Riding An Electric Bike Safely
Commuting on an electric bike involves a very similar amount of risk to riding a traditional bike. However, we can manage this risk with a bit of education and common sense. In this post, we will go into some electric bike specific tips you may not have thought of. Paying attention to these will help to keep you safe while riding.
Wear A Helmet
Nobody should ride any kind of bike without a helmet. It is a very simple thing to do that can prevent serious injuries. Bike helmets are much more comfortable these days, thanks to modern materials, lightweight and a customisable fit.
You don't need to wear a full-face helmet, but make sure it provides you with plenty of cover and fits properly.
Make Sure You Can Be Seen
Most quality electric bikes come with front and rear lights. Some electric bikes even have them integrated into their frame or handlebars. Often these lights are bright LEDs that draw attention to your presence on the road. By simply switching these on, you are much more visible to traffic, day or night.
You may not think it is cool, but wearing brightly coloured clothes goes a long way to keep you safe. Dark clothes camouflage you, especially in low light conditions or in the shade. Therefore, wear something bright and reflective to let people know you are there.
Get Some Road Sense
When you are riding an electric bike in cities, you can often easily keep up with the traffic. Therefore, you need to be aware of what people driving around you are likely to do. Also, by following the rules of the road, drivers will have a good idea of what you are going to do next.
For example, ride with the traffic, rather than against it. This is because there is a higher chance you will be hit by a car pulling out onto the road that didn't see you than being hit from behind. If you ride against the traffic, drivers won't expect it and may not see you until it is too late.
As you can ride with the traffic on an electric bike, you should ride in the middle of the lane. By doing this, you have plenty of room, and you stay in your own bubble. If you hug the curb, there is a good chance someone will be driving alongside you. This reduces your ability to make emergency manoeuvres. While you are close to the curb, you run the risk of car doors opening in front of you and pedestrians stepping out.
Keep Your Electric Bike Maintained
Mechanical issues are inevitable, but you can reduce them by maintaining your bike correctly. The primary thing to keep an eye on is your brakes. Electric bikes are much heavier than regular bikes, so they take more effort to stop. Make sure your brake pads have plenty of life in them before riding.
Another simple, but essential task, is to ensure your tyres have the correct pressures. Properly inflated tyres allow you to react quickly in an emergency and ensure they don't wear too soon. On top of this, the right tyre pressures will enable you to reach your bike's maximum range.
Staying safe on an electric bike includes ensuring you can get home. If your bike is in full working order, you can complete your journey. You don't want to be stuck in the city streets at night because you haven't maintained your bike.
Learn About Your Bike
When your brand new electric bike arrives, it can be tempting to put it in its fastest mode and shoot off. However, we recommend that you start slowly and get to know your bike before heading off on a ride. It is best to get used to how its acceleration feels in all the modes.
Get Used To The Brakes
When you ride an electric bike, you have more speed and power, making how you brake more critical. Even when you are in the lowest assistance mode, an electric bike can add 50W to your pedalling. Therefore, you should brake earlier for junctions and traffic lights than you would on a regular bike. Once you have ridden your bike a few times, you will get to know it better and slow down more safely and efficiently.
Take Care When You Mount And Dismount Your Electric Bike
Older riders and riders with mobility issues often injure themselves getting on and off their bike. The bike's extra weight can catch them out, causing them to tip over and injuring themselves. If mobility is an issue for you, you could choose an electric bike with a step-through frame. These bikes are much easier to mount and dismount, as you don't have to swing your leg over the top tube.
Use A Bell
Being able to warn pedestrians of your presence is essential for your safety and theirs. Some riders mount both a horn and a bell on their electric bikes just to make sure.
Some pedestrians will think you are rude for using a bell or horn as you approach them. But they will be more upset if they walk in front of you and get hurt.
Watch Out For Pedestrians
These days most pedestrians are walking around looking at their phones. Unfortunately, you need to be ready for one of these people to walk in front of you (this is where your horn or bell is valuable).
Pedestrians are more unpredictable at weekends and Friday evenings. There may be a few bars with people stumbling out of them at inopportune moments, depending on your route. Therefore, you need to be extra vigilant during these times.
Some of these tips may seem obvious, but it is good to be reminded of them, especially if you are new to electric bikes. This is by no means a definitive list, but these tips will go a long way to keep you safe on your electric bike.