Bicycle Accidents: Rental Bikes & Tourists

The Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization has joined officials in Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties in pushing cycling as an alternative mode of transportation and tourism activity. With that emphasis comes a responsibility to provide the ordinances, infrastructure and enforcement necessary to keep riders safe on the road.

Fort Lauderdale Bicycle Accident Lawyer Richard Ansara focuses on providing legal representation to bicyclists and pedestrians who are seriously injured or killed in an accident involving a rental bike. Whether a tourist, a seasonal resident or a full-time Floridian, the attorneys at The Ansara Law Firm will fight for the compensation you deserve for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages and other damages.

We understand the challenges and issues unique to bicycling and pedestrian accidents. And we know about the difficulty of trying to pursue justice for a tourism accident after returning home.

Florida has consistently ranked as one of the most dangerous states for bicycle riding, with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) reporting nearly 6,700 bicycle crashes in 2016 alone. Those resulted in at least 140 deaths and thousands of injuries.

Those hankering for a quick ride around the block of their condo, vacation rental or nearby park may find themselves at grave risk – particularly due to close contact with motor vehicles.

The Dangerous by Design report completed by Smart Growth America cites Florida’s post-WWII development geared toward motor vehicle traffic (i.e., wide roads, high speed limits, few cross walks or sidewalks) as largely to blame for the trouble.

Many Florida communities – particularly those promoting bicycle riding through rental and bike share programs – are working to also address concerns of reconstructing more complete streets. But these efforts take time.

Rental Bike Accidents in Fort Lauderdale

Broward B-Cycle was launched in December 2011 in Hollywood, Fort Lauderdale and Pompano Beach – marking the first county bike-sharing program in the nation. Officials laud it as an affordable, clean and simple way to get about town. The county’s five-year plan added 600 cycles at 50 rental stations.

Riders purchase an online membership and then visit any B-station, choose a bike and go. Rental bikes can be returned to any station in the city. Promoters say variable speeds, adjustable seats, baskets and fender skirts are all aimed at keeping riders safe and making the bicycles more convenient. Prices start at $5 for a 24-hour pass. Weekly, monthly and annual passes are also available, making the program convenient for tourists and residents alike.

With this renewed emphasis on cycling as a publicly supported mode of transportation comes an obligation to ensure that the bike lanes and other infrastructure are in place to keep riders safe. Law enforcement must also remain committed to cracking down on aggressive or careless drivers who put riders at risk every day on our roads. Likewise, rental companies have an obligation to provide safe equipment and to ensure those renting cycles are qualified to do so.

These commonsense requirements extend to smaller rental shops on islands and in other niche markets. Whether renting buggies, bicycles, mopeds are scooters, tourists have an expectation of renting safe equipment in an area suitable for riding.

Recreational bicycling is also available at a dozen area parks:

  • Brian Piccolo Park
  • Central Broward Regional Park
  • Markham Park
  • Quiet Waters Park
  • Tradewinds Park
  • T.Y. Park
  • West Lake Park
  • C.B. Smith Park
  • Hollywood North Park
  • Plantation Heritage Park
  • Reverend Samuel Delevoe Memorial Park
  • Tree Tops Park
  • Vista View Park

Several parks offer rentals of bicycles or handcycles. Also, BIKE Broward offers an interactive bicycle route-planning tool.

Liability for Tourist and Rental Bike Injuries

When you rent a bicycle, you have the right to assume motorists will use reasonable care when encountering you. There also exists the right to assume the bicycle you are riding is reasonably safe, per standards and inspections conducted by the manufacturer, the distributor and the rental company.

When bicycle accident injuries result from collisions with cars or trucks, it is often the driver of the motor vehicle who is to blame. Proving negligence will require your lawyer showing the driver:

  • Owed a duty of care to operate in a reasonably safe manner;
  • Failed in that duty;
  • That breach of duty caused your injuries.

Cases involving defective rental bikes or defective helmets may be a bit more complicated, and will likely be predicated on a principle of product liability. Specifically, we’ll look at whether the product was inherently unsafe, whether the manufacturer/ distributor/ rental bike company knew or should have known of the defect, whether they offered adequate warning and whether any duties of implied or express warranties were breached.

If a rental bike injury occurs on business property, you may potentially have a premises liability claim if the incident was caused by some dangerous condition on site (i.e., poorly-designed parking lot, protruding objects, lack of warning signs, clutter, etc.).

Some rental sites may require riders to sign waivers of liability. This could hurt your chances of a successful claim, but it won’t necessarily end it. Consulting with an experienced injury lawyer can help you understand more about your options.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a Fort Lauderdale bicycle accident, contact the personal injury attorneys at The Ansara Law Firm by calling (954) 761-4011 or toll-free at (888) ANSARA-8.

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