Electric bicycles are very similar to regular bikes, differentiated by an electric system that supports pedaling and a battery that stores the charge. These bikes are usually "pedal-assist," meaning that the cyclist must pedal to receive power from the motor.
Several e-bike models can assist riders by turning a hand throttle without pedaling. But in the U.S., not all e-bikes require pedaling for assistance.
Under Florida law, an electric bicycle is defined generally as a two-wheeled vehicle with an electric helper motor less than 750 watts, with:
- fully operable pedals
- a seat or saddle
Since Florida e-cyclists are not required to have a special license, registration, or insurance on their electric bike, some people may consider e-bikes more dangerous than regular bicycles.
The Dangers Associated with E-Bikes in Florida
According to state law, children under the age of 16 are not allowed to drive or ride an electric bicycle. Florida is one of the 35 U.S. states that impose a three-tier classification system for defining electric bikes:
- Class one - a pedal-assisted bike that can travel up to 20 mph. Speed over 20 mph is pedal power only.
- Class two - an e-bike that runs on a motor generating speed and can travel up to 20 mph without pedaling.
- Class three - a pedal-assisted bike that goes up to 28 mph.
Any motor exceeding 750 watts does not fall under the category of electric bicycles and would require a license, tag, and insurance.
All electric bicycles built starting with January 1, 2021, must have a label stating the bike's classification level, motor power level, and top speed. Any e-bike modifications must be reflected within that label.
The most frequent causes of electric bike accidents are related to:
- Applying too much throttle at the start - such circumstances are the most prevalent causes of e-bikes related accidents.
- Not obeying traffic rules - some riders may be utterly unaware of how to treat their vehicles on the road.
- License and registration regulations - e-bike operators do not have to own a driver's license or registration.
- Helmet requirements - e-cyclists are not required to use a helmet when operating an electric bike in Florida.
- No road access restrictions - e-bikes may be used on any path or way that is open to bicycle travel, such as roads, bike lanes, and sidewalks.
- Circumstances beyond control - defective products can cause electric bikes accidents. There are situations when the electric bike's motor doesn't stop, the brakes jam, the front fork fails, or the battery lights up in flames.
Liability for Electric Bicycle Accidents
Electric bicycle riders share the road with all types of traffic participants. Depending on the circumstances of the collision, which can involve high speeds and reckless driving, various negligent parties can be held liable for an electric bike accident:
- the driver of a motor vehicle (motorcycle, car, truck)
- the driver of an e-scooter
- another electric bike or regular bike rider
- a pedestrian
- a drunk driver
E-bike accidents may also occur because of a bicycle malfunction due to defective design, manufacturing, or failure to adequately warn users on any related dangers, in which case the parties liable for any defect that caused the crash or injury may involve:
- the e-bike bike manufacturer
- the e-bike bike seller
- the e-bike parts manufacturer or seller
- the e-bike rental company
The injuries that can result from an electrical bicycle accident range from mild to severe and include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Bone fractures
- Neck injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Lacerations and scars
- Abdominal injuries
Involved in an E-Bike Accident in Miami, Florida? We Can Help
The experienced e-bike accident attorney at the Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary can help you obtain financial compensation for the injuries you or your loved ones sustained in a minor or severe electrical bicycle accident. The damages you may receive consist of:
- economic damages - medical expenses, lost income, and future earnings
- non-economic damages - pain and suffering, loss of consortium
If the e-bike accident proved to be fatal, the surviving family could file a wrongful death claim. Contact us right away and schedule a free case evaluation to discuss the particularities of your case.