How to Ride an E-Bike Safely and Avoid Injuries
E-bikes are rising in popularity throughout America, and especially in California. These unique bicycles look pretty much like regular bikes, except they have some electrical components such as a motor, battery, and controller. The electrical pieces of an e-bike are designed to increase human power but not to replace it entirely. With an e-bike, you can cover more distance and tackle hills and headwinds without getting exhausted as soon. However, they can still be just as or even more dangerous than their non-electric counterparts. Here are some safety tips to remember if you are going to be riding an e-bike.
Be Aware of the Elements
When riding an e-bike, you should always be aware of your surroundings. Keep your eyes looking up and constantly monitor your path for cracks, bumps, potholes, gravel, loose dirt, or anything else in your way that could cause an accident.
It’s also recommended that you check your local weather forecast before hopping on your e-bike. You should never ride an e-bike in wet weather, especially snow or ice.
Follow Local Laws and Regulations
Electric bikes are still relatively new in the U.S., which brings confusion about where they fall under the law. Federal law considers e-bikes in the class as regular bicycles if they meet two conditions:
- The speed in “electric-only” mode doesn’t exceed 20 MPH
- The motor power must be under 750W
Electric bike laws and classifications vary from one state to the next and even between municipalities. Before riding an e-bike, be sure to research your state and county or city-specific laws. California’s laws are summarized here.
Put on Your Helmet
Just like riding a regular bicycle, you need to wear a helmet. All e-bike riders and their passengers should wear a helmet that meets the U.S. CPSC standard. Wearing a helmet decreases the chance and severity of head injuries which can be catastrophic or even fatal.
Pay Close Attention to Your Speed
E-bikes are incredibly fun to ride, partly because of their speed. It’s tempting for new riders to begin at the fastest setting. However, it’s best to start at a lower speed setting for your own safety. Use the throttle as you start going, then take over pedaling with pedal-assist. It’s essential to get a feel for your e-bike and what it feels like to ride with the pedal-assist system before gradually increasing your pedal-assist level to your liking.
E-bike riders should familiarize themselves with the braking system before going for a ride. Even when using lower levels of pedal assist, they are still likely moving faster than they would be on a regular bicycle. Because of this, e-bike riders need an earlier braking time than conventional bike riders are probably used to.
What if You are Injured in an E-Bike Accident?
Even the most cautious of e-bicycle riders can get into accidents. Often, this occurs due to the negligence of motor vehicle drivers. If you become injured in an e-bike accident, seek medical attention right away. You should also be sure to seek the services of an experienced OC e-bike accident attorney who can help defend your legal rights.