Lime brought dockless bikes to Baltimore last year. Like the e-scooters appearing in cities across the United States, riders are able to drop them off wherever they stop rather than at stations. The bikes are part of a pilot program. However, their arrival raises many unanswered questions. Baltimore bike accident injury lawyer Randolph Rice explains who would you sue if you hurt yourself on a Baltimore Lime bike.
Overview of Scooter and Bike Share Programs in Maryland
Lime initially introduced scooters in Baltimore last summer. Lime and Bird took over when the city shut down the vandalism-plagued Baltimore Bike Share program.
The pilot agreement between the city and Lime and Bird runs through April 30. Two new dockless bike companies, Spin, owned by Ford Motor Co., and Jump, owned by Uber, also started operating in Baltimore in March.
The arrival of hundreds of dockless bikes and scooters on the streets of Baltimore raises many questions about accidents and liability when riders are hurt.
The electric scooter revolution caused a major upsurge of injuries in U.S. cities. Although riders are more familiar with bikes than scooters, the pilot program has brought rapid changes to a city where cyclists face many dangers.
The new pilot program in Baltimore raises plenty of questions about potential injuries. If you are hurt on a Baltimore Lime bike, you should take a similar approach to a traditional bicycle accident.
What to Do If a Car Hits You on a Lime Bike in Baltimore
When accidents leave cyclists injured, car, SUV, bus, or truck drivers are often held responsible. Drivers have a duty to look out for riders, give them space, and watch for them making turns. The rules are the same for dockless bikes like Lime.
If a car or commercial vehicle driver hits and injures you on a Lime bike, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Take down details from the accident scene and get the driver’s insurance and identification details. Remain at the accident scene until a police officer arrives and check the bike for defects before giving it up. Take photos from the accident scene. Inform the police officer of any potential defects on the bike.
Injuries from a Defective Lime Bike
Bikes are dumped on streets under the dockless model. This means the potential for bikes to be damaged or vandalized is higher than when bikes have to be returned to stations. Riders of Lime scooters and bikes have also reported defects in these mass-produced machines. If faulty brakes, tires or other issues cause an injury, the rider may have grounds to sue Lime. You should report all defects to the police officer who investigates a crash and document any defects on the bike and contact a Baltimore defective product injury lawyer.
Liability of a Bike Share Company After an Accident
The extent of Lime’s liability for bike and scooter crashes is questionable. The Dallas Morning News examined this question in 2018 shortly after the arrival of Lime bikes and scooters in Dallas.
The Morning News reported how Kelley Mitchum paid $1.38 for a ride but crashed on the city’s trolley tracks. The accident left her with scrapes on her arms and knees, cuts to her forehead, two black eyes, and large medical bills. The crash raised questions over LimeBike’s liability for injuries to riders.
A legal expert quoted in the article said the scooter and bike companies are unlikely to be held liable for accidents as long as their machines are well-maintained and they warn riders to wear helmets. He compared the scenario with that of a car hire company that is seldom held responsible for an accident.
Lime pointed out all riders must go through an in-app tutorial that includes helmet safety before they rent a bike or a scooter. One step of the tutorial states riders are “required to wear a helmet.” It informs them they can bring their own helmet or collect a free one from a designated location if their balance is $10 or more.
Users must confirm are a “competent operator.” They should be familiar with how bikes or scooters operate and assume responsibilities and risks for any injuries and/or medical conditions caused by a wreck.
In its terms of service, Lime attempts to waive any potential court actions and class action lawsuits over its bikes and scooters. Waivers of this nature are not always enforceable. However, there are unanswered questions over Lime bike accidents. In Seattle, police investigated serious injuries to an 18-year-old who crashed a bike, possibly because someone cut the brakes on purpose.
Seattle police investigated an issue with the brakes on the victim’s LimeBike rideshare. Police previously reported a man who was sabotaging bike-shares like LimeBike by slashing their brakes.
The model of dockless bikes companies like Bird and Lime’s involves bikes that can be picked up and dropped off on the streets. However, this leaves bikes vulnerable to vandalism and tampering. Thieves and vandals in Baltimore were so prolific they derailed the city’s original bike-share program, the Washington Post noted.
Thieves managed to rip the bikes out of their docking stations. Even after receiving additional resources, the repair shop was unable to keep up with the maintenance, leaving system users with few options at the city’s 25 bike kiosks.
Lime bikes and those of other companies replaced the Baltimore Bike Share program. It remains to be seen if the pilot program has found ways of dealing with the vandalism and theft issue in the city. Vandalism threatens rider safety.
Talk to a Lawyer Handling Baltimore Lime Bike Injuries
The arrival of hundreds of dockless bikes and scooters on the streets of Baltimore means accidents and injuries are inevitable. If a Lime bike accident leaves you or a family member nursing injuries, you should talk to an experienced Baltimore personal injury lawyer. We have represented injured cyclists for years in Maryland town and cities. We know who to sue if you hurt yourself on a Baltimore Lime bike. Call the Law Offices of Randolph Rice today at (410) 694-7291.