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An e-bike is a modern form of transportation that provides battery powered peddle assist to riders to alleviate the energy required in peddling a traditional bicycle. They are useful for people that want a less labor-intensive method to get around town without hopping into their car. Legally speaking e-bikes are further defined by statue under Florida law. In Florida, an e-bike is defined as a “bicycle,” so long as it is capable of being propelled by human power and has a maximum speed of 20mph.
Veo is an e-bike and e-scooter sharing program service founded in 2017 that’s mission is “to establish micro-mobility as a true transportation system to reduce automotive use and promote widespread utilization of shared alternative mobility in a safe and reliable way. The city of Sarasota in 2022 gave exclusive rights to VEO to operate within the city of Sarasota. They currently operate in over 15 states across the United States and within the following Florida cities: St. Petersburg, Gainesville, Pensacola and Sarasota.
You should be aware that VEO has placed an Assumption of Risk clause that you agree to in their Veo User Agreement that says:
This clause makes it harder for you to hold VEO responsible if something goes wrong with their product when you are riding it. For example, if you get hurt on a VEO bicycle because it malfunctions, the company will argue that they are not responsible for your injury because you assumed the risk by using their product and were put on notice of that in their user agreement.
E-bikes are not subject to registration, licensing or insurance requirements that apply to other motor vehicles. However, many Automobile or Homeowners insurance policies exclude coverages for e-bikes, so it is very important to make sure that you are covered! You should speak to your insurance agent or look to purchase a separate form of E-bike insurance before riding in case of a serious bodily injury.
You are not allowed under Florida law to use the actual e-bike motor when on a public sidewalk. You can ride on the sidewalk if you are peddling under human power only. The relevant Florida Statute is 316.1995. It says: (1) Except as provided in s. 316.008 or s. 316.212(8), a person may not drive any vehicle other than by human power upon a bicycle path, sidewalk, or sidewalk area, except upon a permanent or duly authorized temporary driveway.
It is a good idea to be familiar with the insurance implications of riding an e-bike or e-scooter. In the event of an accident insurance companies will use minute details in statutory language and insurance policy agreements to get out of providing coverage to you if you are injured in an accident. You should speak to an attorney right away if you are injured on an e-bike or e-scooter.
Tom Harris, Florida Injury Attorney, has over 39 years of experience, including 17 years of defending insurance companies before reinventing his law practice to represent injured people as a personal injury attorney.
Kyle Harris is a Florida licensed attorney who joined the family practice after starting his career as a licensed attorney in California