Decoding the Citibike Controversy: Facts, Misunderstandings and Perspective


We have been following the “City Bike” incident over the past three days. Initially, we discussed how Ben Crump and Dr. Richard Ritchie had to remove the evidence. Subsequently, we saw Dr. Richard Ritchie make a public apology for his mistakes. The man in the video’s sister also came forward, providing her brother’s side of the story. Recently, the man in the video and his mother gave an interview with News One, offering their perspective.

I will attempt to present a clear picture of the events using known evidence. We will analyze the video frame by frame to understand what transpired, rather than jumping to conclusions or picking sides, which seems to be the common reaction.

There are different types of City Bikes in New York City: regular pedal bikes and e-bikes, the latter featuring a motor that assists in pedaling. The young man at the center of this incident rented an e-bike and used it for about 46 minutes. He has a reduced fare membership, which allows him to use the bike in 45-minute intervals. If the usage exceeds 45 minutes, additional fees apply.

To avoid these fees, users can dock the bike, wait a short while, and then undock it for another 45 minutes of use. However, once docked, the bike becomes available for public use. That is precisely what happened in this case. The young man docked the e-bike, and a hospital worker, fresh off a 12-hour shift and six months pregnant, scanned and took the bike.

The confusion arose when the young man tried to reclaim the same e-bike. The confrontation started at 7:24 p.m., at which point the e-bike was legally under the hospital worker’s account. However, the young man forcibly docked the bike to remove it from her account and then rescanned it, effectively making it his again. This action technically constituted theft.

Amid the chaos, one of the young man’s friends suggested he surrender his e-bike to the hospital worker. He eventually did so, allowing her to leave with an e-bike. It’s important to note that not all the young men involved were trying to keep the bike from her.

The incident certainly raises questions about City Bikes’ 45-minute policy, which seemed to have instigated the conflict. In the end, both the hospital worker and the young man left with e-bikes. While both parties made mistakes during the confrontation, it’s clear the situation was escalated by misunderstandings and emotions rather than any malicious intent. The incident, in essence, was a non-issue that was blown out of proportion due to the polarization in our society today.

Gerald Omondi
Gerald Omondi
As a writer, I have a passion for exploring a variety of topics. When I'm not putting pen to paper, I enjoy traveling and spending time with my family. As a husband and father, I understand the importance of balance and finding time for the things I love. Whether I'm delving into new subjects or spending quality time with my loved ones.


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