Many people looking for eBikes rightfully want to know, How safe are eBikes?
Safety concerns are legitimate for any kind of vehicle and all vehicles have some risk. But, overall, eBikes are as safe as any other kind of transportation.
However, there are some important caveats to this claim. eBikes do have their own set of risks different from normal bikes.
Electric Bike Risks
If you look at data, increased eBike usage is associated with increased emergency room visits. However, it is unlikely that this is because eBikes are inherently less safe than their traditional counterparts, but more likely due to an increase in usage.
One major reason for this statistic is that most people rent eBikes rather than buying them. As such, most people who ride eBikes do not have a helmet or other protective gear on hand. Renting a bike also means you have less time to get used to how it handles.
Also, since most eBikes are rented, most people do not go out for their day planning on riding an eBike. So, they may be less familiar with the area they are traveling in and do not have a thorough roadmap of where to go or which places are the riskiest places to ride.
Another reason is that eBikes generate more torque than regular bikes, meaning that they speed up and slow down faster. In one sense, this is good because you can get where you are going quicker and can stop faster at lights and signs. However, some people may not be used to the torque an eBike can produce.
eBikes tend to be slightly heavier than normal bikes because of electrical components such as the motor and drive system. Normally, this weight difference is not enough to cause a noticeable difference when riding, but a heavier bike means more momentum if you crash.
Lastly, eBikes have a higher accident rate because most eBikes are ridden in urban areas, and most bike accidents, in general, happen in urban areas. This fact, combined with all the others, explains why eBikes may be perceived as more dangerous.
So, it seems that any increased risk associated with eBikes is mostly about how people choose to ride electric bikes, not about eBikes being inherently more dangerous. As long as you obey the rules of the road, wear protective safety gear such as a helmet/pads, and pay attention to the flow of traffic, then you should be just as safe riding an eBike as you would be riding a normal bike.
eBike Safety Tips
1. Always Wear A Helmet
This should be obvious for any kind of bicycle, not just eBikes. The majority of bicycle deaths are from head injuries and bicycle helmets greatly reduce the risk of head and neck injuries across all age groups. You should wear your bike helmet even if you are just riding a few blocks down the street.
2. Know and Use Your Hand Signals
For reference, here is a link to the NHTSA directory of official biking hand signals.
3. Put A Light On Your Bike
The majority of serious bike accidents occur at night. Adding a permanent light fixture to your bike can reduce nighttime accident rates by as much as 20%. Reflectors alone will not cut it either. The best option is a permanent light that you can attach to your handlebars, but anything that improves your visibility works.
4. Ride With The Flow Of Traffic, Not Against It
Riding while facing traffic might seem like a good idea as you have a clear view of cars in front of you. But, rear-end bike-car collisions are extremely rare. So ride on the proper side of the road with the flow of traffic.
5. Stay In The Lane
Most urban and semi-urban areas have 25-30mph speed limits and traffic is normally slower than that, so you can ride in the lane with cars safely. Don’t try to hug the curb to pass traffic, and do not ride on the sidewalk. Obviously, if there is a bike lane, you should take that.
6. Keep Your Tires Inflated
Deflated tires are damaged easier and are more dangerous as it’s easier to lose control. A good tire pressure range for eBikes is between 35-40 lbs. You should also regularly clean and check your tire treads. We recommend changing your eBike tires at least once every 1- 2 years, 6 months – 1 year if you ride it very frequently. Be sure to keep a pump in your kit, too.
7. Do Not Let Your Battery Run Out Completely
Completely discharging your battery on a regular basis can damage internal components and significantly reduce its operational lifespan. This problem exists with all kinds of batteries but is most pronounced with Li-ion batteries. We recommend never letting your battery fall below 20%-30% charge.
8. Do Not Overcharge Your Battery
Overcharging your battery can damage it just like completely discharging it. Unplug your battery when it is fully charged and you should use a tender charger that reduces current and maintains the charge when the battery is full.
9. Keep An Eye On Your Speed
It can be easy to slowly gain speed on an eBike without even realizing it. Unlike a regular bike, you don’t have to put in as much effort to speed up, so you can start going too fast if not paying attention. At the same time, you should also try to brake earlier than you would on a normal bike.
eBikes have their own unique risks, but all things considered, they are just as safe as a regular bike. As long as you wear proper safety gear, obey the rules of the road, and pay attention to the ebb and flow of traffic, you should have no safety concerns while operating an eBike.Last updated on: