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Electric Bike Accidents and Injuries


The Legal Implications of Electric Bike Accidents


Electric Bike Accidents

It’s no secret that Los Angeles streets are notoriously dangerous for anyone who comes in contact with them — regardless of the transportation mode. However, riding an electric bike still manages to raise the danger factor and the need for safety precautions to be taken. 

Electric bikes have become very popular throughout California, especially in tourist and beach areas. With nice weather year-round and an increase in people looking for alternative transportation modes, we are starting to see an uptick in electric bike accidents that are leaving some riders with severe injuries. 

Electric bikes, or e-bikes, are developing faster than public agencies can make rules to regulate them, with estimated U.S. sales of $144 million in 2018. Consulting firm Deloitte predicts 130 million e-bikes will be sold worldwide between 2020 and 2023. They are designed to be as safe as traditional bicycles, do not compromise consumer safety, and benefit bicyclists who may be discouraged from riding a traditional bicycle due to limited physical fitness, age, disability or convenience.

An e-bike has many of the same components as a regular bicycle, and they’re regulated like bicycles. The same rules of the road apply to both e-bikes and human-powered bicycles. But as the name suggests, electrical bikes have a motor, battery, and a controller, which allows riders to reach higher speeds with less exertion than a normal bike. However, higher speeds also mean higher risk for accidents and injuries. And because the exposure is similar to bikes and e-scooters, the rider is less protected and the outcome could be fatal if it collides with a car, a truck, or a bus. 

If you have suffered injuries or property loss after an electrical bike accident because of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensatory damages for:

Furthermore, if it can be proven that the other party deliberately tried to cause you harm, you may also be entitled to punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded at the court’s discretion and are intended to punish a wrongdoer for his or her deliberate acts of malice.

An electric bike injury victim shouldn’t have to deal with medical bills, police reports, and insurance companies on their own, since it can be a very stressful and frustrating ordeal. That’s why the expert legal team at West Coast Trial Lawyers is here to help. 

Laws Regulating Electric Bikes


Electric bikes are still a novelty in Los Angeles, as with other micro-mobility modes of transportation. This means that legislation has not yet caught up to its fast and somewhat sudden growth. 

The California Highway Patrol considers an e-bike to be a bicycle that’s equipped with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts. They’re also categorized into the following:

  1. A class 1 electric bicycle is equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches a speed of 20 miles per hour.
  2. A class 2 electric bicycle is equipped with a motor that may be used exclusively to propel the bicycle, and that is not capable of providing assistance when the bicycle reaches a speed of 20 miles per hour.
  3. A class 3 electric bicycle is equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches a speed of 28 miles per hour. This bicycle is equipped with a speedometer.

Each class is then subject to regulation at the state and local level. The classes were determined based on two factors:

  1. The top powered-speed of the bike
  2. The level of pedal assistance the motor is capable of receiving

In California, electric bikes are treated as regular bicycles under the California vehicle code, and its riders are largely exempt from the normal laws that apply to cars and motorcycles. These rules are:

  • Riders must be 16 years of age or older to ride a Class 3 electric bicycle. 
  • A person under the age of 18 must wear a properly fitted and fastened bicycle helmet when riding on a public roadway or bikeway.
  • Riders shouldn’t ride on freeways. 
  • It is unlawful to operate an electrically motorized bike on a roadway while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
  • Use may be restricted or prohibited by local ordinance.
  • Riders must ride on designated bike lanes, or wherever bikes are permitted. 

Under California Vehicle Code Section 406(b), electric bike riders aren’t required to comply with California’s financial responsibility law. Also, AB1096 prohibits tampering with or modifying electric bicycles to change their speed capability unless the classification label also is changed. 

It’s important to note that local governments have the authority to restrict the use of e-bikes under motor power on bike paths. When in doubt, check with your town, city, or county for local rules and regulations.

What Are The Most Common Causes Of Electric Bike Accidents?


Riding an electric bike can be very dangerous in Los Angeles, given the city is notorious for its crowded roads and aggressive drivers. Similar to other micro-mobility modes of transportation, like e-scooters for example, some of the most common causes of electric bike accidents are:  

  • Speeding
  • Distracted drivers 
  • Road rage 
  • Weather
  • Drugs and alcohol

Moreover, since riders don’t need a license to operate an e-bike, teenagers are particularly at risk of experiencing accidents. Also, it goes without saying that a rider who doesn’t wear a helmet is also setting themselves up for severe injuries in the event of an accident. Other recommendations to prevent accidents are wearing bright reflective clothing and to make sure the e-bike has some type of lights on it to make yourself more visible to traffic and pedestrians. 

What Are Common Electric Bike Accident Injuries?


Electric bike injuries are similar to those experienced on normal bikes, but as previously mentioned, these can be a bit worse given the higher speeds. 

Determining Liability


If you experienced an electric bike accident and sustained injuries thanks to the negligence of someone else, you have the right to hold that person or entity responsible. 

In cases where the at-fault party was an automobile driver, the victim must prove that the at-fault driver’s negligence was the main factor in the crash. If the driver was impaired, speeding, distracted, or otherwise careless, they can be liable for damages. In a similar fashion, pedestrians and other e-bike drivers can also be liable parties in a personal injury lawsuit. 

But what if your accident was caused not by another person per se, but by the faulty road conditions you were biking on? The city or governmental agency responsible for maintaining roadway conditions can be liable for the accident.  

And lastly, if your accident occurred due to a malfunction with the e-bike itself, as the victim, you can sue the manufacturer for a defective design, defective manufacturing, or labeling or warning error claims.

West Coast Trial Lawyers Is Here To Help


If you have sustained injuries as a result of another driver’s carelessness, you have the right to hold that driver responsible. An electric bicycle accident attorney at our firm can help you recover financial compensation for the losses you have suffered, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering from your injury.

Call us today at (888) 991-7859 or email [email protected] to schedule a free consultation with our experienced, caring and compassionate legal team.

CONTACT WEST COAST TRIAL LAWYERS TODAY


If you have been injured in an accident, you can count on the legal team at West Coast Trial Lawyers to fight for your rights every step of the way. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation with a personal injury attorney.
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