No matter how you get around, you have probably noticed the new craze of “e-bikes” or electric bicycles. These bikes look just like regular pedal bicycles, but have discreet motors that assist the operator and make the bike go much faster than a traditional bike. The operator still pedals the bike, which is another factor that can make it difficult for a driver or pedestrian to tell if the bicycle is an e-bike or a traditional bicycle.
The State of New Jersey defines an electric bicycle as a pedal bike with a helper motor that is less than 750W and can attain a speed of no more than 25mph on flat ground. Currently, New Jersey does not require licensing or registration of e-bikes, but you need to be at least 15 years old to operate one.
The convenience and ease of e-bikes created a surge in popularity, but with the rise in popularity comes a rise in safety concerns.
Whether you are a pedestrian or a motorist, e-bikes pose another safety issue to watch out for to avoid an accident. In New Jersey, e-bikes are allowed both on the street and on sidewalks but should always yield to pedestrians. As you drive or walk, awareness of the things around you and how fast they are going can impact your decisions. If you see a bike and assume it is a pedal bike, you could easily judge the speed incorrectly, leading to an accident.
In New Jersey, if you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, your medical bills related to the accident will generally be paid for by your automobile insurance carrier under your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits. This covers accidents involving individuals operating motor vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists. In 2019, Governor Murphy modified New Jersey law to include a definition for “low-speed electric bicycles” and therefor include drivers of e-bikes within the category of those able to receive PIP benefits.
If you have been in an accident involving an e-bike, traditional bicycle, or motor vehicle, contact our accident attorneys today for a free consultation.