The popular ride-sharing company is under fire after a Connecticut man alleged that he flipped over the Citi Bike he was riding this fall, after his front wheel struck a low barrier that had been installed next to the bicycle docking station near E. 56th Street and Madison Avenue.
According to reports, the accident damaged a nerve in his brain, eliminating his sense of taste and smell. Because Citi Bike doesn't mandate that their users wear helmets, the injured rider is seeking damages from the company for its lack of an adequate safety policy which may have prevented the injury.
Should Citi Bike be found liable for the injuries caused to the rider, it is likely that damages would be paid directly from the company's pockets rather than from New York City. Indeed, the city's contract with Citi Bike makes Citi Bike's insurance company responsible for lawsuits involving the bike-share system and protects the city from claims.
But are ride-sharing bike services like Citi Bike any more inherently dangerous than riding your own personal bicycle? According to data gathered from the start of Citi Bike in New York through 2014, it appears that Citi Bike has largely avoided any major setbacks.
According to the New York City Department of Transportation, there were eighteen bike fatalities in 2012, 12 in 2013, and 20 as of late 2014. However, during the same time frame, reports estimated no one has been killed and only 40 people have been hurt and required medical attention after 10.3 million rides using Citi Bike.
Moreover, data reveals that Citi Bike's accident rate is about 10.5 crashes with or without injury per 1 million trips, which is relatively low, compared to general bicycle accident statistics.
So one practical conclusion that may be drawn from these numbers is that cyclist safety may be largely dependent on the cyclist and the various conditions in which they may operate. One thing all cyclists should remember to do is to wear a helmet while biking.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident, please contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Sakkas, Cahn & Weiss, LLP. For a free initial consultation, please call (212) 571-7171, to reach Sakkas, Cahn & Weiss, LLP, today.