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E-Bike and E-Scooter Injuries In New York City

New York City E-Bike and E-Scooter Injury Lawyer Attorney Jonathan C. Reiter

Contact an experienced NYC e-bike personal injury attorney today to help understand your legal rights and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve due to someone else’s negligence.

E-bike and E-Scooter Injuries in New York

E-bikes and E-scooters have recently been legalized in the State of New York. This is a huge victory for delivery workers and others who have been fighting for nearly a decade to obtain the right to share the roadways with motorists and pedestrians. However, with the legalization of these forms of transportation comes the propensity for substantial injuries to the operators of these vehicles as well as to pedestrians and motorists who may be struck by an e-bike or e-scooter. Other states that have legalized e-bikes and e-scooters have seen substantial increases in catastrophic injuries and even deaths involving these vehicles. If you have been injured in an e-bike or e-scooter accident in the State of New York, you should understand your legal rights so that you can receive compensation for your injuries, medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

New York E-bike and E-scooter Legislation

For years, delivery riders and micro-mobility advocates have been pushing to make pedal-assist e-bikes, throttle e-bikes and of e-scooters legal in New York. Interestingly, these e-bikes could have been legalized in 2019 as both the New York State Senate and Assembly overwhelmingly passed a bill to make them legal last year. Governor Cuomo vetoed that bill in December 2019 and then introduced his own e-bike proposal two weeks later. Even as recently as March, 2020 e-bike delivery riders were still being ticketed up to $500 by the NYPD, until the COVID-19 global pandemic overwhelmed the city. In mid-March, New York City Mayor DeBlasio finally ordered the NYPD to stop ticketing e-bike riders.

Governor Cuomo and New York legislators finally passed the budget on April 1, 2020, that includes provisions that legalize certain types of e-bikes and e-scooters. The new law creates three separate and distinct classes of e-bikes.

  • Class 1 (pedal-assist bikes, such as Citi Bike e-bikes, that max out at 20 miles per hour.
  • Class 2 (throttle-powered e-bikes that max out at 20 miles per hour)
  • Class 3 (throttle-powered bikes that max out at 25 miles per hour) in cities of one million people or more, which are the type typically used by delivery companies or delivery drivers.

There are additional regulations contained with this new bill as well, including the following important provisions:

  • E-bikes and e-scooters that are limited to traveling at 15 miles per hour, are now legal throughout the State of New York
  • Scooter-share programs are not allowed in Manhattan; however, a pilot program is expected in Queens and Brooklyn.
  • Anyone 16 or 17 years of age must wear a helmet if they are riding a Class 1 or Class 2 e-bike.
  • Anyone riding a Class 3 e-bike must wear a helmet.
  • Anyone riding an e-bike of any class that is found to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol will be faced with 15 days in jail and/or a $500 fine.
  • All classes of e-bikes and e-scooters are still currently banned on the Hudson River Park Greenway.

Dangers of E-bikes and E-scooters

While these types of e-bikes and e-scooters are increasingly popular in cities throughout the United States, they are associated with higher a higher risk of injuries when compared to traditional bicycles. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) examined the data regarding injuries related to e-bikes from 2000 through 2017 and discovered the following information:

  • E-bike riders are more likely to suffer serious internal injuries in an accident and require hospitalization.
  • E-bike riders have higher rates of concussion and traumatic brain injuries when involved in an accident.
  • E-bike injuries are over three times as likely to involve pedestrian collisions.
  • E-bike injuries are overall much more severe than traditional bike accident injuries.
  • Male e-bike users composed 83% of all injuries.

Traditional bikes typically travel at less than 10 miles an hour. By contrast, e-bikes are capable of speeds around 20 miles an hour. This doubling of speed leads to more accidents, as well as more serious injuries resulting from those accidents.

Common Causes of E-bike and E-scooter Crashes

There are a variety of ways that accidents can happen involving an e-bike or e-scooter in New York.

Road Hazards

There are numerous road hazards on New York roads and streets from uneven surfaces, debris in the roadways, and potholes. Any of these hazardous or dangerous conditions could cause an e-bike rider to collide with a motor vehicle or pedestrian, or to be thrown to the ground.

Lack of Visibility

E-bikes and e-scooters are much smaller than passenger vehicles or commercial trucks making them more difficult to see by these motorists. When e-bike riders, especially delivery workers are navigating traffic, oftentimes, the drivers of these other vehicles simply do not see them when they are either changing lanes or making a turn.

Negligent operation of the e-bike or e-scooter

Operators of e-bikes and e-scooters are subject to the same rules of the road as motorists. E-bike delivery workers trying to make their deliveries as quickly as possible, commuters rushing to work, as well as more casual riders have all been observed driving the wrong way down one-way streets, failing to observe traffic signals or otherwise violating traffic regulations. When e-bike and e-scooter operators violate the rules of the road, they put pedestrians and other motorists at serious risk of injury and death.

“Doored”

In many cases, when e-bike riders are either riding in between lanes or riding between an active lane of traffic and a parked line of cars, a motorist will simply open the door to their car without looking for an oncoming e-bike or e-scooter, causing a catastrophic accident.

