E-bikes are becoming more and more popular in our country. In fact, in the last 3 years the sales of these motor assisted bikes has tripled and there were approximately 65 million in e-bike sales in 2017. These bikes are popular since they open the activity to groups of individuals that would otherwise not feel comfortable or capable of riding a human power bike given physical condition. For those that are perfectly capable, these e-bikes allow the rider to increase the distance that they otherwise would not be able to drive on their bikes.
Studies have suggested that e-bikes require 64% less energy than walking and 22% less energy than regular cycling. Even though regular cyclist may not be attracted to an e-bike, it certainly increases the group of potential riders when those who ordinarily would not consider a regular bike would be more likely to cycle on a bike with an electric engine.
DEFINITION OF AN E-BIKE
In Florida, an e-bike is defined as a “bicycle” so long as it is capable of being propelled by human power and has a maximum speed of 20mph. The same rules of the road apply to both e-bikes and human-powered bicycles.
REQUIREMENTS TO OWN AND RIDE AN E-BIKE
E-bikes are not subject to the registration, licensing or insurance requirement that apply to motor vehicles. Certain communities in Florida have outlawed e-bikes and so it is important that you check with your local governing agencies before purchasing one of these bikes since each city or county may have special laws applying to these vehicles.
Gas powered bikes are illegal in Florida.
Helmets are not required by law and the minimum age for use of e-bikes is 16. E-bikes are allowed on sidewalks and bike paths but many counties require that when being used on sidewalks that bikes must be ONLY under human power and not motorized.
E-MOUNTAIN BIKES (eMTB)
The rules associated with trails varies significantly depending upon whether the trail is managed by federal, state, or local government agencies. You should consult each such trail prior to operating a e-bike on such trail.
E-MTBs May Not be Allowed on Trails Managed for Non-motorized Activities.
Most importantly, from a safety standpoint helmets, although not required by law, should always be worn on all types of bikes. This is even more important when the bike is operated at higher speeds since the greater the bike’s speed the greater the force of any impact that a collision would cause.
CONSEQUENCES OF FLORIDA LAW VIOLATIONS AS IT PERTAINS TO E-BIKES.
1. If you are caught operating an e-bike under motorized power on a sidewalk, the operator will be issued a moving traffic citation for operating a motorized vehicle on a sidewalk. Florida Statute 316.1995.
2. Parents who knowingly allow a juvenile who has no driver’s license to operate a motor vehicle on public streets may be cited for a violation of Florida Statute 322.35, “Permitting an Unauthorized Minor to Drive.” This is an arrest-able misdemeanor.
Injuries can occur on e-bikes just like they can occur on any motorized vehicle. Many of these e-bikes look like and have the safety reflectors and lighting as any other bike. This makes them less visible than most cars and motorcycles, especially at night.
Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. OUR AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.
If you or a loved one injured on an e-bike and you have questions about the legal rights relating to such injuries, please feel free to contact Zarzaur Law at 855-HIREJOE or zarzaurlaw.com. There is no fee or cost unless we win and all consultations prior to recovery are free.