E-Bike and E-Scooters Accidents
E-bikes and E-scooters have become increasingly popular vehicles for both recreational driving and commuting. In fact, electric bikes even appear to be outselling electric cars.
Why is there such interest in these battery-powered two-wheelers?
- First, lithium-ion batteries have become smaller, more efficient and less expensive to produce.
- Second, urban cycling in general has enjoyed a renaissance in the last few decades.
- Finally, bike-share programs have permitted many curious users to try out these vehicles without worrying about investing a significant amount of money in something they may not enjoy or use often.
With so many of these vehicles now on the roads, there are bound to be more electric bike and electric scooter accidents and injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured in one of these accidents, you may be able to receive compensation and damages for your losses.
Gluckstein Personal Injury Lawyers’ e-bike and e-scooter motor vehicle accident lawyers can help inform you of your rights and options following an accident and work with you to access the funds you deserve.
What are e-bikes and e-scooters?
E-bikes: more than a bicycle but less than a motorcycle.
In Ontario, a vehicle must adhere and conform to certain specifications to be considered an e-bike. These requirements include:
- The bike and battery must not weigh more than 120 kg combined.
- Two separate/independent braking systems capable of bringing the vehicle to a full stop within nine metres of engaging the brakes. The braking system must apply force to each wheel, similar to requirements for mopeds and motorcycles.
- The minimum wheel width and wheel diameter must be 35mm and 350mm, respectively.
- Modifications allowing the vehicle to exceed speeds of 32 km/h and power output of 500W are not permitted. No modifications to the motor to allow it to exceed a power output greater than 500W and a speed greater than 32 km/h.
- The vehicle must have pedals.
- There are also additional safety requirements that must be met. These include:
- E-bike operators and passengers must be at least 16 years old.
- E-bike operators and passengers must wear approved bicycle or motorcycle helmets.
- Electrical terminals on the e-bike must be completely covered.
- The e-bike’s battery and motor must be securely fastened to the vehicle to prevent movement while the bike is being driven.
If these requirements are not met, the vehicle may be classified differently.
Ontario does not require a driver’s licence to operate an e-bike; however, if your driver’s licence has been suspended due to a conviction under the Criminal Code of Canada you are not permitted to drive one. A licence suspension for other reasons may also prevent a driver from using an e-bike, and people with a suspended licence should consult a lawyer to determine if restrictions apply.
Electric kick-scooters are permitted in Ontario under a pilot project that began in 2020 and concludes in 2025. Municipalities are able to restrict their use, however. To qualify for the the e-scooter designation, the scooter must:
- Reach a maximum speed of 24 km/h.
- Have a maximum weight of 45kg.
- Have a maximum power output 500W.
- Have two wheels and brakes, a horn or bell, one white light on the front, one red light on the rear, and reflective material on the sides.
- Not have pedals or seats.
- Have a maximum wheel diameter of 17 inches.
Additionally. E-scooters must:
- Be operated by people aged 16 years or older.
- Not carry passengers or cargo.
- Not have baskets.
- Have riders stand at all times.
- Have riders under the age of 18 wear a helmet.
- Follow all the rules of the Highway Traffic Act.
- Not be driven on controlled access highways.
E-bike and e-scooter accidents and injuries.
Research into the injury patterns of e-bike and e-scooter accidents is still fairly new, and the conclusions of some studies are sometimes at odds with others. Some research suggests that e-bike injury patterns tend to be similar to bicycle injuries, while other studies have found e-bike injuries more closely resemble patterns in motorcycle injuries.
Interestingly, incidence of mild to moderate traumatic brain injuries were higher on e-bikes even though e-bike riders are more likely to wear helmets. The rate of pelvic injuries from e-bike accidents has been found to be significantly higher than from bicycle injuries. Upper extremity injuries are more common in bicycle accidents.
One of the largest studies to date, which looked at accident victims' injuries for e-bikes, traditional bicycles, and e-scooters, found that:
- E-bike riders are more prone to internal injuries.
- E-bike users are more likely to be hospitalized.
- E-bike riders were more than three times as likely to be involved in a collision with a pedestrian.
- E-scooter riders were almost three times more likely to suffer concussions.
- E-scooter users were more likely to suffer fractures.
