Bike sharing is an innovative way to travel short distances to see the fun of Kansas City and the surrounding areas. It’s a great concept – users pick up a bike at a self-serve station, then ride to where they want to go. They can return the bike to another self-serve station closer to their destination after their ride. While this is a cost-effective and convenient option, it can mean issues when accidents happen.
If you were recently injured in a bike share accident, contact a skilled Kansas City bicycle accident lawyer today.
Current Bike Share Laws
The law has yet to catch up with sharing-economy models of business. This means that there is a certain level of uncertainty when it comes to bike accidents or injuries on a bike share bike. Generally, premises liability claims come into play in these situations. In other situations, liability is clear. For instance, auto accidents involving a cyclist continue to cover a biker on a shared bike.
Bike share programs are similar to rideshares businesses like Lyft and Uber, but with some important differences. Rideshares are sharing vehicles and drivers – drivers who play into questions of liability. Bike shares only have the vehicle, the bike, involved. In the case of rideshare programs, liability is most likely to fall on the driver – but in bike share cases, there is no driver aside from the cyclist – unless there is a car accident that hits a cyclist.
Liability for Bike Share Accidents In Missouri
Determining liability for a bike share accident depends entirely on the circumstances around the case. For example, because of share-the-road policies aimed at protecting cyclists from drivers and auto accidents, cyclists injured by a negligent driver can file damages against that individual’s insurer. This holds true in cases where the cyclist is riding a shared bike.
The normal rules of the road apply for bike share riders as well. As such, accidents – particularly involving another driver – are like ordinary auto-bike collisions. Negligent drivers who collide with a cyclist will be liable, especially in cases where the biker was following all restrictions and requirements, such as riding within the designated bike lane. Auto drivers have a responsibility to share the road safely with other vehicles such as bikes, and all drivers owe a duty of care to bicyclists and other drivers.
Like any other product or rental, a bike share bike must be in excellent condition. It is possible for an accident to occur, however, as a result of malfunction or damaged parts in a shared bike. Under these circumstances, it may be possible to charge the bike share company with liability – as it is their responsibility to ensure the safety of all customers.
Product liability laws cover injuries that occur because of manufacturer negligence, and in the case of bike share programs, it is possible that the company may be guilty of neglect when it comes to accidents involving their bikes. Manufacturers and bike share providers have a responsibility to keep their riders safe, and, if they are negligent, causing an injury, they may be responsible for damages to person and property.
What to Do After a Missouri Bike Share Accident
Like any other biking accident, it’s important to see a healthcare professional to diagnose any injuries, keeping in mind that some might not be immediately obvious. Despite the newness of this kind of transportation, you still have rights after an injury. Whether a vehicle hit you, another biker or a faulty bike caused you harm, consider discussing your case with a personal injury attorney who has experience with injury claims. A lawyer will be able to work with you to understand the circumstances of the case and assess who is liable for your injury.