Insight Partners predicted a CAGR of 23.6% from 2019 – 2027. The NPD Group says e-bike sales grew much faster, at 240% between July 2019 and July 2021. Estimates of the global e-bike market range from $35.69 billion to $41 billion, with the prediction of $120 billion by 2030.
Cities and towns have embraced them for reducing congestion, providing alternatives to car ownership, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and helping people move the “last mile” from home to mass transit. They’re far less expensive than cars, helping low-income families get places.
States, cities, and utilities have offered vouchers or rebates for e-bike purchases. Denver ‘s program offers $400 rebates for e-bike purchases, plus an additional $500 for cargo bike models and more for low-income residents. The state of Colorado followed and allocated $12 million to e-bike promotion. Similar measures have followed in Hawaii, Massachusetts and California.
Rentals have boomed – and continued growth is expected. Bolt Technology launched an electric bike-sharing service in Paris in 2020, targeting daily commuters. In New York City, where the City Council only legalized e-bikes in the summer of 2020, following a state law change, many providers soon offered equipment, led by Revel, Citi Bike and Lime.
An e-bike is a bike with pedals and a motor added. It can run on electric power and by pedaling. E-bikes most frequently operate as “pedal-assist” or “muscle-assist,” meaning a rider must pedal to engage the motor, but some e-bikes may also have a throttle. Most e-bikes are made by bike manufacturers and sold by local bike dealers.
E-bikes generally can go faster than electric scooters. The motor assist on e-bikes can take them to as much as 28 miles per hour. The Delfast e-bike has a top speed of 50 miles per hour.
E-bikes start at about $1,100 new. The average price for a commuter e-bike is $2,000-$3,000. E-bikes generally have greater range than electric scooters
E-scooters are generally ridden standing (seats can be available as an accessory). Mostly, they require good balance, as no pedaling or pushing is required.
The conventional scooter did not have a motor. Electric scooters have been around for decades, but the market boom happened recently, as new companies entered the market specifically to make scooters.
Scooters are smaller and lighter than e-bikes, making them easier to carry and store, but scooters do not handle road surface imperfections well. Potholes or bumps are a challenge for small wheels. Inexperienced users may find balancing difficult on scooters.
On a single charge, a scooter can travel about 20 miles. Scooters start at $500, with good ones available for under $1,000.
Electric micro-bikes, a new twist in the category, are a mashup of scooters and e-bikes. They are not technically bicycles, as they have no functional pedals. Like bikes, they offer a seated ride. Like scooters, they are smaller and lighter, making them popular as short-range city commuter vehicles. Despite their small size, they can reach speeds of 20 miles per hour. The popular JackRabbit sells for under $1,000 – and the Jetson Bolt sells for under $400.
In 2022, electric vehicles have become even smarter and more connected. Many are now built with powerful onboard computers, synced to apps, allowing riders to find their vehicle and control its functions.
Safety & Regulation
Safety is a key concern for any road user. A 2020 study by the International Transport Forum suggests that e-scooters face about the same risk as bicycles.
In the US, federal law enacted by Congress in 2002 amended the Consumer Product Safety Commission definition of e-bikes. The federal law, which permits e-bikes to be “throttle-assist” or “pedal-assist,” limits speed to 28 miles per hour.
States have passed significant legislation since 2015. The majority agree with a three-tier system, limiting speed for a Class 3 e-bike to 28 miles per hour. Most of the three-tier states do not have license or registration requirements.
New York City only legalized battery-assisted biked in November 2020, prompted primarily by demand for delivery. Under New York State law, e-bikes are classified the same as regular bicycles. New York City has imposed its own 25 mph speed limit for e-bikes and 30 mph limit for scooters.
Scooters and e-bikes have boomed – and created a wave of injuries. The federal Consumer Product Safety Commission found a steady 70% rise in injuries on e-scooters, e-bikes, and hoverboards from 2017 to 2020. The commission reported 71 fatalities across the country over that period. E-scooters are blamed for 25,400 emergency room visits in 2021, triple the number from 2017.
Hospitals have noted a rise in head injuries. Even in the Netherlands, known for its bike safety, studies show that e-bikes have increased injuries. A 2022 CDC study found that e-bike riders are 1.6 times more likely than ordinary bike riders to end up in the emergency room. With e-bike sales booming, at 52% of all bikes sold in the country in 2021, injuries have increased significantly.
In the first half of 2022, 680 people were injured in scooter-related incidents in New York City, compared to 588 in 2021, a 16% increase. Crashes involving mopeds Crashes involving mopeds increased by 27% in the first half of 2022, compared to 2021.
In many cases, a rider has injured a pedestrian. Despite signs clearly indicating that scooters are not allowed, riders are frequently in city parks and pedestrian areas.
E-bikes have become a particularly contentious issue as delivery workers have organized for increased rights. In June 2021, following the death of a restaurant manager who was struck by an e-bike, Community Board 7, on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, voted to ban electric bikes from bike lanes. A 54-year old woman was killed by a deliveryman on an e-bike in May 2021.
Training is also an issue. In August 2022, a couple filed suit in Los Angeles against Rad Power Bikes, the largest e-bike maker in the US, and maker of the e-bike their 12-year-old daughter was riding when she died in a crash.
The issue is a particularly big problem in New York, where 65,000 delivery workers have broadly adopted e-bikes. Lithium-ion batteries are susceptible to overheating for a variety of causes, including design, assembly and human error. The City Council has sought to ban the sale of used batteries, but new batteries are expensive.
A Manhattan fire in October 2022 – caused by a resident’s e-bike, left to charge over night – sent 43 people to the hospital. According to the New York Fire Department, (FDNY), e-mobility devices caused over 100 fires in 2021 and 174 and as of Oct. 21, 2022. The 2022 fires caused 93 injuries and six deaths – more deaths than in the three prior years combined.
Building owners across New York City are restricting e-bikes. Some are banning them completely. The New York Public Housing Authority announced a plan to ban e-bikes, then backed off after city delivery workers protested. New York’s Metropolitan Transport Authority (MTA) has also considered a ban.
Do I Have an Electric Bike Accident Case?
If you believe that your electric bike accident occurred as a result of another party’s negligence, then you might be able to recover compensation for your injuries. The next step is to contact an attorney at Parker Waichman for a free consultation. We’ll help you determine who is liable, what your case may be worth, what evidence may be needed, and how to proceed with your case. To schedule your free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney, contact us by phone at 1-800-YOUR-LAWYER or fill out our online form today.
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