Where Do E-Bike Fall in Bicycling Law?

Just when you think bicycling law is making great strides, there comes another complication that confuses things not only in the eyes of the law but that of the public. This latest complication is the advent of e-bikes. In almost every way, an e-bike is the same as a regular bicycle. It simply has an electric motor that allows the bicycle to reach occasionally faster speeds, but never above 30 miles per hour.

Unfortunately, the addition of a motor complicates things. Is it a bicycle? Is it a moped? Does it use the bike lane or does it travel on regular roadways? In many cities, no one really knows and it creates dangerous situations for cyclists and complicated matters for law enforcement.

However, the classification of e-bikes varies not just on a state level, but on a city level. Some cities see them as mopeds and demand they are ridden as such while others classify them as bicycles. In many more cities, there are simply no rules at all for them. While e-bikes can be a great jumping in point for new cyclists, it becomes a not-so-great situation when the riders don’t know in what place they fit. If they travel on roads and get into an accident, what then? The driver may argue they shouldn’t have been there. The same can be said for if they use a bike lane.

The key is to know where your city stands before riding. Some cities make it simple while others without laws for them leave it up to the rider’s choice. If you have been in an accident on an e-bike and find the law being difficult, you should talk over your options with a lawyer. For those in the Los Angeles area, contact us today.

Who is Liable for Accidents on Poorly Maintained Bike Paths?

While many cities are making leaps and bounds in terms of becoming more cyclist-friendly, there are those who don’t put quite so much priority on it. Even then, cities that make efforts to add bicycle lanes often make the mistake of letting bike paths go unmaintained. The question is if people are getting into accidents on poorly maintained bike paths, who can be held liable?

Many cities across the U.S. have a sort of sweeping immunity when it comes biking, hiking, and other leisure paths. Since it is difficult to tame nature, these paths are often uncared for. This is understandable for simple dirt paths through the forest. But, what about for the paved bike paths that wind through the cities?

The Precedent

Recently, there was a case in Illinois where a rider was injured in an accident on a bike path. This was not some dirt pathway through the forest, but a paved path that went through an industrial area. After arguing the case all the way to the Supreme Court, it was decided that the blanket immunity the city claimed was only valid for primitive paths, and thus the municipality was to be held liable. This case can pave the way for others injured on bike paths in cities that do not take responsibility for maintaining them.

If you have been hurt on a poorly maintained bike path or bicycle lane, the city should bear that responsibility. If you wish to fight for your rights as a cyclist, contact us today.

Parent’s Liability for Children’s Bicycle Accidents

Kids will be kids, as they say. No matter how old you are, accidents can and will happen, but if your child has gotten into an accident on their bicycle, damaging another’s property, can the parent’s be held liable for damages in California?

The answer is yes and no, depending on the circumstances. If your child is riding their bike and willfully swerves out in front of another cyclist causing an accident and injury, then in this case, yes, the parents can be held liable for damages. California law states that if a child willfully causes harm to another person or property, their parents will be on the line to pay for it or be subject to legal action.

However, this only covers intentional acts on the part of your child. If your child is riding their bike, loses control for one reason or another, and crashes into a parked car, then the parent is not held liable for the damages that were caused by carelessness or negligence. While parents may choose to cover the damages as an act of good faith for the accident, they will not be liable in any lawsuits.

Typically if the parents are being held liable, there is a limit to their liability. At maximum, they will only be responsible for up to $25,000 per intentional act that the child caused. When injuries are involved, parents cannot be held on the line for damages like pain and suffering, but rather are restricted to only paying for medical expenses.

If you or your child has been in a bicycle accident in the greater Los Angeles area and you are being held responsible, contact us today. While you may be liable, that doesn’t mean you should be stuck paying the maximum expenses because you did not have a lawyer on your side.

What to do if You are in a Bicycle Accident

Riding a bicycle is a great form of exercise and mode of transportation. While riding a bicycle is generally considered to be a very safe activity, there are situations in which you may be involved in an accident. If you are involved in a bike accident, there are several things you should do to make sure you are not seriously injured and are properly represented.

Make Report and Gather Evidence

When you are involved in an accident, one thing that you will need to do is make a report and gather evidence. If the person driving the car does not flee the scene, it should be easy to work with them to obtain their vehicle and insurance information. If they do you happen to leave without checking on your status, you should do your best to take a picture of the vehicle and contact the police immediately to fill out a police report.

Receive Medical Attention

If you are involved in a bicycle accident, the most important thing that you need to do is make sure that you are OK. If you are seriously hurt, you should go to the hospital and receive medical attention immediately. Even if you do not have any obvious signs of injury, it would still be a good idea to go in for an examination as there could be internal damage that is not yet evident.

Legal Representation

If you are involved in an accident while you were riding a bike, you should also contact us for legal representation. Our firm will be able to provide you with consultation on your case and work with all other parties involved in the accident to ensure you are properly represented. This can include receiving a settlement for damage your property, coverage for your medical bills, and even reimbursement for any pain and suffering.