A happy ride is a safe ride. E-bikes are growing fast in popularity as a sustainable, fast, and viable way to exercise or commute. Safety becomes critical as more people hit the road on electric bikes. Whether you’re an e-bike newbie or a seasoned e-bike enthusiast, safety is key to avoiding injury and enjoying a fun e-cycling experience.
Preparation, pre-ride checkups, awareness, good riding practices, and proper gear can help you skip falls, accidents, or other injuries. Since e-bikes can travel faster and further than traditional bikes, this can help ensure that you and your bike stay safe and in optimal condition to ride again.
Check out our complete guide to hit the road and stay fit, safe, and injury-free on your next e-bike ride.
A Short E-Bike Safety Checklist
- Understand how to handle your e-bike
- Maintain your e-bike according to manufacturer specifications
- Check your tires, chain, brakes, and battery before you ride
- Wear safety gear such as a helmet and reflective clothing
- Know and understand the bike and traffic laws in your area
- Use lights and mirrors
- Use caution when riding at night or in wet, icy conditions
- Use smart braking and cornering practices
- Prevent e-bike fires and injuries by proper bike storage and battery protection
- Stay aware of your surroundings as you ride
10-Step Guide to Safe Riding and Injury Prevention
1. Check Before You Ride
Before you hit the road or trails, the first thing to do is ensure you’re ready to ride. Doing a quick and thorough check-up can help you prevent accidents, avoid breakdowns in inconvenient locations, and stay safe.
Check that your e-bike seat and handlebars are adjusted to your height and comfort level. This will ensure stability and control during your ride.
Next, check your e-bike tire pressure since low tires can compromise your bike’s stability, while overinflated tires can burst unexpectedly. Look for any cuts, bulges, or punctures that can cause a blowout on the road.
An e-bike’s brakes are one of the most critical components for a safe ride. Test your brakes by pressing the levers and seeing if they act smoothly and instantly. Ensure that brake pads are intact and aligned correctly with the rims to avoid accidents.
Your e-bike chain needs to stay rust-free and lubricated to ensure speed maintenance, control, and safety, so it’s best to check it before each ride. Finally, ensure that your electric bike reflectors and lights work and are positioned to make them visible to others on the road. Take a moment to test if the battery is fully charged to avoid a lack of light in dim or dark conditions.
2. Know How and When to Turn Your E-Bike Off and On
Skip any nasty surprises when your engine starts up by accident by taking the time to get familiar with your e-bike make and model.
If an e-bike’s motor turns on unexpectedly, this can prove dangerous. Several general actions can cause an e-bike with pedal assist to turn on. First, it can happen when you have the bike powered on. Second, this may occur if you spin the pedals. Third, pushing down on a button or throttle lever on some makes and models can turn the motor on.
Avoid getting hurt by avoiding actions that can turn your motor on. Always keep the e-bike powered down by setting your pedal assist level to zero whenever you aren’t riding.
Read Also: How to Understand E-Bike Terminology
3. Wear Approved Safety Gear
Every cyclist on an e-bike or an analog bike must wear a helmet during a ride. This applies to anyone operating this kind of vehicle regardless of age, fitness, speed limit, or any legal requirement loopholes. Many states require cyclists to wear helmets according to the law.
Wearing a certified safety helmet is the overall best way to stay safe while riding.
Choose a proper helmet, such as a Multi-Directional Impact Protection or MIPS helmet. A MIPS helmet is lighter, more comfortable, ensures better ventilation, and offers rotational impact protection to reduce concussions and brain injury compared to traditional helmets.
A helmet should fit well, stay level on your head, shield your forehead and back of your head, and strap snugly under your chin both for comfort and protection in the event of an accident.
Other proper e-bike safety gear to consider include reflective gear or stripes on your clothing to enhance visibility. Wear durable gloves that help you grip the handlebars to avoid slippage and reduce hand injuries. Finally, non-slip biking shoes are also a must to give you stability and security on a ride.
4. Know and Follow E-Bike Traffic Laws
While you might feel like the god of wind and speed perched atop a powerful e-bike, in the eyes of the law, your e-bike is a vehicle when it’s out on the roads and streets.
