Injured man sues bike-sharing company over faulty brake claim
Ofo bikes around Chaoyang Park in Beijing. [Photo: chinanews.cn]
Bike-sharing company Ofo has been sued by a customer in Beijing after the man fell from one of the service's bikes and was seriously injured.
The case, already accepted by a court in Beijing's Chaoyang District, is the first one of its kind in China following the fast development of the bike sharing business in Chinese cities, reported Beijing Evening News on Monday.
The 31-year-old man surnamed Feng told reporters that he fell from an Ofo bike while riding on a downward slope after he found the brake of the bike was not useful.
The incident happened near the Communication University of China railway station at around 9pm on January 28 and Feng was badly injured. His face was seriously bruised, he broke his nose and 5 teeth, and a sixth tooth was lost.
Feng said the company running Ofo should be the one to blame for the accident as it should have provided bikes that passed quality checks. He is asking for compensation of 20,000 yuan (around 2,900 USD) to cover his losses related to medical treatment, lost wages, transportation fees, future treatment and mental damage.
A lawyer in Beijing supported Mr Feng's claims saying he believes a lease relationship has been established after the citizens register for the use of the sharing service. The bike-sharing company, as the leaser, has the obligations to provide quality products and maintain them in good condition. It is also obliged to notify the lessees about issues of safe riding and the like.
Zhu Wei, with the China University of Political science and Law, said that some of the bike-sharing companies have bought insurances for users. When traffic accidents happen, the bike-sharing companies should take full responsibility if the accidents are caused by the poor quality of the bikes; if the accidents are caused by a rider's error, like not obeying traffic orders, then the insurance companies will pay for the drivers' losses.
Traffic accidents involving shared bikes are not uncommon in China. To maintain safety, the authorities in Shanghai have banned children under 12 from using shared bikes and some Chinese universities have also released warnings to students about using the bikes.