You enjoy riding your electric bike and you are careful and attentive whenever you do it. However, there are many drivers out there who do not always have their eyes on the road and easily miss an e-bike rider in traffic. Therefore, you need to make it your job to take precautions to ensure your safety on the road. Below are 4 safety tips when riding your electric bike that will keep you safe.
1. Wear a helmet
Wearing a helmet on a regular bicycle is highly recommended therefore it only stands to reason that you should wear one when riding an electric bike. While helmets are credited for saving many lives, the reality is lots of people still neglect to wear them.
Whether you are riding short distances or taking long trips, wearing your helmet is a must. Even if you think of yourself as the most cautious, careful rider around, it is other driver’s in bigger vehicles than you that you need to worry about. Many people who ride electric bikes wear helmets for regular bicycles. However, due to the fact that you are travelling at higher speeds, you will want one meant for electric bikes that meet specific certifications and made from thicker foam and plastic so it stays together on impact.
It is easy to signal when driving a vehicle as there are lights on all roadworthy ones and can be activated with the flick of a switch. However, as the rider of an electric bike you do not have this luxury. Therefore, it is your responsibility to signal when you intend to make a turn.
When making a left turn, extend your left hand out the side of the e-bike. When turning right, extend your left hand out and bend it up at the elbow or alternatively extend your right hand out. When stopping or decreasing speed, extend your left arm downwards. These signals are so easy to do yet many riders fail to use them and as a result lives are put at unnecessary risk.
3. Ride with traffic
Many cyclists make the conscious choice to ride against traffic because they think that oncoming drivers will be able to see them better and they will not be at risk of being rear-ended when going with traffic.
The reality is most e-bike riders are hit by oncoming traffic in an accident with collisions involving getting hit from behind only amounting to approximately 3 percent. When you ride against traffic, motorists are not looking for you. This is especially true when you ride the wrong way on one-way streets, leaving you susceptible to getting hit by vehicles or their doors when people open them. Riding with traffic puts you in the direct sight of vehicles going the same way, increasing the likelihood of them seeing you and avoiding contact with you.
4. Be seen
Drivers in vehicles already fail to see cyclists as much as they should. While some blame can be placed on motorists for not being more cautious and vigilant, some can definitely be considered the e-bike rider for not making themselves more visible.
It is the law for electric bikes to have two lights, one on the front and one on the back. This allows drivers coming at you as well as behind you to see you. Obviously, having lights is especially important for night driving. Having only reflectors is not recommended as they can be still be hard to see. Lights on your helmet will also help drivers notice you and avoid you. Reflective clothing worn at night will decreases your chances of being hit especially in rural areas where it can get extremely dark.