The new legislation regarding E-bikes does little to clarify whether people seriously injured by E-bikes will be able to receive adequate compensation because it classifies most if not all E-bikes as bicycles, not motor vehicles, and accordingly, mandatory motor vehicle liability insurance will not be applicable.
Can I recover damages if I am hit by an E-bike?
New York City - On January 3, 2020, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced legislation in the Fiscal Year 2021 Executive Budget to establish comprehensive safety measures for the use of lower speed motorized bicycles, or e-bikes, and scooters and to give local governments the right to set additional regulations. This legislation addresses the perceived concern that e-bike and scooter users, primarily delivery drivers, have been subject to unfair restrictions on these bicycles while ensuring strong statewide measures for the safety of riders, pedestrians and drivers.
Read my article on E-bike and E-Scooter Injuries in New York City here.
The legislation includes statewide provisions for traffic and operating requirements for e-bikes and scooters, including:
- Setting a maximum speed limit of 20 miles per hour on Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes and 25 miles per hour on Class 3 e-bikes,
- A maximum speed limit of 15 miles per hour on scooters,
- Prohibiting e-bike and scooter use on sidewalks,
- Requiring e-bike and scooter users to be 16 years of age or older
- Mandating all Class 3 e-bike riders to wear helmets
- Mandating all e-scooter riders under 18 to wear helmets
- Empowering localities to mandate helmet requirements for Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes
One group of people likely to benefit from this legislation is restaurant delivery drivers who utilize E-bikes. Meal delivery “apps” are an increasingly popular way to get food, especially during the current restrictions due to coronavirus. When you order from Grubhub, UberEATS, Doordash, Postmates, Caviar, Seamless or other meal delivery services, one of their drivers picks up and delivers your order. Typically, these drivers are not employees of either the restaurants or the meal delivery app company, and are considered to be “independent contractors”. These delivery drivers are seldom, if ever, able to afford liability insurance on their own, even if it were available. Some of the delivery app companies provide liability insurance for their drivers, but many do not. For example, UberEATS provides liability insurance for its drivers under certain circumstances, while Grubhub does not.
Many New Yorkers have expressed concern that these delivery drivers do not conscientiously observe traffic regulations, are frequently going down streets in the wrong direction and pose a significant hazard to pedestrians who can get blindsided by these E-bikes.
When a pedestrian is struck and seriously injured by a delivery person on an E-bike, it is not certain that there will be a financially responsible person or entity to provide compensation, and to some degree, it is a matter of luck as to what “app” the person is delivering for. The new legislation regarding E-bikes does little or nothing to clarify this situation because it classifies most if not all E-bikes as bicycles, not motor vehicles, and accordingly, motor vehicle insurance will not be applicable.
If you are a pedestrian who is struck and seriously injured by a delivery person on an E-bike, it is a good idea to consult with an NYC pedestrian accident attorney who can advise you of your legal rights and determine whether and to what extent you can recover monetary compensation for your injuries.
Our law firm has put a comprehensive resource on our website. Learn more about E-bike and E-Scooter Injuries.
Jonathan C. Reiter Law Firm, PLLC
New York City Personal Injury Lawyer
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