The Rise of Electric Bikes in Illinois: New Risks and Accident Causes

The popularity of electric bikes (e-bikes) has skyrocketed in recent years, and Illinois is no exception. As more people embrace this eco-friendly and convenient mode of transportation, the number of e-bikes on the roads and trails has witnessed a significant surge.

According to industry reports, the sales of e-bikes in the United States have been growing at a rapid pace, with an increasing number of consumers opting for this environmentally friendly alternative to traditional bicycles or cars. In Illinois, major cities like Chicago have seen a noticeable uptick in e-bike usage, with more and more commuters and recreational riders embracing this new form of transportation.

New Risks and Accident Causes

As e-bike usage increases, so do the potential risks and causes. Higher speeds and the ability to navigate more challenging terrain can lead to collisions with pedestrians, vehicles, or obstacles. Distracted riding, lack of proper safety gear, and unfamiliarity with e-bike handling characteristics can also contribute to accidents.

The Rise of E-Bike Accidents

While the rise of e-bikes has brought many benefits, it has also led to an increase in accidents and safety concerns. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has reported a significant surge in emergency room visits related to e-bikes, e-scooters, and hoverboards, with the number more than doubling between 2017 and 2021.

Moreover, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has expressed apprehension regarding e-bike accidents. Their findings indicate that from 2017 to 2021, there were 53 fatalities attributed to e-bike incidents, and they have observed a substantial increase in deaths associated with e-bike usage. The NTSB report also highlights the absence of comprehensive, uniform, and dependable data, which likely results in a significant underestimation of the true figures.

As e-bikes gain popularity, the risk of accidents and injuries like whiplash increases due to various factors, such as higher speeds, unfamiliarity with handling characteristics, and the potential for collisions with pedestrians, vehicles, or obstacles. Distracted riding, tiredness, and the lack of proper safety gear can also contribute to the rise in e-bike-related accidents.

To address these concerns, it is crucial for e-bike riders to prioritize safety measures, follow traffic rules, and wear appropriate protective gear. Additionally, efforts should be made to improve data collection and reporting of e-bike accidents to better understand the extent of the problem and implement effective solutions.

E-Bike Registration Requirements

In Illinois, e-bike owners must comply with specific registration requirements to operate their vehicles legally. The registration process ensures adherence to safety standards and facilitates identification in case of accidents or other incidents. To register an e-bike in Illinois, riders must gather the necessary documents, including a Certificate of Origin, bill of sale, and valid identification. They must then complete the Application for Vehicle Transaction (Form VSD 190) and pay the applicable registration fees based on the e-bike’s weight and class. Finally, they must visit a Secretary of State facility to complete the registration process.

However, it’s important to note that e-bikes with a maximum speed of 20 mph and a motor power output of less than 750 watts are exempt from registration requirements. These e-bikes are classified as bicycles and do not require a license plate or registration sticker.

Safety and Speed Limits

Illinois has implemented specific rules and regulations to ensure the safe operation of e-bikes. E-bikes are prohibited on public roadways and paths in the state. The rules define e-bikes as bicycles with an electric engine having a maximum power output of 750 watts (1 horsepower) and a top speed of no more than 20 mph on flat ground.

Approved E-Bike Classes

Illinois recognizes three classes of E-Bikes:

  1. Class 1: Pedal-assist only, highest assisted speed of 20 mph.
  2. Class 2: Maximum speed of 20 mph, throttle-assisted.
  3. Class 3: Pedal-assist only, no throttle, maximum assisted speed of 28 mph.

It’s crucial for e-bike riders to understand and comply with these classifications to ensure their safety and avoid potential accidents or legal consequences.

Steps to Follow if You’re Involved in an E-Bike Accident in Illinois

Despite the numerous benefits of e-bikes, crashes can still arise, and it’s crucial to know how to respond appropriately. If you find yourself involved in an e-bike accident, here are some steps you should take:

  1. Seek Medical Care: Your safety and health need to be your main priority. If you or anyone else involved in the accident is injured, call for emergency medical assistance immediately.
  2. Inform the Police of the Accident: If the accident involves other vehicles, pedestrians, or significant property damage, inform the appropriate authorities, such as the local police department or state highway patrol.
  3. Document the Site: take photographs or videos of the scene of the accident, including the positions of the vehicles or pedestrians involved, any obvious damage, and any related road or traffic conditions.
  4. Gather Information: Collect the telephone numbers, names and addresses, and insurance details of any witnesses and people involved in the accident.
  5. Notify Your Insurance Company: Contact your insurance provider to let them know about the accident and start the claims process.
  6. Seek Legal Assistance: E-bike accidents can be complex, and the laws and regulations surrounding them may vary from state to state. Consider contacting a qualified personal injury lawyer, like our expert team at Monge & Associates, to ensure you receive fair compensation for injuries or damages sustained. With offices in 32 locations throughout 19 states, including Illinois, Missouri, and Virginia, our team stands ready to assist individuals involved in e-bike accidents. We can provide guidance and representation to ensure your rights are protected in the event of an accident.

The rise of electric bikes in Illinois presents both opportunities and challenges. While e-bikes offer a convenient and eco-friendly mode of transportation, it’s essential to prioritize safety and comply with the state’s regulations. By understanding the registration requirements, safety guidelines, and potential risks, riders can enjoy the advantages of e-bikes while reducing the chances of accidents. However, if you do get injured in an e-bike accident, there is support out there.

Contact our team at Monge & Associates for a free consultation by calling (888) 477-0597.