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Electric Bike Accidents

Santa Monica Electric Bike Accident Lawyer

Injured in an Accident Involving an e-bike in California?

Electric bikes, also known as e-bikes, motorized bikes, and mopeds, are becoming increasingly common in Santa Monica and the Westside. As their popularity grows, so does the number of accidents involving electric bikes. The injuries caused in e-bike accidents can be very serious because e-bikes are faster and heavier than traditional bikes.

There is much confusion about the laws that apply to e-bike riders in California. Are e-bike riders required to comply with the laws that apply to motorists or bicycle riders? Whether you are an e-bike rider who was hit by a car, or you are a pedestrian or bicyclist who was hit by an e-bike rider, the attorneys at McGee, Lerer & Associates have a comprehensive understanding of this area of law and have the experience required to get you maximum compensation for your injuries.


Injured in Santa Monica or the surrounding communities? Call (310) 692-9582 to begin pursuing the fair compensation you deserve.


Electric Bike Accidents Injuries in CA 

E-bikes travel at near double the average speed of traditional bikes and can weigh twice as much as traditional bikes, which translates into a higher risk of severe injury than accidents involving a traditional bike. 

Common injuries associated with e-bike accidents include:

E-Bike Rider Hit By Car

Vehicle drivers can misgauge the speed of an electric bicycle rider and as a result collide with the cyclist.

Three common scenarios involving an e-bike rider v. motorist include:

  • Motorist turns left in front of an approaching e-bike rider.
  • Motorist turns right and hits an e-bike rider who is on the right side of the motorist.
  • Car driver pulls out from a driveway or parking lot without seeing the bicyclist

An injured e-bike rider has a claim against the motorist’s auto insurance policy for the cyclist’s bike damage, medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages. If the at-fault motorist was a hit and run driver, or had no auto insurance, or not enough auto insurance, then the e-bike rider may be able to pursue an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim under the cyclist’s own auto insurance policy, if the cyclist has this coverage.

E-Bike Dangers Posed to Pedestrians

Electric bikes and pedestrians do not mix well. An e-bike’s fast speed and lack of noise emission can result in an unaware pedestrian colliding with the electric bike. In heavy pedestrian areas, like the Santa Monica Beach Bike Path, Venice Beach Bike Path, and the Venice Boardwalk, mixing pedestrians and e-bikes is a recipe for disaster. A pedestrian crossing the beach bike path may see a bicycle in the distance, but misjudge its speed, assuming it’s a traditional bike, and then get hit by the e-bike. Or an e-bike rider may cross over the center lane of the bike path and collide with an oncoming bicyclist or pedestrian. The danger is the e-bike’s speed. Because the e-bicyclist is traveling at almost double the speed of a non-electric bicyclist, very serious injuries can result. Also, because e-bikes are heavier and travel faster, they need more time and distance to stop than a standard bicycle.

Who Pays for a Pedestrian’s or Bicyclist’s Injuries Resulting from an E-Bike Accident?

If an e-bike rider is at fault for injuring a pedestrian or another bicyclist, the e-bike rider’s homeowner’s or renter’s insurance may provide coverage to pay for the harm caused. If the at-fault e-bike rider has no insurance, or hit and ran, it is possible that the injury victim’s uninsured motorist coverage on their auto insurance policy (if they have “UM” coverage), will apply to the accident.

E-Bike Three Tier Classification System

California Vehicle Code Section 312.5(a) defines electric bicycles. E-bikes have a three-tier classification system, depending on their speed capabilities.

  • Class 1 E-Bikes – Pedal Assist: The bike has a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling. It stops providing assistance when the bike reaches the speed of 20 mph.
  • Class 2 E-Bikes – Throttle on Demand: The bike has a motor that can power the bike even if the rider is not pedaling. It stops providing assistance when the bike reaches the speed of 20 mph.
  • Class 3 E-Bikes – The bike has a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling. The motor stops providing assistance when the bike reaches the speed of 28 mph. It is equipped with a speedometer.

Electric Bike Laws in California

In California, e-bikes are essentially treated as bicycles under the California Vehicle Code. Electric bike riders are exempt from many of the laws that apply to cars and motorcycles.

  • Age-Requirements: There are no age restrictions on Class 1 and 2 e-bikes. Class 3 e-bike riders must be at least 16 years old (unless riding as a passenger).
  • Helmet Law: Class 1 and 2 e-bike riders are not required to wear helmets, unless under age 18. All Class 3 e-bike riders are required to wear helmets.
  • Licensing, Registration and Insurance Requirements: Under California Vehicle Code Section 406(b), electric bike riders are not required to comply with California's financial responsibility law. E-bike riders are not required to have liability insurance.
  • Restrictions on Where E-Bikes can be Ridden: Local governments can impose restrictions on where e-bikes can be ridden.

Santa Monica E-Bike Laws

Under Santa Monica Municipal Code Section 3.12.600, it is illegal to ride an electric bike:

  • On the Beach Promenade
  • On the Third Street Promenade
  • On the beach bike path (Marvin Braude Bike Trail) – applies to class 3 electric bicycles only. It is legal to ride a class 1 and class 2 e-bike on the beach bike path.
  • On the Santa Monica Pier
  • On Palisades Park
  • On Ocean Front Walk
  • In public parks
  • On public sidewalks
  • In public parking structures

How Can Our California E-Bike Accident Attorneys Help?

Contacting a California E-Bike Accident Attorney promptly after an incident can be crucial in safeguarding your legal rights and ensuring you're fully compensated for your injuries and losses. Given the complexities of California's e-bike laws and the potential for significant physical and financial harm, having knowledgeable legal representation can be invaluable. An attorney experienced with e-bike accidents can help you navigate the legal process, deal with insurance companies, and secure the best possible outcome for your case.

Top Three Reasons You May Need an E-Bike Accident Attorney

  1. Understanding of E-Bike Specific Laws: California's e-bike laws are complex and continually evolving. An experienced e-bike accident attorney has a deep understanding of these laws and how they apply to your case. This expertise is essential in establishing liability and in fighting for your rights under the law.
  2. Negotiating with Insurance Companies: Insurance companies are skilled at minimizing payouts. An e-bike accident attorney knows how to negotiate effectively with these companies to ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries, property damage, and any other losses. They can also help you understand the nuances of dealing with uninsured or underinsured motorist claims.
  3. Maximizing Your Compensation: Determining the full extent of your injuries and their impact on your life can be challenging. A skilled attorney can help quantify not only your current losses but also future medical expenses, pain and suffering, loss of earnings, and other potential impacts. By accurately assessing the value of your claim, an attorney ensures that you receive the maximum compensation possible.

Choose McGee, Lerer & Associates

Choosing McGee, Lerer & Associates to represent you in your electric bike accident case connects you with a highly skilled and dedicated team of legal professionals. With years of experience in the realm of e-bike accidents in California, we bring an unparalleled depth of knowledge and an aggressive approach to securing the compensation our clients deserve. We understand the unique challenges that e-bike accident victims face, from navigating complex legal and insurance landscapes to dealing with significant injuries and recovery processes. Our commitment is to provide compassionate, personalized legal assistance while fiercely advocating on your behalf. Trusting McGee, Lerer & Associates means choosing a partner who will fight for your rights every step of the way, leveraging every legal avenue to ensure the best possible outcome for your case.


Have you or a loved one been injured in an accident involving an e-bike? Contact the Santa Monica bike accident attorneys at McGee, Lerer & Associates for a free consultation today.


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