Electric Bikes Safety – How Safe Are E-Bikes

Electric Bikes Safety - How Safe Are E-Bikes

You love the convenience of using your e-bike.

You can simply hop onto it and use it to get around much easier in the city.

However, if you’ve never used an e-bike before, you might wonder if it’s really safe to use, and how safe it is compared to a regular bike.

Do you need to wear safety gear?

When you use your e-bike, you should make use of the same safety gear that you’d use when riding a regular bike. This includes wearing a helmet – that should always be non-negotiable!

Safety gear aside, there are other things to bear in mind when using e-bikes so that you can stay safe out there. Let’s look at the most important tips and advice.

What You Can Do To Ride Safer

Speed Limit For E Bike

When you’re out there on the road, how you ride will go a long way to either making your e-bike safe or dangerous.

In the same way that how you drive a car or ride a regular bike matters, here are some tips that you should follow if you use an e-bike.

  • Stick to low speed limits. Some people who ride e-bikes make use of bicycle lanes and sometimes ride faster, which can lead to accidents. It’s therefore important for you to ensure that you’re careful even though your e-bike can allow you to enjoy greater speeds. Don’t fail to realize these speeds can put fellow bike riders and pedestrians – as well as yourself – at risk.
  • You need to know the correct hand signals. In the same way you’d make use of hand signals when on a bike, you need to know these when using e-bikes, otherwise you can risk getting into an accident and hurting yourself or other people, such as fellow bike riders or pedestrians.
  • It should also go without saying but you need to follow the traffic laws, such as road signs and traffic lights. It’s easy to think that just because you’re on a bike you can easily and swiftly zip through traffic, even at tricky times, but that’s always dangerous and best avoided. 
  • Be extra mindful of cars. People driving cars might not realize that you’re capable of going faster than if you were on a regular bike, which can put you in harm’s way. To deal with this, always let cars have right of way and take your time when entering traffic.
  • Make sure you start smartly. If your e-bike has stopped at traffic lights or a stop sign and you use too much throttle or you start with a high electric gear, this can cause you to have an accident. It’s important that you avoid using full throttle until your bike has started to move. And, when using a pedelec, you shouldn’t pull off at a high gear, such as “power” mode. Ease into the speed you want to achieve.
  • Be seen on the road. You know how you might put a bell or lights on your regular bike in order to be seen by pedestrians and fellow drivers? You should do the same thing with your e-bike, especially since other people on the road might not realize that you’re moving faster than a regular bike. Wear clothing in bright colors that will keep you visible at all times, whether you’re riding in the daytime or at night.
  • Slow down before you stop. You should always ensure that you slow down before coming to a complete stop because your e-bike has more speed and power than a regular bike. This is especially important when the roads are wet as your slowing-down times will be reduced. 
  • Ride with the traffic. You might think that riding against the traffic enables you to see cars that are coming towards you, therefore preventing accidents, but this is faulty thinking. The truth is that accidents that happen from the rear are rare as compared to other bicycle accidents, so it’s always in your best interest to follow the flow of traffic.
  • Make sure you keep your tires in good shape. Your e-bike tires should always be inflated properly as this will help to prevent problems from occurring on the road. Remember that your e-bike gives you a boost of power and you don’t want to endanger yourself by adding worn or damaged tires to the mix!
  • When you ride your e-bike, avoid riding through slush and too much rain as this can damage the electric components of your e-bike over time. In addition, it can cause water to enter the gears where it will cause rust. If your bike happens to get wet, make sure you dry off all of its components as soon as you get home to prevent problems from occurring. While a few splashes of water won’t do much to damage your bike, over time they can lead to problems so you don’t want your bike to get wet on a regular basis.

What To Know About E-Bike Batteries

Battery For E Bike

One of the most concerning things about e-bikes is their batteries.

Maybe you’ve seen online videos of how these batteries can explode.

E-bikes generally contain lithium batteries that are combustible, however how you treat your e-bike’s battery is of the utmost importance and can prevent accidents.

Here are some tips to follow:

  • You should never build your own bike battery pack as this can be dangerous.
  • You should always carry the bike’s batteries in a metal box that will ensure they stay safe when you’re riding your bike.
  • You should always research the lithium batteries you want to buy so that you ensure that you’re getting them from a trusted dealer. This will guarantee that the batteries will be able to withstand high temperatures as well as over-charging. Pro tip: buy your e-bike batteries from the manufacturer of your bike or their recommended battery dealers so that you can be assured of the quality you’re getting.
  • Never charge your e-bike battery when temperatures are freezing or below freezing point. Similarly, avoid too-hot temperatures as extreme temperatures can damage the battery cells. Make sure you charge your e-bike battery in a dry environment that has moderate temperatures.

How To Choose A Safer Bike

One of the most common ways in which you can become injured when using an e-bike is when you mount and dismount it.

This can be caused by the heavier weight that you’re dealing with on an e-bike.

Generally, an e-bike can be 20 pounds heavier than a regular bike. So, if it falls over, this can injure you.

To prevent it from happening, you should ensure that you try out the e-bike before you purchase it.

It should have a comfortable frame. A step-through frame can also be helpful to make mounting it easier.

What’s a step-through frame?

This is a type of bike frame that has a low top tube or doesn’t have one at all, thus making it more comfortable to step on and off the bike.

Is Riding An E-Bike Safer Than A Regular Bike?

Riding E Bike

Although e-bikes are pretty much the same thing as regular bicycles, except with electric power, it’s been said that riding them can be safer than bikes.

