The use of electric bikes, or e-bikes, is on the rise, not just here in Colorado but across the country. According to one estimate, 130 million e-bikes are expected to be sold globally from 2020 to 2023. While there is some conflict over the use of e-bikes on trails in Colorado, there are likely to be more on the roads, bike lanes, and trails in the future.
E-bikes can be very safe but there are also a number of safety hazards involved in operating any vehicle in traffic or around others. E-bike accidents may also be more dangerous than other bike accidents because the power-assisted motors allow the bikes to go faster than traditional human-powered bikes. Many e-bike users are new to the machines, which could also make them less stable and controlled in a traffic situation.
If you were involved in an e-bike accident or were injured by an e-bike rider, talk to a lawyer about your rights. The attorneys at accidentdenver.com will investigate your case and work to get you the maximum compensation after an injury accident in Denver. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Electric Bikes in Colorado
E-bikes are regulated in Colorado based on their classification. E-bikes are required to show their class, top assisted speed, and motor wattage. E-bikes cannot have an electric motor that exceeds 750 watts of power. Classification of electric bikes is as follows:
- Class 1 - Motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches a speed of 20 miles per hour (MPH).
- Class 2 - Motor that provides assistance regardless of whether the rider is pedaling but ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches a speed of 20 MPH.
- Class 3 - Motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches a speed of 28 MPH.
Many cities in Colorado also have their own regulations for e-bikes. For example, in Boulder, e-bikes are permitted on certain multi-use paths within the city but must comply with the 15 MPH speed limits, keep right except to pass, and give an audible alert before passing.
Electric Bike Accidents in Denver
According to a news article, e-bikes carry a higher risk of severe injuries compared to traditional bikes. Emergency department data from 3,075 e-bike injuries between 2000 to 2017 shows people who are injured in an e-bike accident are more likely to suffer internal injuries and require hospitalization. E-bike accidents are also more likely to be involved in a crash with a pedestrian.
E-bike accidents also tend to involve riders who are older than riders in bike accidents, with an average age of 31.9 for e-bike riders compared to 25.2 on bikes. Males accounted for over 83% of e-bike injured riders.
Causes of Colorado E-Bike Accidents
Like other bicycles, e-bikes accidents can be caused by a number of factors, including accidents caused by:
- Rider inexperience,
- Distracted riders,
- Negligent e-bike riders,
- Negligent drivers,
- Negligent cyclists,
- Negligent pedestrians,
- Road hazards, or
- Bike malfunctions.
Many e-bike accidents involve riders who are new to the power-assisted machines. There are not training or testing requirements for e-bike riders, and some have trouble with the accelerator, making it difficult to properly and safely speed up, reduce speed, or stop.
E-bikes are also much heavier than other bikes, primarily because they require an electric motor and large battery. A heavier weight can make it more difficult to control an e-bike, especially at low speeds or in close proximity to other cars, pedestrians, cyclists, or fixed objects.
E-Bike Accidents on Colorado Trails
Electric bikes have been approved for use on land managed by Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW). This also includes State Park lands where Class 1 and 2 e-bikes are allowed the same access as road and mountain bikes and on multi-use trails. People who may not have otherwise been able to ride some of the steep and hilly trails now have more access to exploring outdoor areas. However, other hikers and non-motorized cyclists are not happy with the increased speed of e-bike users sharing the trails with slower moving modes of transportation.
For many e-bikers, they are new to the experience and may not be familiar with the rules of the trail, including safe passing, when to yield, and how their bike may handle on difficult terrain. This can cause accidents and injure the e-biker, other cyclists, hikers, and horseback riders on Colorado trails.
Getting hit by a large e-bike traveling at up to 20 miles per hour can cause serious injury. Most hikers do not wear helmets and getting knocked over at high speed on a steep trail can cause:
- Head injury
- Neck injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Cuts and abrasions
- Broken bones
- Internal injuries
- Facial trauma
Personal Injury Claims for E-Bike Accidents
Liability in a bike accident generally depends on which party or parties were negligent in causing the accident or injury. When a party is found to be negligent in causing the accident, the negligent party is generally liable for any damages, including medical bills, property damage, loss of income, and pain and suffering.
Denver E-Bike Accident Injury Lawsuit
It is important to contact your Colorado personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an e-bike accident. There is a limited amount of time to file a personal injury lawsuit in Colorado. In most personal injury lawsuits, the injury victim has 2 years from the date of the injury or accident to file a claim but it may be 3 years for accidents involving a motor vehicle and may include e-bikes.
However, claims against the State of Colorado or city or county agencies generally have a shorter notice requirement and the injury victim may need to file a notice with the state within 180 days from the date of the accident.
Denver Accident Lawyers
The attorneys at accidentdenver.com have successfully represented e-bike riders, pedestrians, and cyclists injured on the roads in the Denver area. Our experienced attorneys will fight to get the maximum compensation available for your injuries. Contact us today for a free consultation.