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Iowa City transit bus strikes bicyclist downtown

BY QUENTIN MISIAG | JULY 24, 2013 5:00 AM

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A Tuesday afternoon bus collision involving a bicyclist crossing one of Iowa City’s most heavily traveled streets is the latest of several that have taken place over the past two years.

But one Iowa City transportation official maintains that the situation does not signal an increase in accidents historically.

At approximately 2:35 p.m. Tuesday, the driver of an Iowa City Transit bus struck a young female bicyclist at the intersection of Burlington and Clinton Streets, Transportation Services Director Chris OBrien said.

The woman, still unidentifed, was riding her bicycle on Clinton Street and trying to cross Burlington Street.

Following the incident, O’Brien said, area ambulatory service was dispatched, but emergency medical transport was declined and no citations had been issued as of 5 p.m. Tuesday.

“Obviously, you don’t ever want to get into an accident, and anytime a situation like this arises, you’re concerned, and you want to do a full investigation and look into the matter, and we will do that,” he said.

Although he said he was unaware of the particular condition of the female involved, O’Brien said, she was able to ride the bicycle away following the collision.

Tuesday’s incident marks the first city bus-related situation since he joined city staff in 2008, O’Brien said.

He said he and fellow city staff members have yet to identify an increase or decrease in bus-pedestrian collisions.

The intersection, which is near the site of the University of Iowa’s new School of Music complex, is one of Iowa City’s most-heavily traveled streets, serving as a critical east-west thoroughfare between downtown, the University of Iowa’s main campus, and the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

Most recently, on July 8, a Cambus collided with a vehicle heading north on Dubuque Street at approximately 7:57 p.m. No one was injured in the collision, and no charges have been filed to date. That incident marked the third time that a UI bus has been involved in an accident in the last two years.

The first occurred in September 2011, when UI student Rebecca Segriff was hit while crossing the intersection of Madison and Washington Streets. She sustained significant injuries, according to officials at the scene.

The UI nursing student is now suing the University, the state of Iowa, and the Cambus driver, Peter Leahy, who was involved with the accident.

Segriff claimed in the lawsuit that the driver failed to keep a proper lookout, failed to keep the bus under control, and failed to yield to the pedestrian’s right of way. Segriff also claimed the Leahy was driving with excessive speed.

Segriff is seeking compensation for disfigurement, medical services, and physical and emotional pain and suffering.

She is requesting a trial by jury.

The second incident occurred in May, when a 66-year-old man was struck at the intersection of Clinton and Jefferson Streets. The accident happened when Audrey Kelly, the Cambus driver at the time, reportedly failed to yield to a pedestrian in the crosswalk on Clinton Street. The man was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

“I think we do have to revisit these issues frequently and even more frequently than we have been doing in the past because our campus and our community is larger,” UI President Sally Mason said in a May 7 interview with The Daily Iowan. “And we’re going to have to take a very careful look to make sure that we’re doing everything that we can to ensure the safety of pedestrians as well as the safety of the riders on our Cambus.”


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