Beyond falls and collisions with other vehicles, pedestrians or stationary objects, e-bike riders may also have to contend with burns from defective batteries. Lithium batteries can be highly combustible. Although batteries designed specifically for e-bikes are generally safe and are becoming safer, e-bike users should follow manufacturer instructions on charging and handling these batteries, and exercise extreme caution if building their own or using an after-market battery.
When you’re hurt in an e-bike or e-scooter motor vehicle accident.
An accident involving an e-bike or e-scooter can occur in a matter of seconds, but the effects of the accident can last a lifetime if you are seriously injured or disabled as a result. If you or a loved one have been injured, there are several steps you should consider taking as you contemplate your recovery if you are able:
- At the scene of the accident, ensure you and others are in a safe place to avoid additional injuries (particularly if on a road).
- If anyone has been hurt, emergency responders should be contacted to examine the extent of injuries, treat them as needed, and direct you to a hospital or follow-up care with your own medical provider.
- If you or another person is able, take photos or video of the scene of the accident and/or your injuries.
- Record the contact information of anyone else involved in the accident or witnesses.
- Jot down notes of anything that might be relevant to an investigation (for example, weather conditions, time of day).
- Limit what you say to anyone involved in the accident and never admit fault.
- Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer for a consultation prior to contacting any insurer.
Accident benefits and compensation.
Depending on who else was involved in your accident and what kind of insurance coverage you have, you may be eligible for accident benefits under the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule, also known as ("SABS"), or a privately-purchased or employer-funded insurance policy.
Since e-bikes and e-scooters are not considered motor vehicles according to Ontario law, users do not need to carry standard motor vehicle insurance. This means you would not be able to apply for SABS if the accident involved only your e-bike or e-scooter, another bicycle, or a pedestrian, but not a motor vehicle. If, however, a motor vehicle such as a car or truck was involved in the accident, you may be able to submit a SABS claim to the insurer of that motor vehicle.
If you have an insurance policy for your home and/or personal liability, your policy may cover some of the costs related to an e-bike or e-scooter accident. If you are a regular e-bike or e-scooter user, it is advisable to contact your insurer when you first start using these vehicles to understand whether you are covered or whether you can purchase extended coverage. Similarly, private or employer-paid health insurance policies may provide benefits if you are injured in one of these accidents.
If the e-bike or e-scooter accident was not your fault (or only partially your fault), you may be able to launch a tort claim for compensation and damages against another negligent person. Tort claims seek damages for pecuniary (calculable) losses such as lost income, medical expenses, and housekeeping and home maintenance expenses, and also for non-pecuniary damages that recognize the pain and suffering the accident has caused you.
When you want to determine what benefits and compensation you are eligible to receive, it is strongly advised that you speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer prior to contacting any insurer. Insurance companies have been known to deny or delay paying benefits to qualified applicants, or to offer settlements that are less than what applicants deserve. A knowledgeable e-bike and e-scooter motor vehicle accident lawyer can help ensure your rights are protected.
The Gluckstein advantage.
When you or a loved one has sustained a serious injury in an e-bike or e-scooter accident, you may feel overwhelmed by all that needs to be done. Your focus should be on your health and well-being, rehabilitation, recovery, and how you will manage your responsibilities and obligations during this uncertain time. Seeking accident benefits or other compensation to help you and your loved ones is an important part of this process - and something you need not do on your own.
Gluckstein Personal Injury Lawyer’s e-bike and e-scooter motor vehicle accidents lawyers in Toronto, Ottawa, Niagara, and Barrie have the skills and experience to help you access the funds you deserve. When you contact us for a no obligation, free consultation, we will listen to you attentively and with empathy, clearly explain your rights and options in understandable language, and offer to be your legal representative if we believe we can be of service to you.
As one of the country’s top-ranked personal injury firms, we have a reputation for fiercely advocating for our clients’ needs and have a proven track record of getting results. Moreover, with our commitment to full-circle client care, you will quickly see that we see you as much more than a case or a number. We are interested in supporting you and your loved ones on your journey towards achieving closure, healing and living your best life possible.
Contact a member of our team today to learn how we can work together to help you recover from a tragic personal injury and look forward to the future with great hope.
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