In California, cities have immunity when people are injured while using paved or unpaved trails because of the design or location of the trail. The immunity does not apply when the injuries are caused by a dangerous condition that is unrelated to the trail, however. In Reed v. City of Los Angeles, Cal. Ct. App., Case No. B294531, the courts considered whether a badminton rope stretched across a bicycle trail was an unrelated dangerous condition or could have caused injuries to people regardless of whether they were using the trail.
Factual and procedural background
On Sept. 12, 2015, Sells Reed III was riding his bicycle at 5:30 a.m. on a paved path that was adjacent to some sports fields in MacArthur Park in Los Angeles. Some people who were not connected to the City of Los Angeles had stretched a rope of a badminton net across the path. Reed did not see the rope and struck it, causing him to fall backward from his bicycle and to suffer multiple injuries. He filed a lawsuit against Los Angeles, alleging that the city had constructive notice of the existence of a dangerous condition on public property or that the city’s public employees were negligent in the performance of their jobs, resulting in his injuries.