Bike share programs have been cropping up across Indiana in recent years, most recently in Fort Wayne.
These programs have generally been regarded as safe, with the number of bicycle accidents and injuries reported among larger cities being quite low. Still, more bicycles on the road means a higher risk of bicycle accidents. This is especially true when drivers aren’t paying attention, particularly in urban areas.
Officials in Fort Wayne report that its downtown is slated to launch a small bike share operation, with 25 bikes available at five locations across the city, including the Arts Campus and the St. Francis downtown campus. Users there will pay $3 hourly – up to $30 each ride – to rent a bike, or they’ll have the option of a less expensive monthly or annual membership. The program cost $45,000 to start.
Fort Wayne was given a bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Community designation by the League of American Bicyclists, and the bike share program now averages 75 bicycle trips daily. The city has adopted a number of bike-friendly changes, such as shared bike lanes, to help improve rider safety.
Bike share programs first started in the U.S. in 2007. Larger cities like New York City and Boston latched on, and the phenomenon has spread quickly.
Recent bike share programs in Indiana include:
- Indianapolis Pacers Bikeshare program launched in 2014 with 25 stations and 250 bicycles. The program costs $8 daily or $80 for an annual membership.
- Columbus, Indiana officials launched ColumBike in May 2016. Regular users ride the Columbus People Trail, which has over 40 miles of bicycle and pedestrian paths, although they are welcome on the roads as well.
- Westfield launched a bike share program in May 2016 using Zagster, the same company that partnered with officials in Carmel and Fort Wayne.
- South Bend is considering starting a a $31,000 bike share program within the next few months.
Although bike share programs are touted as safe, there is always a risk of injury when cyclists ride in or near traffic. In Chicago, a woman was recently struck and killed while riding a bicycle from a bike share program – the first time a bike share program has been connected with a bicyclist’s death. That case involved a commercial truck. Even though the 25-year-old victim was reportedly wearing a helmet, collisions with trucks are especially perilous for bicyclists, no matter which kind of protective gear they are wearing.
We know that bike sharing programs help to drive down certain burdens on cities, including fewer health care costs, less congestion, lower pollution, and decreased traffic deaths. However, such programs are only effective if riders can trust their safety to the roads. One way to do that is to create designated bicycle lanes and barriers between cyclists and cars.
A 2014 study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives found that cities saved as much as $24 for every dollar spent on biking infrastructure, such as bike lanes.
Another safety consideration is requiring side guards on trucks. New York City is requiring side guards on 10,000 large city trucks and private garbage trucks operating in the city by 2024. It’s a smart move, considering that while trucks make up just 3.6 percent of the vehicles on New York City streets, they account for 12.3 percent of all pedestrian deaths and 32 percent of all bicycle accident deaths.
These type of considerations should be weighed for any city that manages or is considering launching a bike share program.
Our car accident lawyers are committed to fighting for the rights of cyclists and other victims throughout Indiana.
Indiana Injury Attorney Burton A. Padove handles personal injury claims throughout northern Indiana, including Gary and Hammond. Call Toll Free 877-446-5294.
City launches bike-share program in downtown Fort Wayne, April 15, 2016, Staff Report, WANE.com
More Blog Entries:
Northwest and Central Indiana Interstates Dotted By Truck and Automobile Crashes This Winter, Jan. 24, 2014, Hammond Bicycle Accident Lawyer Blog