Electric bicycles and scooters have gained in popularity as enjoyable and efficient modes of transportation in recent years. These electric-powered vehicles offer convenience, sustainability, and a thrilling riding experience. However, amidst their growing popularity, it is crucial to recognize that e-bikes and e-scooters also come with potential threats and dangers.
As riders embrace the freedom and convenience they provide, it is important to be aware of the safety risks associated with these vehicles and take necessary precautions to ensure the well-being of both riders and pedestrians. If you are ever injured due to one of these vehicles, it is important to seek out an experienced Vancouver, WA product liability or personal injury attorney immediately. You should not have to suffer financially while you are already suffering physically and mentally.
How dangerous are e-bikes and e-scooters?
According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commision, over the span of four years, from 2017 to 2021, the number of injuries related to what they call “micromobility devices” saw a significant surge, with a staggering 127 percent increase, reaching a total of 77,200 incidents. The rise in injuries was accompanied by a rise in fatalities as well, jumping from five to 48 during this period. Among the micromobility devices, e-scooters experienced the highest percentage increase in injuries and were also associated with 68 reported deaths.
Interestingly, while consumer-owned e-scooters accounted for the majority of emergency room visits, rental e-scooters were not far behind, contributing to 44 percent of the incidents. These statistics shed light on the concerning trends and potential risks associated with micromobility devices, particularly e-scooters, emphasizing the importance of safety measures and responsible usage.
Why are e-bikes and e-scooters so dangerous?
There are three major reasons as to why these micromobility vehicles are dangerous. While these vehicles present some of the same dangers that their traditional forms have, they also have completely different risks involved with them as well.
The three main dangers for e-bikes and e-scooters include:
- Fire hazard. According to the National Fire Protection Association, e-bikes and e-scooters commonly rely on lithium-ion batteries for their power, which are also found in various electronic devices such as electric vehicles, cell phones, laptops, and power tools. However, it’s important to note that when these batteries become damaged, they pose potential risks such as overheating, ignition, and even explosions. In the event of a fire, lithium-ion batteries tend to burn intensely and can present challenges for firefighters attempting to extinguish them. It is worth noting that incidents of battery fires in e-bikes and e-scooters have been linked to faulty charging equipment, improper charging practices, and overloaded electrical circuits. These factors highlight the importance of understanding battery safety guidelines and adopting responsible charging habits to mitigate the risks associated with these devices.
NBC News this year released a report that depicted a horrifying instance that was caught on camera. An e-scooter, which had been parked inside a small shop, burst into flames suddenly, nearly engulfing a small girl who had been standing next to it. Thankfully, the child managed to escape unharmed, but in another instance that was also caught on camera, a bike shop burned to the ground due to an e-bike’s lithium battery exploding. Again, nobody was harmed, as the bike shop was apparently closed that day.
- Rider error. Professional e-bicyclists and cyclists, such as Dustin (who has over twenty years in the business), who tells NBC News that one of the greatest dangers of e-bikes is overconfidence from the rider. As the rider becomes more comfortable with the micromobility device, they take more risks, and end up in more accidents. This seems to be common among older riders, aged 55-70. Just as with a motorcycle, Dustin states, “you have to be the number one most defensive person on the road.” Control is taken for granted, and that’s when accidents happen.
- Accidents with other vehicles. Just as with traditional bikes and scooters, it is important to remember that you have little protection compared to those in the larger vehicles around you. Driver negligence is possibly the leading cause of bicycle accidents, and this applies to micromobility riders as well. It is alarming to witness the lack of regard that drivers often have for the rights of cyclists. When coupled with the growing presence of larger vehicles on the roads, it becomes clearer why there is a significant increase in injuries and fatalities among bike riders. The combination of drivers’ inattentiveness and the size disparity between vehicles and bicycles creates a hazardous environment for cyclists. This highlights the pressing need for greater awareness and respect for cyclists’ safety on the roads.
Tragically, numerous e-bike accidents result in fatalities, as these bikes and scooters are significantly outweighed and outpowered by cars and trucks. In the devastating event that your loved one has lost their life while riding an e-bike or e-scooter, our team of wrongful death lawyers is dedicated to representing spouses, children, and parents in filing claims. We vigorously pursue compensation for the economic damages stemming from the wrongful death, as well as the immeasurable losses such as the absence of companionship, support, love, and guidance that the deceased family member would have provided.
At Philbrook Law Office, our personal injury lawyers in Vancouver and Battle Ground, WA are committed to advocating for the rights of riders and their families. We understand the unique challenges and dangers associated with e-bike and e-scooter accidents. Through comprehensive investigations into the cause of the accidents, we pursue claims against all liable parties and collaborate with your medical professionals to accurately document your injuries, including the physical and emotional pain you have endured. To schedule a free consultation at our offices in Vancouver or Battle Ground, WA, please call us, or feel free to use our contact form. We handle these cases on a contingency fee basis and proudly serve clients in Portland and throughout Oregon as well.
Founding Attorney Matthew Philbrook attended Clark College, Washington State University, and Gonzaga University School of Law. He is a member of the Washington State and Oregon State Bar Associations and started Philbrook Law Office in 2005. He specializes in Personal Injury, DUI and Criminal Defense cases. Learn more about Mr. Philbrook.