NYC bike-share sued over patron’s mishap

by Walter Olson on March 7, 2014

“A Connecticut man who says he was injured on New York City’s Citi Bike has filed a $15 million lawsuit against the bike-share operator. … His attorney says the 73-year-old now suffers from traumatic nerve palsy that left him unable to smell or taste.” [AP, NY Daily News]

{ 5 comments }

1 Wfjag 03.07.14 at 4:34 am

In light of recent news reports of widespread findings of rodent droppings, spoiled and rotten food, and a host of other unsanitary conditions found in many NYC restaurants (many of them in upscale neighborhoods), does loss of the senses of taste and smell qualify as damages?

2 KDP 03.07.14 at 11:57 am

Eventually, everything will be painted safety orange or yellow. Then a new round of claims that hazards blend in with the surroundings will commence.

3 Evan 03.07.14 at 2:02 pm

I’m a cyclist, and I know to be on the lookout for hazards. The barrier does sort of blend in with the street – but part of being a safe, responsible cyclist is to be alert for gray-colored hazards such as bumpers, fallen branches, and curbs.

However, Mr. Corwin was even more negligent than this: Why in the world was he riding into the docking station so quickly that his bike flipped over on hitting the barrier? From the picture, even absent the concrete barrier, he would’ve had to stop in several feet at the docking station. Perhaps he was planning to ride down the station adjacent to the bikes, but that path looks so dangerously narrow that I’d never take it at high speed. So either way, he should have already been going very slowly – and if he’d been doing that, bumping the barrier would not have flipped him over.

4 Rich 03.07.14 at 2:59 pm

In all honesty, i thought a lawsuit based on this would have happened much sooner.

5 Mike 03.08.14 at 9:53 am

I share Rich’s surprise that this is apparently the first filed lawsuit re the bike program.
It will be interesting to see how the city’s claim that it is protected against lawsuits works out…apparently this is some sort of defend and indemnify provision in the contract with the bike program operator. PI attorneys (I am not one): can a municipality fully protect itself by interposing the bike program operator’s responsibility (per the contract) and insurance policy? I assume, of course, that the program operator put the barrier in place. If the city formally approved the placement of the barrier, that might change the picture.
I suppose, in the end, it will depend on the liability limits in the policy , and some provision to defend the city which the insuror cannot wiggle out of, probably in a separate certificate of insurance in the city’s name which the bike program operator is contractually obligated to provide. The coverage amount in such a policy would have to be huge, in a city like NY and considering the nature of the activity (old people riding bicycles in the street).
If not, look for the Citibike program to end quickly.

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