After a short hiatus for hardware updates, McAllen’s BCycle bike-sharing program is back online with bikes available for short trips in and around downtown McAllen.
McAllen BCycle debuted in 2015 and has been a model for similar bike-share services in other Texas cities. BCycle makes 90 bicycles available at eight pickup locations in downtown McAllen. Bikes are easily adjustable and have large baskets.
“BCycle is designed to encourage you to use a bike for all your short trips,” the website says. “Once you’ve paid your membership fee, you can take an unlimited number of bike rides of 60 minutes or less.”
We were reminded of BCycle when we saw news about the service closing down for a few weeks in January. It reminded us that bike-sharing programs have their pros and cons, with potential hazards that shouldn’t be overlooked.
How Bike-Share Programs Like McAllen’s Work
From 2010 to 2016, most U.S. bike-share equipment and services were provided by three major companies, BCycle, Motivate and Social Bicycles, with smaller companies, such as NextBike, operating in a few cities, according to a report by the National Association of City Transportation Officers.
In 2017, dockless bike rental systems debuted and the number of bikes available through bike shares in the U.S. more than doubled – from 42,500 bikes at the end of 2016 to about 100,000 bikes by the end of 2017. The majority of the increase in bikes came with the new dockless systems.
The primary difference between dockless bikes and station-based rentals is that dockless bikes can be left wherever the users wants to stop riding the bike. The owners can find the bikes through a tracking app and retrieve them and set them out for the next user. Station-based bikes must be returned to a specified drop-off site.
McAllen BCycle offers a variety of memberships, ranging from an annual pass for $65, which allows an unlimited number of rides, to monthly, weekly and daily passes and a $2 single ride pass. However all rides are only an hour long. You must return the bike to a station to avoid additional fees, even if you have a pass that allows you to take it right back out.
Advantages of Bike Sharing
When we look at the “pros” of bike-sharing programs, we see the obvious advantages to riding a bike as opposed to driving a car or taking a bus.
- Biking is better for you. It’s a healthy exercise. In groups, it’s fun.
- Bikes are green. They don’t pollute.
- Bikes build connections. Riding a bicycle through a commercial district puts you closer to shops, restaurants and services that you might be interested in visiting instead of zipping past in a car or bus.
- Bikes are convenient. You can take your own route and avoid traffic.
Disadvantages of Bike Sharing
We’re McAllen personal injury lawyers. When we think about bicycling, we think about safety and bicycle accident injuries. There are three distinct safety issues that concern us when we think about bike-share programs.
- No Helmets. Programs like McAllen BCycle rent bikes, but they don’t rent helmets. While you can always bring your own helmet, most bike-share riders are spur-of-the-moment riders who don’t have helmets with them.
Wearing a bicycle helmet is the single most effective way to reduce head injuries and potentially fatal injuries in bicycle accidents.
- Uneasy Riders. They say you never forget how to ride a bike. But knowing how to keep your balance on two wheels and handling a bike skillfully on McAllen city streets are two different things. Many spur-of-the-moment bike riders find that their skills are rusty, to say the least. Inexperienced riders may not know the rules of riding alongside cars or may get spooked by traffic whizzing past, causing them to make mistakes that may put the rider or others in danger.
Riding a bicycle in downtown traffic is not the same as tooling around a suburban neighborhood, park or college campus.
- Bike Breakdowns. The mechanical failure of the bicycle itself is often an issue in a bicycle accident. While we know of no such accident with a McAllen BCycle bike, there are numerous reports about destruction and theft of rental bikes. Returned rental bikes should be inspected after each ride to be sure they don’t need servicing before another rider hops on it and pedals off into downtown traffic.
It’s always a good idea to inspect your bike before a ride to make sure it’s in good working order.
Contact a Bicycle Crash Attorney
If another motorist causes a bicycle accident that leaves you injured, you should speak to a McAllen bicycle accident lawyer about your right to seek compensation for your injuries. Many people hit by cars while riding bicycles overlook the fact that a negligent driver’s auto liability insurance can be made to pay for a bicyclist’s medical bills, damaged bike and more.
This works the other way, too: If you have been hit by a reckless bicycle rider while a pedestrian and injured, you may be eligible to seek compensation.
The McAllen bicycle accident lawyers at Herrman & Herrman have been successfully representing bicycle accident victims in South Texas for many years. If you have been injured because of someone else’s negligence or recklessness, we cannot undo what has happened to you, but we can work to ensure you are not financially harmed, as well. You may demand compensation for your losses caused by another driver’s negligence or disregard for safety.
Contact our skilled and compassionate personal injury lawyers as soon as you can after a serious accident someone else has caused. We will fight to recover maximum compensation for you. Phone (361) 882-4357 or contact us online. We have Spanish- and English-speaking staff ready to help you.