By now, you’ve likely heard of – or seen – E-bikes in your neighborhood. E-bikes look identical to normal bicycles, and come equipped with a battery powered motor that activates when the rider begins to pedal. The power of these motors varies widely, with higher end models offering assistance of up to 28 miles per hour. While E-bikes offer convenience and comfort to commuters and casual riders, they can also be dangerous. Recently, celebrity judge Simon Cowell suffered severe injuries while operating an E-bike at his home. While Cowell is expected to make a full recovery, the fact remains that E-bikes pose a significant risk of injury to the consumer. If you own or are considering purchasing an E-bike, it is imperative that you educate yourself on the laws and safety regulations surrounding them.
Three different types of E-bikes are now available on the market, each with its own laws of operation. Class 1 E-bikes are most common, offering motor assistance only when the rider pedals and at a maximum of 20 miles per hour. Class 2 E-bikes are equipped with a throttle, allowing users to activate the motor regardless of if they are pedaling or not, and at a maximum speed of 20 miles per hour. Class 3 E-bikes operate similar to their class 1 counterparts, and offer assistance at up to 28 miles per hour.
California law requires that all riders under the age of 18 wear helmets while operating a class 1 or class 2 E-bike. Riders of class 3 E-bikes must wear a helmet at all times, and we strongly advise everyone, regardless of age and bike model, to follow this rule. The laws concerning E-bike usage on sidewalks vary across cities in California, but we recommend using the bike path whenever possible to avoid possible collision with pedestrians. Finally, while you do not need a driver’s license to operate an E-Bike, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the owner’s manual before taking your bike out in public.
While E-bikes are mostly safe, injuries occur every day. If you or a loved one has been involved in an E-bike related accident, please contact Kauffman and Associates for a complimentary consultation. No case is too big or small. We can help ensure you obtain appropriate medical care and receive the maximum financial settlement possible for your pain and suffering.