9 Ways to Stay Safe On Your Electric Bike
Whether you use your electric bike for commuting or fun, you need to stay safe. Therefore, we have put together some top tips on how to stay safe on an electric bike. You may think that some of these tips go without saying, but there may be some about which you haven't thought!
Riding an electric bike comes with very similar risks to riding a traditional bicycle. But some unique hazards come with electric bike ownership. You can manage these risks with a bit of thought and preparation.
1) Always Wear A Helmet
No matter what kind of bike you ride, you should always wear a helmet. Fortunately, gone are the days of uncomfortable and heavy bike helmets. It is easy to find a quality bike helmet made from modern materials and up-to-date technology to keep your head safe. They come with a range of features to enhance your safety and riding experience.
The two most important things to look for when buying a bike helmet are its fit and 'coverage.' If a helmet doesn't fit properly, it won't protect you in an accident. Purchasing a helmet with good coverage will also keep you safe. If you are commuting on an electric bike, you don't need a full-face helmet. But, one with plenty of coverage around your head is beneficial.
Don't buy the cheapest bike helmet you can find. As a general rule, the better quality ones equal more comfort and more protection.
2) Maintain Your Electric Bike
You will need to take good care of your electric bike to keep it safe. Things start to wear out and go wrong with them over time, just like with a regular bike. But, if you maintain your electric bike properly, it will be safe to ride. Also, you will save yourself costly repair bills by keeping on top of bike maintenance.
Checking over your electric bike isn't difficult, nor does it take much time. A simple check while washing your electric bike will highlight any issues.
When it comes to safety, the most important things to keep an eye on are the brakes. The extra speed and weight of an electric bike put more demand on the brakes. Therefore, you should check the brake pads regularly. If the braking material looks very low, you need to change them for new ones.
Having the correct tire pressures is also very important on an electric bike. When you inflate the tires accurately, you can react to emergencies at optimum response time. Not to mention you will increase your electric bike's range and significantly improve its handling.
3) Learn About Your Electric Bike
A common mistake most people with a new electric bike make is not to learn about their bike. Too often, riders unpack their new electric bike and ride off with it at its highest assistance level. They shoot off, trying to see how fast they can go, which can lead to accidents.
The first thing you should do after unpacking your new electric bike is to read the user manual. You will learn essential information about how it works and what you need to do to enjoy it safely. Other information will include the proper battery charging process and what all the controls do.
Once you have read the manual, you should start riding the bike slowly, without any assistance. Then, choose the eco mode to get a feel for how the bike accelerates. Once you are comfortable, start experimenting with higher assistance levels.
Before you start riding faster, get a good feel for the brakes. The motor assistance will require you to adapt your braking if you are used to a regular bike. You may feel that you need to start braking earlier on an electric bike due to the bike's extra speed and weight.
Also, it is a good idea to make sure the brakes work after you have unpacked your bike from the box. You don't want any nasty surprises!
4) Take Care When Mounting And Dismounting
Electric bike riders can hurt themselves just by getting on and off their bikes. This risk can be more of a problem for older riders or ones with mobility issues. As you get on and off your electric bike, stay aware it is heavier than an ordinary bicycle. While it is manageable while standing up, it will fall hard and heavy if you drop it.
If you are concerned about this, you may want to buy an electric bike with a step-thru frame. These bikes are straightforward to mount and dismount, as you don't have to lift your leg high over the top tube.
5) Make Sure You Can Be Seen
People often ride their bikes in low light conditions, in dark clothing, and without lights. It is perilous for you if drivers are not able to see you without hindrance.
Most electric bikes come with bright LED lights for riding in low light conditions. If your bike does not come with these, make sure you buy some! Bike lights are not expensive and they certainly go a long way to keeping you safe.
Some people don't like wearing high-visibility clothing while riding. However, these make a huge difference in raising your awareness to other road users.
6) Become Roadwise
Many accidents on the road happen because people don't respect the rules of the road. If you learn about road laws and stick to them, other road users can predict what you will do.
Electric bikes can easily keep up with inner-city traffic, so being road-wise is even more critical. You need to ride your electric bike with the traffic, rather than against it. Also, the ability to keep up with traffic means you can ride in the middle of the road, away from the sidewalk. Doing so keeps you safer from other vehicles pulling out of junctions and people stepping into the street.
7) Make Sure You Fit Your Electric Bike With A Bell
A bell is a great way of alerting people to your presence, especially pedestrians. Pedestrians are often in a world of their own and may not notice you coming up behind them. Also, many pedestrians don't carefully check their surroundings. You can let them know you are coming with a friendly bell ring, which will avoid accidents.
Alternatively, you can fit your electric bike with a horn. Horns are much louder and will attract the attention of pedestrians and other road users for safety.
Some people consider a bell or horn to be rude. But, this is better than you or them ending up in hospital after a crash.
If you are riding your electric bike in a city, you need to be more vigilant at certain times. For example, Friday evenings and weekends are popular for people visiting bars, etc., especially in the summer. So take care during thee times, as people tend to stumble out of bars into your path.
8) Don't Get Too Ambitious On Your Electric Bike
If you buy a new electric mountain bike, you can use it to explore new places. They can take you to previously inaccessible trails and terrain. The bike's electrical assistance allows you to climb steeper hills and ride longer distances. But, more electric mountain bike riders are getting into trouble by riding terrain too technical for their ability or the suitability of the specific bike they own.
When you explore further afield on an electric mountain bike, make sure you prepare yourself. Find out as much as you can about the terrain's difficulty to make sure you have the skills to ride it safely and that your bike is suitable for it. You also need to take plenty of food and water. It is a good idea to take an extra charged battery to have enough power to get you home.
Before you head off, plan your route correctly and make sure someone knows where you are going.
9) Know When To Use Electric Assistance
You don't always need to use your bike's electric assistance. For example, if you are riding a downhill mountain bike trail, you can switch it off or use eco mode. The advantage of this is that you don't use up all of your battery power unnecessarily. Also, you won't get caught out with faster acceleration than you need. Some electric bike riders forget their bike is in turbo mode, and they get surprised by the degree of acceleration. In this situation, they can easily skid out on a corner with a loose surface.
Most of these tips are common sense, but some may not be so obvious. These are the things we need to think about as electric bikes become more popular.
By following these tips, you will be able to stay safe when riding your electric bike.