E-bikes are a relatively new and popular phenomenon in Florida – they are an easy, fast mode of local transportation (especially in Florida’s city downtowns), and have a reduced environmental and economic impact compared to cars. Just like any other vehicle on the roads, they are subject to accidents. However, because they are so new and other drivers may not be used to them, and because riders are relatively unprotected, the number of and severity of injuries that e-bike riders are suffering is on the rise.
If you were riding an e-bike and you were struck by another driver, or were otherwise involved in a collision that wasn’t your fault, you may be entitled to significant monetary compensation. Our Florida e-bike accident lawyers can help you understand your rights and options, make a strong claim, and fight to recover the amount you deserve! You don’t have to pay us anything unless and until we win. Call The Florida Law Group today to schedule your FREE consultation and learn more about whether or not you have a case!
What is classified as an e-bike?
According to a recent law change, e-bikes are now defined as bicycles or tricycles with an electric motor of less than 750 watts, and when that motor is disengaged when the ride stops pedaling or applies the breaks. They fall under one of three “classes”:
Class 1 – Class 1 e-bikes have a motor that has a top speed of 20 miles per hour, and is primarily operated by pedals; you can ride an e-bike faster than 20mph, but only if you are really peddling furiously or are going downhill.
Class 2 – Class 2 e-bikes can be exclusively motor-propelled by a throttle (without the use of peddling) up to 20mph.
Class 3 – Class 3 e-bikes have pedal-assisted motors that reach up to 28mph.
These classifications are important for riders to know about; some vehicles that have been traditionally known as e-bikes are, because they go faster than 28mph, not legally classified as those anymore. Thus, riders of those may need a tag and registration, a driver’s license (not currently required for e-bike riders), and insurance (not currently required for e-bike riders).
What are the rules regarding e-bikes?
The Florida government has determined that riders of e-bikes have the same rights, privileges, and legal duties as riders of regular bicycles. However, it also gave local city governments the right to restrict use on sidewalks within their jurisdiction, and some major trails do not allow motorized vehicles on them (e-bikes would be considered a motorized vehicle), so riders have to check where they are able to ride.
You must be at least 16 years of age to ride an e-bike, but you don’t have to have a license. You are also not legally required to wear a helmet, although not doing so is taking a serious risk (you are already more exposed on an e-bike than in another vehicle, and a brain or neck injury could lead to death).
Common causes of Florida e-bike accidents and who is liable
E-bike accidents are most frequently caused by negligent drivers or negligent riders, and sometimes by a defective e-bike; sometimes they are due to unsafe riding conditions. Drivers who are distracted, or drowsy, or driving under the influence, or who are speeding or driving recklessly aren’t sharing the road safely as they are legally mandated to do, and they deserve to be held accountable for their actions!
However, sometimes the e-bike itself is the issue; if the brakes failed, or if the pedals or throttle wasn’t working correctly, or if the vehicle otherwise malfunctioned, then the company who manufactured the e-bike could be liable for your injuries. In some cases, an unsafe design of a city bicycle lane could be to blame, or an unsafe sidewalk, in which case a municipal authority (like the city’s Department of Transportation, for example) could be liable.
Our Florida e-bike accident lawyers will take the time to investigate your accident, determine the correct cause, and then proceed to make a claim with the parties responsible in order to maximize the amount of compensation you recover.
Costs of e-bike accident injuries
Depending on the extent of your injuries, you could end up paying thousands, tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands of dollars out of your own pocket for costs related to the accident.
You might face costs for:
- Orthopedic injuries (extremity fractures, pelvic fractures, or other broken bones) from being thrown from your e-bike or falling off it at top speed
- Lower spinal cord injuries
- Head, neck, and face injuries
- Lacerations and abrasions
- Abdominal injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Ambulatory transport from the accident scene to the nearest emergency room
- Hospitalization and rehabilitation
- Imaging tests like X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, etc.
- Medical devices (crutches, braces, wheelchair, boots, etc.)
- Follow-up visits with doctors and specialists
- Lost wages (from time you spent unable to work while you healed from your injuries, or from paid sick days or vacation time you had to use up)
- And more.
How insurance works with e-bike crashes
E-bike riders and bicycle riders are covered under Florida’s PIP insurance laws (personal injury protection). Every driver is required to have an auto insurance policy that will pay for some of the costs (80% of up to $10,000 in medical bills, generally, although for “non-emergent” treatment PIP only covers $2,500). This means that if you are in an e-bike accident, and you have auto insurance, then you will seek benefits from your PIP first.
However, this can get complicated as e-bike riders aren’t required to have insurance or a license. If you don’t have insurance, you can still get compensation, you just need to seek it from the other party’s insurer (and this is highly advisable even for victims with PIP, as it doesn’t cover everything).
How our skilled Florida e-bike accident lawyers can help you
When someone else was at fault for your e-bike accident, they should pay these costs – not you! Their insurance company should cover the damages you incurred. Because insurance companies lose money when they make payouts to injured accident victims (especially when they aren’t their own customers), they usually will attempt to do everything they can to avoid giving you the amount that you rightfully deserve.
That’s where our Florida e-bike accident lawyers come in. We can negotiate with the insurance company of the driver, or the bike company, or the city, for a settlement that reflects what your injuries are worth. If they aren’t willing to offer a reasonable settlement, we’re not afraid to go to trial on your behalf! We’ll handle all of the paperwork and communications so all you have to focus on is healing from your injuries. The Florida Law Group recovered over $1 billion for our clients since 1984. We’re dedicated to winning! Don’t wait, as e-bike accidents have a statute of limitations (deadline) for injury claims. Call today to schedule a free consultation and take your next steps!