Electric bikes, or e-bikes, are very fun, no doubt. They offer a different experience than normal bikes because of the electric motor and pedal-assist features. This doesn’t make the experience of riding a bike much different. The e-bike offers you a variety of health benefits while also being beneficial for the environment.
However, the number of bicycle accidents has increased over the past few years. In 2020, the number of cyclists that were killed in road accidents rose by 40%. The rise in the number of cycle accidents increased, despite the lower number of cars on the road due to the pandemic. This is a staggering rise from previous years and has to be addressed to keep cyclists safe.
Electric bikes offer us a great way to get around cities, save some money, and look after the environment. But despite the fun, we need to ensure that we are practicing safety guidelines for the activity to remain fun and free of dangers. Have a look at some of the tips that can keep you safe.
1. Put on a helmet before you go
Yes, most of us know that a helmet is very important when you are traveling on the road. While your e-bike may not reach very fast speeds, you still need a helmet to protect your head. Whether you are going just around the corner of your house, don’t leave your helmet behind.
Electric bikes come in various models and can reach different speeds. No matter how slow you may be riding, you risk injuring yourself, because you can still be hurt gravely. Instead of taking a gamble on your safety, put on that helmet and then get on to your bike. If you don’t own a helmet, invest in a solid helmet immediately.
Helmets are available in various shapes, and we would advise you to opt for the full-face helmet. It keeps your head and your face safe, with the help of a face shield. It protects you from the weather in the winters and protects your face from the sun in summers.
2. Pay Attention to your surroundings
Cyclists have to ensure that they are following the rules just like any other driver on the road. When you are on an e-bike you don’t always have access to a bike lane. It’s critical to keep an eye on the pedestrians as well as on the flow of traffic.
Drivers don’t expect riders to be riding too fast, and cyclists driving at faster speeds have to be aware of this disconnect. The cyclist has to be aware of others' perceptions to remain one step ahead and avoid potential dangers.
Electric bikes are only becoming more and more popular. Until the people around you become used to this type of bicycle, you need to be extremely careful when you are on the road. Drivers tend to misjudge cyclist speeds. If you are paying attention to the cars, you can give them the space to move about and keep yourself safe from any accidents.
3. Understand Your Brakes
Electric Bikes are heavier than standard bikes, which makes braking a bit different. It is also important to remember that the bikes are faster and so you need to get a feel of the brakes before you bring the bike out into the road.
Your bike may also be fitted with mechanical disc brakes or hydraulic disc brakes. The mechanical brakes come to a stop because a cable pulls the calibers close. The lever and the caliper in the hydraulic brakes are connected by fluid. Once you understand the mechanism better, you can comprehend how to work the brakes.
Remember that the faster you drive, the earlier you need to break to come to a complete stop. When you see a stop sign or red light, braking earlier is the best decision.
4. Try to Stand Out
No matter what time of the day it is, you need to ensure that others can see you on your electric bike. There are a lot of ways to make yourself visible to other drivers and pedestrians. You can add features to your bicycle or to your outfits to stand out from the crowd. You need to remember that just because you can see others on the road, doesn’t mean they can see you.
Lights & Bells
One of the simplest features to add to your bike are light fixtures and bells. You should outfit your bike lights and a bell so that you can make your presence known to people who may not have spotted you in the nick of time. Drivers don’t always know that your bike has an additional 200 watts of power backing it up.
The lights are also very necessary during the night. Adding light fixtures is the easiest way to protect yourself from possible dangers. You can add more than one light if you think it can help you with your driving. Reflectors aren’t good enough on their own. When it comes to your safety, you cannot be safe enough.
Bells can be added as well to safely warn those in your way and help you pass by safely. You can also use an air horn to warn other vehicles about your imminent arrival. Try not to blast pedestrians with the sound of an air horn.
When you are riding a bicycle, don’t assume that other drivers know anything. Making eye contact with the drivers is one way to ensure that they have seen you and acknowledged your next move. Even after you have made eye contact with the drivers, maintain a safe distance and be doubtful. If you arrive at intersections or a crossroads, it can be particularly dangerous and you need to take every precaution to stay safe.
Signal your intentions to other road users
Turns out there are a lot of ways to make your presence known on the road. Using your arms and hands to signal your intention to other drivers is one such way. Don’t use half-hearted motions and place your arms out in a clear way to ensure others have seen it.
