Did you suffer severe injuries or was your loved one killed in a bike share accident in the greater Dallas area? If your accident was caused by another party’s negligence, you could be entitled to compensation for all of your medical bills, lost income, and other damages.
Smith Kendall, PLLC represents people who have been injured in bicycle accidents all over Dallas, and we provide legal representation on a contingency fee basis so you do not have to worry about paying anything until you receive a monetary award. Call (214) 361-6124 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.
Lime’s dockless bikes are green and yellow, usually costing $1 to rent for 30-minute rides. VBikes have silver frames and yellow wheels, costing $2 an hour to rent or $14.95 a month for unlimited rides.
Lime was originally founded as LimeBike and now has bike share programs in 80 cities and 23 college campuses, as well as Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, France, Spain, Germany, Portugal, and the Czech Republic. In 2018, the company had a valuation of $1.1 billion.
Lime’s user agreement establishes that a user is required to report any accident, crash, damage, personal injury, or stolen or lost product to the company as soon as possible. Crashes involving personal injury, property damage, or stolen products require users to file reports with local police departments within 24 hours.
Users download the Lime and VBikes mobile apps to their smartphones. The apps can then be used to locate bicycles and unlock them, and both companies encourage users to park the bicycles at bike racks or somewhere else in a manner not obstructing sidewalks when they are done riding.
Motor vehicles remain the dominant form of transportation in Dallas, but drivers are still required to share the roads with bicyclists. Unfortunately, many motorists do not recognize or appreciate the rights of bicyclists, and many accidents in and around the city involve negligent drivers.
Some cases don’t involve moving vehicles, such as so-called “dooring” accidents. A dooring collision happens when a passenger opens an automobile door into the path of an oncoming bicyclist. Bicyclists rarely have the time or space to avoid collisions, and these types of crashes frequently occur on busier city streets. Many bicyclists are traveling full-speed, and dooring accidents can result in bicyclists being thrown several feet from their bicycles.
Some of the other bike share accidents involving cars in Dallas include, but are not limited to:
Most accidents involving motor vehicles can occur on virtually any bicycle, whether it is rented or personally owned. Dockless bikes can also be involved in isolated crashes that are the result of issues specific to the bicycles.
It is important to keep in mind that Lime bike and VBikes are used by several different people every day, often causing considerable wear and tear on the bicycles. Certain acts of vandalism on the bikes have also led to bikes becoming unsafe.
Lime and VBikes have to make sure the bicycles they are renting are safe for all people using them. A company can be liable when an accident is caused by a bike that was not properly maintained.
Some isolated crashes are actually the result of a malfunctioning bike part. In such cases, it would be the part manufacturer instead of the rental company that could be responsible for a victim’s injuries.
Texas has no state helmet law for bicyclists, although Lime and VBikes both encourage riders to wear helmets. Under Texas Transportation Code § 545.053, a driver is required to pass at a safe distance, but a specific number of feet that must be provided is not mentioned.
Bicyclists are not afforded the same level of physical protection that occupants of motor vehicles enjoy. As a result, a person riding a bicycle is usually susceptible to sustaining a wide variety of serious injuries that may include, but are not limited to:
Many bicyclists who are injured will face an overwhelming number of medical bills for their initial care, as well as additional expenses for follow-up treatment. On top of these issues, some victims are also unable to go back to work for an extended period of time, and some injuries can even prevent some people from ever again being able to maintain employment.
The level of exposure for bicyclists means that they are also at heightened risk of fatal injuries. When a person is killed in a rental bike accident, their family can file a wrongful death action against any negligent parties.
In February 2017, Dallas had almost 20,000 rental bicycles, while New York had only 12,000 and Seattle had only 10,000. This prompted D Magazine to declare the city “an unlikely candidate to become the bike-share capital of North America.” The very next month, the Wall Street Journal reported Dallas was “ground zero for a nascent national bike-share war.”
Dockless bikes allow individuals to rent bicycles and not be forced to return the bikes to stations or other designated locations, and they first began appearing in Dallas in August 2017. The city seemed to take a liking to the bikes, as 45,000 active riders pedaled 105,000 miles within months, according to Lime, the San Mateo, California-based rental bike company.
Only one year later, however, the dockless bike phenomenon seemed to be in danger. KXAS-TV published a photograph in August 2018 that a viewer took of multiple Beijing-based ofo bikes stacked at a local recycling plant. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings retweeted the picture and added a single word: “Terrible.”
After the Dallas City Council approved bike-share regulations in June 2018, KERA-TV reported ofo announced its exit the next month, followed by San Francisco-based Spin, and then Beijing-based Mobike in August.
According to the Dallas Morning News, the bike-share regulations required companies to pay an initial $808 application fee and a fee of $21 per bicycle to operate in the city. Bike share companies are required to pick up a bike within two hours of receiving a complaint between 6 am and 6 pm Monday through Friday, or within 12 hours any other time. People can file complaints by calling 311, and Dallas received about 3,200 complaints about bikes since September 2017, according to KDFW-TV in June 2018.
The Morning News reported in August 2018 that there were now fewer than 3,500 bikes in Dallas, but Lime continues to operate in Dallas, and Garland-based VBikes also rents dockless bikes in the city. While there may not be as many bicycles as there once were in the city, bikes are still being used and they are frequently involved in accidents.
On July 29, 2018, KXAS reported that a bicyclist was killed after being struck by a car driving at a high rate of speed with its headlights off at the intersection of West Davis Street and North Tyler Street at 1:45 a.m. The following month, KTVT-TV reported that a man was killed while riding a bicycle on South Belt Line Road and Interstate 20 in Grand Prairie at around 6 a.m. when he was struck and killed in a hit and run accident. Patch reported on October 17, 2018, that the Dallas Police Department was seeking help from the public in identifying a man killed while riding a bicycle in the 5100 block of Great Trinity Forrest Road at about 10:30 p.m.
When you are involved in a bicycle accident, you should always make sure that you receive medical care. You should go to a hospital even if you do not think you were harmed. Certain injuries involve delayed symptoms. Furthermore, an insurance company will likely claim that a delay in treatment is evidence that your injuries are not as severe as you claim. It is also a good idea to take multiple photographs of everything involved in the scene of your accident. Take pictures of your bike, any cars, and all other contributing factors, as well as photographs of your injuries before they heal. Bike rental companies, as well as the insurance companies for negligent drivers, are prepared to deny liability for these accidents, and they will often claim that a victim’s injuries were the result of their own negligence. You will want to have an experienced personal injury lawyer for help holding these parties accountable.
When you hire an attorney, they can commence an independent investigation of your crash that allows them to determine the cause and preserve important evidence. The lawyer will also be able to identify every liable party in your case. The statute of limitations for bicycle accident injuries in Texas is only two years. You should not delay in seeking legal representation, as evidence can be extremely time-sensitive.
If you sustained catastrophic injuries or your loved one was killed in a bike share accident in Dallas or a surrounding area of Texas, you will want to be sure to retain legal counsel. Smith Kendall, PLLC has nearly three decades of combined legal experience. Bill Kendall and Mary Ellen P. Smith are both Dallas residents. Let our attorneys review your case when you call (214) 361-6124 or contact us online to receive a free consultation.