The Reykjavík District Court has ruled that the City of Reykjavík does not have to compensate a local cyclist who was injured when running over a rabbit on a municipally maintained cycling path, RÚV reports.
The accident occurred in 2016, after a rabbit ran into the path of the man’s bicycle. He ran over the animal, fell off his bike, and careened into a tree. He then had to be hospitalized for ten days to recover from the injuries he sustained.
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In his suit, the man claimed that the conditions of the cycling path were indefensible, and that the lighting at the scene of the accident was particularly bad. He also maintained that the city had been aware of an ongoing wild rabbit epidemic, as well as an increase in cycling accidents involving the wayward hoppers, but had failed to take any action about this until subsequent media coverage of the issue.
In its judgement on the case, the District Court agreed that the city would have been aware of the disturbances that rabbits could cause for cyclists on its paths. However, rabbits are wild mammals and therefore, protected by Icelandic law. “It’s clear that rabbits, like other animals including birds, cats, and rats, can find their way onto the city’s walking and cycling paths,” remarked the court, adding that it would be no easy thing for municipal authorities to prevent such encounters.
The court also found that better lighting and/or mirrors on the path would have been unlikely to prevent the accident and the city will not be obligated to pay damages to the cyclist.