With the rapid proliferation of bike-sharing, thousands and thousands of rental bicycles have been made available for the public to use. Depending on what company a person uses, rentals start at about $1 for 30 minutes. A person who wants to use bike-sharing services need only download a company’s user app and provide appropriate information along with a credit or debit card number. That new customer can then rent a bike from that company wherever they’re available.
Common Bike Share Accidents
As soon as bike-sharing became available in San Francisco County and Alameda County, the number of reported bicycle accidents in those counties increased dramatically. Although the renters of those bikes generally only travel short distances, they do so in urban areas where the odds of becoming the victim of an accident also increase dramatically. Many bike-share riders travel easily at speeds of 12 mph or more. Sometimes, drivers just don’t see them, or they don’t see them until it’s too late. Here are some of the types of bike share accidents that our law firm has seen in the Bay Area:
- Crashes when drivers of vehicles turn left or right in front of a bicyclist who is proceeding straight ahead.
- Accidents when the driver of a vehicle otherwise fails to yield the right-of-way.
- Accidents caused by drivers who are talking on cell phones, texting or using a navigation device while in motion.
- Crashes caused by drivers who have consumed alcohol, drugs or a combination of the two.
- Sideswipe crashes when the driver of a vehicle fails to maintain a three-foot distance between their vehicle and a bicycle.
- Head-on or rear-end crashes. These are the most dangerous types of crashes for bicyclists.
- Bicycles with dangerous design or manufacturing defects that might give rise to a product liability claim.
- Bicycles that have been poorly maintained by the company that rents them to the public.
The Exculpatory Clause
When you become a customer of any bike-sharing company, you enter into a written agreement to hold the rental company harmless for any accidents, injuries or damages. Cases on this issue are pending in the various appellate courts in the United States. We have to give them time to work their way through those courts before the law might become settled on the possibility of any liability that might be attributable to the rental companies.
Obtain Immediate Emergency Room Treatment
After being injured in any bike share accident in or around the Bay Area, it’s critically important that you get to an emergency room for immediate care, treatment, and diagnostics. By doing that, your accident and injuries are documented on medical records. Then, follow the instructions given to you by emergency room personnel. You don’t want the opposing insurance company to argue that a delay in treatment is evidence of your injuries not being as serious as you allege. You don’t want allegations of malingering either.
Contact a Bicycle Injury Lawyer
California law doesn’t require you to say a single word to the insurer of the person or entity who injured you after you were involved in a bike-share accident in or around the Bay Area. That insurer’s objective is to devalue or even deny your claim. Whatever you say to that insurance company can be used against you. Rather than speaking with that insurer and its adjustor, protect and preserve your rights by contacting us at (415) 466-8717 for a free confidential consultation and case evaluation.