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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.

Photo: Wang Jung-hsiang, Liberty Times

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.


1. indemnity n.

賠償;保障 (pei2 chang2; bao3 zhang4)

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


2. pedestrian n.

行人 (xing2 ren2)

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


3. appeal n.

上訴 (shang4 su4)

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


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)







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