By Jon Hilkevitch
4:58 PM CST, November 14, 2012
The CTA board today approved payment of a $5.45 million settlement to the estate of a Chicago woman hit and killed by a CTA bus while she attempted to remove her bicycle from a bike rack on the vehicle.
Ludwika Szynalik, 59, was taking her bike off the rack on the front of the No. 152 Addison bus she had been riding on Dec. 31, 2007 when the driver accelerated and dragged her more than 80 feet, according to a lawsuit Szynalik's family filed in Cook County Circuit Court in 2008.
Recordings from bus cameras showed Szynalik, a housekeeper and mother of two adult sons, exit the bus at Addison Street and Neenah Avenue and start to remove her bike from the rack, the lawsuit said, adding that the driver should have seen her.
Szynalik, a resident of the Northwest Side, died later that day at Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge.
Martin Stark, the CTA driver, was cited by police for negligent driving and failure to exhibit due care for a pedestrian on the roadway, officials said.
Stark had only about one year of experience driving buses, the CTA said at the time. He was dismissed from the CTA after an investigation, officials said.
The CTA revised its operating procedures for bus drivers after the accident to ensure that close attention is paid to riders who use the bus-mounted bike racks, officials said.
In addition, a public safety campaign by the CTA and the Active Transportation Alliance reminded bicycling transit commuters to exit the bus by the front door and let the driver know that they will be removing their bicycle from the rack.
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