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Electric Bikes and Car Accident Claims

Accidents involving cars and electric bikes (also known as electric assist bikes) can be catastrophic. But as electric bikes gain popularity, more and more people are put at risk. Car accident claims involving electric bikes are similar to those involving non-electric assist bikes, but there are a few differences.

What Are the Dangers?

Electric assist bikes (e-bikes) have 750 (or less) wattage power motors that assist with pedaling. Low-power e-bikes are not considered motor vehicles. But they can allow bicyclists to travel with the speed of traffic, which increases their risk of being seriously injured if hit. It can also increase the risk of an accident with other bikes on the road, as e-bikes can easily travel much faster than traditional bikes.

Who Has the Right?

Cars do not have the right of way over e-bikes. On most roads, bikes and e-bikes are given equal priority on the road, as they are considered vehicles. This has a significant influence on personal injury claims. In many cases, who had the right of way is disputed. Before bicyclists were given the same right of way rights as motorists, the rules on bicycle right of way were not always clear. Now, both share the same rights, making it easier to determine liability in accidents.

What Does That Mean?

With the same rights and responsibilities, car accident claims involving e-bikes do not necessarily differ from claims involving two car accidents. But e-bike riders are subject to a few restrictions that could affect a claim. Low-speed electric bikes must have no more than one horsepower and be operated by someone who is at least 16 years old. They can only be driven on streets but cannot exceed 20 miles per hour. And e-bike riders must follow all the applicable rules for bicyclists. Modified e-bikes operating at greater than one horsepower or traveling at speeds exceeding 20 miles per hour could be violating the vehicle code, making determining liability more difficult.

You must adhere to Illinois’ rules of the road when operating an e-bike. This is for your safety and the safety of others. If you are involved in an accident, however, you should contact an experienced Arlington Heights bicycle accident attorney right away. An attorney can walk you through the steps of preserving critical pieces of evidence that could strengthen your claim and help you get fair compensation for your losses.

Always ride safe and smart on Illinois roads, and respect the rights of all vehicles. Doing so will help keep you, your family, and everyone safer on the road.

R.F. Wittmeyer

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