Georgia Bike Share Accident Lawyer
Relay Bike Share is the public bicycle sharing system launched by the City of Atlanta in 2016. In April 2017, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) reported that Relay expanded its fleet from 100 bikes at 22 stations to 500 bikes at 65 locations.
Relay has served Atlanta well, providing affordable, environmentally friendly transportation. Once users finish with a bike, they are required to return it to a Relay station. Some users have seen this as an inconvenience, and dockless bike sharing, which does not require that bicycles be returned, has grown in popularity.
Dockless bike vendors have spread across the country. In April 2018, Lime launched a bike share system in Ithaca. One month later, AJC reported the company applied for permits in Atlanta and Brookhaven.
Beijing-based ofo briefly left its yellow bikes scattered around Atlanta, but WABE-FM reported that the company was pulling out of the city only one month after launching. Lime and Relay Bike Share persist, however, and more bikes traversing around the city will only mean there will be more accidents.
If you suffered severe injuries or your loved one was killed in a bike share accident in Atlanta, you do not want to handle your case alone. Depending on the cause of your accident, you will have limited time to act, and you will have to prove another party’s negligence, which can be tricky.
Michael Gumprecht of the Gumprecht Law Firm was named one of the National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers in 2015 and a member of the Top 1% by the National League of Renowned Attorneys. Our Georgia bike share accident attorneys can provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case when you call (678) 800-1050 or fill out an online contact form to arrange a free consultation.
How Bike Sharing Works in Atlanta
Both Lime and Relay Bike Share operate through mobile apps that users download to their cell phones. Lime operates its own app while Relay runs through the Social Bicycles (SoBi) app. Relay also allows people to come to stations and enter their account numbers or tap member cards on bicycle keypads.
Relay allows you to pay as you go for $3.50 for the first 30 minutes and then $0.15 for every minute afterward. The company also offers monthly and annual passes.
Lime is a San Mateo, California-based company that is rapidly spreading across large cities and college campuses. It also operates systems in the Czech Republic, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, Mexico, Canada, and New Zealand.
It costs $1 to rent a Lime dockless bike for a 30-minute ride. Unlike Relay bikes, Lime’s dockless bikes do not need to be returned to a station, only parked in a proper location.
Lime requires all of its users to be at least 18 years of age, but a minor who is at least 16 years of age can use a scooter when their parent or legal guardian rents it. The Lime user agreement further requires that a person must report any accident or theft to Lime as soon as possible. If a crash involves personal injury, property damage, or a stolen product, the user must file a report with the local police department within 24 hours.
SoBi states that after an accident with another bike or a pedestrian, a person should immediately call 911 if anyone needs medical attention and report the accident to customer service. When an accident involves a motor vehicle, SoBi states that a person should immediately take a photo or write down the license plate number and call 911 if anyone needs medical attention.
Types of Bike Share Accidents
Bike sharing is popular because of the array of benefits it provides its users. People can save thousands of dollars by renting bikes instead of paying for gas and other assorted maintenance costs associated with motor vehicles. The exercise also helps many people get and stay in shape.
Rental bike users are at risk for all of the same injuries and accidents that regular bicyclists face. That said, many bike share users are experiencing these types of crashes for the first time. The increased volume of bikes in Atlanta makes many kinds of accidents more likely to occur.
Busier city streets in Atlanta are where so-called “dooring” accidents most frequently take place. In a dooring crash, the occupant of a motor vehicle swings open an automobile door directly into the path of an oncoming cyclist.
The sudden emergence of a door in their path leaves a cyclist with neither the time nor the space to avoid a collision. In many cases, they hit the door at high speeds and are thrown several feet from their bikes.
Other accidents involving motor vehicles include, but are not limited to:
- Distracted Driving Accidents — It is important for a driver to have their eyes on the road at all times while behind the wheel, but numerous distractions compete for their attention. These include texting, talking on the phone or to passengers, adjusting climate controls, applying cosmetics, eating, drinking, and smoking. Even one moment of distracted driving can be enough time to cause an accident. The cell phone is undoubtedly the most common distraction, and these devices usually have a digital trail that may prove when a motorist was negligent.
- Sideswipe Accidents — A sideswipe accident involves a car striking a cyclist traveling in the same direction. These crashes usually occur as vehicles attempt to pass cyclists. The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) states that drivers should try to provide at least three feet of clearance when passing.
- Left-Turn or Right-Turn Accidents — In these collisions, a driver either turns left in front of an oncoming cyclist, or right in front of or into a cyclist traveling in the same direction. These accidents are usually caused by a driver’s failure to accurately gauge the speed of a cyclist and their distance from the motor vehicle.
- Drunk or Drugged Driving Accidents — Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or a controlled substance is a criminal offense, and people who are suspected of drunk or drugged driving are expected to provide breath, blood, or urine samples on request under the state’s implied consent law. The criminal offense is separate from the civil case that a victim would be involved in. If a driver avoids a DUI conviction, they can still be found civilly liable for a victim’s injuries.
- Failure-to-Yield Accidents — Motorists have to obey all local traffic laws, but there are some encounters with cyclists at intersections in which drivers fail to grant the right of way.
- Head-On Collisions — A head-to-head involving a motor vehicle and a bicycle usually involves some complicating factor, such as poor visibility because of weather or darkness. While these cases are somewhat rare, resulting injuries are usually severe and can often be fatal.
All of these types of accidents could occur on any bicycle, including rental bikes. Some additional accidents are specific to bike share program bicycles.
Relay Bike Share and Lime must maintain their vehicles to make sure the bicycles are safe for all riders. Unless users have the knowledge to identify the problem in advance, unsafe bikes can lead to serious accidents. When the company operating the bike share program rents out a dangerous bike, it could be liable for the injuries suffered in a resulting accident.
In some cases, the issue might be a part of the bike itself. The part could have been defectively manufactured or defectively designed. When a bike part is defective, the manufacturer becomes the party who bears liability.
Types of Bike Share Accident Injuries
Georgia requires anyone under 16 years of age to wear a bicycle helmet. Lime recommends riders wear helmets and sometimes offers free ones. Relay Bike Share also recommends riders wear helmets.
Unfortunately, helmets cannot prevent some of the most debilitating bicycle accident injuries. Such injuries include, but are not limited to:
- Nerve damage
- Neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Road rash
- Internal organ injuries
- Muscle strains
The worst bicycle accidents cause people to suffer fatal injuries. Families of people killed in bicycle accidents often experience tremendous financial hardship and may be able to file wrongful death actions.
Contact an Atlanta Bike Share Accident Attorney Today
Did you sustain catastrophic injuries or was your loved one killed in a bike share accident in Atlanta? You can give yourself the best chance of recovering compensation by retaining legal counsel.
The Gumprecht Law Firm represents clients all over the greater Atlanta area. Call (678) 800-1050 or contact us online to have our lawyers review your case and help you understand all of your legal options during a free consultation.