Look around your campground, local park, or city landscape and you’ll undoubtedly see e-bikes. If you’ve jumped onboard (literally) and purchased your own electric bicycle, you should know and practice some important e-bike safety tips.
E-bikes are different
- Weight. E-bikes differ from typical bicycles in critical ways. First, an e-bike is usually much heavier. Depending on the kind of electrical bike, it can weigh as much as 50% heavier than a typical two-wheeler. The frame and motor add weight, as do the battery and larger tires (on some models). It’s important to keep this additional weight in mind when loading and unloading or folding/unfolding your e-bike. Prevent back strain by remembering to lift with your legs. Ask your travel buddy to help you, if necessary.
- Speed. E-bikes can reach higher top speeds than ordinary bikes. While this is a distinct advantage in many instances, it can also pose problems if you lose control. Take time to become familiar with your e-bike. Gradually increase your speed assist setting. Then apply brakes to learn your bike’s stopping distance. Never exceed the speed at which you feel comfortable. Use extra caution on unfamiliar routes, or where road damage, exposed rocks, or curves can cause you to lose control.
- Cornering. Use caution when negotiating tight corners or curves. Reduce your speed to stay safe. Practicing with your e-bike will help you learn the cornering speed where you feel most comfortable and in control.
Sight and sound e-bike tips
- Lights. Many bicycle safety experts recommend that e-bike owners install lights on their e-bikes. Lights will make you more visible to others, as well as help you see if you ride at dusk or dawn.
- Bell. Another e-bike safety tip is to install some type of bell or horn. This one may be a good choice for you. A horn or bell will alert other drivers and pedestrians of your approach. Remember that others may not expect a bicyclist to travel as fast as your e-bike can go. A friendly warning sound, like a bell or horn, may well prevent a collision.
Other e-bike safety tips
- Battery. Before you start out on that extended Saturday drive, make sure your e-bike’s battery has a full charge. You don’t want to get stuck halfway between here and there, after all.
- Tires. Always check tire pressure and while you’re at it, also check that your brakes are working properly.
- Mounting and dismounting. Be especially careful with getting on and off your e-bike. The bike’s extra weight is the cause of many accidents. Don’t add your name to the list!
- Helmet. Head protection can reduce the risk of serious head injury by 70%. Given that e-bikes can travel faster than ordinary bikes, helmets are a must.
- Proper footwear. It’s best to wear shoes that cover your feet completely. Also, avoid wearing shoes that can easily slip off your feet.
- Clothing. Wear bright-colored clothing or some that has a reflective feature. Do all you can to ensure that other folks can see you.
- Mirrors. Use your e-bike mirrors frequently. This will enable you to keep your focus mainly on the road ahead.
- Know the road rules. The rules of the road may be different for e-bikes and typical bicycles. Rules in one locale may be different in another. Know and follow local ordinances and rules. They will help keep you and others safe.
What e-bike safety tip do you feel is most important? Weigh in with your comments below.