Bike Share Programs Are Booming In Arizona: But What Are The Legal Risks?
The ridesharing industry has truly exploded in the last few years (in a good way), with Uber and Lyft becoming the leading ridesharing companies in the United States.
In fact, over 25 percent of American say they use ridesharing apps from time to time. But if you are looking for a new way to explore the city or get to your destination – without having to sit a vehicle with a complete stranger – there is a new, somewhat more extreme way. Bike share.
Now, I know what you are thinking, “Does bike share mean that I will be riding on a motorcycle as a passenger?” No. Bike share programs, which have been growing in popularity at an exponential rate in the past few months in Arizona and all across the U.S., allow you to “borrow” a bicycle to get around the city, and then “drop” it at a docking station or any suitable place when you are done with it.
While the bike share programs are a relatively new trend, there already plenty of options to choose from. These options range from coin deposit to automated stations.
What is bike share in Arizona?
Our Phoenix bicycle accident attorney at the Lorona Mead says that currently, GR:D bikes, LIMEbike, and PACE Bikes are the three only bike sharing operators in Phoenix.
According to statistics provided by the city of Phoenix, on average, a bike share user takes up to three trips per day, travels about a mile, and spends about 13 minutes per trip.
Depending on what program you are using, you can either return a bicycle to a docking station belonging to the same vendor once you are done with the bike or leave the bike at a suitable location without having to take it all the way to the docking station (the dockless option).
What are the legal risks associated with bike share?
But with every new trend come a wide variety of potential legal risks and challenges, says our experienced bicycle accident attorney in Phoenix. It is vital that you understand your legal rights and responsibilities when using the bike share program in Phoenix or elsewhere in Arizona.
Let’s break down the bike share agreement and interpret it in a more understandable language. First and foremost, although each bike share company is trying to convince you that you are “sharing” a bike, in reality, you are actually renting it.
The process of renting a bike is very similar to renting a car. As with a rental car, it is highly advised that you review and accept the rental agreement as well as review liability, waiver, and release from the vendor. All three bike share companies in Phoenix require you to waive your right to a jury trial and agree to arbitration only.
Meaning: in case of any dispute or accident, you and the vendor will have to settle your claim out of court. Moreover, both PACE and LIMEBike have further distanced themselves from potential legal troubles by requiring any claims submitted against them to be filed individually. Meaning: you cannot file a class action claim along with other users of bike share programs to increase your chances of legal success and boost the value of the settlement.
What to do in the event of a bicycle accident on a bike share ride?
Currently, Arizona’s bicycle accident laws have not been adjusted to the increasing popularity of bike share programs. New rules and bills are being signed into law each year because the legislature keeps getting outdated as trends come and go. If you have been injured when riding a bicycle as part of the bike share program, recovering damages without a Phoenix bicycle accident attorney by your side may be problematic.
That is because of not all insurance companies in Arizona cover accidents that occur when you are using a shared or rented bike. Let our experienced lawyers at the Lorona Mead fight for your legal rights and compensation on your behalf. Do not delay reporting the accident to the bike share vendor, as certain companies require bike share users to report any accidents within 24 hours. And, above all, do not hesitate to get a free consultation from skilled lawyers. Call our offices at 602-385-6825 or complete this contact form today.