Parents win compensation in cycling death case

Ke Jiayun
Court rules in case where a boy under the age of 12 unlocked an ofo bike illegally and collided with a truck before being crushed to death under its wheels.
Ke Jiayun

The parents of a 10-year-boy who died in a traffic accident when riding an ofo bike are to receive more than 67,000 yuan (US$9,468) in compensation from the shared-bike provider, Jing'an District People's Court ruled on Friday.

Since the boy had illegally unlocked the bike and rode against the traffic, the court said both the company and the parents were to blame in the case.

On March 26, 2017, the boy, surnamed Gao, a fourth-grader under the legal cycling age of 12, was playing with three friends on Zhejiang Road M. They took advantage of a system bug to unlock four ofo bikes without using its app or making payment.

Gao was riding against the traffic along Tiantong Road when he collided with a coach. He was crushed under its wheels and later died at hospital.

A police report showed that the coach driver had failed to take care when making a left turn and that Gao also wasn’t paying attention to his surroundings. The police held the driver, Wang, to be mainly responsible for the accident.

Gao's parents claimed the shared-bike company, Beijing Baikeluoke Technology Co, hadn’t taken good care of its bikes and that the mechanical locks were easy to unlock manually. Some people also didn’t lock the bikes after use.

They said there were no warnings on the bikes showing that children under 12 couldn't ride them.

The couple filed a lawsuit against the shared-bike firm and Wang as well as an insurance company demanding compensation of over 8.6 million yuan. They also hoped that the company would change its mechanical locks to smart ones.

On March 6, a court ordered the insurance company to pay the parents more than 550,000 yuan for the accident.

It also said the bike company were at fault as it had failed to ensure the quality and condition of its products and didn't have a way to prevent children under 12 from using its bikes. 

But it also said that Gao's behavior in taking the bike and riding on the road was related to a lack of family guidance. 

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