This means that you must understand and abide by your city’s, county, and state vehicle code as it applies to micro-mobility vehicles such as electric bikes. When you ride an e-bike, try to ride in a predictable way, just as if you drove a car. For example, head in a straight line, signal any turns, brake appropriately, and slow down around people or intersections.
Here’s a quick rundown of the kinds of traffic rules that all e-cyclists should obey when on streets or roads to help you and others stay safe:
- Stop at red lights and stop signs
- Yield if you don’t have a right-of-way
- Pay attention to lane markings
- Use turn signals or hand signals to announce your intentions
- Use the right lanes to ride in and navigate traffic
- Brake ahead of time
- Don’t weave in and out of traffic
- Use your headlights in bad weather or dark conditions
Ensure you understand who, where, and how you can ride in your state. This will help you avoid unnecessary accidents and injuries and prevent issues with law enforcement.
Read Also: Ebike Laws in the United States
5. Practice Safe Riding Habits
As a rider, your best way to prevent injury and stay safe is to use safe riding practices. These include keeping a safe distance from other vehicles, riding in bike lanes instead of roads or on sidewalks, and watching out for tricky hazards like loose gravel, obstacles, potholes, or other debris.
Make sure that you know how to operate your e-bike before setting out. Make sure to slow down ahead of time and brake proactively if you approach an intersection or crowded area.
These simple safety tips can save you from injuries, prevent damage to your e-bike, and help avoid accidents with vehicles and other people. Whether you ride for work or fun, check out a great video on e-bike safe riding tips here.
That way, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.
6. Stay Visible and Aware at Night
Many cyclists enjoy riding at night thanks to cooler temperatures and lighter traffic. Take extra precautions when riding at night since dark conditions can be hazardous for any kind of cyclist. The lack of light makes it harder for drivers to see you, and it also makes it harder for you to spot issues on the trail or road.
You can remedy this by riding in better-lit areas, checking out a trail area beforehand, using reflective gear, and utilizing the headlights at your disposal.
7. Turn Your Lights On
Most e-bikes come with daytime headlights that activate, in addition to the low-beam feature, during daylight hours. Other electric bikes feature a central beam.
A front headlight lights up the road before you, making it easier to see your surroundings, spot any hazards, and help others see you. A taillight helps make you more visible from the rear to others who are on the road.
8. Avoid Riding in Bad Weather
Riding in inclement conditions, like rain, ice, or snow, isn’t just unpleasant. It can be dangerous. Wet or slick roads make it more difficult to apply brakes. Poor visibility can make it challenging for drivers to see you and raise the risk of accidents.
If you need to ride in bad weather, give yourself extra time to arrive at your destination and ride slower. Keep your eyes out for potential hazards.
9. Stay Focused and Avoid Distractions
The pedal assist makes it easy to get into the zone while riding in a way that an analog bike does not. While an e-bike’s pedal assist feature makes it easy to zoom along in your own world without the same effort, staying aware of your surroundings is vital.
Avoid using your phone, headphones, or other electronic devices while you’re cycling. It’s tempting to listen to music or a podcast as the miles whizz by, but this can distract you in a critical moment for your safety. Staying aware can help you identify potentially dangerous situations and avoid them in time.
Always make sure to keep both hands on the e-bike’s handlebars to stay in full control as you ride.
10. Store Your Electric Bike in a Cool, Dry Place
One of the best things you can do to keep your e-bike in optimal working condition and ensure that it works safely is to store it in a dry, cool place that does not experience direct sunlight or moisture.
When an e-bike is exposed to cold, rain, or hot temperatures, this can degrade the lithium-ion battery and make the bike more likely to catch fire. It’s crucial to avoid temperature fluctuations that can damage the battery.
E-bikes are becoming a popular, viable, and eco-friendly mode of exercise and transportation. Electric bikes have some safety requirements that can help keep you safe on the road.
A good way to stay fit and safe while riding an e-bike is to do a pre-ride checkup. Staying in bike lanes, using proper signaling and braking practices, and putting distance between yourself and vehicles or pedestrians can help avoid accidents or injuries.
Whether you’ve ridden for years or are just starting out, it’s important to prioritize your safety in every situation to ensure the ultimate secure and enjoyable e-cycling experience.
ABC News: https://abcnews.go.com/US/electric-bikes-battery-safety-pedaling/story?id=98239337
Naval Postgraduate School: https://nps.edu/web/safety/ebike