There is a rapidly growing global trend to use electric bicycles as a preferred form of transportation in Florida. Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law House Bill 971, effective 7/1/2020. This legislation allows operators of electric bicycles, also known as e-bikes, to have the same rights as standard bicycles. This new law permits electric bicycle usage on public roadways, sidewalks, road shoulders, paths, and bike lanes.

In this legislation, electric bicycles’ lawful speed limit was increased, permitting an operator to travel up to 28mph. The height requirement for electric bicycles was eliminated, allowing standard bicycles to become motorized. Further, this legislation eliminated the age restriction for the operator of electric bicycles. It does permit local government and communities to regulate their usage, as appropriate.

Benefits of Electric Bicycles

Proponents of this new legislation tout the many benefits of this alternative form of transportation versus other motor vehicles. In this unprecedented time of the COVID-19 pandemic, when social distancing has become the preferred way of life, the electric bicycle is a worthy alternative. Many commuters are wary of carpooling, trains, buses, taxes, and ubers. Electric bicycles are also referred to as “green bikes.”

They are environmentally efficient as they operate by rechargeable batteries as opposed to fuel-based vehicles. They aid in reducing traffic, and with the new increase in speed, they often keep up with the pace of vehicles on the roadway.

Electric bicycles are a more affordable form of transportation, and standard bike owners can purchase conversion kits to upgrade them with motors. There are physical benefits to this low impact exercise to improve fitness for all ages.

Safety Concerns of Electric Bicycles

The increase in the lawful speed limit, now in effect for electric bicycles, jeopardizes the safety of the operators, pedestrians, traditional bikers, and street traffic. Due to negligence, reckless driving, or poor judgment, accidents can cause a wide array of injuries, from minor bruises to wrongful death. Age-related accidents for seniors can result from weaker reflexes, less agility in maneuvers, low vision, and hearing. The younger population, such as operators under the age of 16, may not be aware of traffic laws or understand their importance. There is no licensing requirement to operate an electric bicycle, and no criteria for safety equipment such as helmets, goggles, or protective clothing.

While liability and medical insurance coverage are available for electric bicycle operators, it is not mandated in Florida. Many operators are uninsured motorists, causing legal issues in the compensation of damages. Other safety risks include the electric bike catching fire while in operation, or while charging the batteries, as lithium batteries are highly combustible. Unexpected lurching forward with speed can occur through operator error, such as starting the bike from the high electric gear.

Ogle Law is your Trusted Personal Injury Law Firm in Daytona Beach and Gainesville, Florida

Analysts predict an impressive surge in electric bicycle sales over the next several years. They are quickly gaining popularity and are the fastest-growing segment in the bicycle market. However, there remains a concern about the impact this trend will have on personal injury liabilities.

For injuries and damages due to an accident involving an electric bicycle, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced personal injury attorney. Ogle Law, LLC. is a compassionate advocate for those who are harmed through others’ negligence. Attorneys William H. Ogle and Parama K. Liberman successfully represent clients in state and federal courts, with a long history of achieving significant settlements and awards. We are fierce negotiators and litigators that will get you the compensation that you deserve.

Call for a free case review with Attorney William H. Ogle or Attorney Parama K. Liberman. We represent clients in Gainesville, Daytona Beach, Florida, and the surrounding areas of Newberry, High Springs, and Archer, Florida. Contact us to discuss your options and your rights at 386-462-1976.