San Diego E-Bike Accident Lawyer
E-bike accidents can occur between other bikers, pedestrians, or motorists. The most serious of accidents that can end in major injury or fatalities are e-bike accidents involving a motorist. Due to the unique nature of e-bikes and the laws surrounding them, these accidents often leave those involved confused and unsure of how to proceed. With the rapidly increasing popularity of e-bikes, specifically in beach towns and other coastal areas like San Diego, we must begin to outline the policies and laws surrounding e-bike accidents, and when it’s appropriate to contact a San Diego e-bike accident lawyer.
It is important to make the distinction between regular car accidents, and those involving an e-bike. To start, we must look at the unique laws surrounding e-bikes in California.
California passed AB-1096 in 2015, which determines the classification of e-bikes. There are three categories that e-bikes fall into based on how they operate as well as their maximum speed. The ebike classes are as follows:
- Class 1: Bikes that must be pedaled, with a maximum speed of 20 mph
- Class 2: Bikes that do not have to be pedaled, yet still with a maximum speed of 20 mph
- Class 3: Bikes with a maximum speed of 28 mph
California has one of the most lenient e-bike laws in the nation, allowing Class 3 e-bikes to travel on public roads via the bike lane, while Class 1 and 2 bikes are permitted only on paths. Class 3 E-bike operators do not need a special license to operate them, the only requirement is that the operator must be at least 16 years of age and must wear a properly fitted and fastened helmet. E-bikes are not considered motor vehicles, meaning they do not need to be registered with the state of California, and most notably, they do not need to be covered by liability insurance. This is where liability for e-bike accidents can get sticky. Looking at e-bike accidents that have occurred in the San Diego area can be helpful for understanding the next steps that would be taken after an accident of this sort, including when it might be appropriate to call a lawyer with experience in e-bike accidents.
Earlier this year, a 32-year-old man on an e-bike was struck by an SUV in El Cajon, a city in San Diego County, and was killed on the scene. According to the reports of the accident, the man on the E-bike was not wearing a helmet, and was ejected from the bike after being struck by the vehicle, that was going 45 mph. If a case like this were to be brought to an attorney, there are several parties who could be sued for damages. The first and most obvious is the motorist and their car insurance company.
Another possibility, if the e-bike itself malfunctioned and somehow contributed to the accident, is that the manufacturer of the e-bike itself could be sued. In any case, each accident is different and unique, and the first step to filing a lawsuit after an e-bike accident is to speak to a personal injury attorney.
If you or a loved one has been in an e-bike accident, call the San Diego e-bike accident lawyers at Walton Law Firm to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys now.