E-Bike Accident Statistics: How Dangerous Are They?
Electric bicycles (or e-bikes) have seen massive growth in popularity in recent years, adding to the micromobility movement transforming transportation in metropolitan areas.
While e-bikes, scooters, and hoverboards offer an affordable and accessible option to those looking to get around their cities, these micromobility systems aren’t without risk. In fact, e-bike accidents can lead to serious or even deadly accidents.
If you were hurt in an e-bike accident, contact the personal injury lawyers of Atlee Hall today for a free consultation.
What Is an E-Bike?
E-bikes are vehicles equipped with a battery and an electric motor, which assist the rider when pedaling.
The Pennsylvania Vehicle Code outlines specific criteria for a vehicle to be considered an e-bike:
- Motor rated at no more than 750W
- Maximum speed of 20 mph
- Maximum weight of 100 pounds
Are E-Bikes Dangerous?
While the ease of use and widespread availability of e-bikes is a big draw for many, riders may not realize the potential dangers of these vehicles.
E-Bike Accident Statistics
Even though micromobility vehicles such as e-bikes are relatively new, a pattern of injuries has emerged. A 2023 Consumer Product Safety Commission report found that injuries associated with devices like e-bikes increased 21% between 2021 and 2022, and at least 233 deaths between 2017 and 2022 were associated with micromobility devices.
Children are especially vulnerable to injuries in e-bike accidents. The CPSC report states that kids under 14 accounted for 36% of micromobility injuries, disproportionate to the fact they make up only 18% of the U.S. population.
A recent report from the National Transportation Safety Board counted 53 deaths associated with e-bike accidents from 2017 to 2022. It concluded that “fatalities associated with e-bike ridership have also increased exponentially.” The NTSB called for better data tracking from fellow government agencies to shed more light on injury trends and learn how to make these devices safer for riders.
What Causes E-Bike Accidents?
E-bike accidents can be caused by many factors, such as:
- Rider inexperience: Those unfamiliar with e-bikes’ handling and power, especially at higher speeds, are more prone to losing control or misjudging distances.
- Reckless riding: Speeding, ignoring traffic rules, or riding under the influence of alcohol or drugs significantly increases accident risk.
- Blind spots: Since e-bikes operate quietly, they can be difficult for motorists to see, especially in blind spots when turning or merging lanes.
- Mechanical failure: The lithium-ion batteries in e-bikes can be deadly if they malfunction. Motor issues, brake failure, and tire blowouts can also cause riders to lose control of their bike.
Common E-Bike Accident Injuries
The higher speeds of e-bikes can lead to serious injuries in the event of a crash. And since Pennsylvania doesn’t require the use of helmets, riders are at a greater risk of severe injuries to the head and neck, spine, and chest.
The Consumer Product Safety report from 2023 found that fractures and contusions are the two most common injuries caused by micromobility device accidents. The head, neck, and extremities of the body are the most frequently injured in accidents associated with e-bikes, scooters, and hoverboards.
How to Protect Yourself on an E-Bike
Staying safe on an e-bike follows many of the same principles as riding a non-motorized bike. However, the extra speed and power of e-bikes necessitates extra precautions such as:
- Don’t overestimate your riding ability or the e-bike’s power. Adjust your speed based on the environment, traffic conditions, and your own comfort level.
- Inspect the brakes, tires, and other components before taking off to ensure they’re in good working order.
- Only ride in designated areas, and ride responsibly with one passenger to a bike.
Who Is Liable in an E-Bike Accident?
Several parties could be held accountable if you’re hurt in an e-bike accident, including:
- Motorists — Fellow users of the road have a duty of care to drive safely. If someone else causes an e-bike accident due to distracted driving, reckless driving, failure to yield the right of way, or other negligent behavior, they could be liable for your injuries.
- Municipalities — The city or town you ride in has a responsibility to keep the roadways safe and in good condition. If a pothole, crack in the pavement, or other evidence of disrepair led to your accident, the municipality could be liable for failing to perform maintenance.
- The e-bike manufacturer — As with a bike or car accident, manufacturer defects can lead to severe injuries or fatalities in an e-bike accident. If defects like malfunctioning brakes, broken wheels or a faulty battery contributed to an accident, the manufacturer of the e-bike may be liable for the losses you suffered.
The best way to determine liability for an e-bike accident is to work with a personal injury lawyer who can assess what happened, gather evidence, and help you build a case to recover compensation.
Hurt in an E-Bike Accident? Call Atlee Hall Today
E-bikes aren’t bicycles, but many states including Pennsylvania have yet to establish cohesive regulations to address this reality. This has led to a legal gray area where the laws are murky on how and where these vehicles can be used. What is permitted in one city may be prohibited in another, and the lack of consistency only makes it more dangerous for riders.
Statistics indicate e-bike injuries are on the rise. If you were injured in an e-bike accident, contact Atlee Hall today. Our personal injury lawyers will determine the extent of your damages, identify the liable parties, and advocate aggressively on your behalf to seek full compensation for your losses.