Quite often bicycle accidents happen on Chicago’s busy streets, leaving bicyclists injured and even in some cases killed. And as with many time-tested forms of travel, bicycling on city streets has been changed significantly by the introduction of the popular Divvy system. Divvy is a ride-sharing system for bicyclists that has been praised for its comparative safety. Yet in July 2016 the first fatality on a Divvy bicycle occurred and because of that, Illinois personal injury law will need to look at the factors involved in the system as a whole and how it affects liability when accidents do occur.
In 2015 there was an average 3,183,438 riders on Divvy bikes. Each ride averaged 17 minutes. With that much travel on Chicago’s streets, it is inevitable that accidents will occur. But when that happens who is at fault? Who is responsible for injuries? What recourse will injured parties have when seeking redress?
Well, like other personal injury cases, it all depends on specifics. The fact is the bicyclist is still responsible for their own behavior on the road. Vehicles, pedestrians and any other potential bad actors on the streets can also be held responsible for their actions when they cause an accident with a bicyclist on a Divvy bike. But because the Divvy system owns and maintains its bicycles and because the program is a City of Chicago service, both Divvy and the City of Chicago could be held liable for injuries if some of the following circumstances occur:
· The accident occurred because of a defect in the bicycle’s manufacture
· The accident occurred because of a defect in the bicycle’s design; and
· The accident resulted in injury
Based on Illinois personal injury law, these elements of liability fall under the theory of defective products personal injury.
However, it is also possible that individuals could be injured navigating the Divvy bicycle lock and storage system. If an individual is injured managing the process of retrieving the bicycle or restoring the bicycle to its harness in one of the many Divvy stations, they may be entitled to personal injury damages based if the station itself was defective and caused injury (as in the case of a broken harness that has gone without repair).
Divvy and the Chicago of Chicago are responsible for maintenance of each of its bikes in the Divvy system. Likewise, Divvy and the City of Chicago are responsible for ensuring that the equipment used to house Divvy bikes is safe for riders to use to retrieve and to return bikes without injury.
If you have been injured while utilizing a ride-sharing vehicle, it is important to contact a skilled personal injury lawyer who understands Illinois personal injury law and has a wealth of experience winning the highest damage awards in accident cases.
Bizzieri Law Offices in Chicago offers such experience along with a drive to fight for the rights of our clients and ensure they receive the fairest compensation to which they are
entitled. Call us at 773.881.9000 to speak with an attorney today. We never charge a fee unless we recover damages for you.