The Citi Bike Program: Lawsuits Waiting to Happen?
When the Citi Bike program was launched in May of 2013, there were dire predictions that thousands of joyriders would crash into pedestrians and each other, causing serious injury to all involved. And, because the bike-sharing rules encourage but do not require the use of helmets, critics feared a large number of fatalities too. But, in its first full year of operation, no fatalities have occurred because of the Citi Bike program. Out of 8.75 million trips, there were about 100 crash reports, 25 of which warranted a visit to the emergency room. One Citi Bike rider, pedaling down a one-way street in the wrong direction, crashed into a pedestrian and caused injury. The rider has been sued for $1 million.
The Biggest Problem
Throughout Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn there are 330 docking stations containing a total of 6,000 bright blue bicycles. And while the bikes and riders have caused a small number of crashes, it is the docking stations that present the most serious risk of injury. Installed near the docking station is a 6 foot wide, 6 inch high concrete barrier. The barrier functions as a “wheelstop”, to prevent vehicles from backing up into the bicycle rack. As originally installed, the base of the barricade was painted gray, the same color as the sidewalk. Pedestrians and riders who are unable to distinguish between the end of the sidewalk and the concrete barrier face a risk of tripping over or crashing into the barrier and hurting themselves. Lawsuits have resulted, including several by pedestrians and one for $15 million by a 73 year-old Citi Bike rider who suffered serious nerve damage after colliding with a barrier and flipping over. At least some of the docking station barricades have now been spray painted orange and identified by orange construction cones.
Even when they are not causing injury to riders and pedestrians, the docking stations still produce a variety of complaints. Residents of city apartment buildings claim the stations take up too much room on the streets and disrupt traffic in front of their buildings. Parking spaces and loading zones have been eliminated to make way for the bike-sharing program. A number of lawsuits have been filed by city residents objecting to the presence of bike stations in their neighborhoods.
If You are Injured as a Result of the Citi Bike Program
On the whole, bicycle-sharing in New York City has been a success. When accidents and injuries do occur, it is important to consult a personal injury lawyer to determine whether a valid claim for damages exists. For example, in a negligence action involving a collision with a concrete barrier, the injured party would have to show the following:
- That the city and Citi Bike operator owed him a duty to act reasonably in installing the bike station barrier.
- That the city or Citi Bike operator breached that duty.
- That the breach of duty caused the rider or pedestrian’s injuries and
- Actual damages resulted from the negligent actions.
Contact the Orlow Firm Today
If you have been injured in an accident involving a Citi Bike or Citi Bike docking station, the personal injury attorneys at the Orlow Firm can assist you in your claim for compensation. The initial consultation is free. For your convenience, we maintain four offices throughout New York City.
Call (646) 647-3398 or contact us online.