- How big is the pothole?
- How deep is the pothole?
- Where is the pothole?
- What color is the pothole compared to the surrounding roadway?
- Is something blocking the view of the pothole?
- What were the lighting conditions around the pothole?
- Was the pothole filled with material that disguised its dangerous size or depth?
Again, each of these cases are very “fact specific” and no two cases are really ever the same. The open and obvious doctrine only applies when a reasonable person can appreciate the risk involved. It’s not always possible to comprehend every risky condition, no matter how safe or reasonable we are while riding. Nevertheless, injured cyclists routinely face the open and obvious defense when a road defect causes a crash. The firm recently resolved a complicated case where the bicyclist suffered and injured collarbone after crashing on a defect during a road resurfacing project involving the Halsted Street bike lane. In that case we used an iconic Coke can to provide scale and contrast to depict the height of a defect that otherwise blended into the roadway at first glance.