Electric bicycles have been around in some form for more than a century. But their popularity has exploded worldwide in the past few years. E-bikes use electric motors and batteries, along with pedal power, to get the rider around. Some e-bikes have enough power to reach 28 miles per hour, though they generally go under 25 mph. Riders in New York and across the country are increasingly turning to e-bikes for their speed compared to conventional bicycles and as an environmentally-friendly alternative to cars.
But just like when they use pedal-powered bikes, e-bike riders are vulnerable to getting struck by negligent motorists and suffering catastrophic injuries as a result. While every tragic collision involving an e-bike is different, one thing that is a factor in many cases is the lack of infrastructure keeping riders safe.
Where are e-bikers safe?
While New York and other cities have made progress improving bike safety, there is still a long way to go in this country compared to the Netherlands and other nations that take bicycle accident prevention seriously. Too many roads lack bike lanes. Where bike lanes do exist, they are often narrow and marked only by paint that is often faded. Most drivers do their best to watch out for e-bikes and respect their right of way, but a bike lane that is right next to the auto section of the road exposes riders to potential disaster. And with e-bikes capable of going faster than a pedal-only bike, the force impact is likely to be even stronger, raising the risk of permanent disability or death even higher.
Someday, e-bike riders might be at least as safe as everyone else on the road. For now, a rider might not be able to avoid severe injuries at the hands of a reckless driver. But they can fight for financial compensation for damages like the pain and suffering they have experienced, the wages lost due to being too hurt to work, and medical bills.