Electric bikes did not take long to become a global success after their commercial launch. Now, countries like the USA, China, Japan, etc., have millions of electric bikes on their roads.
However, despite their ever-rising global demand, many consumers are skeptical about eBikes. For the most part, they’re worried about their safety when riding eBikes on different terrain.
Incidents of riders being injured after failing to control the high-speed electric bikes often fuel these debates.
Are Electric Bikes Safe to Ride?
Whether an electric bike is safe depends much more on the rider than the electric bike itself. Although most electric bikes are designed to have safe and controllable speeds, improper use can endanger the rider.
Over the years, the global electric bike industry has reached unbelievable heights of popularity and sales.
According to a market analysis conducted by Forbes, the global electric bike industry is expected to increase by 3.7 million USD to a remarkable 17 million USD per year by 2030.
This degree of global success in such a short period has only been possible because electric bikes were able to fulfill multiple consumer needs and requirements.
For instance, these electric bikes successfully managed to reduce overall transportation costs while reducing global dependency on gasoline-powered vehicles.
Moreover, electric bikes were launched only after they passed a series of trials and tests to ensure their safety and comfort.
However, despite the growing global success, articulate safety measures, and thousands of positive reviews, critics and conventional bike riders are skeptical and hesitant about purchasing an electric bike.
According to these people, an electric bike’s high speed and heavier body often become a challenge to control for most bike riders.
As a result, these bikers are exposed to the possibility of crashing and sustaining serious injuries. However, these people conveniently ignore that the same can happen with nearly every other type of vehicle.
For instance, although cars are designed to cover and protect passengers fully, losing control can always result in a dangerous, life-threatening accident.
Similarly, riding a traditional bike may be relatively safer; however, incidents of people losing control, slipping, or crashing into other objects have always been reported.
Hence, in most cases, the electric bike is usually not at fault when an accident or a crash happens. Instead, it is most commonly the rider’s lack of experience or poor judgment that causes the accident.
In order to understand how a vehicle can become dangerous and life-threatening despite being built to be safe, let us look at the Boeing 737 commercial aircraft case.
The Boeing 737 aircraft was designed to be the most fuel-efficient and safest commercial aircraft, with the potential to carry 188 passengers simultaneously.
Like all other aircraft designed and manufactured by Boeing, the 737 also had to go through similar tests and trials to ensure its safety and reliability.
However, in the last two decades, nearly three alarming international cases of the Boeing 737 crashing and resulting in multiple casualties have occurred.
Once the investigation was done, it was revealed that the problem was not with the 737 aircraft. Instead, it was due to the pilots’ lack of knowledge about the aircraft’s newly introduced MCAS system, which compromised their control of the aircraft.
Hence, just like the Boeing 737 aircraft, riding an electric bike without being fully aware of its functions and limitations can put the rider at risk of an accident.
Continue reading to learn about the most prevalent reasons behind common electric bike accidents and crashes.
What Are the Common Factors that Cause Electric Bike Accidents?
Electric bike accidents are not uncommon – sometimes, they occur almost as frequently as accidents involving traditional bikes. Moreover, the injuries caused by an electric bike accident are often reported to be more severe than those of a traditional bike.
However, this information does not conclude that electric bikes lack sufficient safety measures or features to guarantee a safe ride.
As a matter of fact, according to electric bike industry analysts, a majority of these accidents happen due to an incompetent or an underprepared rider.
According to these electric bike analysts, some common reasons that result in electric bike crashes or accidents are as follows:
Riding Without Practice
An electric bike may look similar to a traditional bike; however, riders need to be aware that it is not the same.
While riding a traditional bike simply requires learning how to pedal while balancing the bike’s body, riding an electric bike can be much more complicated.
Unlike a traditional bike, an electric bike comes with an electric battery and a built-in electric motor, both built to offer electrical assistance to complement the rider’s pedaling motion.
Although it may seem simple, riding an electric bike can actually be extremely challenging.
Every time the rider moves up to a higher mode of electrical assistance, controlling the stability of the electric bike during the instant transition caused by the addition of extra energy and increased speed will require time and practice.
Riders who choose to ride the electric bike at high speeds without first going through a proper practice period end up underestimating the energy provided by these bikes.
As a result, the chances of them crashing, slipping, losing balance, or having an accident with another rider increase.
Increasing the Speed of an Electric Bike Instantly
Learning how to ride an electric bike at high speeds is not usually not the risky part. Attempting to ride at high speeds without gradually practicing riding at different speed levels can be a dangerous mistake.
According to biking experts, riders should always gradually increase the speed of their electric bikes to maintain control over the eBike.
If a rider chooses to shift up directly to the highest level of electrical assistance, the instant surge of kinetic energy and increase in speed may cause the rider to lose their balance and crash.
This is extremely common in young people who usually are in search of a daring and thrilling ride. However, this mistake can cause them to crash, leading to scrapes, cuts, and even broken bones.
