American tourist suing City of Vancouver for seawall cyclist crash

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Stanley Park seawall / shutterstock

The City of Vancouver and an unknown ‘John Doe’ cyclist are being sued by an American woman who broke her back after she was knocked off the Stanley Park seawall by a cyclist.

Court documents, a notice of civil claim filed in B.C. Supreme Court on Wednesday, obtained by Vancity Buzz indicate Virginia state resident Charmaine Mitchell is suing the parties involved in the incident. She is being represented by Vancouver personal injury lawyer Anthony Vecchio.

On the afternoon of Saturday, July 19, 2014, Mitchell was walking the seawall with her boyfriend when a group of speeding cyclists crossed into the pedestrian lane. One of the cyclists hit Mitchell, knocking her off the ground and onto the rocks 10 feet below.

“The guy was not wearing a helmet. Three guys came around like they were chasing each other,” boyfriend James Drummond told Vancity Buzz in an interview in 2014. “The first two came into the pedestrian lane, causing us to move over towards the edge. The third guy came right at her and knocked her off the seawall.”

The cyclist who hit Mitchell was only identified as a male. He did not flee from the incident and provided his information to the Park Ranger and lifeguard.

Mitchell’s injuries were extensive, with a fractured left patella, three fractured vertebrae including a burst fracture, and a fractured big right toe. Eight screws and two rods were inserted into her back during a surgical procedure performed days following the collision.

At the time, surgeons expected that several months of recovery and physical therapy would be required before she could walk again.

The plaintiff alleges the City of Vancouver is also responsible for the collision on the basis of negligence, given that it has a duty to ensure the seawall design is safe for all users, both pedestrians and cyclists.

“The advocacy that they have put in for the cyclists in this city has been well documented and controversial. In a major tourist area like the seawall, the same advocacy needs to be shared between pedestrians and cyclists,” Drummond continued.

“That particular point on the seawall is very narrow and there are points the seawall should maybe be a part where cyclists dismount.”

Mitchell was born in Toronto and lived in Vancouver for three years before moving to Virginia state. She has visited Vancouver at least a dozen times in recent years.

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Kenneth Chan Deputy Editor & Social Media Manager at Vancity Buzz. He covers stories pertaining to local architecture, urban issues, politics, business, retail, economic development, transportation, infrastructure, and anything else that makes a difference in the lives of Vancouverites. Kenneth is also a Co-Founder of New Year's Eve Vancouver. Connect with him at kenneth[at]vancitybuzz.com
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