Recently, the Missoula Independent ran an article about one of the largest bike-share companies in the nation, LimeBike. According to the report, representatives of LimeBike visited Missoula and gave their sales pitch about the services they offer. The company is based in San Mateo, California and operates in more than 30 markets across the United States. LimeBike provides green-and-yellow bikes to locals and visitors for a small fee. LimeBike differs from some other services in that LimeBike’s bicycles can be dropped off and picked up almost anywhere.
The article in the Missoula Independent reports Missoula City Council member Jordan Hess said, “[The Missoula Bike Program Manager] and I have been working in partnership to evaluate bike-share companies informally for several years. . . There’s a lot of unknowns still, but I think the main thing this has exposed is there’s a lot of interest in doing some sort of bike-share system.” Over the years, there have been some bike-share companies or variations of the idea. From Cruiser Co-op to the Currents Aquatics Center in McCormick Park.
Bike-share companies have been increasing in popularity over the past several years. For example, the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) estimates that over 88 million trips have been made using bike-share programs since 2010. In 2016, there was roughly 28 million trips taken. This statistic places bike-share on the same level as the entire Amtrak ridership. As these numbers continue to increase, however, it will also require more vigilance as drivers share the road with cyclists.
The expansion of the bike-share industry here in Missoula will inevitably change the dynamics of the city. An article in on Curbed.comdocuments the shifts in the culture and how the programs have removed cars from the streets. As more and more towns are having more and more cyclists taking to the roads, there has been a shift in the developing infrastructure to accommodate for bicyclists. More and more cities are making specific bike lanes for those traveling and commuting on a bike.
In any event, it looks like there will be an upturn in the number of bicyclists in Missoula shortly. As mentioned, this surge in cyclists on the road will place the onus on drivers to be safe around bicycle riders. We offer three simple suggestions for being better drivers around people on bikes.
- Be Aware. This is an excellent general driving tip. Bicyclists are sometimes hard to see. As a driver, you are partially responsible for the many things around you. Blowing by a bicyclist and getting dangerously close because you didn’t see them is not a viable excuse. You are now sharing the road with additional drivers, although in a different kind of “vehicle.” Give them plenty of room.
- Look Before Opening Your Door. Often, in cities, many spots require parallel parking. One of the many perils for cyclists is getting “doored.” Being doored occurs when someone opens their door as a cyclist is passing on the shoulder where cars are parked. Always look behind you before pushing open your door. Many people have been injured by slamming into a door as someone’s door is opened.
- Use Your Signals. This tip is something everyone should already follow. However, many people fail to do so. Allowing bicyclists to know what you are doing before you do it can be beneficial. For example, if you are about to turn right, indicating that you will do so using a turn signal is helpful. Doing this allows bicyclists to prepare for what they will do. If you are turning, they will be able to slow down.
We here at The Advocates Law Firm want to help prevent any bicycle accident. We help people every day whose lives have been affected by these tragic types of crashes. If you or someone you love has been the victim of a bicycle accident, contact The Advocates Law Firm.