ELECTRIC BIKE ACCIDENT

Electric Bike CA Laws

Orange County Electric Bike Accident Lawyer

An electric bike, also known as an eBike, is any bicycle with a motor that aids in the bicycle’s operation. EBikes have become increasingly popular and more common on roads and in cities across Orange County in the past few years.

Because electric bicycles can operate at a higher speed than traditional bicycles, there is a greater risk of injury should an accident occur. With that in mind, anyone involved in an eBike accident should consult an experienced bicycle accident attorney. An Orange County eBike accident lawyer will know the best way to pursue damages and garner the appropriate compensation for any injuries resulting from the accident.

Electric Bikes Must Follow the Rules of the Road

In many ways, an eBike is much like a traditional bicycle. Electric bike operators are not exempt from the traffic laws that govern traditional bicycles, and eBikes must still adhere to California’s traffic laws. For example, an eBike operator must stay on the right side of the road and signal whenever they are making a turn. An eBike operator should always be wearing a helmet.

Electric Bike Accident Cases Are Unique

The most obvious difference between an Ebike accident case and a case involving a traditional bicycle accident relates to speed. That is because an eBike operate can travel at a greater rate of speed than a cyclist on a conventional bike. As a result, an eBike accident victim may suffer more severe injuries.

An electric bicycle is also much heavier than a traditional bicycle. Therefore, the bike is more susceptible to roll-over incidents, leading to more catastrophic injuries suffered by the eBike operator.

An eBike operator should routinely check that their brakes are in proper working order so that they can always stop their eBike properly when necessary.

Orange County Electric Bike Accident Frequently Asked Questions

The experienced electric bike accident lawyers from the Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates have assembled this frequently asked questions (FAQ) section to help answer some of the most common Orange County electric bike accident questions that come up in the course of their work.

Can you ride an electric bike on the sidewalk in California?

When it comes to riding an electric bike on a California sidewalk, the same rules apply to electric bikes that apply to regular bicycles.

While California doesn’t have any state laws that prohibit bicycle use on sidewalks, most cities do have local ordinances banning the use of bicycles on sidewalks, particularly in downtown business districts. Such regulations apply to regular bikes as well as eBikes.

An eBike can only be used on a sidewalk in California in an area where it is permitted, such as on private property, or if a street sign expressly grants permission.

Are eBikes safer than motorcycles?

There is continued debate regarding the overall safety of electric bicycles. The same safety tips, precautions, and laws that govern standard bicycles are typically applied to eBikes. For example, electric bicycles must use the same bicycle lane as traditional bikes.

That said, eBikes are motorized and, in that sense, also share similar attributes to a motorcycle. However, due to the vast speed differences between the eBike and the motorcycle, there is no comparison regarding safety based on speed.

At the end of the day, overall safety lies in the hands of the eBike operator to follow the rules of the road and in the hands of the drivers around them.

Are helmets required for e-bikes in California?

By law, every electric bicycle rider age 17 and under is required to wear a helmet in the State of California.

Can e-bikes explode?

Although rare, eBikes have been known to explode. More specifically, the lithium-ion batteries powering the eBikes can overheat, catch fire, or even explode. Because these lithium batteries store a significant amount of energy, they can pose a substantial threat if not handled properly. Like any product, a small number of batteries are defective.  

How do you put out a lithium battery fire?

An eBike lithium battery fire can be best addressed using a foam fire extinguisher, ABC dry chemical, copper powder, CO2, powder graphite, or sodium carbonate. If none of these fire retardants are available or you cannot extinguish the fire, it should be allowed to burn in a controlled way by dousing the area around the bike with water to prevent fire spread.

Is it safe to ride an electric bike?

While safety is a legitimate concern that should be considered with any sport or mode of transportation, riding an eBike is just as safe as any other activity, as long as you follow the rules of the road and take all necessary safety precautions.

Where are e-bikes allowed in California?

The California statute regarding eBike rules is known as CA State AB1096. This statute creates three distinct classes of electric bicycles, which ultimately determine where they can be operated.

  • Class 1 eBikes: These electric bicycles are low-speed, pedal-assisted bikes equipped with motors that assist only while the rider is pedaling. It ceases to assist when the eBike reaches 20 mph. Class 1 eBikes can be operated on any paved surface where a traditional bicycle is permitted to operate.
  • Class 2 eBikes: These electric bicycles are low-speed, throttle-assisted bikes equipped with motors that exclusively propel the bike but cannot provide assistance when the eBike reaches 20 mph. Class 2 eBikes can be operated on any paved surface where a traditional bicycle is permitted to operate.
  • Class 3 eBikes: These electric bicycles, also known as speed pedal-assisted eBikes, are equipped with motors that assist only while the rider is pedaling. It ceases to assist when the eBike reaches 28 mph. Those operating a Class 3 eBike must be at least 16 years of age and wear a helmet. Class 3 eBikes are prohibited from being used on Class I multi-use bike paths unless specifically authorized by local law.

How long do electric bikes last?

Every eBike is different, and its longevity will depend on how often you use your eBike and how well you take care of it. Just like a traditional bicycle, even a high-quality eBike will require regular upkeep and proper maintenance to extend its life. Although an eBike can last for up to ten years or more, you will likely need to service the eBike and replace certain parts during this time.

Consult an Orange County eBike Attorney if You’ve Been Involved in an Electric Bike Accident

While there are subtle differences between a common bicycle accident and an electric bike accident in Orange County, the legal process is generally the same.

If you or someone you love has been injured in an electric bike accident, reach out to the eBike accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Samer Habbas and Associates. Whether you’re the victim of a product defect, such as an electric bike explosion, or if you were injured while operating your eBike due to the negligence of a motor vehicle driver, one of our expert lawyers will sit down with you and discuss your options.

Please call 888-848-5084 to discuss your case with an Orange County electric bike accident lawyer, or fill out our free consultation form.

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