We represent victims of injuries related to dockless vehicles, including bikes and e-scooters in Colorado.
What is a “dockless vehicle”?
You may have noticed brightly colored bikes with front-mounted baskets, or all-black or bright green-and-white electric scooters, rolling around Denver, parked in the street, blocking sidewalks, and appearing in large numbers downtown out of nowhere this summer. These bikes and scooters can be rented on smartphone apps, picked up from any location, and dropped off or parked at any location according to local county, city, and company rules.
This term came into existence as the opposite of “docked” vehicles, which have existed in many large cities across the globe for many years, dating back even to the 1960’s. These “docked” vehicles began as bike-shares where a customer could come to a bike station, rent a bike, and then bike to another docking station to check the bike back in. These programs became popular in Europe in the 1990’s and eventually spread throughout many American cities in the 2000’s, including our local version in Denver, “B-Cycle.” In the past couple years, tech companies have rolled out “dockless bikes” through smartphone apps, and these companies have aggressively forced their way into many metropolitan areas. In Denver, this disruption began in June of 2018, and by the end of July, the City had shifted its position from an outright ban to permission by-permit.
Operators of these products in Colorado include:
In Denver, the Department of Public Works has rolled out a test program called the “Dockless Mobility Vehicle Pilot Permit Program.”
During the summer of 2018, Denver initially attempted to ban the use of dockless vehicles. But, losing to the well-documented strategy of these companies to force their way to approval, Denver decided to permit their use and even co-opt them as part of the public transit of the City. Common to most American public transit systems is the problem of the “last mile.” This problem is the idea that getting people to and from regions is easy but getting them to specific places within those regions without walking up to one mile can be difficult. Denver seems to co-opting the dockless vehicle companies into trying to solve that problem through its Pilot Program.
To attack the last mile problem, Denver rolled out some rules for dockless vehicle companies to encourage riders, either by incentive or by force, to park their bikes and e-scooters near or at designated public transit stops. In support, Denver’s local transit district, RTD, issued its own plans to add designated parking areas for the e-scooters and bikes near transit stops. However, RTD has also issued a ban of these vehicles inside their trains and buses.
You can read more about the Denver Department of Public Works Dockless Vehicle Mobility Pilot Project here.
What are the rules for dockless vehicle riders?
In Denver, the Department of Public Works has issued the following rules to riders:
- Do not block the movements of pedestrians and always provide 5 feet clear width.
- Park adjacent to transit stops when available and at least 1.5 feet from the back of curb/flowline.
- Preserve pedestrian sight triangles at intersections, alleys, and driveways as well as to bus/LRT operations at stops.
- Vehicles should be upright when parked.
- Vehicles shall not impede access to utilities, or access from the street to the sidewalk.
- At least 8 feet of clear walkway shall be provided for all sidewalks on arterial streets.
- Additional clear width may be required in high pedestrian areas, as determined by DPW.
- Park in painted dockless parking areas, when available.
Source – https://denverite.com/2018/07/25/denver-scooter-permits-issued/
What happens when someone is injured on or by a dockless vehicle?
The bottom line is that if you are injured by or during the use of a dockless vehicle, the procedures for making a claim and obtaining compensation may be limited due to the agreement required to use these products. Be sure to document the incident through photographs, statements, police reports, witness contact information, and preservation of the smartphone and mobile profile you used to rent the vehicle. Contact an competent attorney immediately to protect your rights as a victim. We handle these cases, and you can reach us at (303) 756-3812.