E-bikes can be dangerous for riders and pedestrians

On Behalf of | Jun 3, 2024 | Bicycle Accidents

So-called “alternative” modes of transportation are popular in Washington. Cycling has long been a common pastime and form of transportation. More residents and tourists now use e-bikes to travel in many urban areas.

E-bikes are technically street legal in Washington. The state recognizes three different classes of e-bikes depending on how fast they go and the degree of assistance they provide operators. Riders don’t generally need a license, and those over the age of 16 don’t need helmets to legally ride e-bike.

E-bikes can be fun and efficient for the people riding them, but they can also be a hazard. E-bike riders are at risk of injury due to collisions, and they could also potentially hurt others if they aren’t attentive when they ride.

Why e-bikes are sometimes risky

Technically, people can operate any class of e-bike on public roads. Anyone biking near larger vehicles is that risk should a collision with a four-wheeled vehicle occur. E-bikes offer very little physical protection in the event of a crash. Riders who don’t wear helmets may be at particularly high risk. Those on Class 1 or Class 2 e-bikes can also potentially ride on sidewalks under current Washington laws. The legality of doing so depends on local ordinances.

Those riders could be at risk of encounters with pedestrians that lead to other people getting hurt. Unlike larger vehicles, e-bikes do not require any sort of insurance. Pedestrians injured by e-bike riders may worry about how they can cover their medical expenses and any lost wages that result from their injuries.

Whether an e-bike collision occurred because of what an e-bike rider did or because of a bigger vehicle in traffic, the pursuit of compensation afterward can be a challenging process. Both injured e-bike riders and those hurt by people riding on sidewalks may need to look into both insurance coverage and liability. Filing a personal injury lawsuit might sometimes be the only way of recovering the expenses caused by an e-bike collision.

Anyone involved in an e-bike crash may need to seek legal guidance about their expenses to determine what options for compensation may be available. Learning more about Washington’s traffic rules can help those interested in newer forms of transportation and those who are worried about covering crash expenses.


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