Transit districts claim immunity in bicyclist’s wrongful death lawsuit

Two Illinois transit districts have claimed immunity in a wrongful death case filed by a woman whose husband was killed while riding his bicycle along a trail.

The Agency for Community Transit in Edwardsville and the Madison County Mass Transit District have claimed immunity under the Tort Immunity Act.

According to the lawsuit, William Beltz was riding his bicycle along Schoolhouse Trail in Madison County when he was struck by a vehicle traveling along Route 111. Beltz died of his injuries. His wife, Mary Beltz, filed the wrongful death lawsuit.

The lawsuit claims that bicyclists must navigate the intersection of the trail with Route 111 by means of a crosswalk lacking signage warning of the intersection’s dangers. According to the complaint, William Beltz had no notice of the hazards he would encounter at the intersection. The lawsuit also alleges that prior to its reconstruction, the Schoolhouse Trail was 560 feet south of the intersection.

In a motion to dismiss, the two transit districts argued that, as public entities, they are immune under the Tort Immunity Act.
The defendants said that local public entities and employees are not liable under the Act for injuries caused by the failure to provide traffic control devices or by the condition of riding trails.

Judge Barbara Crowder of Madison County Circuit Court took the motion under advisement.

The lawsuit seeks a judgment of more than $400,000.

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