Electric bikes, commonly referred to as e-bikes, are becoming a popular means of transportation in California. Some people say they are much safer than regular bikes, considering the advanced technology used, while others claim they are just as dangerous.
How e-bikes operate
From their name, e-bikes are electrically powered bicycles with a battery pack mounted or integrated into the frame. The battery powers a motor located in either the front or rear wheel hub, making it move with little to no pedaling.
There are three classes of e-bikes, i.e., I, II and III. Class I is the most basic type. It has a motor that only provides assistance when the rider pedals. Class II e-bikes have motors that provide a boost to up to 20 mph without the rider having to pedal. Class III e-bikes, also known as speed pedelecs, have motors that can provide a boost of up to 28 mph and do not require the rider to pedal.
E-bikes are generally considered safe. However, as with any type of vehicle, they have certain risks. One is the increased likelihood of suffering from internal injuries. This occurs because the motor of an e-bike can propel the bike at high speeds, which makes it more likely for a rider to be thrown off when they hit something.
Another risk is vehicular accidents. This is especially true for riders of Class III e-bikes, as they are capable of reaching speeds that cars can. Further, a recent report by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) found that e-bike riders are three times more likely to hit a pedestrian.
What to do after an e-bike accident in California
Since e-bikes have a greater chance of causing internal injuries, it’s often best to call 911 after an accident and seek medical attention immediately. Additionally, given that California is an “at-fault” state when it comes to car accidents, it’s important to exchange insurance information with the other party involved.
It’s also a good idea to take photographs of the accident scene and get the contact information of any witnesses. This will be helpful in case you or the other party file a lawsuit.
Electric bikes are environmentally friendly, efficient and easy to operate. They can be a great alternative to regular bikes; however, they still carry risks, at times greater than their predecessor.