Electric bikes have been gaining in popularity across the state of Maine, according to the Portland Press Herald.
Many people prefer the convenience e-bikes offer and reap the financial benefits of gas savings. The assisted pedaling even allows people with health conditions to get around by bike.
According to Ben Sawyer, the manager at CycleMania in Portland, about “one in every 100 bikes” on Maine roads is an e-bike.
What was once considered a novelty utilized by few, e-bike sales have significantly increased across the United States from $42 million in 2016 to $142 million in 2018. In Maine, sales have reportedly doubled during that time.
In fact, the city of Portland may soon use 200 e-bikes in it’s first-ever bike-share program, expected to be launched in 2020.
E-bikes are capable of reaching speeds greater than 30 mph and run on batteries that must be recharged every 45-60 miles.
The risks posed by e-bikes
While e-bikes are a relatively new phenomenon in the US, many other countries have been using them for many years. A study conducted by Israeli researchers between 2013-2015 identified 795 injuries connected to e-bikes – 8 percent of which were pedestrians. The study focused primarily on lack of separated bicycle lanes and poor overall infrastructure.
E-bikes may be dangerous for several reasons:
- They can travel at greater speeds than regular bicycles, which could increase the severity of a crash. Additionally, e-bicycle operators have less time to react to an obstacle in the roadway and may require more time and distance to stop.
- Like those who ride non-electric bicycles, e-bike users could be struck by cars or experience road rage from drivers.
- Mechanical defects may occur, such as combusting batteries, wheel bearing lock-ups, throttles getting stuck (making it difficult to slow down or stop), and brake failure.
- Pedestrians, bicyclists, and other e-bike riders can be struck.
As we begin to see more e-bikes across Maine, it’s important that riders and other road users understand the risks. Liability in accidents involving e-bikes could point to the following parties:
- An e-bike operator could be responsible for causing a crash with pedestrians or other road users.
- A driver or other road user could be responsible for striking an e-bike operator.
- An e-bike manufacturer, parts manufacturer, or distributor could be responsible for any mechanical defects that caused a crash.
If you have been injured in a crash involving an e-bike, it’s important that you discuss your matter with a Maine attorney who has the resources and expertise to handle your claim. Put your trust in the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein just as over 25,000 injured and disabled Mainers have done since 1974. The initial consultation is always free and there’s never a fee unless you win and get the justice you deserve. Contact us today to get started.