The popularity of electric bicycles, often referred to as E-Bikes, has grown rapidly over the past few years as ongoing developments in battery and drivetrain technology has resulted in smaller, lighter and cheaper bikes. The ongoing Covid-19 crisis has also resulted in a further increase in E-Bike usage, particularly amongst commuters who are seeking alternative and socially-distanced transport options.
What is an E-Bike?
E-bikes look pretty much the same as a conventional mountain bike or road bike. Officially categorised Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles (‘EAPC’), they contain a small electric motor and battery which provides a variable level of pedalling assistance for the rider. Under UK law (apart from Northern Ireland), an EAPC E-bikes must have a maximum power output not exceeding 250 watts, and must not be able to exceed 15.5mph on electric power alone. EAPC’s can be ridden by anyone aged 14 and over, do not require to be taxed or registered and a licence to ride is also not required.
E-Bike Insurance and Claims
Despite their performance advantages when compared to conventional bicycles, EAPC E-bikes do not need to be insured against third-party risks such as injuries or damage caused to another person or their property. At present, there is no officially verified data regarding the risks involved in riding an E-Bike, either to other road users and pedestrians or to the riders themselves. The current Depart for Transport (DfT) records covering cycling claims overall show that on average:
- Each year, 98% of pedestrians injured had their injuries caused by a motor vehicle such as a car, van, bus, etc. Only 2% of pedestrian injuries are caused by collisions involving bicycles (including E-Bikes)
- When it comes to pedestrian deaths, 99.3% (over 5,300 people) are the result of a collision with a motor vehicle, which is over 150 times the total caused by bicycle collisions and represents on average less than 3 deaths per year
- Bicycle collisions represent less than 2.5% (around 123 people) of all serious injuries to pedestrians per year
- In urban environments, where motor vehicles, bikes and E-bikes and pedestrians are most closely mixed, that main threat by far of injury or death is from buses, coaches and HGV vehicles
Only time will tell if the E-bike boom results in changes to these statistics. One concern is that whilst E-bike manufacturers must adhere to the law to sell their products, it is possible to adapt many models to give them far greater top-speeds and all-round performance without any of these changes being visible. Even if insurance is not yet a legal requirement, should you be injured by the negligent actions of an E-bike rider, you are still entitled to make a compensation claim against the rider. For peace of mind all round, taking out third party liability insurance cover is highly recommended, with suitable policies being available from organisations such as the British Cycling Federation and the Cycling Tourist Club.
Cycling Injury Claims Advice from Bakers Solicitors
At Bakers we pride ourselves on our experience in representing claimants who have been injured by an accident whilst cycling through no fault of their own, helping them to receive compensation that they are properly entitled to. Our professional, friendly team will give you an honest, free and ‘plain English’ appraisal of your claim and we love delighting our clients when they receive injury compensation they deserve.