It is undeniable that more and more urban residents choose to ride electric bicycles since they offer a quick and convenient mode of transportation that’s also eco-friendly. However, as with any form of transportation, there are safety considerations to keep in mind.
In this article, we will provide you with comprehensive security advice and tips that you should bear in mind.
Essential Safety Equipment for Electric Bike Riders
Electric bikes are convenient for commuting, especially for short and medium distances. However, being well-prepared before taking your e-bike out for a ride is vital. Thus, you need the following accessories to ensure an optimum safety level.
Wearing a helmet will help protect your head in emergencies. Head injuries can be severe and life-threatening, so you need a helmet to protect you from possible death. A number of countries mandate that cyclists wear helmets, those ignore this rule could attract legal charges or fees.
If you are a parent, wearing a helmet sets an excellent example for your children. They would be at risk if they rode an e-bike without wearing a protective tool. Some helmets are also built with reflective materials to improve riders' visibility.
When choosing a vest or clothing for your e-bike ride, consider reflective colours like orange, yellow, or green. Unlike black, these colors will sharpen your sight and help you to see other road users. This is particularly crucial when riding at night or under low-light conditions. Reflective clothing will also help quickly judge the distance between vehicles and you, reducing the possibility of colliding.
Proper Shoes and Gloves
Wearing proper shoes and gloves ensure a safe and comfortable ride. You should ensure the glove's material is breathable and quality enough to provide the needed grip and support. This will help maintain control and balance, especially while riding on a wet or slippery surface.
Wearing waterproof shoes and gloves will also protect you during harsh weather conditions. A flat sole will provide good traction to the ground surface while riding. In the event of an accident, proper shoes and gloves will protect your feet from bruises, cuts, or any other form of injury. Consider closed-toe shoes with sturdy construction to ensure a safe and enjoyable ride.
Other Recommended Gears and Accessories
Apart from the accessories discussed above, below are essential safety items you may need.
- Lights: Electric bikes should have taillights and headlights, especially if you ride late at night. It would help if you considered getting bright, long-lasting lights that will not run out of power quickly. It's also best to get lights that can be easily charged.
- Mirrors: Mirrors contribute to riders' safety by increasing their environmental awareness. More so, handlebar mirrors can help you see behind you without turning your back.
Familiarize yourself with traffic rules and bike lanes
The laws and regulations for electric bike riders vary in various cities. Some of these regulations are based on the class of electric bike you are riding.
- Speed limits: Class 3 electric bikes are powerful with the highest speed level. Thus, they are not allowed in some states. Generally, class 1 and class 2 electric bikes can attain a speed of 20 mph, while class 3 can reach 28 mph. Thus, most states employed these 3 classes approach after California's adoption in 2015. The core purpose was to allow easy bike identification and enhance citizens' safety.
- Riding on the right side of the road: In the United States, e-bike riders must stay on the right, as it's the same direction as motor vehicle traffic. Riders are believed to observe road signals while on this path easily. Electric bikes are considered bicycles in most states, so the rules are usually the same. However, you should check with your local authority if there is anything else to know.
- Using designated bike lanes: Most cities have bike lanes for smooth traffic control. In most countries, these bike lanes are also allowed for bicycles. You should make further enquiries to know if there are any rules peculiar to the bike lanes in your state.
- Hand signals and proper turning: Hand signals and turnings are essential for safe riding. Thus, it would help if you learned how to make hand signals to inform other road users of your turnings properly. When you extend your elbow at an angle of 90 and keep your left arm by the right, point upward. Conversely, you are making a stop sign if you point your hand downward.
- Legal requirements for electric bike riders: The e-bike laws vary for different countries and usually depend on several factors, such as age, power output, and traffic laws. Traffic laws include hand signals and following the right bike lanes. For most European countries, the power output is limited to 250 watts, the top speed should not exceed 25km/h.
Other Tips on How to Ride Safely in the City
The following tips will help you ride safely in cities and easily navigate traffic-congested areas.
- Avoiding significant roads and highways: Avoid major roads and highways, as noise pollution could harm your health. It would also be more difficult to pass your e-bike through such areas.
- Being alert and avoiding sudden movements: Keep your eyes and ears open to your surrounding while riding. Avoid distractions such as headphones, which could interfere with your attention span.
- Staying visible and avoiding blind spots: Keep enhancing your visibility as much as possible. Always use lights and wear reflective clothing when riding along ride dark paths.
- Managing speed and controlling balance: For more effective performance, starting your ride at a slow speed is always best, then gradually increasing it. The LCD in modern e-bikes is also available to access vital information about your ride journey. You may also control your body balance by shifting your weight forward when accelerating and backwards when slowing down or braking.
- Proper electric bike maintenance: Ensure that your electric bike is well-maintained to guarantee a safe ride. Check your bike’s brakes, tires, chains and other components regularly to avoid any malfunctions.
Precautions and Necessary Actions to Take in Case of an Emergency
What should you do when in an emergency? The first reaction is to stay calm to handle the situation better. You can go ahead to follow the precautions below.
Dealing with traffic accidents: The first thing to do when in a traffic accident is to confirm if any parties involved are injured. Then you can report the accident to the police, significantly if any of the parties is severely damaged. Move safely away from traffic to avoid further injury or danger if you can.
- Common injuries and first aid tips: E-bike accidents could be minor bruises and cuts, severe fractions, spinal injuries, or even head injuries. Thus, the first aid treatment differs for every injury. Nevertheless, make sure you have your kit close by. For cuts, punctures, and bruises, clean the affected area and apply pressure to stop further bleeding. It would help to use a bandage on the affected area to avoid contamination. In severe cases, call the attention of a medical practitioner immediately.
- Involving authorities and reporting incidents: Ensure involved authorities if another person's carelessness caused the accident. Also, try to report the incidents in detail as much as possible, especially if a property was lost during the process.
The factors discussed above will prevent you from danger when implemented. Every precaution is vital in ensuring a safe ride journey, from wearing a helmet to following the right bike lanes. If every rider plays their part in following due processes, the accident rate in cities will significantly reduce. It will also allow a smooth flow of commutes among the citizens or state residents.