E-bike accidents are on the rise across the nation and nowhere is the trend more obvious than right here in Southern California. This area has recently seen a sharp spike in severe e-bike injuries.
In Orange County, e-bike accidents are up 500% since 2020. Particularly shocking is the fact that the number of severe accidents involving child riders doubled between 2020 and 2021. Kids’ small and still-developing bodies are vulnerable to permanent damage.
It’s concerning to see so many California people severely injured when they’re just trying to ride their e-bikes to work, school, and other daily activities. Some people have even lost their lives. What’s behind this disturbing trend?
Why E-Bike Accidents Are So Severe
Speed is the main reason e-bike accident injuries cause so much more physical trauma than other bike crashes. E-bikes can travel up to 28 miles per hour, which is faster than the top speed of most residential roadways in California. On a power-assisted e-bike, it’s easy to gain speed quickly without even realizing it.
E-bikes seem so safe, riders sometimes let their guards down and assume their risk of injury is minimal. This leads to potentially dangerous issues like not wearing safety gear, crossing in congested areas, weaving through heavy vehicle traffic, and distracted or intoxicated riding.
For example, in a San Mateo crash, a 55-year-old e-bike rider died after hitting a stationary parked car. An investigation and autopsy revealed that his crash was likely due to heavy alcohol intoxication, plus wearing a novelty helmet that provided no padding.
Another issue is that other drivers on the roads fail to follow California bike laws and create hazardous situations for cyclists. Many motorists don’t know or care that e-bike riders are entitled to travel safely just like anyone else on the road, so bad attitudes lead to bad accidents.
Common E-Bike Crash Injuries in California
According to Dr. Tetsuya Takeuchi, the trauma medical director at Mission Hospital, e-bike injuries are more akin to severe motorcycle injuries than ordinary bike injuries. Mission Hospital’s most commonly-seen e-bike injuries include:
- Broken arms
- Broken legs
- Head trauma
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Internal organ damage like liver lacerations
- In children, growth plate damage
Because they tend to be more severe, e-bike injuries also require longer recuperation times than ordinary bike injuries. The injured person may need extra wound care, follow-up surgeries, infection prevention, and physical rehabilitation.
How to Stay Safe While Riding an E-Bike
Wearing a helmet and safety gear is an essential way to prevent serious injury or death in an e-bike accident. Just look at the recent San Juan Creek bike trail accident that took Jennifer Macy’s life and left her two toddler sons severely injured.
The trio was traveling together on an e-bike after leaving a concert when their e-bike suddenly tumbled off the bike path into a rocky ravine. Jennifer wasn’t wearing a helmet but her two sons were. Doctors credited the helmets with saving the boys’ lives.
According to statistics from Mission Hospital, 45% of its injured e-bike riders weren’t wearing helmets when they crashed. Nationwide research shows cyclists who wear helmets reduce their risk of head and brain trauma by up to 88%.
You can also prevent e-bike accidents by educating yourself about the rules of the road and driving defensively while paying close attention to your surroundings. Although this won’t prevent all e-bike accidents, it’s a strategy that could save your life.
If a car hits you on your e-bike, move to safety and call for emergency medical assistance immediately. Numerous laws protect California cyclists, so know your rights and contact a California e-bike lawyer if you have any questions.
We Handle Your Accident Claim So You Can Focus On Your Life
After your e-bike accident, connect with the attorney team at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers. We handle many areas of personal injury law, including bicycle and e-bike injuries. We believe you should be able to focus on recovering from your accident while we handle the legal details. Call 877-380-8852 today for a free case evaluation.