In growing cities like Minneapolis, traffic is a problem that many commuters have to account for on a daily basis. On some days, no matter how hard you try to plan around it, commute times can be excruciating. Affordable services like rideshare, bike-share, and electric scooters have been a welcome relief to traffic on urban roads.
Dockless bike-share services allow people to get around town without having to invest in their own mode of transportation. Unfortunately, even though bike sharing companies have enjoyed rapid growth with an impressive amount of public enthusiasm, the safety measures haven’t grown at the same rate. This disparity leaves those who use the service exposed to dangerous accidents and serious injuries.
The Twin Cities’ solution to bike-share services differs from Minneapolis to Saint Paul. Officially, Saint Paul has opted to bring in bicycles from the California-based company Lime. As many as 700 bicycles have been made available to people in the area. Since 2010, Minneapolis has been using a bike-share service called Nice Ride. Due to the popularity and flexibility of dockless bikes, Nice Ride is phasing out their docked bikes as they roll out their dockless bicycles in the fall of 2018.
Though dockless bicycles provide commuters and tourists with an unrivaled level of convenience, they do pose serious risks to other cyclists, drivers, and pedestrians. Cyclists who are inexperienced and uneducated about road rules pose a threat to themselves and others if they fail to interpret the right-of-way correctly or don’t use the appropriate hand signaling. No matter how exciting the arrival of dockless bikes is to commuters in Minnesota, safety always needs to precede flash and convenience.
If you are injured in a bike-sharing accident, whether you are operating the rental bike or you are another biker, pedestrian, or motorist, Robert Wilson & Associates can help you hold the responsible party financially accountable for your injuries. To learn more about how our Minneapolis bike share accident attorneys can help you, contact us today at (612) 334-3444 or online to schedule a free consultation.
Bike-Share Companies in Minneapolis
Lime’s dockless bikes have various models tailored to the experience that the rider is looking for. A popular available model is their Lime-E electric bicycle, which can reach speeds up to 14.8 mph and climb steep hills without requiring much physical exertion. In Minneapolis, as long as the bicycle doesn’t reach speeds over 20 mph, the city defines it as a bike and allows it to move on the road as well as in bike lanes.
Nice Ride bicycles have been present in the Twin Cities for a significantly longer period of time. Though people in the community will recognize the docked bikes, Nice Ride plans to phase out their docked bikes eventually, though they are still available currently. Their new dockless option allows them to compete with Lime and meet the growing demand for increased accessibility and convenience.
Unfortunately though, the rental experience for dockless bicycles requires the renter to agree to terms that they may not be fully informed on. Since the appeal of the experience is rooted in convenience and accessibility, the available practical safety information isn’t necessarily a focus of the rider as they go through the rental process. Before successfully gaining access to a LimeBike, the renter has to agree to terms and conditions. During this process, they often accept terms without fulling understanding what they are agreeing to.
While bike-share providers do not intend to harm the people who use their services, their primary focus isn’t always on public safety. While Minneapolis city leaders work to support public enthusiasm for bike-share innovations, they are also having to work quickly to put regulatory protections to protect the Minneapolis and Saint Paul communities that use Lime and Nice Ride.
Types of Bike-Share Accidents
Inexperienced cyclists can pose a serious threat to others on the road or bike path. Since bike-sharing services are widely available, almost anyone can hop on and take one for a spin. If a cyclist doesn’t properly observe traffic laws, other cyclists’ signals, and the cues of drivers on the road, they could seriously injure themselves and others. In more severe cases, if a cyclist is injured because of a careless cyclist or driver, they could find themselves in a dire, even fatal, situation.
Negligence commonly plays a role in accidents, and the consequences of carelessness become even more serious if a cyclist is injured on the road. Choosing to travel along the bike path is a safer option for cyclists due to the comparable speed and impact of other bicycles. Unfortunately, bike paths aren’t always an option, especially in areas of the city with less traffic and accessibility.
Serious accidents on the road could happen if a driver fails to give cyclists the proper amount of distance. Additionally, if the cyclist has reached a certain speed and collides with another commuter, everyone involved will likely be injured. The potential risks of these accidents are only compounded when the cyclist isn’t wearing a helmet.
Both Lime and Nice Ride encourage riders to do a pre-ride safety check and report deficiencies when detected, instructing them to choose another bike if they find anything wrong with their initial selection. Suggesting riders perform a check on bikes could be useful to their safety, but many users of these services are not experienced cyclists, and may therefore miss problems with the bicycles, putting riders in harm’s way once they begin their journey. A serious issue with the safety precautions that rideshare companies use is that they rely heavily on the riders to report issues, displacing the responsibility from the company onto the riders, which isn’t a reliable way to manage safety.
Types of Bike-Share Injuries
As the popularity of bike-share companies grows, so do bike-related injuries. It is of the utmost importance that bike-share companies such as Lime and Nice Ride do everything that they can to ensure that the cyclists have safe experiences because serious cycling accidents can be life-altering. Some injuries that cyclists have sustained include but are not limited to the following:
- Road rash
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injury
- Head injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
If you have been involved in a cycling accident, you may be saddled with serious expenses as you work to recover and manage any other physical and financial roadblocks that prevent you from returning to your normal life. In addition to the pain and expense that your injuries may bring about, you may need to take additional time off of work.
Missing work and losing income can compound stress which only serves to prolong the healing process. Coping with an injury is a complicated ordeal. If a serious cycling injury is keeping you from living your life, you don’t need to manage your situation alone. An experienced injury lawyer can help you determine if you have a case and pursue the justice that you deserve.
Contact a Minneapolis Bike-Share Injury Lawyer
If you have been injured while using a bike-share service, you are not alone. Moving about alongside other cyclists and drivers has some inherent risks, but if your bike is unsafe or your safety was not prioritized by the company that provided you with a bike, you may be able to hold the company legally and financially accountable.
In the wake of a serious injury, you face both physical and financial obstacles, which can often be too much for one person to handle. It is important that you get the medical treatment you need after an accident so that you can start the recovery process. Hold onto any receipts from your medical treatment after an injury so that you have a clear record of those expenses that have resulted from your injury. Keeping these records will help you later if you decide to take legal action.
If, while you are trying to determine if you have a case, an insurance adjuster representing the bike-share company reaches out to you, know that you have no legal obligation to speak with them. They are usually interested in protecting the company they work for, and they do not have your best interest in mind. These conversations are framed as simple information-gathering sessions, but unless you have discussed your case with a lawyer, you should politely decline an invitation to discuss the details of your accident and the resulting injuries.
The experienced injury lawyers at Robert Wilson & Associates have worked with accident victims to ensure that they get the justice that they deserve. If you have been injured due to the fault of another party, you deserve to know your rights. Our lawyers understand that determining legal responsibility when it comes to rideshare companies is complicated, but we are dedicated to pursuing justice on behalf of our clients. To speak to one of our seasoned Minneapolis attorneys about your situation and your legal options, call (612) 334-3444 or contact us online today.