Bike accidents while using an electric bike can be dangerous. While, the first-ever “bicycle” was considered a faster way to run, new electric bicycles are alternatives to cars. They’re increasing in popularity and local municipalities, insurance agencies, and other stakeholders are all playing catch-up.
What is an Electric Bike?
Electric bikes or “e-bikes” are regular bicycles with a battery-powered “pedal assist.” The extra boost can help you get around much faster without having to hop in the car. According to Arizona law, it is legal to ride an electric bike in Arizona. In May 2018, Gov. Doug Ducey signed into law HB2652, which details the different classifications of electric bikes.
Per the law, an electric bicycle is a bicycle or tricycle equipped with operable pedals and electric motor of less than 750 watts. There are three different classes of electric bicycles.
- Class I – an electric bicycle that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling but stops assisting when it reaches 20 miles per hour.
- Class II – an electric bike with a motor that may only be used to propel the bicycle or tricycle but cannot provide assistance when the electric bike reaches 20 miles per hour.
- Class III – an electric bike that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling but stops providing assistance when the electric bike reaches 28 miles per hour.
Additionally, the law prohibits anyone under the age of 16 from riding an electric bike. Additionally, anyone under the age of 18 must be wearing a helmet.
Electric Bike Accidents
When it comes to an electric bike accident, any number of persons can be at fault including other bicyclists, pedestrians, drivers, local municipalities, or the manufacturers of the property involved.
Negligence or recklessness is the cause of most accidents. For example, you may be riding in a bicycle lane and have a car turn out in front of you. If you suffer injuries as a result of the driver’s action, you may be entitled to receive compensatory damages to recover losses like time off of work and hospital bills. There are many scenarios in which you would be covered for medical and financial losses.
- Injured on a bike but do/don’t own a vehicle – in the case where you’re injured on the bike and you own a vehicle, your insurance may help cover some of the financial losses. If you do not own a vehicle, and you were not at fault for the accident, the party at-fault may be held responsible for your medical expenses, lost wages and more.
- Hit-and-run – if you were involved in a hit-and-run collision, be sure to report it to authorities immediately. This should be treated like any other hit-and-run. In this case, your insurer may help cover your financial losses.
- Defective bike – if you purchased an electric bike that was defective, which then caused you to suffer an accident and injuries, you may be entitled to file a product liability claim. In this type of claim, the manufacturer may be held liable for your accident and injuries.
Be aware that electric-powered bicycle riders must follow the rules of the road similar to a bicycle, which means riding with traffic, using a turn signal and following any additional regulations, such as wearing a helmet if you’re under 18 years of age.
If you plan to buy an electric bike, reach out to your insurer to find out if your insurance will cover accidents or injuries while you’re on the electric bike.
Always Seek Legal Counsel
If you’ve been injured while riding an electric bicycle, seek a competent bike attorney. A qualified and experienced attorney will know how to analyze the facts of the electric bike accident and do their best to represent your interests. Contact us today for a consultation if you have been hurt in an electric bike accident.