Electric bicycles (e-bikes) are on the rise in many parts of the world. It’s no surprise—they’re safe, fun, cheap, and easy to ride. There’s no need to pay that insurance bill, no need for a specific licence or road tax, and, most importantly, no fuel, which saves the atmosphere a lot of pollution and saves you a lot of money.
There is also the added benefit of not being gridlocked in queues of car traffic as you are able to use the less busy bicycle lanes to move around your heavily congested city, cutting journey times in half.
Before embarking on your first e-bike trip, it might be wise to look at some of these safety tips:
1. Always Wear a Helmet
Perhaps the simplest yet most important safety tip is to always wear a helmet and protect your head. There is always the small chance that you could get knocked off by a car or be caught up in a collision, and if your head is going to hit the ground or a car windshield, it’s vital that it is protected by a strong helmet. Go for one with all-round protection to cover all angles. It will also keep you warm in the winter months when the cool breeze is blowing.
2. Warning Devices
Make sure your e-bike is fitted with both a bell and a horn. A bell is to warn pedestrians to move out of your way if they are blocking the bike path, and a horn is ideal for alerting cars or other bikes of danger, such as an impending collision. Using these warning devices can help you keep other road users aware and may prevent damaging accidents.
Just as cars need lights to alert others to their presence, so do e-bikes. Most fatal bike accidents happen in the darkness of the night and could be prevented by adequate lighting. Don’t rely on reflectors as they don’t always work. Ensure that your bike has a white flashing light on the front and ideally a red one on the back. The more the better, so try to have a light attached to your helmet and even additional spoke lights. Make yourself more visible at night and you’ll significantly lower your chances of being knocked down.
4. Correct Road Side
Always ride on the correct side of the road—go with the flow of traffic and not against it. E-bike users often worry they will be hit from behind, but statistics prove this is a much less likely accident compared to one occurring from a bike rider going against the traffic.
5. Inflated Tires
Having properly inflated tires will give you a better range regarding energy, but it will also give you much better control if you need to swerve or move to avoid a potential collision. Also check that your tires aren’t worn down, as bald tires will reduce your grip on the road, making it more likely that you’ll slip or skid, especially in wet weather.
6. Use a Mirror
Mirrors for e-bikes can be purchased very cheaply and are ideal for moving from lane to lane when needed and for turning corners. The mirror can help you be aware of not only what is ahead of you but what is behind you. New styles of cars are much quieter, especially electric cars, so you may not hear them approaching from behind, making it more likely that you will move across and end up being knocked off by a car you didn’t hear.
Using an e-bike is a great idea to save money and time and reduce pollution, but always be aware of your surroundings to ensure safety.