New York winters can be long and difficult, which is why we love summer. We can get from Point A to B without fighting the wind, snow, and freezing rain. Once the sidewalks and park pathways clear, we also start seeing the bright blue bikes offered by Citi Bike and other bike-share programs available across the city.
For over five years, Citi Bike was one of the only bike-share options in New York. Then, in July 2018, the New York Times announced that dockless and electric bikes would be making an appearance, even in the Bronx and Staten Island, which Citi Bike did not cover. The city’s reaction to this popular West Coast phenomenon has been so enthusiastic that New York appears to be in a confirmed state of bike-share mania.
While this is great news for New Yorkers who want to enjoy the fresh air and get fit, it raises liability questions. If you are cycling along the streets or through the parks on a rented bicycle and suffer an injury, then who is liable?
If you are hit while riding
If you are struck by a motorist who wasn’t obeying the rules of the road, then they can potentially be held responsible for your injuries and ordered to cover your medical costs, lost wages, and other damages from their insurance. If your injuries are especially severe and the insurance payments won’t meet your financial needs, then filing a personal injury lawsuit may be necessary to get appropriate compensation.
If the bike is defective
In March 2014, the New York Daily News published a story alleging that Alta Bicycle Share, which manages the Citi Bike program, was failing to maintain its bicycles or repair broken docking stations. All bikes were supposed to undergo a mechanical inspection once a month, but in December 2013 only 34% were checked, followed by 45% in January 2014.
If you are injured because your bike was not properly maintained and kept in safe and usable condition, then a New York personal injury can help you file a lawsuit against the company for negligence. If the bike was unsafe due to a manufacturing defect, then your attorney could take steps to recover damages from the manufacturer.
Suing for damages after a bike-sharing injury
When you’ve suffered a life-changing injury while riding a rented bike, it is not your responsibility to cover your own medical costs and deal with outcomes like pain and disability on your own. A New York personal injury attorney will help you identify the responsible parties, collect the evidence necessary to prove your claim, and fight for you at the settlement table or at trial so that you get the financial resources you need to recover. Jayson Lutzky is a Bronx, NY lawyer offering free in-person consultations. If you were injured, then seek medical assistance immediately. Call 718-329-9500 if you have any legal questions.