Since electric bicycles are equipped with electric motors, many people wonder whether these vehicles are safe. It is normal to have these safety concerns. The answer is that electric bikes are as safe as regular bicycles. We can claim they are as safe as other types of vehicles. There are no particular characteristics that could make e-bikes more dangerous.
One should bear in mind that practicing a sport always conveys a risk. It is true for regular bikes as well as electric ones. Also, when you commute, there is a risk of a road accident whether you drive a car or ride a two-wheeled vehicle. However, to minimize all the risks involved when riding an electric bike, you should observe several safety rules:
- Rules of the road.
- Equipment safety.
- Personal safety.
We will review all the safety rules listed above to ensure your rides are pleasant and safe.
Rules of the Road for Electric Bikes
Unfortunately, in many countries, there are no rules that regulate the use of e-bikes on public roads. In the United States, electric bikes riding on public roads should not exceed 28 mph. There are electric bikes that can reach significantly higher speeds. For instance, the Delfast TOP 3.0 has a top speed of 50 mph. However, you can ride an electric bike at such speed on private property only.
If you ride an electric bike in a country where laws concerning e-bikes are non-existent, you should use some common sense. Because of the higher speed and power of an electric bike, you should not ride faster than conventional bikes on bicycle lanes. Avoid riding on the sidewalks. Crashing into a pedestrian can cause serious injuries to everyone involved in the accident.
If there are no bicycle lanes, ride defensibly at all times. At intersections, allow motorists to get their right of way first. Always ride with traffic. Riding against traffic puts you at high risk. Finally, remember that your e-bike is another vehicle on the road. Therefore, obey all the traffic laws. Respect the road signals, traffic lights, and all the other rules that apply to cars. Use hand signals to indicate your intention to change lanes.
To ensure your ride is safe, your electric bike should be in optimal condition. Check the physical condition of your e-bike’s battery regularly. For example, a battery leaking chemicals is a moving hazard. Make sure the battery has sufficient charge for your intended ride. Otherwise, you have to pedal the vehicle without any assistance. Since electric bikes are heavier than regular ones, you need to exert more physical effort. Such a situation can make you prone to suffering an accident.
Keeping the tires of your e-bike in good condition is another important safety requirement. First and foremost, your tires should be properly inflated. Also, select the appropriate tire tread for the type of terrain on which you will ride. When the tires are worn out, replace them immediately.
Last but not least, you should practice personal safety when you ride an e-bike. As you would do with another type of vehicle, do not ride while intoxicated or feeling dizzy for another reason. Don’t use your smartphone to text or talk while riding. Always wear a helmet, even if it is not required by law.
Make yourself visible on the road. Install lights and reflectors on your e-bike, and wear clothes that are visible even during dark hours. Avoid baggy clothes since moving parts could catch the extra material thereby causing severe injuries. Also, keep your shoelaces properly fastened.