Uber vs Bicycle Accidents in Philadelphia

Ride-share companies like Uber are continuing to trend upward since they hit the scene in 2009—especially in large population regions like the Philadelphia metro area. Cycling is also trending upward in both traditional pedal bikes and the recently rolled out ebike bike-share programs.

When it comes to bikes, Philadelphia is trending upward as well. In 2016, the city was named the ninth most bike friendly city by Zillow, one of the leading real estate and rental companies that operates in all cities in the U.S.

This ranking is bolstered by the cities 200 miles of bike lanes, 30 of which are protected, and plans to increase to 300 in the future.

When Uber and Cyclists Meet

All these upward trends have spawned another upward trend: in increase in Uber-cyclist accidents. The more that Uber, pedal bikes and ebikes have to share the same streets, the more they bump into each other. When this happens, certain types of accidents begin to be common which also brings up issues of liability.

Philadelphia Bike Lane Laws

Philadelphia’s bike lane laws have three stages of vehicle protection. So, where there is a bike lane, a sign will designate the type of vehicle protection on that portion of the bike lane. They are:

  • No Parking: Vehicles may not park, but may load/unload for up to 20 minutes (eg. groceries, FedEx trucks).
  • No Standing: Vehicles may not park or load/unload goods, but can drop off/pick up people (eg. taxis).
  • No Stopping: Vehicles may not stop for any reason except to obey other traffic laws or in case of emergency.

Bike enthusiast are unhappy with this as often times this renders the bike lane useless as it is filled up with cars with drivers “unloading or loading”. This is also compounded by Uber and other ride-share vehicles as they go about the business of transporting people around the city.

Picking Up/Dropping Off

Uber cars drop off and pick up their customers curbside most of the time, and that puts them smack in the middle of a bike lane. If there is a sign that says “No Stopping” then it’s illegal to stop there, but cyclists complain that they rarely see Uber drivers ticketed for violating this rule. This frustrates cyclists who already see a dwindling amount of un-cluttered bike lanes. It’s also dangerous as the bike rider has to veer out into traffic or risk hitting a car or pedestrian in the bike lane.

Dooring

Dooring is a problem wherever there are bikes and scooters and parked cars. It happens when a cyclist rides by a parked or stopped car and someone opens the car door right in the path of the cyclist. This can cause severe injuries to the cyclist.

This happens in bike lanes where a car is stopped (legally or illegally) and cyclist veers around the stopped car only to get a door for their efforts. Another way is on streets with no bike lane but the space next to the curb has cars legally parked. The cyclist is riding on the right-hand side of the street—as sometimes required by law—and gets doored by an Uber passenger or other car occupant. Passengers and drivers  are both responsible for dooring accidents.

Uber vs Bicycle Accidents in Philadelphia

If you were involved in a bicycle crash involving an Uber vehicle, contact a Philadelphia Bicycle Crash Lawyer for a free consultation and case evaluation.