Southern California has recently seen a lot more bicyclists on the road. However, it’s been noticed that these bicyclists are traveling at higher speeds than usual. Since the coronavirus pandemic hit, there has been a surge in Electric Bike sales. E-Bikes are just like regular bicycles, except with the addition of battery-powered assistance. As the recent trend to purchase E-Bikes continues, it is important that owners and riders become familiar with the laws regulating these bikes and the types of accidents and injuries involved.
The Recent Trend for Electric Bikes
Sales of electric bikes had already been on a tear at the end of last year, and have been steadily increasing every year. The onset of COVID-19 lockdown has further added to this increase in sales.
VanMoof, a Dutch E-Bike manufacturer that markets electric bikes all over the world, has reported that its sales have exploded since the coronavirus pandemic began. In March, the company recorded record-breaking online sales that were up almost 50% compared to the same period in the previous year, with visitors to its website up over 80%.
In the United States, Arizona-based electric bike retailer Lectric Bikes has reported a 140% increase in sales since March 15, which corresponds with the period that many states began the lockdown. As the government continues to encourage social distancing, many people have been using E-Bikes as a way to remain active while keeping their distance from others.
What You Should Know About Electric Bicycles
Electric bikes have enhanced our human-powered way of life – especially as travel and commuting habits have changed amidst the coronavirus global pandemic. An electric bike is a standard bicycle outfitted with a motor that provides a boost, also called pedal assist. You can think of it as regular cycling with a power-up, like a video game. That extra push can be a huge benefit when trying to surmount hilly terrain, haul goods, or go long distances.
Many E-Bikes are classified as bicycles. The deciding factor as to what makes an electric bike classify as a bicycle, is speed. California bill AB 1096 classifies E-Bikes into 3 types:
- Class 1 E-Bikes: A Class 1 electric bike is one that receives assistance from a motor, only when pedaling and that ceases to assist when the bicycle reaches the speed of 20 miles per hour.
- Class 2 E-Bikes: A Class 2 electric bike is equipped with a motor that may be used exclusively to propel the bicycle, and that is not capable of assisting when the bicycle reaches the speed of 20 miles per hour.
- Class 3 E-Bikes: A class 3 electric bicycle is equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to assist when the bicycle reaches the speed of 28 miles per hour and is equipped with a speedometer.
And just like bicycles and other motorized vehicles, E-bikes are governed by certain laws in California.
Electric Bicycle Accident and Injuries
Although powered bikes have become increasingly popular for both recreational and transportation purposes, it is important to understand that they also carry a higher risk of severe injuries than traditional bicycles and a different pattern of injury risks compared with scooters.
People injured in accidents while riding an electric bicycle are more likely to suffer internal injuries and be hospitalized. More important is the fact that injuries from E-Bikes are more serious in general. Other serious injuries suffered by electric bicycle riders include:
- Head injuries
- Broken bones
- Back and neck injuries
- Cuts and abrasions
E-Bike injuries are also more than three times as likely to involve a collision with a pedestrian as traditional bikes.
Contact an Experienced Bicycle Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries in a bicycle accident caused by the negligence of another party, the experienced bicycle accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates can help. We have the experience, resources, and compassion to ensure that you will obtain the best representation when you need it the most.
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