Riding on Slippery Surfaces
Although electric bikes are designed to be water-resistant to protect their sensitive equipment, biking experts warn riders to refrain from riding their electric bikes when the roads are slippery or wet.
This is mainly due to the speed of an electric bike. When you ride an electric bike over slippery and wet roads, the loss of traction and reduced friction can cause the bike to slip.
As a result, the rider can sustain multiple injuries. What’s more, you also run the risk of causing irreparable damage to the electric bike.
Choosing an Electric Bike that is Too Heavy
In order to cater to different consumer needs and preferences, electric bike designers and manufacturers have created different types of electric bikes.
Young and less experienced riders who aren’t strong enough to ride regular bikes are usually encouraged to ride pedal-assist electric bikes as they are lighter and easier to manage.
Moreover, riders who are overweight or those strong enough have the option to choose bulkier electric bikes that come with sturdier frames and thicker tires.
However, the problem arises when a person chooses an electric bike that is too heavy for them. For instance, a thin teenager choosing a bulky electric mountain bike without sufficient practice will be extremely risky.
As a result, the rider is unable to control and balance the heavy weight of a bulky electric bike and consequently gets in an accident.
Riding an Electric Bike with Defective Tires
The tires of an electric bike are one of its most integral and vital components. Without a set of well-maintained tires, the safety of a rider will always be at risk.
This is because the tires have to carry and pull the weight of the electric bike along with its rider over different kinds of surfaces and landscapes.
If the tires are not properly maintained, or repaired on time, they may burst during a trip, causing the electric bike to skid out of control and crash.
Some common cases of defective electric bike tires include the following:
- When the electric bike tires are too old, worn-out, and damaged.
- When the electric bike’s tires get sticky due to excessive usage.
- When the tires do not have an adequate amount of air pressure.
- When the set of tires are too thin or small for an electric bike’s bulky body.
Riding or driving any vehicle with faulty brakes is always a one-way ticket to disaster. This is a major problem when the person is riding an electric bike.
Unlike in a car, someone riding an electric bike is not protected by an exterior body. Moreover, unlike a traditional bike, an electric bike will be traveling too fast to bring to a sudden stop – even with fully functional brakes.
As a result, if the brakes of an electric bike fail during a high-speed ride, the chances of the rider crashing and sustaining serious injuries are extremely high.
Riding an Electric Bike with a Defective Motor and Electrical System
The built-in electrical system of an electric bike is the primary feature that contributes to its high market price and separates it from traditional bikes.
Hence, having a fully functional and well-maintained electrical system is pertinent to the rider’s safety.
If the electric motor of the electric bike has malfunctioned, it can limit the control the rider has over the electric bike.
As a result, the rider may be unable to reduce the bike’s speed or control the level of pedal assistance.
Moreover, if the electric bike’s connective wiring develops an issue, this may compromise the control the rider has on the electric bike. As a result, the chances of the bike crashing during a trip increase.
Not Wearing Proper Riding Attire
When an electric bike rider is improperly dressed during a ride, they automatically put their lives in danger.
For instance, wearing a long skirt while riding an electric bike can cause the skirt to stick to the bike’s pedals, its chain, or its wheels. As a result, the person will lose balance, and the electric bike will crash.
Not Wearing Proper Essential Riding Gear
The safety of riding an electric bike is significantly compromised when the rider fails to wear proper riding gear. The essential riding gear elements include:
- A strong and reliable helmet
- Leather gloves to improve the grip on the electric bike’s handles
- Elbow pads
- Knee pads
Without any of the riding gear mentioned above, a simple slow-speed crash can result in serious injuries to the rider.
Although incidences of electric bike accidents are often common, especially now with their widespread adoption, simple tips can help prevent them from occurring.
If a person spends sufficient time practicing how to ride an electric bike, learns how to gradually increase the speed of an electric bike, and takes care of electric bike repairs on time, their safety will never be at risk.
What’s more, it’s not just about practice. An eBike owner must ensure that they’re wearing the right riding gear to keep them protected at all times.
Just wearing a helmet is enough to protect the rider from serious bodily harm in the event of a crash. The remaining items, like gloves, knee pads, and so on, ensure that the rider escapes from a crash with as little damage as possible.
You may like the following electric bike articles:
- How To Lock An Electric Bike
- Can I Get an Electric Bike on the Cycle to Work Scheme?
- How Often to Service Electric Bike
- What Is a Hybrid Electric Bike?
- Can You Use a Turbo Trainer with an Electric Bike?
- How Does an Electric Bike Motor Work?
My name is Matthew, staying in Seattle, Washington. Electric Vehicles (Electric Cars & Electric bikes) caught my attention for the last few years and my love for electric cars and bikes is everlasting. I spend many of my weekends traveling to various places all over various cities with my electric vehicle (e-bike and electric car). Here I am sharing my expertise, experience, and invaluable information about electric cars and electric bikes. Check out more.