E-bikes may be a convenient form of local transportation and also a fun diversion for tourists and teenagers. However, they are also a major safety hazard. Drivers may have to aggressively maneuver to avoid causing a crash when an e-bike suddenly rolls out into traffic in front of them. Pedestrians can easily get knocked over and injured by irresponsible e-bike riders.
Cyclists are also at increased risk on the road because of the prevalence of e-bikes. The crashes between human-powered bicycles and bicycles with small motors have now become a significant safety concern in many areas, and they are an issue many California cyclists need to consider.
E-bike crashes are on the rise
Many municipalities have reported safety issues and other frustrations stemming from e-bike use. Still, policymakers have largely seemed to ignore this issue until recently. In some areas, an unexpected surge in collisions between e-bikes and cyclists has led to a push for improved public safety.
In Carlsbad, where local authorities report a 233% increase in crashes between bicycles and e-bikes, local lawmakers want to improve law enforcement and education. Policymakers noted when discussing the issue that youthful e-bike riders who do not have insurance or training about road safety rules are a particular concern. Some of them may actually be too young to legally operate an e-bike.
There are other safety concerns regarding e-bikes. The frequent practice of riding with two, sometimes more, people on an e-bike can also impact how safe it is to ride on these devices. Often, the riders do not utilize the right safety gear and may drive erratically, making them a risk for anyone near them, including cyclists trying to share the bike lane.
What do e-bike collisions mean for cyclists?
Obviously, the primary issue with an e-bike colliding with a human-propelled bicycle is that the e-bike will very likely cause severe injury because it is heavier and may be moving faster than the standard bicycle.
Typically, cyclists hurt by other people can file an insurance claim. However, if individuals riding e-bikes don’t also have a car, they may not have any liability insurance. Cyclists may find themselves fighting an uphill battle trying to get compensation when they get hurt by someone being irresponsible and unsafe on an e-bike.
Recognizing different risks for bicycle collisions can help you prioritize your own safety and hold other people accountable if they injure you.