Friday, May 4, 2018

Dockless Bike Share Comes to Chicago

Divvy is in for some competition in the bike share market. A number of companies are trying to bring "dockless" bike share to Chicago. The idea behind dockless bike share is that bicyclists can rent a bike on a short term basis but without having to return the bike to a bike share location. While this sounds simple and convenient, it raises the issue of where and how the dockless bikes will be parked. The City of Chicago is requiring these dockless bikes to be affixed with hardware that will require to dockless bikes to have a "lock to" mechanism so that these bikes will not just end up in the middle of the sidwalk.

While dockless bikes have found some success in other cities, the success of dockless bike share will take some time to evaluate in a metropolitan city and vast and densely populated as Chicago. Dockless bikes also raise the issue of how they will be maintained and who will be accountable for the bicycles if they are left in an area where the bicycle is a danger to pedestrians, bicyclists or motorists. The operators of bike share systems have a legal duty to not create any potentially harmful situations and to warn of any risks. Legal issues will arise in the event that someone is injured because a dockless bike was left somewhere and an accident happens. 

Attorney Mike Keating of Keating Law Offices recently had an article published in "Trial Magazine" entitled "Bike Share Roadblocks" about the potential risks that bike share systems can present to attorneys representing bicyclists injured while use a bike share bicycle. Now with the presence of dockless bikes, bike share usage in Chicago continues to evolve.