California sees spike in e-bike crashes

Frank S. Clowney III

Electronic bicycles (e-bikes) are gaining in prominence in a major way in San Diego, its surrounding areas and throughout California. However, the vehicles remain risky, and the law regarding e-bikes is in its relative infancy. Legislators and law enforcement are still gauging how to regulate them. People sharing the road with e-bikes should know they are at risk and understand their rights if there is an accident.

Carlsbad seeks to address e-bike accidents with new rules

Due to the statistical increase in e-bike accidents in the area, Carlsbad is implementing new rules to try and improve safety. The number of accidents involving e-bikes rose from 39 to 63 from 2020 to 2021. For 2022, there had been 19 at a recent count making it likely that there could be a dubious record set for the area. The 186 e-bike and bicycle accidents from 2019 to 2021 resulted in 163 injuries. In addition, the collisions were found to be the fault of the rider in almost three-quarters of the e-bike accidents between the start of 2020 and the first half of 2021.

With the new regulations, riders can no longer ride on specific areas like sidewalks, drainage ditches and athletic courts. Speed is also being regulated as riders must slow down. Passengers cannot be on the rear of the rider controlling the e-bike if it is a bike rack. Nor can they sit on the handlebars. When pedestrians are within 50 feet on a five foot or less trail, the rider must get off the e-bike and walk.

Even with new rules, riders might behave recklessly

E-bikes are here to stay and people need to be aware of them when they are out and about. The new regulations in Carlsbad are designed to address known problems that accompany e-bikes. As various areas and their lawmakers try to make the roads safer, it is important to remember that e-bikes are causing accidents, personal injury and fatalities across the nation. Often, it is pedestrians who are hit, but anyone can be hurt in an accident. Its aftermath can be a financial, personal and emotional challenge for the long-term. To analyze the accident and determine what options are available, it is useful to have experienced help to decide on how to move forward.