What Does Florida Law Say About E-Bikes?
Until recently, Florida law classified e-bikes similarly to e-scooters and mopeds. However, this changed in 2020. With e-bikes becoming increasingly popular, the Florida legislature decided to address e-bikes separately in the Florida Statutes. Today, an e-bike is defined as a bicycle or tricycle that has:
- An electric motor of less than 750 watts
- Fully operable pedals
- A seat or saddle
The Florida statutes also establish three separate “classes” of electric bikes. These classes are important for insurance purposes (though, as discussed below, e-bike insurance is not required in Florida). The three classes of e-bikes are:
- Class 1 E-Bikes – An electric bike is considered “Class 1” if it is an electric assist bicycle that only has electric power when the rider is pedaling. This electric assistance must stop when the bike reaches 20 mph.
- Class 2 E-Bikes – An electric bike is considered “Class 2” if it can be operated on electric power only up to a top speed of 20 mph.
- Class 3 E-Bikes – An electric bike is considered “Class 3” if it is an electric assist bike that maintains electric assistance up to 28 mph.
If an electric bike is capable of going more than 20 mph under its own power or more than 28 mph with pedal assistance, then it is not classified as an “e-bike” under Florida law. Instead, it will be treated as a moped or motorcycle.
Does Insurance Cover Electric Bike Accidents?
Let’s say you got injured in an accident while riding a Class 1, 2, or 3 electric bicycle. Can you file an insurance claim?
While the simple answer is “Yes,” understanding what type of insurance claim you can file is a bit more complicated. Let’s look at the options:
- Your Health Insurance – If you have health insurance, you can use your coverage to get treatment for your injuries. Keep in mind that you may need to pay a copay or deductible, and you may need to see an in-network provider if this is required under your policy.
- The At-Fault Driver’s Auto Insurance – If you got hit by a negligent driver who has liability coverage under his or her auto insurance policy, you can file a claim with the driver’s insurer. Filing this type of claim with the help of a Tampa electric bike accident lawyer allows you to seek full compensation for your financial and non-financial losses.
- Your Auto Insurance – If you have an auto insurance policy, you can file a “no fault” Personal Injury Protection (PIP) claim regardless of why your e-bike accident happened. Additionally, if you have uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage under your policy, you can use this coverage after an e-bike accident that was someone else’s fault. UIM insurance applies in three scenarios: (i) hit-and-run accidents, (ii) accidents involving uninsured drivers, and (iii) accidents involving drivers who only have minimal insurance coverage.
- Another At-Fault Party’s Insurance – If another party, such as a property owner, a driver’s employer, or a government agency is liable for your e-bike accident, you can file a claim with that party’s insurance company. These claims present unique challenges, and it is especially important to have an experienced e-bike accident lawyer on your side.
- The E-Bike Manufacturer’s Insurance – If you crashed because you were riding a defective battery-powered bicycle, then the e-bike’s manufacturer may be liable for your accident-related losses. Manufacturers typically have substantial insurance policies that protect them from direct financial liability in these scenarios.
Do You Need a License or Insurance to Ride an Electric Bike?
In Florida, you are not required to have a license to ride an electric bike. You also are not required to have insurance. As long as an e-cycle falls into Class 1, 2, or 3 under the Florida Statutes, it is treated just like a normal bicycle for licensing and insurance purposes.
Common Causes of E-Bike Accidents
E-bikes are also just like normal bicycles in that riding them presents several risks. Even if you do everything you can to keep yourself safe, you can still find yourself suffering from serious accident-related injuries due to factors beyond your control. In these scenarios, it is extremely important to work with an experienced e-bike accident lawyer who can prove the cause of the accident and fight to recover the financial compensation you deserve.
When can you seek financial compensation for an e-bike accident? The following are all common causes of e-bike accidents that can justify claims for damages:
- Speeding, tailgating, and other forms of aggressive driving
- Distracted driving, running red lights and stop signs, turning without looking, and other types of driver negligence
- Potholes, inadequate road markings, and other road hazard issues
- E-bike defects (including motor and battery failures)
- Inadequate maintenance of rental e-bikes
In many cases, drivers who hit e-bike riders will claim that they never saw the rider before the collision. Regardless of whether this is true, it is not an excuse for causing an accident. Drivers must pay attention to their surroundings, and they must consider the possibility that there will be bike riders and cyclists on the road. If they don’t—and if they cause an accident as a result—they can be held liable under Florida law.
Common Injuries from E-Bike Accidents
Riders of all ages and abilities can suffer serious injuries in e-bike accidents. Injured riders will often need immediate medical attention, and they will often face long and difficult roads to recovery. Some of the most common injuries from e-bike accidents include:
- Concussions and other more-serious types of traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Fractures and dislocations
- Internal injuries (including nerve, soft tissue, and organ damage)
- Road rash
- Spinal cord injuries (SCI)
All of these are injuries for which electric bike accident lawyers in Florida can help riders seek just compensation. These injuries can lead to substantial costs, and obtaining just compensation can be crucial for injured riders’ recoveries.
What to Do After an E-Bike Accident in Florida
When you get injured in an e-bike accident, there are some important steps you need to take—if you can. Of course, if you are lying on the side of the road in need of emergency medical care, you aren’t expected to do anything until you get the care you need. With this in mind, if possible, after an e-bike accident you should:
- Call 911 from the scene of the accident
- Take photos and videos at the accident site (including photos of your e-bike)
- Collect the driver’s vehicle and insurance information
- Collect names and phone numbers of any witnesses
- Make sure you get a copy of the police report before you leave the scene
Regardless of whether you are able to walk or ride your bike, you should see a doctor promptly. E-bike accidents often result in internal injuries that require prompt treatment even though they may not have immediate outward symptoms. When you see a doctor, explain that you were injured in an accident while riding an e-bike or pedal-assist bike, and make sure you know what you need to do in order to recover as fully and quickly as possible.
Do I Need to Hire an Electric Bike Accident Lawyer in Florida?
In addition to seeing a doctor, you should also talk to a lawyer. If you have a claim for financial compensation, you will need an experienced electric bike accident lawyer to prove liability and determine how much you are entitled to recover. As we mentioned above, e-bike accidents can leave riders facing substantial losses, and riders will be entitled to compensation for all of these losses in many cases.
The losses an e-bike accident lawyer at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk may be able to help you recover include:
- Medical bills (including bills for diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation, and therapy)
- Other out-of-pocket expenses (including prescriptions, medical supplies, and other necessary items)
- Loss of income, benefits, and future earning capacity
- Emotional trauma
- Pain and suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of consortium and companionship
- Loss of services, society, and support
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Discuss Your Case with a Tampa Electric Bike Accident Attorney
How much are you entitled to recover for your e-bike accident in Florida? Contact us to find out. To discuss your case with a Tampa electric bike accident attorney in confidence, call 866-921-3219 or request a free consultation online now.