Five Rules for E-bike Safety
Whether you’re new to the world of electric bikes or you already consider yourself an e-bike enthusiast, chances are you’ve noticed their rise in popularity. E-bikes are popping up all over the world as the preferred means of transportation and they aren’t going away any time soon. Compared to automobiles, e-bikes provide a simpler and less expensive means of getting to and from home. This advantage is even more so in congested, urban areas.
In addition to being a new means of commuting, many people are finding the benefit of being more active and physically fit with the help of an e-bike. For older adults or people with prior injuries, electric bikes can provide just enough pedaling assistance to make riding not only feasible, but also an enjoyable experience.
With all of the new interest in e-bikes, there’s a rising concern about safety. There are hundreds of new e-bike owners on the road and people tend to forget that they don’t handle and perform like standard bikes. Whether you own an e-bike, you are considering purchasing one, or you’re just reading this for informational purposes, anyone who uses common roads and walkways is responsible for safety. Keep reading to learn about five basic rules.
Make Sure People Can See You
This may sound all too obvious, but how many people do you actually see wearing bright clothes and flashing lights on their bicycles? The world around us is a busy place. Even if you’re not riding in a major metropolitan area, there are distractions everywhere — pedestrians, animals, drivers on cell phones, bicyclists, motorcyclists, an accident blocking traffic, a faulty traffic light, looming bad weather, people slowing down to look at the new restaurant that just opened, and the list goes on! Distracted driving is all around us, and that is a perfect recipe for disaster, especially when you’re on a bike with no protection.
When you’re riding your e-bike, you want to make sure that you stick out like a sore thumb. Wear fluorescent colors, attach lights to both the front and back of your bike, and do whatever it takes to make others see you. Heck, wear a strobe light on your head if you can. Awareness of your presence is probably the most important factor in keeping you from getting into an accident.
Get Used to Riding at Faster Speeds
Many people are so excited about riding their bike at faster speeds with less effort that they can forget an e-bike isn’t like riding a standard bicycle. When you’re going twice the speed, you need to make some adjustments. Taking off too quickly or not slowing down soon enough are two bad habits that can get you in trouble. If you’re riding on a rough road or go off a curb on a bicycle, you can usually handle it without incident. But if you’re on an e-bike, you might not be so lucky. Traveling at a faster speed means you have to really be aware of your surroundings, anticipate problems and react quicker.
Be Careful With the Extra Weight
With the added parts such as the motor and battery, e-bikes tend to be more than twice as heavy as a standard bicycle. While nothing like a motorcycle, the added weight can still be something to get used to. Considering that older adults and baby-boomers make up much of the growing population of e-bike users, the added weight, when compared to a standard bicycle, can be a bit of a surprise. While weight alone shouldn’t prevent you from getting an e-bike, it is something that you should consider when you know you’ll have to lift, handle and maneuver it. Stopping a 40-pound bike going 20 miles per hour takes more effort than stopping a 20-pound bike going the same speed — it’s simple physics.
Wear a Helmet
This one doesn’t require much explanation. If you’re riding a heavier bike at faster speeds, there’s potential for more serious accidents. Wearing a helmet is a simple way to ensure your head will be protected in the event of the unexpected. Hopefully, you’ll never get into a serious accident, but if you do, a helmet could make all the difference.
Expect the Unexpected
Safety isn’t just dependent on the experience and ability of the rider. The presence of e-bikes on the road is also a learning experience for the cars, motorcycles, and pedestrians around them. People have a preconceived notion of what to expect when they see a bike on the road and seeing one going 20+ miles per hour will be a surprise.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the majority of the people sharing the road with you may not be able to hear you coming and won’t expect you to be going as fast as you are. This means that you have to expect the unexpected as pedestrians might cross in front of you and other people riding traditional bicycles may think they have plenty of time to turn in front of you. Your best plan is to always assume that people don’t see you or can’t anticipate your actions. Plan ahead, be aware of your surroundings, and expect the unexpected.
Are you ready for the thrill of riding your own e-bike? With proper safety gear and an added awareness, riding an e-bike can be a fun and enjoyable experience for just about anyone. Whether you want to be more active, reduce the number of cars on the road, or just look forward to your daily commute, electric bikes are the perfect option. Contact Leeds to learn about our e-bikes and e-bike conversion kits!