To the editor: My wife and I are avid senior cyclists and both own class 1 e-bikes.
Our understanding is a class1 e-bike is defined as a bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the e-bike reaches 20 mph. The motor cuts out and there is no more assist.
A recent Eagle article focuses on the regulations as to use and where one can ride an e-bike.
Aside from the confusing regulations as to where one can ride an e-bike, an owner of one or someone who is thinking of buying one also has to be concerned about liability, similar to auto liability insurance.
We found out that our insurance carrier where we have our home owners', auto and umbrella policies, does not insure e-bikes for liability or theft under our auto liability or home owner policy. (A regular bike is covered under your home owners policy.)
Our agent told us the auto and home owner carriers in Massachusetts are doing the same — not insuring e-bikes. E-bikes are considered by the insurance companies to be motorized vehicles, not bicycles.
What this meant to us was we had no insurance to protect us if, for example, we hit a pedestrian or had an intersection collision and were sued; our carrier would not defend us, and would pay no damages.
We had to find another liability insurance carrier who insures motorcycles and e-bikes to cover our e-bikes like our autos.
We suggest that all who have e-bikes, or plan on buying one, should contact their insurance agent to verify if they do or do not have liability and damage coverage, as under your auto or home owner policies, and whether the insurance carrier will defend and cover you for liability and damage in the event of an accident.
We love our e-bikes. Yes, it’s an added expense, but can you afford to leave home to e-bike without liability insurance?
Bob Rosen and Diane Saunders, Otis