Like other cities in the U.S., Louisville commuters and travelers have turned to Uber and other ride-share companies to get them around town. In many cities, ride-share reservations have outstripped traditional taxicabs as the go to pay-to-ride option. Many like the ease of ordering a ride from their phone and the lower cost of an Uber ride.
Another upward trend in Louisville is cycling as more people shed their cars and ride their bikes to work and to get around the city. 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.
It’s inevitable that with the increased number of Uber cars and bicycles that accidents involving both would increase as well. When it comes to Uber and bicycles, there are some high-risk areas that can lead to serious accidents.
Common Problems with Uber and Bikes
Bike lanes can reduce bicycle-car accidents by as much as 50 percent, according to some studies. As of 2018, Louisville has 85 miles of bike lanes with plans to build more, As in other cities, bike lanes are designated by two white stripes and are between the right lane and the curb or the right lane and the parking lane next to the curb. But even with the increase in bicycle safety, bicycle accidents involving Uber cars still occur.
A dooring accident happens when a person opens their car door in front of a cyclist. In many cases, the cyclist is riding in a bike lane or on the right-hand side of the road—as required by Kentucky law—and a door opens from one in a row of parked cars.
In another scenario, the cyclist sees the door open and swerves out into traffic to miss the door. Both types of dooring can cause serious injuries and even death.
Business as Usual
Uber and other ride-share vehicles are not supposed to ride in bike lanes in Louisville, but many do when driving up to a curb to drop off or pick up. It’s a sort of gray area where the law is concerned. While a driver is to stay out of bike lanes except to turn, there is no specific law that says they can’t pull up to the curb to pick up and drop off their ride.
Even in cities where Uber isn’t allowed to stop in a bike lane even to pick up or drop off, they do anyway. So, cyclists have to be mindful that even though they have their own lane, it doesn’t mean that they can relax and not be vigilant.
Who’s at Fault in an Uber Accident?
In any accident, the at-fault driver will be required under Kentucky law to pay for the damages caused by the accident, and that’s why drivers have auto insurance. However, when an Uber car is at fault, it isn’t cut and dry as to who will pay for the injuries.
Kentucky requires each driver to have auto insurance, and this includes Uber and other ride-share drivers. The minimum for each injury caps at $25,000 for one person and $50,000 for two or more. This may sound like a lot, but in a serious accident, this can fall short of covering just the medical bills.
Uber itself has a $1 million policy to cover the company for any losses that come from an injury or property damage claim when the accident occurs when the Uber driver is on duty which means they have logged on to take a reservation. But if the accident involves an Uber car that is not on a paying ride, then the $1 million isn’t available to the injured.
What Should I do if I get hit by an Uber Driver?
Many Louisville cyclists wonder if they need to hire an attorney if they are hit by an Uber 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 Uber car, then you need to talk to a Louisville Bicycle Accident Attorney who knows the law and can get you the compensation you deserve.