E-bikes are booming, but with safety concerns also on the rise, you might be wondering ‘is it safe to ride an e-bike?’. You’re not alone. With more and more electric bike riders on the road, valid concerns have been raised about e-bike safety. We think it’s critical to address this important issue head on.
E-bikes are a relatively new phenomenon in the U.S. market, so safety data isn’t yet as robust as it is in other countries, but initial studies and data from other countries have concluded e-bikes are just as safe as traditional bicycles. Of course there are risks associated with any activity that involves speed, a motor, traffic and varying terrain conditions. Like with many other transportation options, safety largely depends on how the rider is using their e-bike.
Recent e-bike safety concerns, including Simon Cowel's infamous back-breaking accident, have generated tremendous media interest, and raised valuable safety questions. Ultimately, though, e-bikes are an incredibly valuable mobility alternative. When riding responsibly and courteously, they are also an extremely safe way to travel. Check out these vital (and basic) e-bike tips to ensure every ride is as safe as possible.
Follow the Rules of the Road
This may sound like a no-brainer but if you are new to bike riding or haven't ridden in more than a few years, you’ll need to brush up on the basics of bicycle safety or consider taking a road riding safety class. Educating yourself on the rules of the road is especially important before riding a bike with an electric motor. Many cities even offer free classes from local bike riding coalitions and even through local law enforcement! There is no reason to put yourself or others in harm's way.
Accessorize for Safety
Certain safety accessories are a must when shopping for an e-bike. Of course you should always wear a helmet and appropriate protective gear - such as full coverage, form-fitting pants. Make sure your e-bike has the flexibility to add safety accessories. Mirrors, horns and turn signals can help you watch your back and help drivers to predict where you are going to be. Check out our Juiced Bikes Horn/Alarm - you can even add this alarm to standard bike models, not just e-bikes. If you want an e-bike that comes fully-loaded with all of these safety features check out the HyperScrambler 2 or HyperScorpion.
Check Your Front Wheel
Ensure your tire is secured and properly inflated - If you have a quick-release front wheel, it is very important to check that the cam lock is fully snug. On every bike, the front wheel should not be loose or move from side to side. You can check this by picking up the front of the bike and bouncing it on the ground a few times. Watch this video for even more pre-ride safety tips!
Stay in Your Lane!
While many people feel safer riding against traffic or on sidewalks, how are cars supposed to look out for you if you are not where they expect you to be? Riding on sidewalks or against traffic is dangerous - and in many areas illegal. Depending on the state, there can be regulations about where you ride, what gear you need to wear, certain attributes of your bike and more. These exist for a reason! When you know all about these different policies, you'll avoid fines and keep yourself and others safe.
Time for a Tune Up!
Taking care of your electric bike is essentially taking care of yourself. Regular maintenance can prevent accidents caused by regular wear and tear over time. A bicycle tune-up is the best way to ensure your bike is in the safest condition for riding. Any bike repair shop nearby should be happy to assist you, but if not check out Velofix.com to see if there is a service provider in your area.
Don’t be a Jerk!
If you are unsure what e-bike class is appropriate for your area, a great rule of thumb is don’t drive like a jerk. Remember laws can change and gunning an e-bike at 35mph down a shared trail next to a parent with a jogger stroller is exactly the behavior that leads to harsher regulations. Be safe. Be polite. And observe the rules of the road.
Adhering to basic safety guidelines and riding responsibly will ensure that you can safely enjoy the benefits of riding e-bikes. Electric bikes are a fun, convenient and environmentally friendly way to travel, while also providing the valuable benefits of increased physical activity. Despite recent claims to the contrary, e-bikes are no more dangerous than traditional bikes, and safety risks can be almost entirely mitigated with responsible riding and adequate bike maintenance.
Ultimately, electric bike safety is firmly in the hands of the rider. To get more quick tips on e-bike safety, check out our E-bike safety and security tips.