At the beginning of the year, Phoenix contracted with CycleHop, LLC., to institute a bike share program across the city. The program includes 500 GRID bikes in the city of Phoenix alone. Tempe and Mesa are said to follow. But, with beginners and novices swerving into traffic without helmets, or an understanding of Phoenix bike laws, is bike sharing the safest route possible for commuters on any set of wheels?
Phoenix Makes a Commitment—Sort of
The city of Phoenix was fully committed from the onset. Once the contract was accepted, Phoenix promptly made changes to the street grid. Mostly, this came in the form of adding bike lanes. But, these commitments do fall short. Instead of adding a real bike lane, where there is added space to the furthest right-side car lane, Phoenix instead chose to just add bike lane markings to already existing car lanes. Thus, this lane operates more of an interchangeable lane, where cars and bikes both ride in it. This is a stark difference to many bike lanes found in other metropolitan areas like Chicago or New York, where the bike lane is separate and apart from a car lane to ensure the safety of the rider.
The Numbers are Good
Arizona is relatively late to the bike sharing program. Indeed, the first bike share program started in 2007, while most other major metropolitan areas had one by 2013. However, that is a good thing. With Arizona cities as late entrants, previous cities have provided enough information to show if the bike share program really is safe.
Using New York as a guide—known for their mean streets—perhaps proves that safety is attainable. There, after nearly 10 million rides, New York’s bike share program has yet to mark a fatality; however, 40 riders have been injured resulting in medical attention. Nonetheless, those numbers are low. What’s lower? How about no fatalities across the entire U.S. since the beginning of the program (2007), which has chalked up a total of 23 million rides! Those numbers are nothing to balk at, and, oddly, do not reflect the same kind of safety expected by non-bike sharing riders.
Nevertheless, Phoenix might find itself on a different page. Again, other metropolitan cities like Chicago and New York built bike lanes separate and apart from a car lane. Phoenix, however, built bike lanes right into a car lane, where the lane can be used interchangeably. Without question, the safety of the rider in this scenario is at greater risk than a rider who has the benefit of using a separate bike lane.
GRID bikes provide ease and convenience for the city commuter, or for local errands and coffee with friends. Even with this convenience, riders should be prepared to know the laws governing bike riding in that city. Moreover, bikers should utilize all proper protective equipment.
GRID Bike Injury—Getting Help
If you or a loved one sustained an injury while riding a GRID bike, it is important to call an attorney immediately. The Law Offices of Michael Cordova has attorneys who are experienced in personal injury, bicycle accidents, and wrongful death.