Concussion and traumatic brain injury are common injuries in bike accidents. What many do not understand is that these injuries can change the trajectory of your life. Recovery may be frustratingly slow. Years later, you may still be feeling the effects.
Helmet use, however, can save lives and avoid brain injuries. How does this relate to bike sharing services, such as Citibike? New York City does not provide helmets or require riders to use them. This was not an oversight, but a decision the City made after reviewing studies that showed mandatory helmet use could decrease ridership and riders wearing helmets could be more reckless.
A settlement with the City
A recent case related to a number of liability issues. What happened? On an October morning in 2013, a man was riding a Citibike through Midtown Manhattan without a helmet. When passing through the East 56th and Madison Avenue stop, he hit a concrete wheel stop. In the accident, he flew from the bike and suffered a brain injury when his head hit the pavement.
A couple issues were of concern. The design of the station did not include a bike lane to separate the station from vehicles. This defective design caused the man to hit the wheel stop. The defense raised the lack of helmet use even though it did not offer helmets to riders. New York state law does not mandate adult riders wear helmets. This may have been used to mitigate the damages if the defendants had been found liable, however.
On the eve of trial, New York City and Citibike reached a confidential settlement with the man. This resolution may not have included any admission of fault, but it has to be a message to revisit design and helmet policies.
Helmet access & safe design
Few people using bike share programs are carrying helmets with them. It is important to provide helmets, which are proven to protect against brain injury. The fact that the City considered providing them and opted against it is a concern. Now, hopefully they can find a way to provide bike helmets and those who use the program can ride safely.
Reviewing the design of stations and stops is another critical issue that must be addressed to avoid future injury.
When seriously injured in an accident, speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. Personalized legal advice is the only way to pursue each potential avenue for a financial recovery that covers your long-term needs.