Bike share services offer inexpensive, short-term bicycle rentals for Charleston residents and visitors. Bicycle rents, which are accessed using mobile phone apps, have become popular in many urban areas including Charleston.
While bike share programs have positive benefits, they do pose safety risks. More bicycle accidents are being reported in South Carolina and across the nation as bike share programs increase in popularity and more bicyclists share the roads with cars and trucks.
Charleston currently has two bike share programs, Holy Spokes and Affordabike.
Bike Share in the Community – Holy Spokes and Affordabike
Holy Spokes was created by Charleston-based media company the Gotcha Group. The bike share transportation is affiliated with the nationwide bicycling app Social Bikes (SoBi).
Holy Spokes has 27 locations across the peninsula to pick up bicycles, which can be reserved in advance using a mobile app. The innovative transportation system is for individuals 16 years of age and older. Riders 16 or 17 years of age must have the permission of a parent or legal guardian.
People may purchase Holy Spokes memberships online or through the SoBi mobile app. Registered members receive an account number and pin code to unlock a bike. They can view maps of bike hubs that indicate how many bikes are available at each location.
The hourly rate for a Holy Spokes rental is $8, but a day pass is $12, a monthly pass is $15, and an annual pass is $69. Bikes must be returned and locked at designated Holy Spokes stations, as there is a $50 Out-of-System Fee for dropping off a bike outside the system area and a $5 Out-of-Hub Fee for locking outside a station.
Affordabike, the original bike share program in Charleston, costs $6 to rent a bike for the first hour of use and $3 for every additional hour. Affordabike does place a $100 pre-authorization on your credit card, but the fee is only $20 for parking a bike outside a hub.
The Affordabike bicycles available to rent are visible through the MoveSmart app. Holy Spokes launched with 250 bicycles at 27 hubs, while Affordabike has only 10 hubs.
In addition to the two bicycle share services, Santa Monica-based Bird briefly left electric scooters in the Charleston area in August, but the company removed the scooters after the city threatened to impound them under an ordinance banning them as unregulated vehicles. The Charleston City Council imposed a one-year ban on electric scooters to provide time to figure out how to regulate scooters. They too could eventually become a part of the transportation sharing system in Charleston.
What to Do if You are in a Bicycle Accident
If you are involved in a bike share accident, your first priority should be to seek medical treatment. Do not let concerns about medical bills deter you from going to a hospital. It will be critical to show that there was no delay in treatment of your injuries if you need to file a claim.
You should also make sure to contact the local police department and file a report. You should do this even if you do not think your injuries were serious. Contacting the police and having a medical evaluation will ensure that a record of the incident is created.
While the police report is important, you should not rely solely on the police to collect all of the information after an accident. If your crash involved a motor vehicle, you should write down the contact information of any witnesses and take photos.
You should use your smartphone to take photographs of the accident scene. In addition to pictures of the bike, you will want to take pictures of the car involved, the weather conditions at the time of the crash, and as many angles of the accident site as possible. Photos of any injuries you suffered may be helpful later as well.
As soon as you are able, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney. Your lawyer will conduct an independent investigation to determine the cause of the accident, identify those legally liable for your injuries, and calculate the extent of your losses.
Who Can Be Held Responsible in a Bicycle Accident?
Many bicycle accidents involving motor vehicles are caused by drivers who are not looking out for cyclists on the road. A motorist may be distracted, fail to yield the right of way or open a car door without looking and hit a bicyclist. Some crashes are caused by motorists who simply fail to see an approaching cyclist and sideswipe the rider or turn in front of them, causing a crash. If the motorist caused the accident, the motorist’s insurance should pay for the medical bills of the injured cyclist if they are significant.
Bikeshare companies like Holy Spokes and Affordabike could be liable if someone is hurt due to a lack of maintenance or upkeep of the bikes in their fleet.
The bike rental company would not be liable, however, for accidents caused by defective bike parts or manufacturing flaws. In those cases, the bicycle manufacturer would be liable for a victim’s injuries if a defective part or design or manufacturing flaw caused the accident.
An experienced attorney can review the details of the bike share accident and conduct an investigation, if necessary, to determine who should be held liable for injuries.
Contact Our Charleston Personal Injury Law Firm
If you suffered serious injuries or your loved one was killed in a bike share accident in Charleston, you will want to make sure that you seek the guidance of an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. Hiring an experienced bikeshare lawyer could mean the difference in recovering compensation and having to pay out of pocket for your expenses after an injury accident. The attorneys at Joye Law Firm have been helping accident victims all over South Carolina since 1968, and we’re ready to put our experience to work for you.
Our firm has recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for people harmed by the negligence of others. Schedule a free, no-obligation with a knowledgeable member of our team by calling (877) 936-9707 or contact us online now.