Electric bikes allow riders to go further and travel faster than traditional bicycles. It also means that electric bikes, or e-bikes, can potentially cause more serious accidents. While the demand for this convenient and affordable transportation increases, so does the number of injuries and fatalities. If you’ve been hurt in an e-bike accident, trust our team of dedicated lawyers at CaseyGerry to be your strongest advocate.
When we represent a client, we employ a tried-and-true team structure. A firm partner takes a lead role and assigns an entire supportive legal team, including lawyers, paralegals, investigators, and medical record specialists. We provide strong representation, compassion, and outstanding responsiveness. Schedule a free consultation with a San Diego Electric Bike Accident Lawyer at CaseyGerry.
Understanding Electric Bike Accidents
The rules of the road that apply to standard bicycles also apply to e-bikes, such as not riding while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Most accidents occur from driver error, e.g., distracted driving and speeding. There is another crucial element when it comes to e-bikes. Many use lithium-ion batteries with a history of catching fire and exploding.
Electric Bike Classification in California
In California, e-bikes are considered much the same as regular bicycles, although exceptions apply. E-bikes are not motor vehicles but are defined as having an electric motor of less than 750 watts and fully operable pedals. State law provides three classifications:
Class 1: This low-speed pedal-assisted e-bike assists up to 20 miles an hour.
Class 2: The e-bike operates under pedal-assist or throttle and does not assist once the rider exceeds 20 mph.
Class 3: The e-bike no longer provides assistance once the rider reaches 28 mph. Unlike Class 1 and 2 e-bikes, which are limited to use only on paths, this e-bike may use the bike lane on public roads. Riders must wear a helmet and be at least 16 years old.
Finally, all e-bike riders do not require a license, auto insurance, or license plates.
Common Causes of Electric Bike Accidents and Liability Issues
E-bike accidents fall into two major categories. The first is a collision with another party or object. For example, a distracted driver doesn’t see the rider and collides with them. The second type of accident is when the rider falls off the bike and injures themselves. The cause of these accidents is usually negligence, such as traveling too fast, losing control of the bike, or failing to yield.
Determining liability depends on the individual case. For example, liability may fall on the e-bike rider, a distracted motorist, the e-bike manufacturer, or the lithium-ion battery. Liability could also involve a governmental authority responsible for the road or path if poor maintenance contributed to the accident.
Proving Liability in an Electric Bike Accident Case
Proving liability in an electric bike accident case requires evidence. If possible, take photos of the accident scene immediately after the crash. Call the police so they can file a report. If there were eyewitnesses, obtain their names and contact information. You should also consult with an attorney as soon as possible. They may obtain other evidence, such as surveillance video, to support your claim.
Damages and compensation in an electric bike accident case may include medical expenses, current and future, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage.