Citi Bike is seeking to enforce a questionable a waiver of liability found in its rental agreements. In so many words, Citi Bike claims that the waiver of liability (found in the terms of service) bars the renter from suing Citi Bike for a negligently maintained or manufactured bicycle.
Citi Bike renters would be very surprised to know that as a matter of routine, the bike rental is subject to an agreement on the internet. The waiver is contained in the form language of the agreement that the renter rarely reads. This form language runs many pages. It is one of those agreements which are rarely read, but the rider “clicks” either “agreed” or “yes” that he has read and accepted the terms and conditions.
In past cases the courts have struck-down waivers signed before the accident. Gyms routinely demand that the contract of membership contain a waiver of liability as a condition of joining. The courts have disallowed these waivers under case law and the General Obligations Law on the grounds that it is unconscionable to require the gym to excuse itself from its own negligence in maintaining the gym. However, Citi Bike claims that this is a different situation in that Citi Bike is not providing a gym or playing field or recreation space. Citi Bike maintains that it is renting-out a bicycle and that such a waiver is permissible. Also, Citi Bike argues that the renter’s affirmative act of clicking “I agree” or “yes” is sufficient evidence of proving that the renter knew that he was agreeing to this waiver.
Citi Bike is contesting this waiver in the courts. Jonathan Pryor, our associate, had a case with Citi Bike where he successfully defeated Citi Bike’s motion to dismiss based on this waiver.
We believe that ultimately, the waiver will be found invalid. The fact that Citi Bike is contesting vigorously cases should not deter injured people from seeking justice in the courts. If you have been injured riding a Citi Bike, please feel free to call us.