Louisville commuters are turning to Lyft and other ride-share companies in record numbers. They are overtaking traditional taxicabs as the means of fare travel in the city. Especially with the younger riders, many like the ability to just swipe a few times on their phone and reserve a ride.
This coupled with lower fares means that Lyft will probably continue to trend upward in Louisville and other Kentucky cities.
Cycling in Louisville is also trending upward. In part because of the high cost of conventional transportation but also because of a nationwide push by cities to reduce reliance on fossil-fuel driven vehicles to alternative modes such as pedal bikes.
In 2015, the League of American Bicyclists raised Louisville’s Bronze Bicycle Friendly Community Award to Silver because of certain improvements like adding bike riding events and increased “bicycle engineering” in the city along with more rider encouragement and safety enforcement.
Lyft – Bicycle Crashes
An unfortunate upward trend is also happening. With the increase of both Lyft vehicles and bicycles, it’s inevitable that accidents will occur, and when they do, many cyclists are severely injured or succumb to their injuries.
Studies show that bike lanes can reduce bicycle-car accidents by as much as 50 percent, and Louisville is taking advantage of that statistics by adding more and more bike lanes to their already 85 miles of lanes in the city (as of 2019). But even with the increase in bicycle safety, bicycle accidents involving Lyft cars still occur.
Another problem in bike lanes is the risk of a “dooring” accident where somene parked in a bike lane or alongside one opens their door to get out right into the path of a cyclist. Even when a cyclist sees the door open and swerves to miss it, they might end up getting hit by a car that was in the traffic lane. Both types of dooring can cause serious injuries and even death.
By design, bike lanes are for bicycles and not motor vehicles. However, Lyft vehicles often stop in bike lanes to pick up and drop off their ride. Kentucky law isn’t exactly clear as it does restrict travel in bike lanes to exclude cars, but it doesn’t expressly prohibit Lyft or other ride-share vehicles from stopping in a bike lane at a curb.
Who’s at Fault in a Lyft Accident?
When car and bikes collide, the at-fault person will be required under Kentucky law to pay for the damages caused by the accident. In cases where the that driver is driving for Lyft, then their insurance will pay for the damages. But this begs the questions, who’s insurance? Lyft’s or the driver’s?
Kentucky law mandates that anyone operating any motor vehicle on public streets to have auto insurance which includes Lyft drivers. The minimum for each injury caps at $25,000 for one person and $50,000 for two or more.
As a company Lyft has a $1 million policy to cover any losses that come from an injury or property damage claim when Lyft is at fault. But when is Lyft at fault?
When the Lyft driver is on duty, which means they have logged on to take a reservation, then any accident is covered by Lyft and their $1 million policy. But if the accident involves a Lyft car that is not on duty, then the driver’s own insurance will be used to cover the losses.
It’s tempting to say at least there is some coverage, but when the injuries are severe or the accident causes permanent disability, then it’s fairly easy to incur losses that surpass the state minimum insurance cap.
What Should I do if I get hit by a Lyft Driver?
Many Louisville cyclists wonder if they need to hire an attorney if they are hit by a Lyft car. After all, won’t their insurance cover the damages? But the sad truth is, the insurance company will very often try to either deny a valid claim or work hard to pay much less than is reasonable.
So if you are a cyclist in Louisville or any other city in Kentucky and have been injured by an Lyft car, then you need to talk to a Louisville Bicycle Accident Attorney who knows the law and can get you the compensation you deserve.