New Orleans may have decided against allowing electric scooters, but recent approval by the City Council means that we will be getting electric bicycles in the near future. Specifically, the City Council’s Transportation Committee signed off on a proposal that will replace the pedal powered blue city bikes with electric powered bicycles.
While requiring at least some pedaling by the rider, the bicycles are said to hit a top speed of nearly twenty miles per hour. Supporters argue that the electric bicycles will make riding more feasible for locals and tourists alike, especially during hotter summer months. They also cite the potential to decrease carbon emissions and traffic congestion as they will attract a broader ridership.
However, much like the previously proposed electric scooters, they come with added risk. Perhaps the most significant of those risks being speed. Twenty miles per hour on a bicycle is a speed most casual riders would never hit on their own. At that speed, pot holes, pedestrians, and cars must be addressed in matter of seconds. A wreck on a bicycle at that speed has the potential to be catastrophic. Motorist will also need to be cognizant of the new high speed bicycles.
Our firm has already begun to field questions about electric bicycle injuries from our clients. These accidents raise a number of difficult questions that require experienced lawyers to address. Can I hold the rental company liable? Will my own car insurance cover me for an accident? Do I need to call the police and report the accident?
Just as with any accident, the answers to all of those questions is, it depends. But generally, you should treat a electric bicycle accident just as you would any other accident. If you have an accident you should always report it to the appropriate authority, you should take pictures, and get the names of any witness. Most importantly, if you are injured seek medical attention. If you or someone you know has questions about an electric bicycle accident, do not hesitate to give us a call. Its free, and we can make sure that your rights are protected. And WEAR A HELMET!
Chris M. Short, Esq. is an attorney with Kiefer & Kiefer