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Electric bikes (or e-bikes) are an increasingly popular and environmentally friendly way to get around. Sales have boomed in recent years, with around 60,000 e-bikes sold in the UK each year. However, as e-bike ownership increases, there are growing concerns about electric bike safety.
Getting out on a traditional bike can be daunting for people who are older or have a lower level of fitness.
E-bikes offer a solution for those who still want to be able to enjoy the physical and mental benefits of cycling. The pedal assist mode on e-bikes helps with hills, inclines, and rough terrain, reducing stress on joints. You can also go on longer cycle rides without getting too tired.
As fuel prices increase and commuters become more aware of the importance of improving air quality while trying to avoid traffic congestion in towns, many people are looking for new transport solutions, like e-bikes and e-scooters.
However, like the users of traditional push-bikes (pedal bikes) or e-scooters, e-bike riders face the risk of accidents. Research in the USA has suggested that people who ride electric bikes face a higher risk of injury than other cyclists, possibly because of the higher speeds many e-bikes can reach.
While all cycling is a fairly safe way to get about, and is getting safer, it is important to be aware of the risks of e-bike accidents.
As electric bikes are still a relatively new mode of transport, many e-bike riders are inexperienced and may not be aware of the rules about their use on UK roads. Anyone aged over 14 years old can legally ride an e-bike as long as the power delivery doesn’t exceed 250 watts.
However, as it currently stands, no licence or insurance required to use an e-bike. There are also no regulations concerning protective clothing for riders as long as their bike does not exceed this level of power.
Celebrity music executive Simon Cowell is a keen promoter of electric bikes, and has praised their role in helping him to maintain his physical and mental health.
However, he made headlines after experiencing two separate electric bike accidents. Mr Cowell suffered a broken back in the first accident which happened at his home in Malibu, and a broken arm and minor head injury in the second accident which occurred when his electric bike slipped on a wet road surface in London.
He was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident and has claimed that he will ‘definitely’ wear one in future. Although there has been no suggestion that Mr Cowell was speeding at the time of either accident, there are also concerns that e-bikes such as the models he was riding (the Swind EB-01 and M1 Sporttechnik) are able to reach speeds that exceed the current legal maximum of 15mph, endangering both their riders and other road users or members of the public.
“Overall, the growth in popularity of e-bikes is a good thing. They’re a relatively affordable and sustainable way to travel and open up an easy transport option for many people who wouldn’t otherwise cycle.
“However, safety is always paramount. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents advises cyclists to be aware of the differences between e-bikes and pedal bikes. It suggests e-bike riders pay particular attention to other road users who may miscalculate their speed, take extra care on bends, and make sure they are seen.
“E-bikers need to be vigilant about safety. You should ensure you ride your e-bike at a responsible speed and remain aware of its increased power compared to an ordinary bike. We recommend all cyclists (and e-scooter users) wear a safety helmet, and if you’re not a proficient cyclist, or haven’t cycled for years, to consider taking a course or practicing before taking an e-bike onto the roads.”
If you are an e-bike rider, pedestrian, cyclist, or other road user and have been injured in an accident involving an electric bike that wasn’t your fault, contact Novum Law’s team of specialist personal injury solicitors. We provide expert legal advice with a free initial consultation, and can help you make an e-bike accident compensation claim on a No Win No Fee basis.
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