With the rise of electric vehicles, it is no surprise that e-bikes are also growing in popularity. E-bikes are a great option for those who commute by bike or travel longer distances with various elevations where the assistance of the electric motor would be a great benefit.
While these bikes have many positive uses, they are not perfect, and there is an amount of inherent risk involved in using them. Before you head out on the road, you should know more about how to stay safe and protected on the road and at home with your e-bike.
What is an E-Bike?
Electric bikes or e-bikes are not electric motorcycles as some people may think. Instead, they are traditional bikes with a battery-powered motor that assists the bike’s operation. They are great for moving faster than a traditional bike, making it up inclines easier or continuing forward while taking a rest.
How to Stay Safe on E-Bike
Always Wear Safety Gear
The most important thing anyone can do for e-bike safety is wear approved safety equipment. At the very least, every rider should be wearing an approved helmet, but throwing on some knee and elbow pads wouldn’t hurt.
Follow Vehicle Code
Many people don’t know or choose to ignore that for cycling road safety; they should be following standard vehicle laws. This includes things like stopping at stop signs, using appropriate lanes, and indicating turns and lane changes with hand signals. Check with your city to see if they have additional codes and regulations around the usage of e-bikes.
Check Your Bike Before You Ride
You should check your bike’s condition every time you ride, especially at the beginning of the summer cycling season. Here are a few “pre-flight” items that should be on everyone’s checklist.
- Pull the brake handles to ensure there’s pressure.
- Check the tires for any damage and ensure they are properly inflated.
- Spin the wheels and look for any unevenness that may indicate a loose tire.
- Pick the bike up a few inches from the ground and drop it. Listen for any rattling indicating loose parts that need to be tightened.
- Check the owner’s manual for any other suggested maintenance tips from the manufacturer.
This list is also great to run down for e-bikes for sale at garage sales and thrift stores when you don’t know their history.
If you ride your e-bike at night, you must be as visible as possible. Many cities require e-bikes to have lights and reflectors to make them more visible to motorists at night. Flashing lights and reflectors are a good start, but there are other ways to make yourself more visible and stay safer, like wearing a hi-vis vest and attaching a permanent headlight to your bike.
Don’t Give Rides
Giving someone a ride on your e-bike is tempting since you don’t have to put in as much work, but unless your bike is specifically designed for more than one person, giving someone a ride is an e-bike no-no. Too much weight, shifting weight, and poor field of view are just a few risks that could injure you and your rider.
How to Protect Yourself in the Case of an Accident
E-bikes are a fun and efficient way to get around this summer, but they should be treated with the same respect and safety as any other motorized vehicle. Have fun, but always remember to look out for the best interests of yourself and those around you while riding your e-bike.
Accidents happen for even the most cautious of e-bike riders, so it is essential to protect yourself. Ensure that you are protected with e-bike insurance that covers you in case of an accident. Contact us to learn more about our home insurance and how it extends liability insurance.