Also, if you do decide to use your arms to indicate your movements, you need to ensure that there are no potholes, speed bumps, or other obstructions in your way. Otherwise, you may get hurt.
Another way to stand out in the middle of the road is to wear brighter clothes. In the morning, any bright or dark colors can work. At the night, you should opt for fluorescent and neon shades. You can even add reflective patches to your bike and outfits.
5. Use a Mirror
Add a mirror to your bicycle to be able to see who is beside you or behind you. There are a lot of options available in the market and it is very easy to attach to the handlebar. When you make turns or change lanes, there are chances that you could get hit by someone swerving from behind.
Whenever you plan to move out of the lane, you can have a look in the mirror before making a move. Cars are getting a lot quieter and if you are not paying attention, you may accidentally move out in front of another speeding vehicle. This is much more common than you expect and can result in dangerous accidents.
6. Learn to Mount & Dismount
Many e-bike riders who are older may face issues with mounting and dismounting from their bikes. It’s also very common to get injured during the mounting and dismounting part of the ride. The electric bikes can be a bit heavier and if it topples the rider may be injured. You can have a look at the various frames available in the market and find one that fits you comfortably.
You also need to be careful if you are mounting a bike on a hill. It can be challenging to get on and off a bike on a slope and you should be cautious.
Have a look at the right way to dismount from a bike:
- From your seat, pedal on just one side, after which you should lean forward. Then stand up on that pedal and lift yourself off the seat.
- Slow down the bike, and maintain your balance.
- Lift the higher foot off the pedal.
- As you come to a stop, tip your bike to the side of the freed foot.
- Bring that foot to the ground, and place the other foot on the ground too.
- Lean the bike to either side, to swing one leg over to the other side.
And you’re good to go!
7. Keep an Eye on Your Speed
Electric bikes can be a lot faster than your normal bikes. Many new riders decide to ride fast, which can be a mistake. You need to be careful and not speed on your bike, just as you would in a car. While you may be excited to try out your new electric bike, you need to practice with it before riding the bike through traffic.
You should also keep an eye out for speed limits. In some neighborhoods or around school zones, the speeds can be a lot lower than those around highways and other city streets. If you have bought your child an electric bike, remind them to follow the speed limits too. Remain vigilant if you are riding an e-bike.
8. Regularly Maintain Your Bike
Maintaining your electric bike to keep it in proper working conditions is necessary to keep the bike in optimum conditions. One thing you can do is fill the tires in the bike and regularly check the pressure in them. If the tires are underinflated, you can risk veering off the path or getting caught in some potholes. Worn-out tires are a danger too and can pop at any time if they're not replaced. You can risk getting into an accident if your tires are not in good condition.
You should also top off the battery’s charge to ensure that you are able to travel where you want and return on time. It is possible that the e-bike’s battery could die out and you would be forced to peddle the bike all the way to where you need it.
The chain of your bikes also suffers through a lot of wear and tear, more so due to the larger mass and higher speeds. You need to clean and lubricate the chain constantly so remove the grit that could be building upon its surface.
9. Follow Traffic Laws
Obey Traffic Laws
An electric bicycle is just like another vehicle. If you ride it, you are also required to follow all the traffic rules, lane markings, and other signs and signals. If you live in UK, here are some issues that you can follow about the electric bike uk laws
Yield to Traffic
You need to yield to the traffic instead of fighting it. If you are merging from one road onto one with traffic, you need to be the one to slow down and find a safe and clear path before you merge. If there are no signs or signals, it can only get more dangerous. Drivers on a smaller road have to wait for a safe opening.
Always Remember to Signal
Before you turn always remember to use the signals on your bike. Don’t merge into other lanes or make turns without making your intentions known. You can simply stop and look around you to ensure that the roads are empty.
Riding an e-bike can be a lot of fun. If you are properly prepared for your trip, you can stay safe as well. A conventional bike can be very different from an electric bike, so you need to be aware of the differences between them. That makes the process of riding them slightly different as well.
Keeping the above-listed safety guidelines in your mind is the easiest way to guarantee that you are driving your bike as safely as possible. If you keep these points in mind, you are all set for your riding adventures!