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Court makes local gov’t agency pay indemnity to fatal bike victim’s family
單車婦落圳摔死 水利局判賠一一四萬

A section of path next to the Caogong Canal where a woman fell off her bike and died is shown in this photo taken in Greater Kaohsiung’s Fongshan District on Feb. 10, 2012.
這張二0一二年二月十日攝於高雄市鳳山區的照片,是一位婦人騎單車行經曹公圳旁跌落溪底溺斃的步道路段。

Photo: Wang Jung-hsiang, Liberty Times
照片:自由時報記者王榮祥

A woman surnamed Guo was riding her bicycle along the Caogong Canal in Greater Kaohsiung when, allegedly because there were no warning signs for construction that was underway, she suddenly had a fatal fall at a section of the canal that was 1.7m deep. Her family filed for restitution. The Kaohsiung District Court said that she was 70 percent at fault for the accident because she did not get off her bicycle and walk it. The court ruling says that the Greater Kaohsiung Water Resources Department owes the family NT$1.14 million (US$37,700).

The department says that the path at the scene of the incident is less than 50cm wide, adding that there is a barrier installed at one side. The walkway is for pedestrians, and people generally know that it is not meant for cycling, the department says. The path is now closed and signs have been added to keep people from misusing the paths, the department says, adding that it has also filed an appeal.

On the morning of Feb. 10, 2012, Guo was riding her bike alongside the canal in Greater Kaohsiung’s Fongshan District when she fell to the bottom of a section of the canal 1.7m deep, dying shortly thereafter. Her family thinks the department’s beautifying landscape designs of greenery and shrubs along most of the paths have made the path too narrow at 40cm. They also say that the shrub barriers are not high enough and there are no warning signs, which is why they wanted the nation to pay an indemnity of more than NT$4 million.

The department says that this section of the path is for pedestrians only and not suitable for vehicles. Aside from creating living green fences, the department also set up barriers, offering double protection to keep pedestrians from falling down, which is why the department has denied negligence.

TODAY’S WORDS
今日單字

1. indemnity n.

賠償;保障 (pei2 chang2; bao3 zhang4)

例: The company was forced to pay US$3 million in indemnities.

(這家公司被迫付三百萬美元的賠償。)

2. pedestrian n.

行人 (xing2 ren2)

例: Sidewalks are meant for pedestrians, not scooters or bicycles.

(人行道提供行人專用,並非機車或腳踏車。)

3. appeal n.

上訴 (shang4 su4)

例: My lawyer said the court was wrong and that we should file an appeal.

(我的律師說法院錯了,我們應該提出上訴。)


The judge’s investigation found that the barrier was not high enough and that there were no warning signs, constituting negligence. Since Guo did not walk her bike along the path, she is 70 percent responsible for the accident in the judge’s opinion. He also thought that it would be more reasonable for the agency to pay an indemnity of NT$1.14 million.

(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)

高市郭姓婦人騎腳踏車途經曹公圳旁,卻因道路施工未設警告標誌,掉落約一點七公尺深的圳底死亡,家屬請求國家賠償,高雄地院認為她未下車通過,要負七成的過失責任,判決水利局應給付新台幣一一四萬元(三萬七千七百美元)。

水利局表示,事發現場的步道寬度不到五十公分,一旁還有圍籬設施,是專門供人行走,依一般人的認知,應該不會騎車上路,目前已封閉步道,增設相關標誌,避免民眾不當使用,並將提起上訴。

二0一二年二月十日上午,郭婦騎自行車行經高雄市鳳山區曹公圳旁,跌落約一點七公尺深的圳底傷重死亡。家屬認為水利局將大部分通道設計為花圃植栽美化,路寬僅約四十公分過於狹窄,並指木樁護欄不夠高,又未設置警告標誌,要求國賠四百多萬元。

水利局說,該路段屬人行通道,不適宜車行,除已設置綠籬,並有護欄雙重防護,以免行人跌落,否認有過失。

法官調查,認為護欄高度過低、未有警告標誌,的確有過失,但郭婦未以步行牽腳踏車方式通過,應負七成的過失責任,認為賠償新台幣一一四萬元比較合理。

(自由時報記者鮑建信、陳文嬋)

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