Cycling Crash on Tracks Results In Traumatic Brain Injury

A woman who suffered a traumatic brain injury when she crashed her bicycle on the newly installed streetcar tracks has filed a claim against the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA).
Attorneys for Angel Welch sent notice of her personal injury claim to the RTA and city-owned Sun Tran transit service earlier this year, saying they’ll settle for $3 million.  State law requires claims to be noticed within 180 days for a specific amount (which needs to be the maximum the injury might warrant) against governmental entities. 

The crash happened in August as Welch was turning south from Congress Street onto Fifth Avenue. Her tire caught in the groove between the tracks and pavement and she was thrown into the street.

Many Tucson cyclists have expressed concern about the new track system.  The Living Streets Alliance, a safety and access advocacy group, has collected about 30 reports of bike crashes on the tracks.  Many more have gone unreported.

City leaders had warnings about the potential for crashes like Welch’s, including several letters from their own Bicycle Advisory Committee.

Two years ago the committee sent a letter warning now-City Manager Richard Miranda that the type of rail chosen for the project is “much more likely to catch the tires of bicyclists, causing them to crash and potentially throwing riders onto the street in front of traffic.”

The committee said it understands the need to finish the project on time and on budget, “however, we feel it is a mistake to negatively impact bicyclists, potentially causing many injuries.”

See a timeline on Tucson’s modern streetcar at

You can report crashes online at

Pima County sponsors free, one-hour bike safety classes at the University of Arizona Mall, including lessons on how to ride safely near tracks. The next classes are: 9 a.m. April 17; 10 a.m. May 9; 9:30 a.m. May 21

Go to or call 243-BIKE (2453) for more class times.

At Bache & Lynch we hope all of your cycling adventures are safe ones, but if you are involved in a crash, please contact us for assistance with your claim.  Keep in mind that your time frame to make a claim may be very short.