Pedestrians walking on New York sidewalks likely know the dangers associated with reckless bicyclists and skateboarders. Now, with the advent of electric bicycles and micro-mobility devices such as e-scooters, people walking about might face additional threats. Getting hit by an e-bike traveling at 20 mph could result in serious injuries.
Riding any standard or motorized bike or scooter presents hazards since the rider would have to navigate the pedestrians in their way. Local ordinances typically regulate where people can ride e-bikes and e-scooters. Riding an e-scooter on the sidewalk in NYC is illegal, but people could ignore the law.
In early 2022, NYC law enforcement issued 103 civil and 97 criminal summonses for unlawful biking on the sidewalk. Those numbers reflect a 20% decline from 2019 despite two pedestrians suffering fatal injuries after being hit by bicycles.
Further dangers exist for pedestrians. Besides traditional bicycles, e-bikes, and e-scooters, many commuters opt to ride mopeds and moped/scooter hybrids on city streets. Pedestrians must become wary of these two and three-wheelers because the operator could make mistakes like any other traveler. The results could be fatal.
Injuries and sidewalk incidents
The individual may face a civil claim if someone illegally rides a bike or scooter on a sidewalk and hurts a pedestrian. Traveling on the sidewalk could alone establish negligence since the rider is not supposed to be there. Sometimes, the bicyclist or scooter rider may engage in other actions that increase the potential for pedestrian accidents.
Anyone riding a bike or scooter could become distracted and hit someone. Listening to music with earbuds or window shopping while in motion reflect negligent distractions. Riding while intoxicated or speeding are two other hazardous behaviors. If a victim can prove a bicyclist or scooter rider is liable for injuries or property damage, they may sue for compensation and damages.