What you should know about the new rental bike craze
Colorful, affordable rental bikes are all the rage, with cities touting their considerable benefits. These shared transportation options are easy to access, affordable, better for the environment, conveniently located, good for your health, and can help you to navigate the city crowds in a way you never could with a car. But, is there a hidden danger to this seemingly carefree new activity?
Though bike-sharing programs are rising in popularity across the nation, they are a new enough trend that many people in San Antonio never consider rental bike accidents. But they are a relatively common occurrence and could leave you not only injured but liable if you’re not careful. If you get injured or damage a shared bike, contact the experienced San Antonio bike accident lawyers at the Villarreal & Begum Law Firm.
Could shared bikes really be dangerous?
First, you may be asking what could possibly go wrong on a rental bike? Well, for starters, what if you hit a storefront obstacle and crash, injuring yourself and damaging the rental bike? Or, what if a cracked sidewalk causes you to veer off course? Even if you’re paying close attention to your surroundings and traveling at a safe speed, what if someone else hits and injuries you or damages your rental bike?
Additionally, sometimes shared bikes are not maintained properly and can malfunction at critical moments, leading to an accident. Finally, the worst-case scenario could be that you veer out of the bike lane and collide with a motor vehicle, which we sincerely hope is not the case. We often consider these kinds of questions when we operate motor vehicles, but never imagine rental bike accidents.
Know the laws in San Antonio
If you want to lower your risk, first start by becoming aware of bicycling laws and ordinances. For example, if you are under the age of 18, you may be required to wear a helmet and will be found liable if you do not, even if they were not provided by the shared-bike service.
You should also keep in mind that many states do not allow cycling, even with shared bikes, on sidewalks, or in crosswalks. In these spaces, if you must access them, you are required to walk your bike to avoid accidents. But, you’re free to enjoy your shared bike in bike lanes, roads, and on the designated city, country, and park trails. Finally, keep in mind that it is illegal for more than one person to ride a rental bike at the same time unless it is a designated tandem bike.
You didn’t break the law, but you may still be liable
So, you didn’t break the law during one of these shared rental bikes accidents; you’re fine, right? Not necessarily. Keep in mind, most shared-use bike programs require renters to agree to or sign a waiver during the rental process and these agreements can waive a lot of rights you may not fully understand.
Did you read that fine print? Most people don’t, as these agreements are often dry and hard to read. Still, they could hold you liable. Or, they could be worded in such a way as to make you think that you are liable when you are not. How will you know the difference? Contact the Villareal & Begum Law Firm for help.
Our San Antonio bike accident attorneys will be happy to advise you on the type of user agreement you may have signed and how to solve issues of liability in case of shared rental bikes accidents. There are many types of agreements. Some could hold you liable, while others could protect you against costs incurred by damages to the bike. Which one did you sign? We would be happy to review your waiver and let you know.
What if you are injured and they are responsible? As mentioned above, sometimes a shared-bike company is responsible for the injury, and you want to know if you have signed anything forfeiting your right to pursue compensation. Or you may wonder whether your car insurance will cover any damage done to you or the bike. Our lawyers would be happy to answer these questions as well.
Have fun and leave the worries to us
Rental bikes don’t have to be a liability. By helping you avoid heavy traffic, enjoy your commute more, and enjoy a lifestyle of clean living, this new trend could be just what you need. By helping you properly understand the laws and liability involved in these shared-bike programs, the Villareal & Begum Law Firm can make it so you too can enjoy this fun new public transportation option with little worry!