We all know about the dangers of distracted driving in cars, whether that’s texting and driving, fiddling with the radio or even watching videos on your phone. It only takes a half-second of inattention to find yourself in a collision.
With the popularity of electric bikes (e-bikes), some riders are confused about the rules. Are they subject to the same texting and driving laws as vehicle drivers? Are they riding a bike or driving an electric vehicle? Here’s a quick guide to e-bike laws and texting and driving.
e-Bike laws in Ohio
Originally, e-bikes were classified similarly to motor vehicles. House Bill 250 went into effect in March 2019, which now regulates them as regular bicycles.
Ohio recognizes three different classes of e-bikes. Depending on the e-bike class, there may be additional laws about where and how you may ride your e-bike. Furthermore, individual towns and counties can have more restrictive rules than the state.
Like many other states, Ohio requires all bicyclists to observe the same rules of the road that motor vehicle drivers do. There are also additional regulations, such as using safety devices like reflectors and only riding e-bikes on sidewalks if the motor is turned off.
When it comes to distracted driving in motor vehicles, Ohio Revised Code Section 4511.204 states “No person shall drive a motor vehicle, trackless trolley, or streetcar on any street, highway, or property open to the public for vehicular traffic while using a handheld electronic wireless communications device to write, send, or read a text-based communication.” There are certain exceptions for placing calls, navigation and other related circumstances.
Furthermore, even if texting and biking were considered technically legal, it can still give rise to a negligence claim when an accident occurs. Bicyclists—including e-bike riders—have a duty to pay attention to the road and avoid causing harm to others. If a cyclist is texting and driving, they’ve breached that duty. Should injuries or other damage result, the cyclist could be held liable for damages.
The bottom line: it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Whether you’re riding an e-bike, a traditional bike or a motor vehicle, pull over to read or send texts.
If a distracted driver or bike rider caused your accident, the Law Offices of Tim Misny can help. Reach out to learn more about your legal options today.
Talk to an Ohio personal injury lawyer today
The Law Offices of Tim Misny can help you with your e-bike accident case. When you’re the victim of negligence or recklessness, I’ll Make Them Pay!® Call my office at (877) 614-9524 so that I can evaluate your case right away.