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My 82 year old father was seriously injured by speeding bike racing on sidewalk can we sue NYC for not enforcing bike rules

New York, NY |

My 82 year old father was hospitalized the two racing bikers were not caught but the city should be responsible because it is against the law for bikers to rider (albeit speed) on sidewalk and injure someone and then leave scene of accident (hit and run) but rules for bikers are not strict enough and not enforced. Bikers should be registered, have ID, have license plate and take road test and be easily identified by license plate on bike and should be stopped if caught riding on sidewalk without leniency and should be fined and jailed bike is weapon

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Attorney answers 10


I am sorry, there is a well settled body of law holding that municipalities are not responsible for injuries to members of the public caused by their failure to enforce the law. The only exception is if the municipality undertook a duty specifically to the injured party. That does not seem to be the case here.

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Your father's claim appears to be better suited against the bike riders than the city. While I understand your situation and would certainly want more laws enforced for speeding bikers, the bikers are the ones that broke the law and therefore the city does not appear to be responsible for your father's injuries. I would consult a New York Attorney in regards to your father's case because his own insurance policy may be able to protect him in this situation.


Attorney Brophy is, unfortunately, spot on. Do call and attorney as you may have omitted some essential fact. Good luck.

Personal injury cases only; I'm good at it; you be the Judge! All information provided is for informational and educational purposes only. No attorney client relationship has been formed or should be inferred. Please speak with a local and qualified attorney. I truly wish you and those close to you all the best. Jeff


There is no claim against the City. The claim is against the bike riders.

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As my colleagues indicate, no claim exists against the City absent a special relationship. Your real claim is against the bicyclist. Not intending to be glib, but you'll have to write your local congressional representative if you feel the rules are inadequate.

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Sorry your father was injured. The responsible parties are the bicyclists who can be sued. Suing the city will be difficult if not impossible. Consult with a local personal injury lawyer.

If this answer is helpful, then please mark the helpful button. If this is the best answer, then please indicate it. Thanks. For further information you should see an attorney and discuss the matter completely. If you are in the New York City area, then you can reach me during normal business hours at 718 329 9500 or


Unfortunately such a lawsuit would be doomed to fail. The courts have made it clear that absent a showing of what's known as a "special duty". Basically what that means is an agency of government is not generally liable for the negligent performance of a governmental function unless there existed a special duty to the injured person, in contrast to a general duty owed to the public.

So, just because you argue that the city was negligent in enforcing its bicycle laws (or for not creating stricter ones), because there was no special duty to protect your father from runaway bicyclists, the City cannot be held liable.

Your target for a lawsuit are the bicyclists themselves.


There is no case against the city. There is a viable case against the bikers, and the problem is that you do not know their identity. If the accident occurred within the past 30 days, consider surveillance footage of those establishments in the areas surrounding the accident. If you are successful in identifying the bikers, and if those bikers have any form of insurance (including if they live in a home that is insured), you may have a case against them.


The claim is against the biker


No action versus the city

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