Citi Bike, the bike rental service that launched earlier this year, has somewhere around 30,000 annual members who have logged over 270,000 miles on the rented bicycles. It sounds like a great thing for New York, until you learn about the Citi Bike accidents and their potential cost to innocent individuals on the street.
Four days after the service debuted, the company racked up their first bicycle accident. There have been three more since then. While that may not seem like a large amount, consider that Citi Bike users are a vast minority of the bicyclists in New York. Worse, none are covered by Citi Bike insurance. Instead, the policy they have (for themselves, not their members) restricts users to just $100 worth of claims against the company. Why should that matter? Because a bicycle accident can result in a loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars because of the hospital bills, injuries and lost wages. If the bike rider can't pay, it's up to the injured party to fend for him or herself.
The Observer pointed out in a much-debated article that the City of New York itself has had nearly $3.6 million per year in claims related to bicycle accidents. While others have pointed out that the actual percentage of bike accidents in New York City is quite small, the actual number still averages out to about 9 per day. In fact, The New York Daily News pointed out that bike riding in New York City is more dangerous than MMA Fighting.
It's not as if insurance options aren't available, Citi Bike just chooses not to offer them. Without insurance, Citi Bikers are responsible for all damages incurred while using the bike. This makes Citi Bike different from, say, rental car companies that give customers the option to purchase insurance. This means if a Citi Bike user is responsible for an accident and is not insured, the victim's only recourse is a lawsuit against the bike rider personally and the likelihood of collecting against a private individual for the most part is very poor.
The moral of the story is: always know your legal rights when it comes to any type of accident. If you or a loved one has been involved in any kind of bicycle accident, call the Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel for a free consultation to learn your rights at (800) 734-9338 or (212) 385-1122.