Here are some reasons why:

  • You can navigate trickier terrain much easier. On a regular bike, if you have to climb a steep hill or ride on an uneven road, this can prove to be a bit difficult. It’s easier on an e-bike because you can make use of the electric power boost!
  • You can move into traffic easier – and safely. You know when you’re on a regular bicycle and you try to weave into traffic? You might battle to do it and you might have impatient car drivers around you. It’s stressful! On an e-bike, the power boost can help you to weave into traffic quicker and easier.
  • You don’t hold up other road users. Since you can accelerate and move into traffic more smoothly, this also prevents you from lagging, which can cause other people on the road to try to overtake you, and which can be dangerous. A smoother ride isn’t just the case when you have to enter traffic, but during other times.
  • Your speed works for you, not against you. While you might think the fact that an e-bike is faster than a regular bike can cause you to have more accidents on it, this isn’t true. If you can speed up when needed, you can keep up with traffic much better, which can prevent problems from occurring. This is something you can benefit from whether you’re fit and can cycle fast or not, which is great because it makes e-bikes a safe option for many different types of people.
  • You feel confident. If you know that you can use your electric power if needed, this can make you feel much more confident when you take your e-bike out for a ride, perhaps even more confident than if you’re on a regular bicycle.

Wear The Right Safety Gear

Earlier we touched on the fact that you need to dress accordingly when using either a regular bike or e-bike – in other words, you need to gear up to be as safe as possible!

Here are the most essential items you need to invest in:

Helmet

Bike Helmet

You might be surprised to find out that there are helmets made specifically for use when riding e-bikes.

What’s different about them and do you really need them?

E-bike helmets are rated for safety due to the higher speeds you’ll be using on your e-bike.

They’re basically designed for giving you better impact protection.

This means you’ll likely find that they have thicker foam and plastic that wraps around the edges so that the helmet won’t fall apart upon impact.

You’ll also find these e-bike helmets to have more protection at the back of the head. In some cases, they even cover the ears without obstructing your hearing.

From a legal standpoint, though, you can get away with using a regular bike helmet when riding your e-bike, but more protection is always better so don’t write off buying an e-bike helmet just yet!

Bike Lights

You need bike lights so that you’re as visible as possible, so invest in front and rear lights.

Legally in the U.S. you need to have a headlamp, white front reflector, tail light with integrated red and white reflector, reflector strips on the front and back tyres or reflectors in the spokes, as well as two yellow reflectors on the bike’s pedals, as Bosch explains.

Mirrors

To help you see more of what’s happening around you, invest in e-bike mirrors. These can easily be attached to your handlebars.

Bell

Invest in a loud bell. You never know when you’ll need to alert someone on the road to your presence!

How To Prevent Your E-Bike From Being Stolen

E Bike Lock

E-bikes cost more than regular bikes, and you don’t want to experience the disheartening event of your bike being stolen.

While bicycle thieves can sometimes steal bikes to sell their individual parts, this isn’t always easy to do with e-bikes, so the whole thing will be stolen to be sold as one piece – that means the battery pack and charger will usually also be stolen.

To keep your e-bike safe, you should follow some important tips, such as these:

  • You should never use just one bike lock as that can be really easy for thieves to destroy in order to steal your bike. Try to use more than one bike lock, and make sure that they’re different styles to make it even more difficult for a thief to cut or break them.
  • Choose the right locking strategy. You should give some thought to where you’ll lock your bike – will you fasten it to a pole when locking it? Here’s a good tip: always lock your bike in such a way that the thief will have to damage the bike in order to free it from the lock. If the thief damages your e-bike, it won’t be in good enough condition to sell. With that in mind, make sure that what you choose to fasten your bike to is stronger than your bike and its lock. Some excellent choices include street lights, concrete pillars, and solid metal posts. 
  • Don’t forget to make your battery more secure. On many e-bikes you’ll find that their batteries come in a plastic or aluminum case for easy attachment and removal – but this makes them easy for thieves to steal. You can secure your e-bike’s battery by putting the lock through the battery case handle. However, it’s not enough. You should invest in a plate, chain, or block that locks the battery to the bike’s frame so that it can’t be removed without a key.
  • Use a GPS tracker. If you have a GPS tracker installed on your e-bike, this can increase the chances of your bike being recovered if it does end up getting stolen. Some modern e-bikes already have trackers installed, but they tend to be expensive so if that’s not an option for you, you can buy your own tracker. Whatever tracker you choose, make sure it can be hidden on the bike so that it won’t be spotted and removed by thieves.

Related Questions

How often should you replace your bike helmet?

You should replace it once every five years, because UV rays and general weathering will take its toll.

However, if you’ve had an accident you should replace your helmet right away because it could be damaged even if it looks to be in good condition.

Can e-bikes be left outside?

You can keep your e-bike outside, but make sure that it’s under cover to protect it from snow and rain, such as by storing your bike in the garage.

If your pedelec will be stored in a shed or carport, make sure you remove its battery and store that at room temperature.

Conclusion

No matter how confident you feel when you ride your e-bike around the city, you should never drop your game when it comes to e-bike safety.

Accidents can happen in a second, and you should follow some important rules to prevent yourself from falling prey to them.

In this article, we’ve looked at some safety issues associated with e-bikes.

By now you can see that whether you ride an e-bike or regular bike, how you treat it and look out for yourself is what can make all the difference in ensuring you stay safe and get home in one piece.

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