TRANSCRIPT: NPR: All Things Considered KUOW 94.9 FM, March 28, 2008


Sara Lerner

Bicyclists today (Fri.) filed suit against the the city of Seattle over sewer grates.

They say the grates are dangerous and the city won't fix the problem. KUOW's Sara Lerner reports.

The grates have wide openings that run parallel to the street and bikers' wheels get stuck in them. There are as many as 80,000 grates in the city. But how many are dangerous? The city doesn't know.

Bicycle lawyer Bob Anderton says he just wants the city to take action.


We have offered to go away for no money. And at this point the city has explicitly rejected that offer. We had hoped that they would inventory or allow others to inventory the grates and they haven't done that and they won't do that and so this is our — this is all we have left in our arsenal.

That's, to file a complaint on behalf of two cyclists. Both crashed and were hurt when their bike wheels got stuck in wide sewer grates. Anderton filed a similar suit two months ago. *

City attorney Tom Carr says this lawsuit won't help cyclists.

CARR (:18)

The policy of the city of Seattle is to not settle lawsuits by altering our streets or changing city policy. The reason that we make changes in the streets is because to the best of our ability with the tax dollars that we have we try to make them as safe as we can. We won't change things because someone sued us.

Meanwhile, city officials say they are working on a plan to count the grates and repair them. They say they'll make an announcement as soon as next month.

Sara Lerner, KUOW News.

Extra copy:

[Last November, Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels proposed a Bicycle Master Plan to make the city more cycle-friendly. It includes more than 100 miles of new bike lanes. But bike lawyer Bob Anderton says there's nothing in the plan about the hazardous grates.]


Anderton Law Office Filed a similar case on March 6, 2006 that settled on December 5, 2006.