Are Electric Bikes Safe?

Electric bikes are safer than you might think. They have several advantages over traditional bicycles and motorized scooters, but they also come with some safety risks that you should know before buying one. The article below will detail everything you need to know about electric bike safety.

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Electric Bikes Safety Risks

Electric bikes are often considered safer than traditional bicycles. E-bikes do come with their risks, however. To ensure your safety when riding one, you should know about all of the potential dangers involved — and how to avoid getting into trouble in the first place.

Not Using Them Correctly

The primary risk of electric bikes is that most people don’t use them correctly; instead, they often recklessly ride them or even on sidewalks where pedestrians are likely to be present.

When you ride an e-bike at high speeds, you can injure yourself or someone else if you lose control of the bike. You should never ride your e-bike on sidewalks — you must use the road instead of the sidewalk for safety reasons.

Lack of Safety Gear

Like with cars and motorcycles, one of the most significant risks for electric bikes is a lack of safety gear. Not wearing a helmet while riding your e-bike could lead to serious head injuries if you get into an accident or otherwise fall off of your bike.

In addition, people who take their e-bikes onto trails should also wear helmets for protection against falling rocks and branches from above.

Pedestrians’ Rights

Another standard safety issue related to electric bikes involves accidents between pedestrians and people riding them. Electric bikes can be very quiet when they move.

So if someone on an e-bike suddenly appears behind you, it’s essential to let the rider know before stepping out onto a sidewalk or driveway so they have time to stop before a collision can occur.

Some electric bikes do have a very loud, sudden noise when they begin moving — but most don’t have this feature, so it’s often impossible to know someone is behind you until it’s too late.

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No Uniform Regulations

Electric bikes aren’t regulated by the federal government of the United States of America. As a result, no uniform regulations exist regarding their use, making it more difficult for you as a rider to ensure your safety on the roads.

That being said, many individual states and cities have laws that apply to electric bicycle riders specifically.

So check with your local authorities before buying an e-bike — or any other new type of vehicle — to determine whether or not you’re legally allowed to ride it.

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How to Be Safe on an Electric Bike

There are many ways to keep yourself safe when riding an electric bike. However, doing so requires a commitment to safety that includes taking the following precautions. Follow them so that you can remain safe at all times while riding.

Make Sure People Can See You

One of the best ways to ensure your safety as a rider is by making sure others can see you. It means riding only at times when there are a lot of people on the roads — and wearing reflective clothing or attaching something reflective, such as a spare bike tube, to your bicycle for extra visibility.

You should also use a headlight or flashing rear light to maximize your chances of being seen. It is especially true at night when people driving cars and riding bicycles won’t see you as easily.

Safety Starts with Knowledge

The more knowledge you have about electric bikes and their risks, the less likely you will be involved in an accident. Ensure that everyone in your household who intends to ride an e-bike knows how to operate it safely before they take it out onto the road.

In addition, read up on basic bicycle safety, so you have a good sense of what you need to do to avoid accidents.

Practice riding your electric bike in an area where you won’t be in danger before taking it out on the road and make sure you follow all of the rules of your local roads.

Don’t Ride on Sidewalks

One of the most important safety precautions for electric bike riders is not riding them on sidewalks. When you’re operating an e-bike, state and local laws require that you use the road instead of the sidewalk, just as if it were a regular bike.

Riding on a sidewalk puts pedestrians at risk — not to mention being illegal in some places. You can easily avoid sidewalks by sticking to roads with bike lanes whenever possible. If there are no bike lanes, use common sense when deciding to take your e-bike onto a sidewalk.

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Follow Local Laws

Like all vehicles, electric bicycles are subject to local traffic laws. In many cases, these laws prohibit riding an e-bike against traffic or riding them on certain streets where automobiles typically travel faster than bicycles.

Check with your local authorities to make sure you follow local laws to avoid fines and other penalties. Laws vary depending on what city you’re in. For example, the laws for riding electric bikes are different in Los Angeles than in Chicago.

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Plan Ahead for Emergencies

One of the best ways to prevent an accident is planning for emergencies. Things like wearing a helmet, using lights at night, and being hyper-aware of cars could go a long way toward preventing a crash from occurring in the first place.

Also, have a plan for what to do if you’re involved in one — ask your doctor how soon after a crash it’s safe to ride again and ask your friends or family members who can come to pick you up if they have room in their vehicles as well as alternative modes of transportation.

Wear Proper Equipment

Always wear a helmet and other proper safety equipment when riding an electric bike. This includes knee pads, elbow pads, eye protection, sunglasses, and wrist guards.

If you don’t wear the appropriate gear, you’re putting yourself at risk for injury if you’re involved in a crash. In addition, you should always wear your safety gear no matter how short the distance you’re riding.

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Don’t Ride Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs

No matter whether you ride a traditional bicycle, an electric bike, or even a skateboard, never ride while under the influence of drugs and alcohol. This is true even if you’re not operating your vehicle on public roads; boating under the influence, for example, is illegal.

Likewise, riding an electric bike while intoxicated or high will drastically increase your chances of getting into an accident and injuring yourself or someone else.

Are Electric Bikes Safe
Are Electric Bikes Safe

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As with any activity involving vehicles like cars and motorcycles, your best defense is to be informed and careful about how you operate an e-bike.

While many states don’t currently have laws regulating these types of vehicles specifically, it’s always wise to follow general bicycle safety guidelines – never ride against traffic or on sidewalks – and educate yourself about local laws before you buy one.

It’s important to remember that what applies to regular bicycles also applies to electric bikes: your life and health are in your hands.