It must be an innocent oversight: The New York Observer's courageous stand against bike sharing in May somehow failed to instruct New Yorkers to purchase cycling insurance along with a bike. But because the paper cares dearly about your well-being, they sent a reporter to point out that Free Will imbues us with great responsibilities, and that Citi Bike is a powder keg of personal injury lawsuits.
As it stands now, Citi Bike isn't liable for claims greater than $100. And unlike Gyms, where you get Gym Insurance before you even set foot in those Liability Jungles (can anyone remember what life was like before Gym Insurance?), you're on your own. Alone. With all the liability resting on those adult shoulders of yours. It's like Atlas, if Atlas had only 30 minutes to dock The Heavens.
Without insurance, bicyclists leave themselves open to liability from accidents and for the cost of lost or stolen bikes, not to mention the costs associated with their own injuries. (Health insurance covers any injury bills to a rider, but 14.8 percent of New Yorkers don’t have health insurance, a statistic likely to be higher among the bike-riding population.)
The reference to a statistic of cyclists being uninsured at higher rates than the general population comes from an audit performed by the Institute For Data Obtained By Anal Extraction (IFDOBAE, or "Ass."). What's The Observer's position on expanding health insurance for people who—oh, right.
The article then cites Comptroller John Liu expressing concern that the city's $10 million insurance policy that the City required Citi Bike operator Alta to obtain wouldn't be enough.
Representatives from the IFDOBAE wern't immediately available, and we can't immediately find any reports of other major bikeshare cities seeing an uptick in lawsuits from users. But perhaps looking at bikeshare-related injuries is instructive.
As of the middle of last year, Paris' Vélib system, which launched in 2007, has experienced seven cycling deaths out of 138 million trips. In the first year that London had its system, it saw 6.2 million trips; there were 70 minor and 9 serious injuries, but no deaths. As of last year, D.C.'s Capital Bikeshare saw one crash per 90,000 rides, none of them fatal.