City Defeats Bike Rider’s Claim

East Drive in Central Park. Image Credit: Google Maps.

On June 2, 2016, Peter Deutch was riding his bicycle North-bound on East Drive in Central Park, Manhattan. East Drive is a three-lane roadway in Central Park with the left lane reserved for pedestrians, the middle lane designated for cyclists, and the right lane for motor traffic. Deutch collided with a flatbed truck owned by Hellman Electric Corporation that was driving directly to his right in the motor traffic lane. Deutch fell under the truck’s wheels and sustained multiple injuries to his legs and left hip.

Deutch sued the City and Hellman. Deutch alleged the City negligently maintained and operated the roads at the site of the accident and also contended the truck driver had crossed over into the bike lane, causing the accident to occur. Deutch claimed he never left the middle cyclist lane. Both the City and Hellman moved for summary judgment. The City claimed it was not the cause of Deutch’s injuries and had no notice that the bicycle lane created dangerous conditions. Hellman provided photographic evidence, eyewitness testimony, and affidavits from an expert accident reconstructionist alleging the truck never left its lane of traffic.

New York County Supreme Court Judge Dakota D. Ramseur granted the City’s motion for summary judgment finding that the City was entitled to qualified immunity because Deutch failed to submit any evidence of previous accidents that would have notified the City of a defective condition at the site of the accident. Hellman’s motion was denied and Hellman appealed.

The Appellate Division, First Department reversed and granted Hellman’s motion for summary judgment. There was no evidence the truck caused Deutch’s accident by hitting him while he was in the cyclist’s lane or by unsafely passing him.

Deutch v. City of New York, 205 A.D. 3d 502 (3d Dep’t 2022).

By: Vanessa Cameron (Vanessa is a CityLaw intern and a New York Law School student, Class of 2024.)



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