How to Ride Safely and Confidently
Riding an electric bike, or eBike, can be a fun and environmentally friendly way to get around town and Dana Point. However, it’s important to prioritize safety when using one. Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or new to riding, there are precautions you can take to ensure a safe and enjoyable eBike experience. Here are three key safety tips for riding an eBike.
eBikes are more popular than ever, with older riders driving much of the demand. Proponents have touted eBikes as a way to make cycling more accessible to more people in general, such as the elderly and those with disabilities, to car-free households in urban environments, and to anyone who might hesitate to hop on a conventional bike.
Yet, as more riders adopt this new technology, new safety concerns have cropped up. A worrying statistic out of the Netherlands in 2018 sounded some alarms: eBike deaths in the famously bike-friendly country nearly doubled between 2016 and 2017. About 75 percent of the victims were men aged 65 and older. Peter van der Knaap, director of the Dutch Road Safety Research Foundation, told The Guardian that many incidents involved riders simply failing to properly mount or dismount their eBikes. And a more recent study showed that those trends continued into 2019.
In 2019, dozens of riders reported injuries while riding electric Citibikes in New York City, prompting Lyft, the company that owns Citibike, to temporarily pull all of the approximately 1,000 electric bicycles from the city’s streets amid safety concerns, as the New York Times reported.
Of course, as eBikes make up a greater share of the bicycle market, they’ll also be involved in more crashes and cyclist fatalities. But riders interested in going electric should learn how to handle this new kind of bicycle to ensure their safety. eBikes are often much heavier than regular commuter bikes, reach higher top speeds, and make usually manageable corners and obstacles more dangerous. Here are six eBike safety tips you should know.
Because you have a lot more speed and power behind you, braking becomes all the more important. Even at the lightest assisted gear, Quan says, a Karmic eBike will add around 50 watts to your pedal stroke. That means you’ll want to slow down well ahead of stop signs and road crossings, and far earlier than you would on a slower-moving bike. Get to know your brakes and their relative power, so you can better assess the safest time to start slowing down.
Careful While Mounting and Dismounting
For some older eBike riders, or younger riders with mobility issues, mounts and dismounts are where many injuries happen. This is partially because of the bike’s heaviness—the extra 20-plus pounds could cause it to tip over and injure the rider. Make sure the frame you buy is one that’s comfortable to get on and off easily. For some, that may mean seeking out a step-through frame (which aren’t just for women!) or a standard frame with a more sloping top tube.
Remember, It’s Still a Bike
Crashes can happen on any bike, but eBikes are noteworthy because of the higher speeds involved. That said, Quan notes that the crashes he’s seen likely would have happened on conventional bikes as well.
In fact, a 2018 survey found that only 20 percent of eBike riders said they had experienced any type of crash. Of those, 19 percent reported that the eBike contributed to the crash in any unique way. So when you’re out zooming around town, make sure to keep standard bike safety in mind.
Don’t miss out on the fun and convenience of eBikes! With the right safety measures in place, you can enjoy the benefits of this innovative mode of transportation, without putting yourself or others in danger. So why wait? Our rental fleet includes top-quality electric bikes that are perfect and safe for exploring Dana Point. Call us today at 949.484.6409. Follow us on Instagram @synapticcycles to stay up-to-date!