Electric Bike Accident Attorney

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As leading personal injury attorneys in St. Louis, we’ve helped countless clients secure the compensation they need and the justice they deserve. If you were injured in an accident caused by someone else, you have legal options. Contact Tom Wilmowski to learn more.

A decade ago, electric bikes seemed more like science fiction than real life. Today, they are commonplace, offering an efficient, sustainable, and fun way to traverse cities across the United States, including St. Louis. However, these vehicles also present certain risks and dangers.

The reality is that while they may look like traditional bicycles, electric bikes are an entirely different mode of transportation. As motorized vehicles with unique operational demands, e-bikes often surprise riders with their speed and sensitive response. When e-bike crashes occur, injury victims can find themselves struggling to navigate the legal and regulatory complexities surrounding electric vehicle accidents. Luckily, they don’t have to do it alone.

If you were injured in an electric bike accident caused by someone else, it’s important to understand that you have recourse. You may be eligible to pursue compensation through an electric bike accident lawsuit or another legal action, and Tom Wilmowski can help.

This article will explain everything you need to know about electric bike accidents in Missouri, including facts and statistics, common causes and injuries, pertinent e-bike laws, recoverable damages, and how an electric bike accident attorney can help.

E-Bike Accidents: Facts and Statistics

As electric bikes become increasingly common across Missouri and the country, so do electric bike accidents. Electric bicycle riders, injury victims, and even prospective e-bike buyers can benefit from reviewing the following facts and statistics:

  • Injuries associated with micromobility devices (electric scooters, hoverboards, and e-bikes) increased by nearly 21 percent from 2021 to 2022, according to a 2023 report issued by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
  • The CPSC report also states that nearly half of all e-bike injuries from 2017 to 2022 occurred in 2022, and that children ages 14 and younger accounted for about 36 percent of micromobility device injuries in that same time period (despite accounting for only 18 percent of the U.S. population).
  • Youth e-bike riders use helmets more infrequently than children riding traditional bicycles or mopeds, according to a 2023 study published in Surgery Open Science.
  • According to the same study, youth e-bike riders are also at an increased risk of hospitalization compared to their counterparts.
  • Research from a 2022 Swiss study reveals an increased injury severity in e-bike accidents compared to conventional bike accidents, particularly among elderly riders.
  • E-bike accidents may be three times more likely to involve a pedestrian than conventional bike accidents, according to an 2019 analysis.
  • E-bikes are the fastest growing segment of the biking industry by sale and remain largely unregulated in states across the U.S.

The evidence is clear: Electric bikes are not the same as regular bicycles. They are associated with increased risk of severe injury and hospitalization and present particular danger to youth riders and the elderly. Like conventional bike accidents, e-bike wrecks occur for a variety of reasons, which we will discuss below.

 

Common Causes of Electric Bike Accidents

Although e-bike accidents occur for many of the same reasons as conventional bike accidents, they also have a unique set of causes. These include:

  • Rider inexperience. Many riders expect e-bikes to function like regular bicycles and attempt to ride them without fully understanding their unique characteristics, including acceleration patterns and handling. When this happens, riders can lose control of their bikes and suffer serious injuries in collisions, wrecks, and falls.
  • Failure to understand traffic laws. Traffic laws pertaining to how and where e-bikes can be operated vary from state to state. Confusion over these laws can send e-bikers into dangerous situations that result in collisions and wrecks.
  • Mechanical and electrical failures. Like other electric-motor-powered vehicles, e-bikes rely on a series of properly functioning mechanisms to function, including batteries and electronic control systems. Mechanical malfunctions and electrical failures can result in loss of control and lead to serious accidents.
  • Insufficient maintenance. As a motorized vehicle, e-bikes need a greater level of maintenance than conventional bicycles in order to remain fully functional and safe. To prevent accidents, e-bike riders should schedule regular maintenance and inspections to ensure their bikes are in working order.
  • Speed. In many states, e-bikes can legally reach speeds of almost 30 miles per hour, but even when stricter speed caps are imposed, e-bikes are easily modified to increase their speed capabilities. This can present unique dangers to e-bike riders, as the width of electronic bike tires aren’t always capable of withstanding run-of-the-mill road hazards, such as deep potholes, trash, and objects, and can easily result in a loss of control.
  • Environmental factors. Bad weather conditions like rain, snow, and ice not only obscure e-bike riders’ vision, but can also coat the roadways and make it difficult for bike tires to grip the ground.

This is not a comprehensive list of causes, but rather a few of the most common reasons e-bike accidents occur. However, this much is clear: With enhanced speed capabilities and none of the protections associated with motor vehicles, e-bikes can easily result in devastating injuries.

