More and more people are choosing to utilize e-bikes on the roads in and around Los Angeles. There are many people who rely on e-bikes as one of their primary forms of transportation and countless others who occasionally rent e-bikes from local fleets for short trips around the city.
Like traditional bicycles, e-bikes have to share the road with larger motor vehicles, which means that there is always a risk of a crash. There tends to be a bit of stigma involved in the social discussion around e-bike safety. News reports and policy discussions focus on e-bike crashes but not on what causes them, so the solutions proposed to address those issues tend to fall short of actually resolving the matter. Reporters from local news outlets have recently explored how safety discussions seem to avoid actually acknowledging where much of the risk originates. Taking note of these conclusions can help to ensure that approaches are better informed moving forward.
Bigger vehicles are persistently the biggest threat
There are certainly scenarios in which e-bike operators do things that are unsafe or risky. However, like the average cyclist, most e-bike operators want a convenient form of transportation, not a significantly elevated personal crash risk.
Sadly, they have to share the road with people who don’t watch or bicycles or e-bikes. A review of crash data in the Los Angeles area between the beginning of 2020 and June 2023 found that 88% of the incidents involving e-bikes also involved a larger motor vehicle. A significant percentage of those collisions are the direct result of something that a person in the larger vehicle did as opposed to an error by an e-bike rider.
Realistically, even some of the so-called single-vehicle incidents involving an e-bike could be the result of a driver’s negligence. An e-bike rider might swerve off the road or otherwise make a questionable choice because a motorist encroaches on their space and nearly hits them.
After an e-bike collision with a larger vehicle, an e-bike rider may have grounds for an insurance claim. However, the liability insurance requirements in California are relatively low, so those hurt and such crashes frequently need to pursue personal injury lawsuits in addition to insurance claims. Accurately identifying who is at fault for a recent e-bike crash can be of the utmost importance for those seeking compensation, as a result.