Bicycle riding has become increasingly popular in recent years as a means of dealing with high traffic in urban areas and as an alternative to cars as gas prices have gone up and concerns about pollution have persisted. Many cities are adopting bicycle sharing programs in order to make biking easier. Recently, YNN Austin announced that the city of Austin, Texas will be moving forward with a bicycle sharing program.

Our Austin injury lawyers know that a bike sharing program could encourage more people to take up riding and could increase the number of bicyclists on the roads. In New York City, a bike-sharing program led to riders traveling more than 1.5 million miles in just the first month of the program. While it is great that bike sharing can increase convenience and making riding a more popular option, more bicyclists on the road also means a greater chance of bike accidents happening. As a result, cyclists and drivers need to be aware of the risks of crashes and need to take safety precautions to prevent accidents.

Austin Moving Forward with Bike Sharing Plan

The new bike-sharing program approved by the Austin City Council will result in hundreds of bicycles being made available for public use around town. An agreement has been entered into with B-Cycle to purchase an estimated $2 million worth of bicycles, kiosks and computer software to manage the new sharing program.

The program will allow riders to have an annual or monthly membership or to rent a bike on a daily basis. Estimates indicate that there will be about 10 different stations around town where bicyclists can rent and return bikes. The program will start with 100 bicycles and will continue to expand. By the spring of 2014, the next phase of the project will result in a total of 40 kiosk locations and 400 available bicycles.

Bike Safety is Key

Cyclists are excited about the new bike-sharing program, but it is important that both bike riders and drivers do everything possible to avoid the risk of bike accidents with more riders on the road.

For drivers, this means:

  • Checking for bike riders and yielding the right-of-way as required.
  • Refraining from dangerous behaviors such as speeding, drunk or drowsy driving, and driving while distracted. All of these behaviors could lead to an accident with a bike rider.
  • Leaving enough space between yourself and cyclists. Aggressive driving causes accidents.

For bicycle riders, safety efforts can include:

  • Wearing bright colors to be seen more easily and using reflective material when riding after dark.
  • Obeying lane markings and all rules of the road.
  • Riding in bicycle lanes whenever possible and always riding with traffic.
  • Communicating with drivers by using hand signals and ensuring that you make eye contact so drivers can see you on the roads.

It will take a commitment from bike riders and motorists alike to avoid accidents as the bike share program goes into effect. Drivers need to accept this responsibility for the safety of bike riders in order to avoid liability and save lives.

If you or a loved one was involved in a car accident, contact the Austin injury lawyers at Bertolino LLP today at 512-717-5432.

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