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Milwaukee man suing over streetcar talks about crash, injuries

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) - The Milwaukee street car isn’t fully operational yet, and there are already 11 people suing the city over the dangers.

John Rivera and his wife are suing the city to cover medical bills, after a crash in August when their motorcycle tire got stuck in the track near St. Paul and Water Streets.

They are suing the city to help cover medical bills… and hopefully force a change.

“We took a pretty bad fall, and the medical bills haven’t been cheap,” said Rivera.

John got road rash on his foot and arm, and hurt his knee.  His wife  got the worst of it.

“She had severe bruising all over her face, black eye swollen shut two days later actually, pretty good knot on her head, she also had three severe sprains in her knee,” said Rivera.

“Cross the tracks at an angle versus trying to ride parallel to the track is important,” said City Engineer Jeff Polenske.

Polenske says motorcycles and bikes need to be careful how they cross those tracks.

“That they’re making good movements across the tracks just as they would be when they’re crossing other obsticles such as manhole covers,” said Polenske.

But Rivera says that’s not always possible, and he’s not alone. In fact, his crash was not the first at that intersection.

“One of the officers that should up said, he literally showed me in the ground, he said do you see those scrape marks, he goes, that’s from the other guy that fell at the exact location,” said Rivera.

He’s suing to recover medical bills, but hopes it forces the city to make the tracks safer.

The city thinks it will just take time.

“I think there’s a time period here where people are going to become very familiar with how they should be operating around the streetcar,” said Polenske.

“We all love our city, we all want good things to come to this city, we all want people to come visit the city, we just want everyone to be safe,” said Rivera.

John’s wife still faces rehab on her knee.

The HOP will be fully operational in November.

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