Most understand bicyclists must follow the rules of the road like any other vehicle, and most understand that pedestrians are those on foot who must follow pedestrian laws. But there’s often confusion about whether an individual using certain vehicles like electric bikes or scooters classify as pedestrians, bicyclists, or motorists.
It is important that a vehicle is properly identified for insurance purposes, especially if the driver is involved in an accident. For instance, more than one cyclist has crashed on the Newtown Bypass near Richboro Road.
Ultimately, it’s important to take these concerns to an attorney who can independently evaluate the circumstances of your case. Below is a brief explanation of some of the basic laws that may apply.
Classification of Electric Bicycles
Bicycles must follow the rules of the road like other vehicles, and bicyclists are not considered pedestrians in this regard. This also applies to those riding electric bikes, as these riders must follow the rules of the road as well.
Currently, electric bikes are classified as motorized pedalcycles, which requires them to be licensed and insured. However, state Senator Matt Smith released a memorandum on February 15, 2014 stating his plans to introduce legislation to create a separate classification of these vehicles if they have an electric motor less than 750 watts and don’t exceed 20 miles per hours, among other requirements.
Classification of Electric Scooters
A powered scooter may be considered a motor-driven cycle if it meets certain requirements. The electric scooters that children often ride while standing up, though, are not vehicles approved for use on the roadways and thus do not require insurance to ride. Those riding these electric scooters may be considered pedestrians under the law.
Insurance Claims for Riders of Electric Bikes and Scooters
Pennsylvania is a choice no-fault state and the first option to recover compensation for medical bills is through one’s own personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. So if a pedestrian or bicyclist is injured, he or she would generally file a claim with his or her PIP coverage.
Of course, some pedestrians or bicyclists may not have auto insurance. In such cases, they may be able to file under a family member’s policy, or may file under the at-fault driver’s policy if a motorist was at fault for the accident.
Ability to file a liability claim against the at-fault driver may depend on whether the individual has limited or full tort in most cases. Limited tort policyholders may only pursue further legal action against the at-fault driver if they are seriously injured.
Full tort policyholders have an unlimited right to sue the at-fault driver. While this distinction depends on the type of policy in most cases, bicyclists and pedestrians are generally considered to have full tort and an unlimited right to sue.
Discuss your case in more detail with an attorney to evaluate your classification under the law as well as your options to recover compensation for your damages. If you’re in the Bristol, PA area, call Cordisco & Saile LLC today at 215-642-2335 to set up an appointment for a consultation with a lawyer.