E-bike and E-scooter Injuries

With New York joining the ranks of other cities that have legalized the use of e-bike and e-scooters, there is also a greater likelihood that they will have the occurrence of severe injuries as well. With e-bikes and e-scooters traveling up to 25 miles an hour, the impact can be devastating and cause catastrophic injuries or death. Accidents will occur not only with delivery workers and commuters, but also for those riders who are planning to rent an e-scooter.

Currently, Revel mopeds are used throughout the neighborhoods of Brooklyn and Queens and with e-bikes coming in the near future to these areas, the dangers to both the operator of the e-bike as well as other motorists and pedestrians will be substantial. Since 2018, e-bikes have caused severe accidents and even death to those that use them. Injuries may occur from inattentive motorists, negligent or reckless e-bike use, or defective e-bikes or e-scooters themselves.

Consumer Reports indicated that since late 2017, more than 1,500 people have been injured as a result of e-bike and e-scooter crashes, including at least four fatalities. As ridership of e-bikes and e-scooters continues to rise in New York because of the new legislation, more accidents will likely occur causing severe injuries including:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Fractures of the skull, face, arms, legs and pelvis
  • Cerebral Concussions
  • Cervical and Lumbo-sacral spine injuries
  • Internal injuries and bleeding
  • Lacerations that cause scarring and disfigurement
  • Death

E-bike and E-scooter Safety Precautions

If you are interested in riding the New York streets on an e-bike or an e-scooter, you should always take safety precautions to help you remain safe and free from serious injury or death. Some of the best ways to protect yourself include the following:

Always Wear a Helmet

While not every classification of e-bike and e-scooter in the State of New York legally requires a rider to wear a helmet, studies show that wearing a helmet is likely one of the best ways to protect yourself against serious injury or even death. Always wear a helmet, even if it is not legally required to do so.

Follow the Rules of the Road

You simply have less protection as an e-bike or an e-scooter rider than the operators or passengers in a motor vehicle. Make sure to always ride defensively, stay alert, and always follow the rules of the road. Make sure that you are allowed to ride the e-bike or e-scooter in a particular area, and make sure you always stay under the speed limit. Always give the right of way to other drivers and pedestrians when legally required to do so.

Steps to Take Following an Accident

In many ways, an accident involving an e-bike or e-scooter is the same as one between motor vehicles. You should always follow these steps after any kind of accident, especially those that cause any kind of personal injury or property damage:

  • Contact the police and never leave the scene of the accident.
  • If an ambulance arrives, make sure to receive a medical evaluation if you have any kind of personal injuries.
  • Cooperate with the police and give only truthful information.
  • Attempt to obtain the names and contact information of all other drivers, other persons involved in the accident, and witnesses.
  • If it is possible for you to do so, attempt to take photographs of the entire accident scene, as well as any property damage to all vehicles involved, as well as any personal injuries you may have suffered.
  • Seek immediate medical attention, even if an ambulance did not arrive on the scene to ensure that you receive appropriate medical treatment.
  • Contact your insurance company to let them know that you were involved in an accident.
  • Keep all documentation regarding any medical bills, medical treatments, surgeries, physical therapy, lost wages at work, and a journal regarding your daily pain and suffering including what you are and are not able to do any more on a daily basis.

Proving Who is Liable to Pay Damages for your Injuries

Many e-bike and e-scooter accidents involve catastrophic injuries or even death. When an accident occurs that involves an e-bike or e-scooter, a determination of liability will need to be made in order to make a determination who is to pay for a victim’s injuries.

Oftentimes, an experienced personal injury attorney will be able to conduct a complete and independent investigation of the accident, visit with witnesses, hire expert witnesses, and negotiate with insurance companies on behalf of a victim in an e-bike or e-scooter accident. In many cases, it may be determined that the driver of a vehicle was negligent and caused the injuries to the rider of the e-bike or e-scooter.

In other cases, the e-bike or e-scooter may have a manufacturing defect. Some e-bikes and e-scooters have already been shown to have serious defective parts and components that oftentimes lead to an accident. If you were a victim of an e-bike or e-scooter accident, you may be able to file a claim against the motorist, another e-bike or e-scooter rider, the e-scooter company or the manufacturer or the e-bike or e-scooter. If the accident was due to construction in an area owned and operated by a city or local government, you may also be able to file a claim against the government entity.

Developing a personal injury case can be challenging and legally complex. There are different statutes of limitations (deadlines) in the State of New York to file a claim against a private individual or company versus the deadlines to file a claim against a government entity. Visiting with an experienced personal injury attorney will help ensure that you do not miss any deadlines and all your paperwork is correctly filed to receive compensation for your injuries.

Contact an Experienced New York City Personal Injury Attorney

If you were injured in an e-bike or e-scooter in the State of New York, you are likely suffering from serious medical injuries resulting in substantial medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. Contact an experienced NYC e-bike personal injury attorney today to help understand your legal rights and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve due to someone else’s negligence.