Toronto Bike Share Accident Lawyers
Less than a year into the City of Hamilton’s bike share program, the CBC reported that the number of registered riders had made the system an “unqualified” success. “We’ve been really pleased at how well-received it’s been,” Chelsea Cox, community manager for Social Bicycles (SoBi) told the CBC.
According to the CBC, SoBi Hamilton had 7,300 active users in December 2015, and 1,200 paid a monthly subscription. The SoBi Hamilton system had 750 bikes at 115 hubs covering a 40-kilometre area of the city.
Hamilton Bike Share Inc. is the local nonprofit corporation operating SoBi Hamilton. Its stated mission is “to enhance the quality of urban life in Hamilton by operating a convenient, easy-to-use bike sharing system,” with the goal of increasing the number of cyclists and reducing vehicular congestion, improving air quality, and cultivating a healthier and more active community.
In 2017, Hamilton Bike Share launched its Everyone Rides Initiative, an equity program providing subsidized memberships and bike access to low-income individuals. In July 2017, the Everyone Rides Initiative added 12 new hubs to priority neighbourhoods in Hamilton and 75 bikes with eight gears to the system.
Despite the success of Hamilton’s bike share program, there have been concerns. In August 2018, the Global News reported that two bicycle accidents occurred within 24 hours in the city, and one was a possible hit and run accident. The following month, CHCH-DT reported that a bicyclist suffered a serious head injury after crashing into a wall when she swerved to avoid a pedestrian.
If you suffered serious injuries or your loved one was killed in a bike share accident in Hamilton, make sure that you retain legal counsel as soon as possible. When your accident was caused by another party’s negligence, you could be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost income, and other damages.
Mazin & Associates, PC represents clients on a contingency fee basis, so you do not owe us anything unless you receive a monetary award. Our Toronto bike share accident lawyers can review your case when you call (416) 625-2122 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
How Bike Sharing Works in Hamilton
Hamilton Bike Share allows you to either pay as you go for nine cents a minute, or you can purchase a $15 monthly membership that includes 90 minutes free every day. You will then be able to unlock a bike using an assigned six-digit account number or tapping your member card and entering the PIN you created when you registered.
You are allowed to ride the bike anywhere in the SoBi Hamilton service area, and the bike must be returned to one of the hubs. Bikes do not have to necessarily be returned to the same hubs they were rented from.
You can lock your bike to a regular bike rack within the service area, but there is a $1 convenience fee. Locking a bike outside the service area will result in a $25 recovery penalty. There is also a $15 penalty for improper locking.
SoBi Hamilton now claims to operate 825 bicycles at more than 130 hubs. Hamilton Bike Share monitors the system 24 hours a day.
All riders who are less than 18 years of age must wear helmets when renting bikes, but helmets are not required for bicyclists 18 years of age or older. Hamilton Bike Share is for people 16 years of age or older, but users who are 16 or 17 years of age must have a parent or guardian’s permission.
SoBi states that following any accident with another bike or a pedestrian, an individual should immediately call 911 if anyone needs medical attention and report the accident to customer service. If an accident involves a motor vehicle, SoBi states that the 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
The bike sharing program in Hamilton has had a very broad appeal. In addition to people needing bicycles to commute to work, bikes have also proven beneficial for many other recreational users of all ages.
For some people, bike rental fees are preferable to the costs of gas and maintaining a motor vehicle. For others, the physical fitness benefits are unrivaled. However, as more people take to bicycles in Hamilton, more people will be involved in accidents. While the bike sharing program is new, many of these accidents are very familiar.
One of the most common examples is so-called “dooring” accidents. A dooring crash occurs when the occupant of an automobile opens a motor vehicle door into the path of an oncoming bicyclist. Bicyclists in such situations are often powerless to avoid collisions. The impact is usually at full force with bicyclists often being thrown several feet from their bikes.
Some of the other kinds of accidents caused by motor vehicles include, but are not limited to:
- Left-Turn or Right-Turn Accidents — A left-turn accident involves a driver turning left in front or into an oncoming bicyclist. A right-turn accident involves a driver turning right into a bicyclist traveling in the same direction. Both types of collisions involve a driver failing to accurately assess the speed of a bicyclist and their distance from the motor vehicle.
- Impaired Driving Accidents — Driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance is a criminal offense that involves steep penalties. Drivers who refuse to provide breath samples will have their licenses suspended for 90 days and vehicles impounded for seven days in addition to possible criminal charges. In July 2018, the CBC reported that the 32 drug-impaired driving arrests made to that point were already more than the 29 total arrests made over an entire year in 2016 and 2017. Hamilton police said they expected the rate to increase with the legalization of marijuana.
- Distracted Driving Accidents — Driving is a task that requires an individual’s complete and undivided attention. Many people take for granted how quickly accidents can occur, and many accidents are the result of a driver being distracted, even just for a second. The most common kind of distraction usually involves talking, text messaging, or otherwise using a cell phone, but other common distractions include applying makeup, adjusting the radio or climate controls, eating, drinking, or smoking.
- Sideswipe Accidents — Sideswipe crashes involve cars striking bicyclists traveling in the same direction, and the accidents often involve motor vehicles trying to pass bicycles.
- Failure to Yield Accidents — Drivers need to stop at intersections controlled by traffic signs and lights, but many accidents at these locations involve a motorist not respecting a bicyclist’s right of way. Many accidents stem from violations of local traffic laws.
- Head-On Collisions — While these types of accidents are rare, the types of injuries they cause can often be fatal. Head-to-head crashes often involve a complicating factor such as visibility issues like weather or darkness. In other cases, a driver may have departed from their lane, often due to drowsy or distracted driving.
All of the accidents listed above could occur on any bicycle, rented or owned. The bike share program can also involve accidents that are specific to its bicycles. Hamilton Bike Share has an obligation to ensure the bikes it rents are safe for all riders.
Accidents caused by defective or dangerous bikes can be entirely isolated incidents. If the issue was related to a failure to maintain the bicycle, then the rental company could be liable for damages. When an accident is caused by a defective bike part, the manufacturer could be liable.
Types of Bike Share Accident Injuries
Helmets for Hamilton Bike Share users are only required when a bicyclist is 16 or 17 years of age, but the program recommends all bicyclists wear helmets. Bicycle helmets can certainly help prevent many different kinds of serious head injuries.
Helmets cannot prevent other injuries that usually involve other unprotected parts of a bicyclist’s body. Some of the most common injuries include, but are not limited to:
- Muscle strains
- Road rash
- Nerve damage
- Neck injuries
- Internal organ injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
Some bicyclists suffer injuries that ultimately prove to be fatal. In such cases, the families of the deceased can file wrongful death lawsuits against negligent parties.
Contact a Hamilton Bike Share Accident Lawyer Today
You do not want to handle a bicycle rental accident on your own. A rental company will likely claim that you were at fault for your accident and will be responsible for your injuries.
In some cases, you may be contacted by an insurance company offering you a lump sum settlement to resolve your case. You should know that these offers are usually nowhere near what you are actually entitled to.
Did you sustain severe injuries or was your loved one killed in a bike share accident in the greater Hamilton area? Mazin & Associates, PC will fight to get you every dollar of compensation you need and deserve.
Founder Gary Mazin has more than 15 years of legal experience. Call (416) 625-2122 or contact us online to receive a free consultation.