seeking various damages and attorney’s fees to be decided at trial. The City of Seattle has not yet responded to the lawsuit.

McCloud Lawsuit by branax2000 on Scribd