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Santa Cruz rideshares help a lot of locals hitch rides back and forth from the redwoods to the beach and all the towns in between.

Lyft is one such service that was born locally, getting its start in San Francisco. Uber is still king, but Lyft can still attract over a third of the ride customers in California. This taxi for a new era sure makes things easier for many, but for bikers, it adds more drivers, and possibly more distracted drivers, to the already busy lanes.

Lyft Drivers and Added Traffic Dangers

Some perceive Lyft and Uber as making our streets and highways safer.  One positive is that they likely keep many from driving drunk by offering a convenient alternative to getting behind the wheel.  Studies are starting to dispute some of the positive effects though.

Forbes reported on the dangers rideshare services like Lyft are adding to the roads across America.  They cite Rice University research suggesting that these companies are, in fact, increasing accident rates, and costing a rough estimate of $10 billion in economic losses from deaths each year.

Rideshares and Bicycle Accidents

Many drivers who hit bicyclists claim they never saw the rider.  Cyclists may be harder to spot than an SUV but sometimes motorists are a bit too distracted to properly check to see a bicycle beside them.  People who work out of their car can fall prey to distractions at almost any moment on their shift.

Lyft drivers can get inattentive while doing something called “deadheading.” This is when they cruise around waiting for a customer to request a ride.  Rideshares often encourage drivers to patrol certain parts of a region to be closer to likely customers. Once a request comes in, the information on the location and special instructions may capture a Lyft employees attention.  The customers themselves may provide the distraction that causes an accident.  Speeding to make sure a passenger isn’t late, all to get a better driver rating can be the biggest distraction of all.

What Sort of Insurance do Lyft Drivers Carry?

In California, rideshare drivers are required to carry supplemental ridesharing coverage on their personal policies. Lyft does provide coverage in an accident but it is generally meant to be supplemental to the driver’s own insurance.

Lyft employees have their day divided up into certain “periods.” The periods translate into if they are waiting to get a “hail” (taxi term), if they are on the way to pick up a customer, and when they are taking to passenger to their location. These periods determine how much Lyft covers in the event of an accident.

  • Period 1: Begins when a driver logs in to “driver mode” in the Lyft App, and ends when they accept a ride request, known as a “match notification”. $50,000 per person injured, $100,000 total injury liability per accident, and $30,000 property damage liability.
  • Period 2: Begins when a Lyft driver accepts a ride request and drives to the customer’s location. Lyft offers 0ne million dollars in liability insurance and one million dollars in uninsured /under-insured motorist coverage. This insurance is in effect until the passenger is dropped off at their destination.
  • Period 3: The Passenger is in the car. The one million dollar coverage extends until the passenger gets off at the destination. There’s also limited coverage for damage to the driver’s car and uninsured motorists’ coverage.

Damages Recoverable in Lyft Accidents

After an injury in an accident, you’ll face a challenging recovery, and that recovery will usually be very expensive. An attorney can help you seek coverage for damages to your health and finances you might not have considered.  Those hardships you’ve endured due to the negligence of a Lyft driver might consist of:

  • Past and future medical bills
  • Past and future lost earnings
  • Any permanent disfigurement
  • Any permanent disability
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of a normal life

How long do I have to file a Bicycle Accident Claim in Santa Cruz?

The State of California generally provides victims up to two years to file a claim after an accident. We recommend that victims don’t wait this long though.  The more time that passes after an accident, the harder it’ll be to gather the evidence and documents needed to build a strong case against Lyft.

Contact a Santa Cruz Bicycle Accident Lawyer

Bay Area Bicycle Law is the only personal injury law firm in Northern California to specialize exclusively in representing injured cyclists. Years of advocacy for bicycle victims have seasoned our attorneys with the necessary skills, knowledge base, and familiarity to handle Santa Cruz bicycle accident cases with the utmost level of professional expertise.

Contact us today for a free consultation. California cyclists who are injured by negligent drivers are entitled to a wide array of compensation. We will always offer you legal advice which is in your best interest.