Bicycle riders in New York are often maligned by pedestrians and drivers alike. Of course, if they are following the rules of traffic — and even if they aren’t — bicyclists need to be afforded enough room so that they can maneuver safely. Many bicycle accidents are caused by drivers who don’t leave bicyclists ample space, often because they do not see them.

Some New York bicyclists, however, think there might be something more sinister going on. A bicyclist in Prospect Park was seriously injured recently when he hit a rope along the ground. He was hospitalized for two days because he broke his elbow, along with several ribs. The man and a friend who was riding with him both said that the rope appeared to have been tied tightly in an attempt to hurt someone.

Police responded to the incident, but they did not characterize what happened as anything other than an accident — despite the requests of the man’s friend that the rope was tied in order to trip someone. Police later said that the rope might have been put in that position accidentally, but said that no criminal report had been filed.

If someone suffers a personal injury as a result of a negligent or deliberate act by another, that person might choose to seek damages from the negligent party. Something such as this, perhaps akin to a booby trap, is difficult to assign responsibility. However, the injuries suffered here were likely expensive ones to treat, including an overnight hospital stay.

Source: New York Magazine, “Did Someone Set Up a Bicyclist Booby Trap in Prospect Park?” Caroline Bankoff, June 2, 2014