City to pay millions to cyclist hurt in crash on uneven sidewalk

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SAN DIEGO — The San Diego City Council Tuesday signed off Tuesday on a $4.85 million legal settlement for a man who was badly injured in a bicycle crash on a city sidewalk.

Clifford Brown suffered head and spinal injuries in the Sept. 30, 2014, accident on an uneven sidewalk in Del Cerro and has needed ongoing care. The award was given initial approval by the council in a closed session vote five months ago.

A 2015 assessment of sidewalks in San Diego found 85,000 locations with some sort of damage.

Councilman David Alvarez said he suggested last year that the city develop a policy on sidewalk maintenance so the city could take responsibility for repairs, but the idea went nowhere. He said he would submit his recommendation again this year.

“We should not be paying out millions and millions of dollars of taxpayer dollars to cure an incident like this one when we could be actually fixing our sidewalks to avoid this,” Alvarez said.

Alvarez voted for the settlement, however. Councilman Chris Ward, who wasn’t on the panel when the previous vote was taken, was the lone dissenter.