Electric versions of classic recreational equipment have been gaining in popularity in the past several years, especially as more people start to use these as alternative modes of transportation. For example, instead of regular scooters, we now have e-scooters, and instead of skateboards, we now have hoverboards—and bicycles are no exception to these kinds of upgrades. With more and more people choosing to use their bikes for commuting, electric bikes are rapidly gaining popularity. Unfortunately, with this spike in micromobility devices, as the government calls them, electric bike accidents and injury rates have been increasing as well.
From 2017 to 2021, the Consumer Product Safety Commission reported a 127% increase in micromobility device injuries. While some of these injuries are the result of manufacturing issues, reports are starting to pour in that these devices are leading to an increase in traffic accidents as well. One study conducted out of the Netherlands showed that hospitalization and serious injury rates are higher among electric bike riders.
As California is well known for higher rates of bicycle commuters, it’s no surprise that electric bike accidents are on the rise here as well. If you are injured in an electric bike accident, you may be entitled to compensation that can help you cover the damages you suffered, such as your medical expenses and lost wages.
At Sally Morin, we have experience handling a wide range of cases, including those involving electric bikes. If you need assistance filing your electric bike accident claim and recovering a fair settlement for your damages, we are here to help.
What is an Electric Bike?
An electric bike, also commonly known as an e-bike, is simply a bicycle that comes equipped with an electric motor. According to California legislation, there are three different classifications of electric bikes:
- Class 1: A low-speed e-bike where the motor only kicks in to assist in pedaling when traveling at 20 mph or below.
- Class 2: A low-speed e-bike with a motor that propels the bike into motion without pedaling. Once 20 mph is reached, the motor stops.
- Class 3: A regular-speed e-bike with a motor that assists up to 28 mph.
Common Electric Bike Injuries
The injuries sustained in an e-bike accident can vary depending on the specifics of the accident. For example, if the person riding the electric bike collides with a car, their injuries will likely be more severe than if they crashed their bike on their own without colliding with another vehicle or object.
That said, e-bike accidents tend to be more severe than regular bicycle accidents because of the ability of the rider to travel at higher speeds. Some of the most common electric bike injuries reported include:
- Head injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Hip and pelvic injuries
- Shoulder injuries
- Arm and leg injuries
- Hand and wrist injuries
- Broken bones
- Road rash
- Lacerations and bruising
- Spinal cord injuries
What Are California’s Laws Concerning E-Bikes?
Though electric bikes have a motor, they are not considered motor vehicles, therefore the laws regarding e-bikes are not the same as the laws for cars. E-bikes fall somewhere between a regular bike and a motor vehicle and are primarily subject to the same laws as regular bicycles.
Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes, for example, are allowed where most traditional bikes are permitted unless there is a sign specifically stating that electric bikes are not allowed. Class 3 e-bikes, on the other hand, are not allowed in many places where traditional bicycles are, such as bike paths and trails or even some bike lanes.
Who Can Be Held Liable in an E-Bike Lawsuit?
In an electric bike accident, various parties could be responsible for what happened, the same as any other type of accident. For example, the rider of the e-bike could be accountable if they were operating their bike negligently, or another person, such as a driver or even a pedestrian could be held liable. Even another bicyclist could hold responsibility.
It is also possible for the e-bike manufacturer to be held liable if the accident was the result of defective design or a malfunction, such as an issue with the brakes or an issue with the motor that powers the e-bike.
What Damages Can I Recover After an Electric Bike Accident?
California is an at-fault state, which means that if you are in an accident, you can file a claim against the at-fault party to recover compensation for the damages you have suffered. Such damages can include:
- Medical expenses (hospitalization, doctor’s visits, lab and diagnostic tests, procedures, etc.)
- Lost income while you are recovering from the accident
- Reduced earning capacity if the injury keeps you from returning to work in the future
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Property damage
- Loss of consortium
- Permanent impairment
- Reduced quality of life
It’s important to note that while you may be owed the damages listed above, there is no guarantee that insurance companies will award you the full and fair amount that you deserve. Often, it is necessary to work with a skilled attorney who can help you build a strong ebike accident case and handle negotiations with the insurance company involved to ensure they award a fair settlement.
We Handle Your Electric Bike Accident Claim So You Can Focus On Your Life
At Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers, we truly care about the people of California. We handle many areas of the law, including e-bike accidents, and know what it takes to ensure our clients walk away with the settlement they deserve.
Call us at 877-380-8852 or contact us online today for a free case evaluation.