Electric bikes, more commonly known as e-bikes, are motorized bicycles that allow riders to ride faster and longer with less effort. These bikes are becoming increasingly popular as commuters look for a faster yet more effortless way to travel, especially in high-volume urban areas.
However, the extra speed that e-bikes provide increases the risk of an accident.
Furthermore, e-bikes can cause more severe injuries than traditional bicycles that travel at limited speeds.
Did you get into an accident caused by an e-bike user? Or were you involved in a road crash while riding an e-bike in Chicago, Illinois?
Whatever the situation, you could be eligible for legal compensation if another person caused your injuries.
Our experienced attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, will help determine your legal options and maximize your claim.
What Are Electric Bikes?
An electric bike or e-bike has a motor to assist the rider while pedaling. The motor gains power from a rechargeable battery mounted on the bike.
An e-bike rider will still have to pedal to accelerate, but the motor makes it easier and faster to propel.
Hence, it’s no surprise why e-bikes have become popular modes of transportation. Cyclists can cover more ground with less effort and time than traditional bicycles.
Furthermore, some cities cater to e-bikes to reduce the use of motor vehicles, providing charging hubs and e-bike rental kiosks in busy areas.
E-bikes are different from electric scooters (e-scooters) or mopeds because they still require pedaling to move forward.
Are E-Bikes Safe?
Some states have specific definitions and classifications of e-bikes.
In Illinois, an e-bike is defined as a low-speed electric bicycle with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts and does not assist when the bike reaches 20 to 28 miles per hour.
Illinois law also states that motorists must treat e-bikes like other road vehicles.
E-bikes fall under the same preventative laws as non-assisted bicycles, meaning they have certain protections on the road.
An e-bike is relatively safe if the cyclist adheres to road safety rules, avoids dangerous situations, and wears protective gear.
However, the additional speed of an e-bike makes it more prone to accidents than regular bikes.
According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), electric bikes appear more dangerous than traditional bicycles.
The study shows that:
- E-bike users are more susceptible to internal injuries
- E-bike injuries are three times more likely to involve a collision with a pedestrian
- E-bike users are more likely to experience concussions
Additionally, other motorists’ negligence makes e-bikes as vulnerable as other vehicles.
Common Causes of E-Bike Accidents
The extra speed an e-bike provides is a leading contributing factor in many e-bike accidents nationwide.
However, other factors also come into play.
An e-bike user can cause an accident through:
- Speeding: Speed limits are designed to prevent road accidents, regardless of the vehicle involved. Electric bike laws in most states require cyclists to follow the posted speed limit, as failure to do so significantly increases the risk of an accident. Like on a regular bike, riding an e-bike too fast reduces reaction time and makes it easier to lose control.
- Distractions: Some e-bike users grow accustomed to using a phone while riding (e.g., delivery riders), but it doesn’t change the fact that phones are unsafe for road users.
- Intoxication: Being out on the road while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol is always dangerous. The risk is much higher for e-bike riders with less injury protection than car occupants.
- Failure to Signal: Cyclists must use hand signals, bells, or verbal announcements to make inform other cyclists, drivers, and pedestrians aware of their intentions while turning or passing. Failure to do so could lead to confusion and, eventually, a collision.
- Failure to Yield: Like other road users, cyclists on motorized bikes must yield to vehicles and pedestrians at intersections, red lights, stop signs, and crosswalks. Ignoring this basic rule can easily lead to severe injuries.
The factors above also contribute to bicycle accidents involving car and truck drivers.
Additionally, drivers can cause a bike accident through:
- Failure to Check Blind Spots or Use Turn Signals: Cars and trucks have blind spots that an electric bike can occupy while sharing a lane. All drivers are responsible for checking their blind spots and signaling before turning.
- Lack of Spatial Awareness: Bicycles and motorcycles are significantly smaller than regular vehicles, making them less noticeable on the road. Nevertheless, drivers should have enough awareness of their surroundings to avoid crashing into a bike.
Other factors that contribute to e-bike accidents include:
- Inclement Weather: Rain, snow, ice, and sleet make roads slippery and dangerous for all drivers and cyclists.
- Poor Road Conditions: An electric bike rider can lose control or crash into an obstacle because of road defects, such as potholes, debris, and surface deterioration.
