Florida Lawmakers Seek to Make Universal Dockless Bike-Share Regulations
If you’re one of the many bicyclists on Florida’s roads, you need to be aware of any new regulations regarding your form of transportation or pastime. The Law Offices of Chalik & Chalik offers details about how the state wants to create universal dockless bike-share regulations for those who bike-share throughout the state.
How Does Bike-Sharing Work?
Bike-sharing is a new concept, but its explosive success in highly populated areas bodes well for the cities of Florida. Traditional bike-share models utilize a docking system, wherein stations or docks exist throughout a given locale, and riders obtain bikes at designated docks and return them there later. People typically use smartphone applications to complete the transaction, and companies bill for the bikes by the day or hours of use. In some cases, monthly, unlimited access plans exist.
In the past few years, non-docking bike-share services have emerged in major cities across the United States – including many across Florida. You can park or discard these models on racks or sidewalks in larger quadrants within a given city space. Riders can find bikes with smartphone applications and unlock them for use in the apps as well. This allows riders who can’t bike the entire way to work to find a bike-share, park, and get to work on a bicycle that they won’t have to lug around. It’s also a great way for the many tourists in the area to get to a city’s attractions.
Problems With Dockless Bike-Sharing
While it may seem like a perfect solution for both sightseeing and transportation, there have been some hiccups. First, helmet laws, which aren’t a requirement in Florida, can mean liability issues for organizations that own the bikes. Of the 469 fatal US bicycle accidents in 2012, 60% of those who died were not wearing helmets.
No state in the country has a uniform bike helmet law. In Florida, minors under the age of 16, by law, must wear a helmet when riding a bike. The law does not constrain individuals over the age of 17. In terms of liability, if an injury results from the negligence of a motorist or a bike-sharer, the bikers, pedestrians, nor motorists will have adequate protection without a helmet.
Bike-sharing also leads to questions of responsibility for maintenance of bicycles. Though it’s obviously the owners of the bike-share organization who bear responsibility, there may be some issues with riders not reporting problems. New legislation makes some of these responsibilities more clear.
Florida Legislation HB 1033
Legislation offered at the state level (HB 1033) aimed to address key issues surrounding dockless bike-sharing services in Florida by ensuring that bike-sharing companies carry liability insurance to cover up to $500,000 for every rider. The law would also have controlled regulatory oversight at the state level, superseding tax policy and local ordinances in cities and counties across the state. Bike-sharing companies would also have had to ensure the upkeep of equipment and docking stations, as well as follow protocols and maintenance requirements. Unfortunately, legislature killed the bill at the end of March.
Bicycles offer any number of benefits; cardiovascular exercise decreases the risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Bicycling costs less than driving or taking other forms of public transportation, and the decreased carbon footprint benefits everyone. These benefits are exponential when citizens leverage bike-sharing, but only if riders stay relatively safe and accident-free.
If you have sustained injuries in a bike accident in Fort Lauderdale, Chalik & Chalik may be able to help recoup some of your medical expenses or lost time from work. For a free consultation, please contact us today. We can also explain some of the issues surrounding possible new legislature for bike sharing docks.