It was several years ago when a woman exited the Empire State Building onto Riverside Avenue and was struck by a bicyclist. As I recall she was severely injured and was hospitalized with significant brain trauma. I do not recall if the bike rider was injured, arrested or sued. Over the years, despite unenforceable and minimal attempts to get bicyclists off sidewalks, there have been several times I have been nearly struck while walking home. Add boarders to the mix and pedestrians can be targets.
Now we have Lime. I like the idea. Yes, we want Spokane to compete with other cities, so we need to provide amenities. I understand. Another small effort to woo those escaping the high rents and home prices in Seattle, Portland and So Cal. But.
The Lime experiment does not include, nor force, helmet use. The Lime experiment is encouraging individuals to hop on a bike or scooter and enjoy the core of downtown. The scooters go 15-20 miles an hour. The bikes have a motor assist. All – and I mean all – have been riding on the sidewalks. Even if they were on bike lanes they do not have helmets. The rider could be drugged or drunk. Still, no helmets. And unless the city has eliminated the helmet ordinance, methinks liability to the city would be a slam-dunk.
So when the three-month test of Lime concludes and is considered a “great success,” and the city signs a contract, don’t expect the results to be the same. Unless you’re not going to enforce the helmet law. In that case, it will be a matter of time before someone else has another traumatic brain injury. Not from riding. But from walking.