- Electric Bike Defects: E-bikes can malfunction due to defects in electric motors, e-bike batteries, or other electrical components. At the very least, a machinery failure can remove the bike’s assistance ability. In the worst cases, an electric motor or battery can explode.
Common Injuries in E-Bike Accidents
Like bicycles and motorcycles, electric bikes are unenclosed and leave riders vulnerable to catastrophic injuries  in an accident, such as:
- Head and Neck Injuries: Electric bike riders risk traumatic brain injuries even with helmets, primarily because they are out in the open, unlike car occupants enclosed in a cabin. The lack of neck protection can also lead to neck injuries, such as fractures, sprains, and whiplash.
- Spinal Cord Injuries: A severe e-bike accident increases the possibility of spinal cord damage, which could lead to paralysis.
- Fractures: Broken bones are common in any bicycle accident due to the lack of protection and the large amounts of impact the body can absorb. Broken bones range from minor (incomplete) fractures to severe open fractures.
- Road Rash: Road rash is a common injury in bicycle accidents. It occurs when hard or abrasive surfaces (e.g., gravel, pavement) scrape off the rider’s skin on contact.
- Internal Bleeding: A severe electric bike accident can damage the rider’s internal organs or tissue and cause bleeding. Internal bleeding is potentially life-threatening when left untreated.
- Lacerations and Contusions: Most electric bike accidents involve cuts and bruises of varying severity. While most of these injuries are not severe, they can still cause significant pain.
Who is Liable For E-Bike Injuries and Damages?
The at-fault party in an electric bike accident depends on the situation.
Possible liable parties in e-bike accidents and collisions include:
- Drivers: In an electric bike accident involving a motor vehicle, a victim can file a lawsuit against the driver based on negligence or recklessness. The plaintiff must prove that the driver was negligent, causing an accident resulting in injuries.
- Other Cyclists: All cyclists have a legal duty to avoid injury to people on other bikes or pedestrians. Acting negligently, such as riding in a non-permitted area or failing to yield, could lead to a cyclist’s liability for injuries caused by their recklessness.
- Pedestrians: Similarly, pedestrians can be liable for an electric bike accident if their negligence contributed to it. Common reasons for pedestrian-related crashes include jaywalking and darting out onto moving traffic.
Product Liability Cases
You could file a personal injury lawsuit against an e-bike manufacturer if a product defect caused the accident.
Applicable situations include but are not limited to:
- Spontaneous fires
- Brake failures
- Engine failures
- Tire blowouts
Victims could file a class action lawsuit against the manufacturer if the defect affects many people.
Identifying the at-fault party in your accident case can be challenging, especially if multiple people are involved.
Our law firm will determine who should be liable for your damages and where to file your claim.
Recoverable Damages in Electric Bicycle Accidents
Filing personal injury claims with the at-fault party’s insurance company and your provider is possible. In doing so, you could recover compensation for the following economic and non-economic damages:
- Medical Bills: Hospitalization costs, emergency transportation, surgery, medication, and other medical expenses.
- Disability: Expenses related to a temporary or permanent disability, e.g., mobility aid costs, physical therapy, loss of quality of life, etc.
- Pain and Suffering: Compensation for physical, mental, and emotional distress caused by the bike accident.
- Lost Wages: Salaries, wages, and benefits lost while recovering from injuries.
- Property Damage: Expenses related to replacing or repairing damaged property, including the e-bike, gear, equipment, and devices.
- Wrongful Death: Funeral and burial costs, pre-death medical expenses, grief, and other related damages if the victim dies because of the e-bike accident.
Your settlement amount will depend on the specifics of your bicycle accident case.
A personal injury attorney will help determine how much you should receive during your free case evaluation.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our E-Bike Accident Lawyers
Electric bikes offer a more convenient and less-physically-demanding way to commute.
Nevertheless, they still pose specific risks to users, other riders, and pedestrians.
Did you get into an e-bike accident due to someone else’s negligence? Our electric bike accident lawyers at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, will help you file a personal injury claim and recover fair financial compensation for your damages.
Contact our law firm at (888) 424-5757 for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney.
All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team will remain private under an attorney-client relationship.
Our bike accident lawyers handle all accepted cases on a contingency fee basis. This agreement ensures you don’t have to pay our legal fees unless we win your case.
Resources:  PubMed