Electric Bike Laws in Queens, NY: Are E-Bikes a Threat to Public Safety?
Electric bikes have joined e-scooters among the most popular modes of transportation on the streets of Queens. But riders on motorized bicycles with integrated electric motors have been involved in numerous accidents involving serious injuries to pedestrians as well as to e-bike users.
If you have lost a loved one or have yourself been struck and seriously injured by an e-bike while crossing the street, walking on the sidewalk, or in a parking lot in Queens, you may be entitled to seek significant compensation. If your accident was caused by the e-bike operator or another driver’s negligence, a personal injury attorney from The Tadchiev Law Firm, P.C., in Queens, NY, can help you understand your rights and pursue compensation for your medical bills, lost income, and more.
If you were riding an e-bike and suffered an injury because of another motorist’s negligence, we also can help you, too.
Are E-Bikes a Threat to Public Safety in Queens, NY?
Several recent reports have brought the danger of e-bikes to the public’s attention. Last June, actor Lisa Banes (“Gone Girl”) was killed by a hit-and-run e-bike or moped user on Amsterdam Avenue. A well-known Queens real estate broker died after being hit by an e-bike. In October, an e-bike rider was killed in a hit-and-run collision with a vehicle on the Belt Parkway in Queens. In January 2022, a man riding an e-bike through the intersection of 10th Avenue and 18th Street in Windsor Terrace in Brooklyn was left in critical condition after a hit-and-run collision.
The NY Post reported in June that e-bike fatalities had surged 233% from just six in 2019 to 20 in 2020, according to New York City Department of Transportation data.
The Post spoke to an unidentified 67-year-old East Village photographer whom “a speeding e-biker mowed down” on Ninth Avenue and West 39th Street in Midtown in April. She said she suffered a fractured left hip, which required surgery and a titanium rod placed from her hip to her knee. She spent five days in Lenox Hill Hospital and was out of work for six weeks. “The person didn’t stop. He just kept going,” she said.
Neil Fazel told The Post he was jogging in Central Park in December 2020 when a hit-and-run e-biker “came out of nowhere” and struck him from behind. Fazel, who is 55, fell and suffered elevated eye pressure, a non-displaced fractured rib, and an injury to his left hand.
A New York Times report in October said at least 17 people had been killed while riding e-bikes and e-scooters in 2021, according to city officials. Three pedestrians also died when struck by e-vehicles last year. “And many pedestrians and cyclists complain about e-bike … riders who speed, ride on sidewalks, run red lights and go the wrong way on streets,” the report says.
A U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission study of statistics on injury estimates, fatalities, and hazard patterns associated with e-scooters, hoverboards, and e-bikes from 2017 through 2020. It found too few e-bike injuries to form an estimate but 23 e-bike fatalities from 2017 through 2020.
Most e-bikes and e-scooters became legal in New York City in 2020, though delivery workers have long ridden them, the Times says.
The Times lists the positives of e-bikes and other e-powered machines that “fill the gaps in urban transportation systems for trips to places that are too far to walk to but are too close for the subway or bus.” They “are better for the environment; they take up little, if any, street space for parking, and they are fun to ride.”
But Samuel I. Schwartz, a former city traffic commissioner, told the Times that the city needs a comprehensive plan to address the boom in e-bikes. The Daily News has called for a more serious attitude toward controlling e-bikes, e-scooters, mopeds, and other such vehicles in city parks, where NYC Parks rules prohibit their use.
Insurance Coverage of Accidents Involving E-Bikes
New York requires all automobile owners to have a Personal Injury Protection insurance policy as part of their auto insurance coverage. Whether you are eligible for no-fault insurance benefits after an e-bike accident depends on the classification of the e-bike or electric scooter you were riding when the accident occurred.
If you were riding an e-bike or Class C electric scooter, one with a top speed of no more than 20 miles per hour, you would be considered a pedestrian for the purposes of no-fault insurance coverage. If you were injured by a motorist while riding an e-bike in New York City, the motorist’s Personal Injury Protection policy would cover your initial medical expenses as an injured rider. The driver’s no-fault policy also covers pedestrians and cyclists injured by the driver.
If your injuries are serious and the at-fault driver’s PIP insurance is not enough to cover your medical expenses, then you may have a right to file an injury claim against the at-fault driver’s liability insurance.
If you were riding an e-bike and were injured by a hit-and-run driver who was not identified, you may file a claim against your own Uninsured Motorist policy, if you have auto insurance, for coverage of your medical bills. Uninsured Motorist insurance pays for injuries caused by hit-and-run drivers.
If you were a pedestrian struck and injured by an e-bike and you have Personal Injury Protection insurance or a family member in your household has this coverage, you would turn to this insurance policy for payment of your initial medical costs. Your own health insurance also may provide some coverage of your medical treatment.
Coverage of medical bills after an e-bike accident in New York can be complicated. A knowledgeable Queens e-bike injury attorney can help you understand your rights and which insurance policies may cover your injuries.
Why Are E-bikes So Dangerous?
While some cycling enthusiasts maintain that e-bike riders cause fewer accidents than four-wheeled motorists, others discuss the dangers posed by e-bikes. They include:
- Over-acceleration. It is easy for inexperienced riders to apply too much throttle as they start to move on an e-bike and lose control of the vehicle.
- Not obeying traffic rules. E-bikes, e-scooters, and mopeds can look similar but different traffic rules apply to them. An e-bike can be dangerous when its rider neglects to obey all traffic rules.
- E-bikes may present a higher risk to elderly people. Elderly people have slower reflexes, less strength, and less understanding of how modern e-bikes work in various situations during a ride.
- E-bike batteries tend to catch fire. It’s not always the rider. Most e-bikes have lithium batteries, which are highly combustible. As of October 2021, there had been 75 e-bike fires in NYC, which caused 72 injuries and three deaths.
E-bikes laws in New York
Current e-bike laws in NYC allow:
- Top speeds of 20-25 mph.
- Riding in bike lanes and streets with speed limits no greater than 30 mph.
- Riding with no license, no registration, no insurance.
- Riding with no helmet for most riders. Helmets are required for 16- and 17-year-old riders and riders employed to ride e-bikes.
Talk to Our Queens E-Bike Accident Attorney Now
If you have been injured or lost a loved one in an accident while riding an e-bike or caused by an e-bike rider, have a personal injury lawyer explain your options for seeking compensation for your medical bills and lost wages. Contact The Tadchiev Law Firm, P.C., today. Our experienced e-bike injury attorneys are ready to review the details of your accident and help you understand your rights. When you work with us, you can be assured that your case is in experienced hands.
There are no fees unless we recover money for you. We can start by providing a free case review to answer your questions. Contact us now by phone or online.