Injuries Resulting from E-Bike Accidents

Although e-bike riders are vulnerable to many of the same types of injuries that riders sustain in conventional bicycle accidents, research suggests that they are at increased risk for sustaining severe injuries and hospitalization. Here are a few of the most common types of e-bike accident injuries:

  • Head injuries, including concussions and more severe traumatic brain injuries
  • Broken bones, especially in the hands, wrists, legs, and ankles
  • Soft tissues injuries, including bruising, sprains, strains, and tears
  • Lacerations and abrasions, especially when riders are thrown from their bikes
  • Internal injuries and bleeding, particularly in collisions
  • Spinal damage, including vertebrae fractures, spinal cord injuries, and, in some accident cases, partial or full paralysis
  • Dental and jaw injuries, especially in the absence of a full face helmet

Again, these are just some of the e-bike accident injuries that riders can sustain. Riders who lack understanding of and experience in riding e-bikes can easily suffer life-altering injuries when they lose control of their bikes.

Electric Bike Laws in Missouri

Like in many other states, Missouri’s e-bike laws divide electric bicycles into three different categories. Missouri laws also provide critical instructions on where and how e-bikes can be ridden in order to maintain safety. Here are a few key aspects of Missouri e-bike regulations:

  • E-bike classification. Missouri law divides electric bikes into three classes. Class 1 refers to e-bikes that are pedal-assist only, have no throttle, and have a max assisted speed of 20 miles per hour. Class 2 bikes have throttle assist and can reach a max speed of 20 miles per hour; Class 3 are pedal-assist only, with no throttle, and can reach a max speed of 28 miles per hour.
  • Helmet requirements. Certain cyclists, especially those under the age of 18, may be required to wear helmets when riding Class 3 e-bikes.
  • Age restrictions. In many areas of Missouri, state law restricts riders under the age of 16 from operating Class 3 e-bikes.
  • Shared-use paths. Although it varies by local ordinance, Class 1 and 2 e-bikes are typically allowed on bike paths, and Class 3 e-bikes are not.
  • License and registration requirements. In most places in Missouri, e-bike riders are not required to obtain a license or register their e-bikes.
  • Bike lane usage. Usually, Missouri residents can operate e-bikes in conventional bike lanes and on the streets, but rules—especially concerning Class 3 bikes—vary by local ordinances.

As you can see, Missouri laws concerning e-bikes provide more of a general framework than a detailed guideline. Before setting out on the road, bicyclists should check the local regulations to ensure they remain in compliance.

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As former insurance defense lawyers, personal injury attorneys Deme Sotiriou and Tom Wilmowski of Sotiriou Wilmowski pride themselves on using their inside knowledge of the insurance industry to obtain maximum value — and often more — for their clients.

Damages in an E-Bicycle Accident Claim

If you suffered serious injuries in an e-bike accident you didn’t cause, you may be able to secure compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. As with most personal injury claims, you may be entitled to pursue both economic and non-economic damages in an e-bicycle accident claim.

Whereas economic damages refer to easily calculable financial losses, non-economic damages refer to losses that elude a dollar amount, such pain and suffering. With help from an electric bicycle accident attorney, you may be able to recover financial compensation for the following:

  • Medical expenses, including medical bills, cost of treatments, accident-related medications, ongoing therapies, specialized care and more
  • Lost wages, the earnings you would have received through your job if not for the injuries you suffered in your e-bike accident
  • Pain and suffering, the physical pain and emotional distress you suffered as a result of the accident
  • Diminished quality of life, including loss of enjoyment for things you once enjoyed and loss of the ability to perform everyday activities
  • Property damage, whether to your e-bike or to personal property you were transporting at the time of the accident

Many non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, are highly subjective, and securing a fair settlement for them can be difficult without help from an experienced personal injury lawyer. Fighting for your maximum compensation is just one of the many ways in which a dedicated e-bike accident attorney can help you.

Reasons to Hire a Lawyer

Navigating the legal process is extremely difficult without expert assistance, especially when you’re trying to recover from a devastating accident. An experienced e-bike accident lawyer in St. Louis will have a deep understanding of Missouri personal injury law and e-bike regulations—two necessities when trying to secure the compensation you deserve.

An experienced attorney can also help you calculate damages, draft a settlement demand letter, negotiate with opposing parties, speak with insurance companies on your behalf, and more. Plus, most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t pay them until and unless you win a settlement.

Ready to get started? Top-tier legal help is right around the corner. Text or call our law office at (314) 860-1644 to schedule a free consultation or contact Tom Wilmowski online.

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