Maine e-bike accident levels have continued to rise as e-bike usage climbs throughout the nation and the state of Maine. Nationally, the sale of e-bikes has rapidly increased, with roughly 804,000 sold in 2021, up from only about 152,000 in 2016, according to the National Bicycle Dealers Association. E-bikes are a popular vehicle option for several reasons, including convenience, costs savings on gas, and reduced environmental impact relative to cars.
Unfortunately, e-bikes pose an elevated risk relative to conventional bicycles due to the greater velocity of e-bikes. The greater power and subsequent velocity that riders receive from e-bikes places riders at increased risk of accidents, and greater harm resulting from such accidents. In fact, a 2020 study published in the peer-reviewed journal, Injury Prevention, found that riders of e-bikes are more likely to require hospitalization following accidents than riders of manual bicycles.
Recently, a news article by the New York Times detailed the tragic death of a 12-year-old female rider of an e-bike who died after the e-bike got out of control, resulting in an accident. According to the article, the accident occurred after the rider and a friend rode an e-bike to the top of a hill. They rode the e-bike down the hill when it rapidly began to pick up speed. At that point, the rider tried to engage the brakes, but the front wheel began to wobble, and she lost control, throwing both of them from the e-bike. Paramedics took her to a hospital, where she underwent several brain surgeries. She never regained consciousness. Both passengers were wearing helmets while using the e-bike. The article states that the disc brakes used for the e-bike in conjunction with a quick-release mechanism for detaching the front wheel are well-known safety hazards in the bike industry.