bicycles

Bike accidents occur far too frequently. Nationally, there were 743 cyclists killed in accidents involving motor vehicles in a single year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Locally in South Carolina, there were 14 cyclists fatalities caused by motor vehicle accidents in a single year (source: South Carolina Department of Transportation).

It’s true that most bicycle accidents – like data on the ones provided above – involve and are caused by motor vehicles and their drivers’ negligence. However, drivers are not always to blame; sometimes, the cyclists themselves act irresponsibly, and other times, defects on bikes can lead to a problem. Following a Charleston bike crash that is caused by a defective bike – particularly one provided by a bike rental service or company – seeking the counsel of a Charleston bicycle accident attorney can be imperative in the recovery of damages. Here is what you need to know:

Charleston Bike Defects that Can Lead to Accidents

Just like cars and countless other products, bicycles do not always work as they should. When a bicycle is designed defectively or improperly maintained or repaired, it can contribute to or cause an accident, resulting in harm to the bicyclists. Some of the most common bike defects that can lead to devastating crashes include:

  • Substandard frames. A bicycle frame that is substandard can cause an accident when, for example, a bicyclist rides over a pothole. The stress placed on the frame may be enough to cause the frame to buckle or crumple, causing serious injuries to the rider. Some bike frames are so substandard that they may crack and break with little or no catalyst.
  • Seat posts. A seat post that is manufactured with a defect is a serious concern. In fact, the United States Consumer Protection Agency recently issued a recall of a bike with a defective seat post; the seat could break, causing its rider to fall and sustain injuries.
  • Wheels and tires. Wheels and tires pose a huge threat to cyclists when not properly installed or maintained. Consider wheels that are improperly attached, resulting in a wheel actually falling off while a rider is riding. Or, consider tires that do not hold air properly, increasing the risk of an accident. Even more shocking are tires – like those on Chillafish’s child bikes (recalled in January 2016, according to the S. Consumer Protection Agency) that posed a laceration hazard due to overinflated tires, which could cause wheel rims to crack, sending pieces of the plastic rim flying through the air and lacerating children.
  • One of the most important things on a bicyclist is the bicycle’s brakes. If brakes do not work properly, the cyclist is at risk of being unable to stop and experiencing catastrophic consequences as a result – like riding through an intersection or heading directly into the path of a car.

Who is Liable for a Charleston Accident Caused by a Defective Bicycle?

Liability for an accident caused by a defective bicycle in Charleston may fall on the shoulders of more than one party.

Most obviously, the manufacturer of the bicycle may be to blame if it can be proven that the defect was a design or manufacturing defect that a shipper, distributor, or consumer could not have known about nor prevented.

In other cases, the bicyclist themselves may be to blame for the bicycle defect if they failed to repair or maintain the bike in a reasonable manner – i.e. failing to put air in tires that clearly needed it, resulting in a crash.

When the bicycle is a rental, however, the bicycle rental service/company may be held liable if:

  • The bicycle rental service knew of the defect and yet continued to rent the bike regardless;
  • The bicycle rental company failed to perform reasonable maintenance on the bike; or/and
  • The bicycle rental company repaired a bike, but did so incorrectly resulting in a defect (i.e. reattaching a wheel defectively, resulting in the wheel falling off while being used).

How to Prove Liability

If you have been in a bicycle accident in Charleston – especially one that was not caused by a negligent driver – you probably have questions about who is at fault for the accident and how to prove that fault. If you were using a rented bike, the bicycle rental company may claim that the accident occurred due to your own negligence, and that you were operating the bike in an unsafe manner. If you believe, however, that your bicycle accident was caused by a defective bike from a bike rental service or shop, the attorneys at Joye Law Firm can help you to prove it.

We prove fault and liability by conducting a thorough investigation into the cause of your accident. If you were riding a rented bike that had previously been named in a recall, this will be our first clue that the bike was dangerous and that the bike’s manufacturer and distributor should have both done something about it.

If the bike has not been recalled, we will investigate to find out whether or not there was an inherent defect, and if not, the risks posed by the bike were caused due to defective repair or maintenance of the bike rental company. We have the resources and skill set necessary to get to the bottom of what happened and who should be held responsible.

You Deserve to Be Compensated for Your Injuries – Our Charleston Bike Accident Attorneys Can Help

Bike rental companies have a duty to provide consumers with bicycles that are safe for use. If your right to a safe bicycle was breached, and you experienced an accident and injures as a result, our determined Charleston bike accident attorneys are ready to go to work for you!

To request a free case consultation with Joye Law Firm and to begin the process of recovering the compensation that you deserve, contact our offices today. You can reach us by phone or by filling out our online contact form.

About the Author

Mark Joye is the Head of the Litigation Department at the Joye Law Firm. A Board-Certified Trial Advocate with nearly 30 years of litigation experience, he currently serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and is a past president of the South Carolina Association for Justice. In a recent trial, Joye headed a trial team that secured $17 million for a family killed in a tractor-trailer accident.

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