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Two Pedestrians Plan to Sue Over Citi Bike Station Injuries

By James Fanelli | October 2, 2013 7:00am
 Two pedestrians say they plan to sue the city, claiming they were injured when they tripped over a Citi Bike station.
Pedestrians Claim Injuries Caused by Citi Bike Stations
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GREENWICH VILLAGE — Citi Bikes have led to some bad trips.

Claims of injuries related to the popular bicycle-sharing program have begun, but the rides haven't been the reason — it’s the docking stations.

Two pedestrians plan to sue the city after injuring themselves by tripping over Citi Bike stations in Manhattan. Both filed notices of claims — the precursor to bringing a lawsuit against the city — after suffering falls in the spring.

The two notices are the first — and so far only — to claim injuries related to the Citi Bike program, according to a search by the city Comptroller’s office

Howard Orlick, who is legally blind, says on May 5 at about 2 p.m. he took a tumble at the Citi Bike station on University Place near 13th Street. Orlick, of Chelsea, misjudged where the sidewalk ended and the base of the station began because they’re both gray, according to his notice of claim.

“I fell into the 6-inch gap [between the sidewalk and the station] and twisted my ankle pretty badly,” he said in his notice. “May I suggest you paint the bike-rack base a different color, like black?"

Orlick, 52, had to get two X-rays and received physical therapy, according to his notice.

He declined to comment for the story, but wants $500 from the city to cover the cost of his medical bills. As of Tuesday, the station base was still colored gray.

Lachonne Shelton, 50, says she injured her knees, left elbow, back and neck when she tripped over part of a Citi Bike station at Centre and Worth streets on April 24. While the program launched on May 27, the stations and their docking devices had already been installed.

She was treated for her injuries at Maimonides Hospital and had to hobble home with a cane, the notice says.

She plans to sue the city for $1 million, according to the notice filed July 10. She and her lawyer, John Magarian, did not respond to request for comments.

The city's Department of Transportation, which oversees the bicycle-sharing program, would not comment on pending claims but noted that the Citi Bike vendor has coverage.

"We are indemnified against claims under the contract and the vendor is insured," agency spokesman Nicholas Mosquera said.

The city Law Department said it would review the claims but declined to comment further.

The program has 330 stations in Manhattan and Brooklyn with more than 3.5 million rides taken since the launch. The city already faces lawsuits from residents who want stations removed from their neighborhoods.