A recent trend appearing in major cities all over the country is bike-sharing and electric scooter-sharing services like Lime and Bird. Users download the corresponding app and use it to unlock a nearby scooter or bike. They pay through the app for the service, get on the scooter or bike, and ride to their destination. Once they arrive, they complete the trip using the app, lock the bike or scooter, and then park it so it is available for the next person to use.
Even though these services offer an ecologically responsible alternative to driving or taking public transportation, they have caused some problems. Local governments across the country are taking notice and enacting legislation to address these issues.
New Laws in Kansas City
State and city lawmakers have met with leaders of electric scooter and bike-sharing services like Lime and Bird to determine the companies’ level of liability for user accidents and guidelines for acceptable use of their transportation devices. The provisions included in these new laws pertain to proper use, parking, and abandoned devices.
Riders may not operate bikes or electric scooters on sidewalks. They must ride in the street and keep to bike lanes wherever possible. Although it is not technically illegal to ride a bike on the sidewalk in Kansas City, it is generally easier for cyclists and safer for pedestrians if bikes remain on the road. Electric scooter riders may not use sidewalks.
Helmet use is encouraged, but not required. Helmets can help reduce the chances of fatal head injuries from crashes.
Riders should park their bikes and scooters close to existing bike parking racks. Riders must keep bikes and electric scooters away from entryways. This includes entrances to businesses, crosswalks, or anywhere else they could pose a tripping hazard to pedestrians.
Only riders with valid driver’s licenses may operate electric scooters.
These rules exist to limit the number of electric scooter and bike accidents in Kansas City. Ultimately, it is up to individual riders to make good decisions and exercise care on busy city streets. Metropolitan areas like downtown Kansas City may not be ideal conditions for riding an electric scooter or bike from a sharing app, but city officials welcome innovation and new transportation alternatives that reduce fossil fuel consumption and the resulting pollution. Striking a balance between these benefits and public safety is the ultimate goal of the new bike-sharing and electric scooter-sharing laws.
Tips for Riders
Riders can limit their risk of injury by following Kansas City rules for electric scooters and bikes. Wearing a helmet may not be a requirement, but riders of all ages are safer when wearing helmets. If you use a bike-sharing program or electric-scooter sharing app like Lime or Bird, be sure to carefully read the user agreement so you know your rights and legal options regarding a bicycle accident caused by equipment failure or a defective device.
When you finish a ride on one of these platforms, leave the bike or scooter in a place that will not interfere with passing pedestrian traffic and cause a pedestrian accident. Try to find an existing bike rack; this is the ideal place to park an electric scooter or bike once you finish with it.
While riding, stay alert and aware of changing traffic conditions in your surroundings. Motor vehicles like a car, truck, or bus can cause serious injuries to a cyclist or scooter rider. A personal injury claim can help an injured scooter rider or cyclist recover compensation. Damages recovered can be used for medical expenses, lost income, property damage, and pain and suffering. To learn more about how the Kansas City injury lawyers at Wendt Law Firm P.C. can help, contact us.