Woman injured on bike test ride awarded $12,000

December 28, 1992|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Staff Writer

A woman received $12,000 in the settlement of a suit she filed against a Columbia bicycle shop, which she claimed was responsible for an accident she had while test-riding a bike.

Roberta Poling of Columbia originally sought $1.1 million in damages in a suit filed against Columbia Bicycles in Howard Circuit Court last May, according to court records.

Ms. Poling claimed in the suit that the bicycle shop, which operates in the Long Reach Village Center, was negligent for permitting her to use a defective bike during a test ride in August 1990.

"As a direct result of the negligence of the defendant . . . [Ms. Poling] suffered severe pain and permanent injuries to her body," the suit says.

The civil suit -- scheduled for a jury trial in January -- was settled last month, records say.

Richard Schimel, a Bethesda attorney for the bike shop, noted that the owner of the business, Gordon Lowe of Gaithersburg, did not admit responsibility for the accident in the settlement agreement.

In court papers, Mr. Schimel argued that there is an "assumption of risk" by a customer when test-riding a bicycle. He also contended that the bike used by Ms. Poling did not contain any defects.

"[The shop] did not commit the wrongs as alleged," Mr. Schimel said in a response filed in July.

But Ms. Poling, represented by Bruce Plaxen of Columbia, contends that the shop operators knew or should have known that the unsafe condition of the bicycle would cause injuries to a rider, the suit says.

Ms. Poling, who lives in the Wilde Lake village, was test-riding a bike outside the shop on Aug. 18, 1990, the suit says.

During the test run, the bike's front tire blew out, which caused the 40-year-old woman to be thrown over the handlebars and onto the pavement, the suit says.

The suit claims that the operators of the bike shop were responsible for providing Ms. Poling with a safe bicycle.

The shop operators also should have inspected the bike before the plaintiff rode it to make sure it was properly assembled and maintained, the suit says.

Because of the injuries, Ms. Poling has had to spend "large sums of money for doctors, nurses, hospitalizations, medical treatment and medicine, the suit says.

The suit does not detail Ms. Poling's injuries, nor does it say how much she spent on medical treatment.

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