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Riders sue Citi Bike and Shimano over brake-related crashes in 2019

Published December 21, 2020
Lyft and Shimano are being sued over allegedly faulty front brakes.

NEW YORK (BRAIN) — Six people filed individual lawsuits last week against the bike-share company Motivate/Lyft and component manufacturer Shimano North America after being injured during falls nearly two years ago. The suits blame excessive front brake force for the crashes.

According to Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuits, Sabin Ciocan, Phillip Rosehill, Parke Messier, Felipe Ventura, Gautam Srikanth, and Judith O'Driscoll said they were injured after the Citi Bikes they were riding threw them over the handlebars during braking. Four incidents occurred in Brooklyn, one in Queens and one in New York City. The incidents took place from January to March 2019.

The lawsuits were filed by The Perecman Firm over three days beginning on Dec. 16, 2020. Lyft — Motivate's bike-share division — operates the Citi Bike brand. A Lyft spokesman told BRAIN on Monday the company will not comment on pending litigation. Shimano could not be reached for comment.

The lawsuits claim the bikes the plaintiffs were riding caused them "to be seriously, severely and permanently injured, through no fault of (their) own, when the bicycle, without warning, inexplicably stopped and the plaintiff(s) was propelled forward and caused to be injured."

In April 2019, Citi Bike removed its e-bike fleet after the injuries were reported. Shimano said Lyft did not follow its requirements to spec' a power modulator for its front Nexus Inter-M Hub Roller Brake. Shimano released a statement to BRAIN three days after the Citi Bikes were pulled, maintaining its brakes were not at fault.

One of the plaintiffs' lawyers, David Perecman, told the New York Post on Friday that not installing the power modulator "was really a breach of public trust."

He also told the Post that most of his clients suffered either arm, elbow, or wrist injuries and fractures.

Lyft returned its redesigned Citi Bike e-bikes to the streets in February 2020. The bikes are now spec'd with a drum front brake, replacing the Nexus Inter-M Hub Roller Brake. A new battery, and a hub-drive motor were also added. The battery was replaced because battery fires shelved Lyft's San Francisco e-bikes in July 2019. Nobody was injured in those fires.

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