Skip to Main Content

Articles

What Victims in Accidents Involving E-Bikes Should Know

Photo of Peter J. Gregory
Peter J. Gregory
May 3, 2024
View Profile More Posts

The rise of electric bicycles (e-bikes or eBikes) has transformed urban transportation across the U.S., including here in Rochester, New York area. E-bikes offer a cost-effective, environmentally friendly, and convenient mode of transportation. However, as the popularity of e-bikes continues to surge, so does the potential for accidents. Victims of e-bike accidents often face unique challenges and complexities when it comes to personal injury claims. Here's what you need to know if you're involved in an e-bike accident in the Greater Rochester area.

Understanding E-Bike Regulations in New York

In New York State, e-bikes are categorized into three classes based on their maximum speed and whether the motor assists while pedaling. Understanding these categories is crucial since they dictate where e-bikes can legally operate (on roads, bike lanes, or sidewalks) and who can ride them:

  • Class 1: The motor only assists when the rider is pedaling and does not provide assistance above 20 mph.
  • Class 2: The bike has a throttle and can propel the bike without pedaling, but not faster than 20 mph.
  • Class 3: The motor only assists while the rider is pedaling, with a maximum speed of 25 mph, and is only allowed in cities with a population of over one million unless authorized by local laws.

E-bike riders are generally expected to follow the same rules as traditional cyclists, which includes not riding on sidewalks and obeying all traffic signals and signage.

Common Causes of E-Bike Accidents

E-bike accidents can occur due to various reasons, some of which include:

  • Driver negligence: Car drivers failing to yield right of way or not seeing the e-biker.
  • Product defects: Faulty e-bike components such as brakes, throttles, or batteries can lead to accidents.
  • Poor infrastructure: Inadequate bike lanes, potholes, and unclear signage can create hazardous conditions for e-bike riders.
  • Rider error: Inexperience, speeding, or not adhering to traffic laws can increase the risk of crashes.

What to Do After an E-Bike Accident

If you find yourself involved in an e-bike accident, the steps you take immediately afterwards can significantly impact your ability to secure compensation. Here are key actions to follow:

  1. Seek Medical Attention: Your health is your priority. Even if injuries seem minor, symptoms can appear or worsen days later.
  2. Report the Accident: File a police report. This document can be crucial in legal and insurance proceedings.
  3. Document Everything: Take photos of the scene, your injuries, and damages to the e-bike and other vehicles involved. Gather contact information from witnesses.
  4. Do Not Repair Your E-Bike: The e-bike should be left in its post-accident state for evidential purposes.
  5. Consult a Personal Injury Attorney: E-bike accident claims can be complex due to the nuances of New York's laws on e-bikes. An experienced personal injury attorney can help navigate these complexities.

Legal Challenges and Compensation

Personal injury claims involving e-bikes can entail specific challenges. For instance, determining liability can be more complex, especially if product defects or poor road conditions played a role. Moreover, insurance coverage for e-bikes isn't always straightforward. While auto insurance may cover some aspects of an accident, the e-bike itself might only be covered under certain conditions through homeowner’s or renter’s insurance.

Victims of e-bike accidents may be entitled to compensation for:

  • Medical bills: Including emergency care, ongoing treatments, and rehabilitation.
  • Lost wages: Compensation for the time you had to take off work.
  • Pain and suffering: This includes physical pain and emotional distress.
  • Property damage: Costs to repair or replace your e-bike and other personal property affected in the accident.

Why You Need a Rochester-based Personal Injury Lawyer

Navigating the aftermath of an e-bike accident alone can be overwhelming. A Rochester-based personal injury lawyer will be familiar with local laws and ordinances affecting e-bike usage. They can provide crucial guidance and advocacy, from investigating the cause of the accident and identifying liable parties to negotiating with insurance companies and, if necessary, representing you in court.

The growing trend of e-bike usage is likely to continue, and with it, the importance of understanding your rights and responsibilities on the road. Whether you’re an e-bike enthusiast or considering becoming one, staying informed about these topics can significantly affect how you handle potential accidents and injuries.

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in an e-bike accident, it is imperative to consult with a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer who can navigate the legal complexities and help you secure the compensation you deserve. Remember, time is of the essence, so don't delay in seeking legal advice to protect your rights and ensure a smoother path towards recovery.

Contact Us for a Free Consultation

About the author: Peter J. Gregory is a partner with MCCM Personal Injury Lawyers in Rochester, NY.  He is a trial lawyer with extensive experience resolving disputes in state and federal trial courts. As a personal injury lawyer, Gregory focuses on advising clients who have been injured or lost loved ones in accidents caused by the carelessness or recklessness of others. Please feel free to contact him directly at pgregory@mccmlaw.com or (585) 512-3506.

This publication is intended as an information source for clients, prospective clients, and colleagues and constitutes attorney advertising. The content should not be considered legal advice and readers should not act upon information in this publication without individualized professional counsel.


About MCCM

McConville Considine Cooman & Morin, P.C. is a full-service law firm based in Rochester, New York, providing high-quality legal services to businesses and individuals since 1979.  With over a dozen attorneys and a full paralegal support staff, the firm is well-positioned to right-size services tailored to each client. We are large enough to provide expertise in a broad range of practice areas, yet small enough to devote prompt, personal attention to our clients.

We represent a diverse range of clients located throughout New York State and New England.  They include individuals, numerous manufacturing and service industry businesses, local governments, and health care professionals, provider groups, facilities and associations. We also serve as local counsel to out-of-state clients and their attorneys who have litigation pending in Western New York courts.  For more information, please contact us at 585.546.2500.