In the past few years, there have been a number of new e-bike and electric scooter pilot programs in development throughout the boroughs of New York City. Proponents say that these programs fill an important void between cycling and driving. They offer an easy, affordable way for more people to access different areas of the city, especially in underserved neighborhoods. Electric bicycles and scooters can also reduce congestion by removing the need for full-sized vehicles on crowded New York streets and reducing dependency on ride-share companies, plus they are faster and more efficient than using standard bicycles or scooters.
Critics, however, have pointed to a rise in accidents and injuries related to these methods of transportation.
Recent Developments in Electric Bike and Electric Scooter Use in New York City
During the COVID spikes in the last two years, New Yorkers have increasingly sought out other methods of transportation besides using ride-share applications or taking enclosed subways or buses. Electric bicycles and scooters have been a convenient method to close the gap. According to the National Association of City Transportation Officials, New York is not alone in seeing an increase in e-bike ridership. The use of e-bikes and similar electric devices has surged by 130% nationwide, even in pre-pandemic times.
In August of 2021, New York City’s pilot program deployed 1,000 electric scooter rentals throughout the city. The selected providers to launch this program were Lime, Bird, and VeoRide, offering the convenient ability to rent temporary electric scooters that could be deposited at shared locations throughout New York.
Rise in Accidents Tied to Electric Bicycles and Scooters
Unfortunately, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission has recently reported an increase in injuries tied to the use of e-scooters, hoverboards, and e-bikes. Over the last five years, there have been 190,000 documented emergency room visits due to e-mobility devices in the United States. This represents a 70% increase, an enormous jump from rates of emergency room visits due to e-mobility device use in years previous.
E-scooters are reported to be responsible for the largest increase in injuries. Emergency room visits tied to e-scooter use rose threefold compared to the use of e-bikes, unicycles, or hoverboards. In 2020, there were 25,400 attributable emergency room visits related to e-scooter use alone. There were also 71 reported fatalities attributed directly to the use of e-mobility devices.
New York E-bike and E-scooter Accidents: What You Need to Know
While e-mobility devices like electric bicycles and scooters have revolutionized the way many New Yorkers commute, there have been several issues throughout the boroughs already in the past year alone.
Whether you are using an e-bike, driving a car near e-bike riders, or even just walking down the street, these new devices have the ability to significantly impact your own safety, as well as influence the flow of traffic in an already congested city.
In 2021, the New York Times reported at least three pedestrian fatalities directly tied to e-mobility devices, including the loss of actress Lisa Banes in a hit-and-run event on the Upper West Side. Meanwhile, electric scooter use in New York is not without its own risks, as large potholes and reckless drivers are all cited as common challenges to embracing e-scooter and e-bike use.
New York City Electric Scooter & Bike Laws
In June of 2020, the New York City Council legalized the use of electric bicycles with top speeds of 25 mph. Electric scooters were also legalized, as long as they had a top speed of no higher than 20 mph. Meanwhile, the city-wide speed limit for e-scooters remains at 15 mph.
Riders of electric bicycles and scooters must stay off of sidewalks but are permitted to use bike lanes where available or ride in the streets following the flow of traffic with a speed limit of up to 30 mph. They must obey red lights and other traffic signals, and are required to yield to pedestrians.
What to Do if You Are Ever Injured in an E-bike or Scooter Accident in New York City
In the aftermath of an accident, it is important to see a doctor right away. In addition to helping you heal sooner, seeking medical treatment can also create a record of your injuries which can be helpful should you choose to pursue compensation. Make sure to take note of as many details as possible of the accident, as well as the names and contact information of anyone involved.
If you were injured in an accident involving an electric bicycle or scooter and someone else may have been at fault, you may be eligible to seek financial compensation. Whether you were the rider of an e-bike or e-scooter or you were a pedestrian, there may be steps you can take if you did not the cause of the accident. Speaking with a qualified injury attorney in New York can help identify any and all possible negligent parties, establish liability, and help you navigate each step of the legal process.
How Our New York City Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help You
The team at Shulman & Hill is up to date on the constantly evolving laws that can influence the outcome of your case. As an established and respected law firm in New York, Shulman & Hill has the resources necessary to conduct a full investigation of your accident, liaise with medical professionals, and fight for the compensation to which you may be entitled.
If you were injured in an accident that was not your fault involving an e-bike or e-scooter, contact Shulman & Hill today for a free, no-obligation legal consultation to understand your legal options. See how we can help today.