Riding a bike is a popular, healthy, and environmentally friendly way to get around, but even with all its benefits, it is not without controversy. Fixed gear bikes, known as ‘fixies’, have become a hot topic locally and throughout the nation over safety concerns over a lack of brake systems. In the event of a bicycle accident resulting in personal injuries, the fact that you were riding a fixie could prevent you from getting the compensation you deserve. If you ride a fixie or have been thinking of investing in one, the following is important information to be aware of regarding these bikes, as well as how they could potentially affect a bicycle accident claim.
According to Bicyling.com, fixies or fixed gear bikes are enjoying a surge in popularity. A type of single speed bike with no free wheel to allow a rider to coast, many types of fixies are also not equipped with braking systems. The only way to stop a fixie is the old fashioned way, by pedaling backwards or by actually using your feet to stop the bike. Similar to beach cruisers, they were once used mostly by bike messengers, but their classic design and old school appeal have made them increasingly popular with urban cyclists of all ages. Fixie enthusiasts cite benefits such as fewer parts for repairs, increased traction and balance, and better speed adjustment through direct access with the pedals.
While many young, urban hipsters sing the fixie’s praises, use of the bikes has raised controversy in many areas due to the lack of a separate braking system. In some states, like Oregon for example, the court system and law enforcement agencies have not always agreed on whether the bikes are legal or not, resulting in controversial ticket policies that have earned protests from cyclists through the city. In 2007, an Oregon bill was introduced requiring all bikes to have brake systems except for fixed gear bikes. The bill went back and forth for months before the language concerning fixies was eliminated. As it stands now, some Portland police continue to ticket fixie riders.
Unfortunately, if you are involved in an accident while on a fixie without a braking system, the legal status of fixies could make it more difficult and even prevent you from being able to get compensation for your injuries. While operating an illegal method of transportation itself may be enough to disqualify you from receiving damages, an at fault driver could also argue that the accident itself would not have occurred if your bike had been equipped with a braking system.
If you or someone you care about is injured in a bike accident, contact an experienced Portland personal injury attorney today.
Thanks to our friends and blog authors from Johnston Law Firm for their insight into the differences between libel and freedom of speech.