Breaking News
More () »

San Diego sued over cyclist death on Pershing Drive bike lane

SDSU faculty member and architect Laura Shinn was hit and killed on July 20, 2021 while riding in a Pershing Drive Bike Lane. The driver now faces murder charges.

SAN DIEGO — The husband of a woman who was struck and killed while cycling on Pershing Drive in July 2021 is suing the city of San Diego over unsafe conditions. 

Laura Shinn, an architect and Director of Facilities and Planning at San Diego State University, was riding her bike in the northbound bike lane on Pershing Drive when she was struck from behind by a man suspected of being high on methamphetamine and fentanyl.

In a newly filed lawsuit, Shinn's husband says the city of San Diego and SANDAG failed to ensure the street was safe for cyclists and that motorists were allowed to travel at high speeds, resulting in a risk for cyclists using the lanes. 

"The speed control and monitoring on Pershing Drive [were] negligently and recklessly identified and delineated as a bicycle lane, bicycle route, and/or bicycle path," reads the lawsuit. "Dangerous conditions created a
concealed trap to foreseeable users of this roadway, including the decedent, Laura Shinn."

A month after Shinn's death, and days after a scooter rider was also killed on Pershing, Mayor Todd Gloria ordered temporary bollards be installed along Pershing Drive in order to make the roadway safer for pedestrians.

“I brought to this office a firm commitment to creating safe and easily accessible ways for San Diegans to get from Point A to Point B without a car,” Gloria said in a September 2021 statement. "Traveling around our City without a car should not be life-threatening. I will continue to work to make active transportation safe for all residents in all neighborhoods.”

In January of this year, the regional planning agency San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) began construction on the Pershing Bikeway Project, an effort to "transform Pershing Drive into a “low-stress” street that will be more convenient and comfortable for people biking, walking, and rolling."

Credit: SANDAG
Map of Pershing Bikeways Project

However, attorneys for Shinn's husband say it shouldn't have taken Shinn's death to make Pershing safe for cyclists and other pedestrians.

"[The City and SANDAG] had actual knowledge of the existence of...the dangerous nature and character of the road...and taken reasonable steps to protect against the foreseeable harm of serious bodily injury caused by the dangerous condition," reads the lawsuit.

The driver, 39-year-old Adam Milavetz, now faces murder and vehicular manslaughter charges. Prosecutors say Milavetz was high on methamphetamine and fentanyl at the time of Shinn's death. He is set to appear in court in early July. 

RELATED: Man accused of driving on methamphetamine, fatally striking bicyclist in Balboa Park pleads not guilty

WATCH RELATED: Man accused of driving on methamphetamine and killing cyclists pleads not guilty.

RELATED: Man killed in Balboa Park scooter crash identified

In a statement, a spokesperson for SANDAG said the agency is not able "to comment on any ongoing litigation; SANDAG wants to send its sincerest condolences to the Shinn family.”

The San Diego City Attorney's Office did not respond to a request for comment.

Before You Leave, Check This Out