Bike-share programs, similar in nature to companies like Lime and Bird, are becoming increasingly common, especially in metropolitan areas. These programs involve several automatic bike racks spaced around the area, where you can pick up or leave a bike. At these kiosks you can purchase a pass to use the bike and drop bikes off. This does make these programs inherently safer than Bird or Lime scooters, because the scooters can essentially be left anywhere, whereas the bikes generally must be taken back to the kiosk.
These bike-share programs do have questions surrounding them, however, such as: Who is liable if the bike breaks and I am injured? Am I strictly liable if I am involved in an accident myself? Some bike programs make this readily apparent, but other bike programs do not make the answers to these questions clear.
Who is Liable if a Bike Breaks and I am Injured?
This question can vary from program to program. But in general, a bike-share company should ensure that none of their bikes will break while someone is riding them. If a bike is faulty, and does break, the company could be liable in this case for any injuries suffered by the rider. It is up to the company to ensure that their bikes are safe to ride. Of course, the bike share company may require a waiver to be signed before you ride, making holding them liable tricky.
Who is Liable in the Event of an Accident?
This question could have several answers. If someone is involved in a Bike Accident where they are hit by a vehicle, then it is likely that the driver of the vehicle is liable for any injuries caused to the rider of the bike. Generally, the rider is not liable for their own injuries in this case, unless they were blatantly not following certain laws regarding where bicycles can be in the roadway. They could also get a smaller number of damages if they fail to mitigate their injuries. In this case, if the rider is not wearing a helmet, this could be used against them in court to show that they were not being careful enough and because of this, their injuries were worse.
If the rider hits a pedestrian, and the pedestrian is injured, either the company might be liable for the personal injuries of the pedestrian, or the rider is liable for the injuries caused in the bike accident. If the company does not have any kind of waiver that a person must sign before riding the bikes, or they do not have a waiver of liability in the fine print, they could be liable even if they did not directly cause the injury. They could be jointly liable with the person who was riding the bike, but in many cases the injured person would sue the company for their injuries.
If the company does have a waiver of liability, then it is likely that the rider is totally liable for any injuries caused by negligence in the bike accident. Waivers do not offer complete protection for companies, but they can shield the company from a lot of potential lawsuits.
These companies often attempt to limit liability by requiring riders to wear a helmet, having potential riders sign a waiver, or purchasing liability insurance to help cover the potential medical costs if someone is injured riding one of the bikes.
Overall, it is important to know what kind of protections a company has for the rider or for someone else who is injured before purchasing a pass to ride a bike from a bike-share company. It is also important to be safe when riding a bike from one of these companies, especially if the companies have a way to avoid liability from any of the above reasons.
Who have We helped because of a Bicycle Accident or Bike Crash?
The Legal Team at Hurst Limontes LLC has handled dozens and dozens of Bicycle Accidents across the State of Indiana. Whether it’s an active grandmother who lived in Downtown Indianapolis and bikes everywhere to a 20-year-old Student at IUPUI, we have helped so many people who have been the victim of negligence in a Bike Accident. We have helped several amateur triathletes across the State of Indiana who have been struck by a truck or car while they were training. Our Team has taken on Bike Manufacturers and Big Box Stores who have sold faulty Bikes. We even have a person on our Legal Team who bikes to work daily! We are your Indiana Bike Accident Law Firm.
Have You Been Injured in A Bicycle Accident?
If you or a loved one has been involved in a bicycle accident, you need an experienced attorney. At Hurst Limontes LLC, we have over 65 combined years of experience in personal injury accident cases throughout the Indianapolis area. Give us a call today at 317-636-0808 or Contact Us to learn more about how we can help you file your claim and be adequately compensated for your incurred damages.