Injuries to E-Scooter and E-Bike Riders on the Rise in New York, Raising Concern for their Safety

Lever & Ecker, PLLC October 15, 2021 Personal injury

The COVID-19 pandemic has created countless challenges and changes in our lives over the last few years. Among these changes are the types of transportation people are using. While countless New Yorkers had historically ridden public transportation without giving it a second thought, the onset of the pandemic in early 2020 suddenly made many of these same New Yorkers very wary about using subways, trains and buses. As a result, many are looking for new ways to travel around the city.

E-scooters and e-bikes offer a nimble and convenient alternative to public transportation. Unfortunately, however, as the presence of these new methods of transportation on the roadways of New York has increased, so has the incidence of injuries to their riders.

What Are Some Safety Challenges That E-scooters and E-bikes Encounter?

An article by the New York Times reports that there were at least 17 e-scooter and e-bike fatalities in the last year. Of course, the number of individuals who suffered other severe and catastrophic injuries is much higher. There are a number of reasons why e-scooter and e-bike riders are so susceptible to injury in New York City, namely, that they are more difficult for other vehicles on the road to see and thus vulnerable to collisions, and also prone to encountering uneven road surfaces or other hazardous road conditions.

Because these vehicles are so new, the guidelines and restrictions are not well-documented or studied. Red-light cameras often cannot detect e-scooter vehicles, and many people are unfamiliar with the procedures and rules connected with these electric devices.

According to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, e-scooters and e-bikes may be operated in New York in accordance with the below guidelines:

  • Unlike mopeds and motorcycles, e-scooters and e-bikes do not require insurance and riders do not need a license to drive;
  • E-bikes and e-scooters may be operated on highways with a posted speed limit of 30 mph or less;
  • Municipalities may impose further regulations on the time, place, manner, and operation of e-bikes and e-scooters;
  • Individuals may not operate e-bikes or e-scooters on a sidewalk, except as authorized by local law or ordinance.

For e-scooters, which are defined under New York State law as a device with handlebars, a floorboard or seat, and an electric motor that can be powered by such motor and/or human power, riders must be 16 years or older, and helmets are recommended for all but required only for 16- and 17-year-olds. In New York City, e-scooters are allowed to reach a speed of no more than 15 mph.

For e-bikes, which are defined under the law as bicycles with an electric power system (motor) that propels the rider faster than they can pedal, helmets are required if you are under the age of 18 or your e-bike is capable of exceeding 20 mph. In New York City, e-bikes are permitted to reach a speed of no more than 20 mph.

Potential Injuries to E-scooter and E-bike Riders

Any person who has ridden a bicycle or been a pedestrian in New York City knows that drivers don’t always follow the traffic laws. Drivers can fail to stop or yield at an intersection, turn into the path of an e-scooter or e-bike, change lanes without signaling, open the door of a parked car, drift onto the shoulder lane, or simply be distracted while driving, putting e-scooter and e-bike riders at risk of serious injury.

In accidents where an e-scooter or e-bike rider is injured by a negligent driver, that driver could be liable for the rider’s injuries and other damages. Injuries that may be sustained by operators of e-scooters and e-bikes include:

  • Concussion
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Broken bones
  • Neck and back injuries
  • Lacerations that may cause scarring or disfigurement

While the laws of New York do not require every e-scooter or e-bike rider to wear a helmet, it is in your best interest to do so. Studies have shown that wearing a helmet is one of the best ways e-motorists can protect themselves from serious injury, or even death.

Reasons New York Residents Switched to E-scooters and E-bikes during the Pandemic

As many workers return to the office using public transportation, some continue to choose e-scooters and e-bikes. There are many other reasons for people to choose these mobility devices, including:

Affordability

Unlike cars and constant public transportation fees, e-scooters and e-bikes have little in the way of expense on an ongoing basis, once the equipment is purchased. For those looking for an affordable way to travel, these devices seem like a better option and can get around a lot of traffic. They also do not require a license, and younger students can use them to get to school.

Environmental Consciousness

The carbon emissions from an e-scooter or e-bike are significantly less than those of a bus or a car. Many people looking for a way to travel without contributing to air pollution decide on this way of traveling that falls along with their beliefs. This also eliminates the need for gas and instead focuses on battery-powered vehicles.

Portability

The amount of space an e-scooter or an e-bike takes up both on the road and inside an apartment or house is much less than other vehicles. Most people struggle to find parking spaces for their cars and have to pay a fee for parking, while those with e-mobility transportation can keep their vehicles inside their apartment if they must, or can otherwise generally avoid parking fees.

With an increasing number of people purchasing and using these vehicles, the safety of individuals on these devices is critical. If you or a loved one were a victim of another’s negligence while riding an E-bike or E-scooter, contact a reliable personal injury lawyer immediately.

Contact Lever & Ecker, PLLC for Reliable Personal Injury Lawyers

With e-scooter and e-bike riders sharing the road with vehicles of all kinds, there are many ways for someone riding an electric vehicle to suffer injuries in an accident. This is why it’s so important to understand the rules and regulations of these vehicles. Our lawyers at Lever & Ecker, PLLC have over 60 years of combined experience working with and advocating for clients across New York, including, more recently, injured e-scooter and e-bike riders. We understand how challenging an accident is and want to make sure you have the proper resources for your recovery.

Call (914) 288-9191 or (718) 933-3632 and fill out our contact form for a free consultation today.