Uber or Lyft Motorcycle Accidents

January 2, 2024
By Michael Padway

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Just like Airbnb and the gig economy, ridesharing services have opened a market for enterprising people looking for a new revenue stream. All it takes is a car and an account with one of the major ride-hailing services like Uber or Lyft. 

However, the popularity of ridesharing has also made it dangerous for other motorists. The flood of inexperienced or harried drivers rushing to meet their quota can increase the risk of accidents, especially for motorcycle riders.

Ridesharing by the Numbers

  • Up to 25% of people in the US use a ridesharing service once a month. 
  • Uber accounts for almost 55% of the transportation network market.
  • In 2016, up to 90% of ridesharing drivers did not have the proper insurance.
  • A 2019 research study suggests that rideshare vehicles are responsible for a 3% annual increase in road fatalities since their introduction in 2011, or about 1,000 more deaths per year

Common Causes of Ridesharing Accidents

  1. Inexperience

Research suggests that TNC drivers don’t have the same skill or experience as taxi drivers who undergo driver safety workshops and licensure requirements before they get behind the wheel. 

This is why cities with high Uber and Lyft usage also record more pedestrian deaths, higher nighttime and weekend traffic fatalities, and more road deaths overall.

  1. Distracted driving

The nature of ridesharing means that drivers keep part of their attention to smartphones to pick up fares and head to their destination. Some states make the problem worse by requiring devices to be installed below the windshield. This effectively means that drivers take their eyes off the road and below the dashboard every time they consult the app.

  1. Driving while tired

Some drivers work long hours to make ends meet or meet their ride quota. Driving while drowsy lowers vigilance and slows reflexes. It can also lead to a phenomenon called microsleep, where an individual deprived of rest falls asleep for a fraction of a second without even being aware of it. 

3% of drivers involved in fatal accidents in 2017 were found to be suffering from fatigue.

  1. Unfamiliarity with the location

Unlike professional taxi drivers, the majority of TNC drivers are unfamiliar with routes. Most rely on their app or GPS to guide them to their destination.

Unfortunately, such apps don’t usually account for road hazards in real-time, such as potholes and obstructions. Unlike drivers who are familiar with the area, they can also fail to account for traffic signals, signs and other rules of the road.

Liability in a Rideshare Accident with a Motorcycle

Claiming compensation in a rideshare collision can be a complex process.

  • If the TNC driver was not using the app or was not matched with a customer at the time of the incident, the driver’s insurance policy should cover the claim if insured, or if uninsured, the claim may fall on the rider’s uninsured motorist coverage.
  • Uber and Lyft drivers are required to have auto liability insurance, but they are not required to obtain a driving-for-hire endorsement (which costs extra). In such cases, the driver’s insurance provider can deny claims if the driver was working during the accident.
  • TNC companies have extensive insurance coverage. However, they go to great lengths to avoid or minimize liability, deny claims, or string out the process to protect their bottom line. 
  • Even if the driver is proven to be on the clock during the incident, TNCs can lower liability by accident phase. Most ridesharing companies only provide phase 2 and 3 insurance, when the driver is traveling to the pickup point and when they are in transit with the passenger. If the accident happens in phase 1 (waiting for passengers), the driver won’t be covered.

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What to Do in Case of a Motorcycle Accident with a Rideshare Vehicle 

  1. Document the accident
    • Start with your injuries and bike damage, then the condition of the other driver and vehicle.
    • Note the date, time, location, and respective positions of your vehicles.
    • If the driver was on the clock at the time, note it in the video.
  2. Gather witnesses
    • Get the contact information of the Uber or Lyft passenger.
    • Get the contact details of eyewitnesses such as pedestrians and other drivers.
    • Examine the area for any CCTVs that may have recorded the incident, such as traffic cams or store surveillance cameras.
  3. Record all expenses
  4. Consult legal help
    • Contact a motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney that specializes in motorcycle accidents can help investigate the accident, establish liabilities and calculate your losses, and negotiate with the TNC and insurance companies on your behalf.

A rideshare accident can be more complex than regular motorcycle accidents. The involvement of a rideshare company can make the process more complicated, especially if they wish to protect their bottom line. In these types of accidents, make sure you are represented by a dedicated motorcycle accident lawyer so you can file a proper claim and negotiate from a position of strength.

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Michael Padway

Michael Padway uses his expertise in personal injury and motorcycle accidents to represent a broad spectrum of clients dealing with life-changing and permanent injuries for the first time. His offices are located at 235 Montgomery St., Ste 668, San Francisco, CA 94104 and at 3140 Chapman St. Oakland, CA 94601. For more information, please call (800) 928-1511.

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