New York’s Citi Bike undergoing $15 million lawsuit

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After a long and brutal winter, New Yorkers are finally looking forward to biking in the city without fighting the wind, snow and ice. While many riders brave the weather in winter, bicycling around the city picks up in spring and summer. City planners have gotten on board, with bike lanes and a bike sharing program popping up around the city. The NYC Bike Share operates Citi Bike, a bike-sharing program that provides thousands of shared bikes at stations throughout the city.

But bicycling comes with its own risks - from motorists, other pedestrians and construction sites.

Recently, a Connecticut man sued Citi Bike, claiming that one of its stations was unsafe. The station at East 56th Street and Madison Avenue had a gray, six-inch high barrier which the 73 year-old ran over on his way to the station. The man claims in his lawsuit that the barrier blended into the road. Citi Bike has since painted the barrier orange to more clearly mark the station. The barrier, known as a wheelstop, is meant to stop cars from backing into stations.

The man claims he suffered traumatic nerve palsy and can no longer smell or taste food. He is seeking $15 million in damages.

Other troubles have plagued the city's bike sharing operation. The New York Daily news recently reported that Alta Bicycle Share, which oversees the Citi Bike program through a subsidiary, is not quickly repairing broken docking stations or keeping up with cleaning its bicycles. Alta bicycle share has undertaken a contract in which it agreed that every bike in Citi Bike will receive a monthly mechanical check; in January, however, less than half of the 6,000 bikes in the program received a checkup.

The New York Times also recently reported Alta may be suffering financially, although as of yet there are no plans to declare bankruptcy. Despite problems, images of celebrities on Citi Bike in television and magazines have helped to keep the program popular. And the bike share program has broad public support.

Biking should increase this summer

The more bicyclists in the city, the more awareness of bike safety in the city there is. To that end, bicyclists may welcome the increased publicity of bike riding in the city.

Still, dangers exist. Bicyclists who have been injured while riding should contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss legal options and the possibility of recovering medical expenses and other costs.