October 5, 2021

New York E-Bike Accidents on the Rise: Who’s to Blame?

By Jonathan Damashek

Posted in

Electric bikes, or “e-bikes,” are convenient to get around New York City. However, they are also extremely dangerous for riders, pedestrians, and vehicles.

Over the past few years, e-bike accidents have been on the rise in New York City. Read below to learn more about e-bikes and who may be responsible for these crashes.

What’s an E-Bike?

There are several e-bikes and restrictions associated with each type.

First, New York City distinguishes between e-bikes and mopeds. Electric bikes typically have operable pedals while mopeds are limited use, low-speed motorcycles with two to three wheels. E-bikes usually drive up to 25 miles per hour, whereas mopeds can go up to 40 miles per hour.

E-bikes are generally allowed to ride in bike lanes and streets, but they may not operate at speeds greater than 30 miles per hour. Mopeds must be operated in the right lane or on the shoulder unless they are making a left turn. Mopeds that go up to 40 miles per hour can use all vehicle lanes.

Additionally, mopeds require a driver’s license. An e-bike does not require a driver’s license. Thus, many people are operating them without knowing the rules of the road.

What Causes E-Bike Accidents?

Like other motor vehicle accidents, E-bike accidents are often caused by driver error. In many cases, the e-bike driver may not be aware of New York City laws that apply to them.

Recent e-bike accidents that caused severe injuries or even fatal accidents were caused by e-bike riders who ignored pedestrians. For example, a manager of the Upper West Side restaurant Jing Fong was struck by an e-bike and died eight days later from his injuries.

Common causes of e-bike accidents include:

  • Unsafe speeds through traffic
  • Failure to abide by street signs and traffic signals
  • Distracted driving
  • Failure to notice pedestrians
  • Failure to give right of way in crosswalks

Safety Tips When Riding E-Bikes

The majority of e-bike accidents can be prevented. E-bike riders should always be alert and aware of their surroundings.

Other tips that can help e-bike riders:

  • Always wear a helmet while riding.
  • Use front and rear lights.
  • Use warning devices, such as a bell or horn.
  • Ride with traffic in bike lanes when possible.
  • Ensure tires are properly inflated.
  • Drive defensively.
  • Watch out for pedestrians and other motorists.

Liability in E-Bike Accidents

Determining who is responsible for causing an e-bike accident and holding them accountable can be particularly challenging since some riders don’t even have driver’s licenses. If an e-bike rider doesn’t have insurance, you may have to file a personal injury lawsuit to get the compensation you deserve.

If the e-bike rider did have car insurance, it might also cover them on the e-bike. When they are under 18, then their parents may also be liable. In some cases, e-bike riders may be delivering goods for an employer, and their employers may be dually liable.

Call an E-Bike Accident Lawyer

If you are the rider of an e-bike or someone who suffered an injury as a result of an e-bike accident, you should speak with an injury attorney right away. In NYC, call Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek P.C. at 212-490-5700 or use our contact form.

Initial consults are free, and there’s no fee unless you recover compensation.